All protocols were followed in packing rice – GRDB says on cocaine bust in Germany

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Part of the shipment (picture-alliance/dpa/D.Reinhardt photo)

The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has responded to the discovery of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in a cargo ship container from Guyana containing rice which originated from Berbice.

According to the Rice Board, the officer on duty on the day the rice was packed confirmed that all of GRDB’s Standard operating procedures were followed.

The GRDB said the rice originated from a mill in Berbice, and was consigned to a company, FHU KONPACK. The rice was then transported by more than one truck from Berbice to the Georgetown wharf, and the rice was loaded onto the containers at the wharf by labourers, a process which takes several hours.

“After the container is fumigated, and the shipping line seal and GRDB’s fumigation sticker is placed on the container, GRDB’s responsibilities end,” the GRDB said in a statement.

See full statement from the GRDB:

In light of the recent incident which saw the discovery of 1.5 tons of cocaine, with an estimated street value of €300 million, in a cargo ship container from Guyana containing 300 mt of white rice, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) wishes to state the following:

● GRDB inspects random samples of rice at the mill and at the point of loading onto the container at the wharf, in order to ascertain the quality of the rice. GRDB’s function is to grade the quality of rice (size of grains and moisture content of cargo), and to ensure that a standard quality of rice is exported.

● GRDB is surprised that any suggestion has been made placing any responsibility at its door. GRDB is not a police enforcement agency and does not participate in crime investigation, prevention or enforcement. It does not check for drugs.

● GRDB’s records show that the cargo ship container of rice from Guyana originated from a rice mill in Berbice, and was consigned to a company, FHU KONPACK. The rice was transported by more than one truck from Berbice to the Georgetown wharf, and the rice was loaded onto the containers at the wharf by labourers, a process which takes several hours.

● Fumigation, which is also part of GRDB’s SOP, was done after the container was fully loaded, in the presence of a National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) Officer.

● The container was then locked by the shippers’ representative and all seals were placed on the containers by the shipper’s representative. The serial numbers where then recorded by the GRDB officer.

● After the container is fumigated, and the shipping line seal and GRDB’s fumigation sticker is placed on the container, GRDB’s responsibilities end.

● After the containers were loaded and the fumigant applied and the containers were sealed, GRDB’s records show that the containers were scanned by Customs authorities on 21st – 22nd May, 2020 before being loaded onto the ship. The vessel the rice was loaded on was MV Asistic Wind on May 25th, 2020 and departed Guyana the following day. The final destination for the rice was Poland.

● Vessel arrived at CAUCEDO, Dominican Republic on June 7th, 2020 and was discharged on the same day. Containers loaded on a vessel titled CMA CGM Jean Gabriel on June 13th, 2020. It departed CAUCEDO, Dominican Republic on the same day and arrived in Hamburg, Germany on June 27th, 2020 and was discharged the following day.

● The officer on duty on the day the rice was packed confirmed that all of GRDB’s Standard operating procedures were followed. The containers were inspected and checks were made in keeping with the Operating Procedures.