A racket to resell seized smuggled chicken has been busted, with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) announcing moves to acquire its own cold storage.
This followed recent action by GRA’s Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID), which aided in the removal of a large quantity of seized foreign chicken from two separate cold storage facilities in the Berbice area, after it was discovered that the commodities were being unlawfully disposed of.
GRA, the country’s premier revenue collection agency, disclosed that due to a number of operations, it managed to seize an aggregate 268 boxes and two packs of chicken, weighing approximately 10,720 lbs.
The authority said that it handed over the seized chicken to the Ministry of Public Health for appropriate use, under the instruction of the Commissioner-General, Godfrey Statia,
However, it appeared that the custodians of the seized chicken had different ideas for the chicken. They were in the process of getting rid of it, when GRA’s enforcement officials came knocking.
The treatment of the seized chicken has upset GRA.
“The GRA in its future efforts to minimize recurrences of this nature and to avert the likelihood of smuggled chicken reentering the market, will be donating such seizures for utilization by the appropriate ministries and other state agencies, rather than offering them for sale to the general public.”
The authority also disclosed that it is in the process of procuring and establishing cold storage facilities in its warehouses in Berbice and Georgetown.
With regards to the seized chicken, the agency disclosed that enforcement activities over the past week led to the seizure of 190 boxes and one pack of chicken from one of the locations in Corentyne, Berbice.
In another operation, 52 boxes and one pack were seized from another facility at Annandale, East Coast of Demerara.
“Two individuals were arrested in connection with the act and placed on station bail. It is believed that they were trying to dispose of a total of 375 boxes, weighing approximately 15,000 lbs of chicken.”
GRA also said that it conducted other exercises simultaneously at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice and Bourda Market leading to the discovery of more irregularities in the sale of un-customed chicken, prompting the seizures and accompanying legal action.
Guyana has slowly been improving its local production of poultry, with quite a number of entrepreneurs entering the business. However, the administration says it has been closely monitoring the market and noticed a shortfall, causing prices to spike upwards.
A significant quantity of chicken is reportedly being smuggled from neighbouring Suriname.
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