Agri. Ministry faces major challenge of tackling cocaine trafficking in agricultural products

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By Fareeza Haniff

Cocaine concealed in fake awarras.
Cocaine concealed in fake awarras.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy has admitted that the country faces a major challenge in effectively combating the illegal export of cocaine and other drugs in agricultural products.

He alluded to the fact that there are not enough human resources to place a Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) agent at each and every packing site of export products.

The Minister made the revelation during his appearance on radio show ‘Hard Talk’ (90.1 Love FM) today, Sunday October 26, hosted by Chris Chapwanya.

Over the years, Guyanese, American, British, Canadian and Malysian authorities have found huge quantities of cocaine stashed in rice, sugar, molasses, coconuts, fruits, vegetables, coconut milk, timber, soap powder and fish meal.

Dr Ramsammy explained that the opportunity for illicit practices grows as Agriculture becomes more successful. According to him, there have been instances were a shipment of rice or other products left Guyana and ended up in another country.

Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy
Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy

“We’ve been talking to Customs, CANU…a lot of time what happens, the packers do not get examined at the packing state so it goes to the wharf and when it gets there, it has to be unpacked, creating problems…Dozens of people sending things out…the logistics of having CANU Officers at every packing site is a difficult one. In the US people are assigned to these places and they are paid…In Guyana, exporters cannot carry that burden,” Dr Ramsammy said.

He admitted that Guyana has not reached the stage of such intense scrutiny.

According to Dr Ramsammy, drug dealers have become more successful in using science over the years, therefore increasing the Ministry’s challenge in tackling the narco trade.

 

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