A Guyanese vessel has been detained in Jamaica with a quantity of narcotics. The MV Northele departed Guyana’s shores from the John Fernandes wharf on Sunday last, and was detained in Jamaica on Tuesday with a quantity of narcotics worth some J’ca $62M.
The captain and four crew members were detained, but were subsequently released as investigations continue.
Security has since been beefed up at the facility, with a greater police presence, following a request from the management. Everything is checked, and people are being searched as they enter the wharf area.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture is expressing its concern about the recent reports about agricultural produce, agro-processed products, fisheries and forestry products being used to conceal illicit and illegal drugs, when these products are being exported from Guyana.
The ministry, in a release, stated that it has been working with the law enforcement agencies and will be refusing to issue licences to persons or companies suspected of being involved or convicted of dealing with illegal drugs.
“Using agricultural produce and products to conceal illegal drugs severely tarnishes Guyana’s image as it positions itself to be a major supplier of agricultural produce and products.”
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) also advised that all forest produce to be exported must be graded independently, and then verified by the GFC.
Additionally, the GFC and the Customs and Trade Administration (CTA) have an arrangement which specifies that the GFC is informed prior to the loading of forest produce into containers, or on to vessels for export.
This allows the GFC to confirm that the produce being shipped is exactly what was inspected and approved for export.
Recently, some Nibbi furniture was exported from Guyana. US law enforcement agencies intercepted this export cargo and discovered that a quantity of cocaine was hidden in the furniture.
A review of the GFC export database indicated that the GFC had no records of any such shipment being inspected and verified, in accordance with standard procedures.
Further, the GFC was not informed prior to loading of this produce into the container and vessel, in keeping with the agreed practice.
The GFC has provided the CTA with this information, and is working with the CTA, Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) and other relevant agencies to improve the necessary security measures, to prevent any such recurrences, which only tarnish the name of Guyana and legitimate exporters of forest produce.
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