…says sharing existing facilities wouldn’t work
Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) Director, Marlan Cole has defended the decision to construct a new headquarters along with four labs and equipment which is estimated to cost tax payers $1.1B
A portion of land on the University of Guyana (UG)’s Turkeyen Campus has been cleared as part of initial works to construct the new facility.
Cole said that the agency continues to work to establish world-class facilities that will meet international standards; since this is critical if Guyana is to compete internationally and maintain accreditation
Accredited Laboratories of the GA-FDD include the – Food Chemistry Laboratory; Food Microbiology Laboratory; Excise Laboratory and Water Chemistry Laboratory.
Cole was recently in Jamaica, to accept the Certification (Award) of Accreditation in conformance with the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard from the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).
He explained that utilising or combining existing facilities will not work, as this will require legislative changes since the agency is semi-antonymous.
He brushed aside suggestions that multiple agencies could utilise one lab facility.
“We are building for inspectors and analysts. It is too expensive to combine and too expensive to separate. We are less than one million in population,” Cole noted.
Kaieteur News understands that some $100M has been budgeted for the three-year project this year with future expenditure estimates of $600M in 2019 and $400M in 2020.
GA-FDD is currently housed at the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) on UG’s campus and serves as the regulatory body for drugs, food and beverages which are imported, and also those that are destined for export markets.
There is the view among officials that the current facility is adequate.
The Ministry of Public Health, which is responsible for the department, has advertised for expressions of interest to design, build and equip the department’s new labs and office complex.
According to the Ministry, the scope of works include the construction of a 30,000 square feet, steel framed, two-storey building to house four labs and office complex on a 1.14 acres of landscape garden-type land.
Interested companies are being asked to include in the designs, external storage bonds for both chemical and other materials; ramp, lift, waste disposal system for gas and chemicals, solar installation and other relevant requirements.
Further, among the requirements is the design of four labs to be constructed to ‘internationally accredited’ standards and complaint with the international building requirements and housed under a single roof with office complex to accommodate approximately 60 staff with provision for an additional 10 auxiliary staff.
The Ministry expects that the subsequent contract will provide for the equipping of the facilities with the adequate office furniture and the lab equipment to perform tests, such as microbiology, chemistry (both gas and chemicals), and solar installation.
The Ministry has put forward the position that the complex will be digitised and paperless in the processing and handling of analysis and test results.
With numerous concerns over the expenditure for the forensic lab and the absence of critical services, there is likely to be greater scrutiny on the new plans announced by the Ministry of Public Health.
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