Mo­re al­le­ged vic­ti­mi­za­ti­on by Food and Drugs

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

Days af­ter a num­ber of im­por­ters pic­ke­ted the Mi­ni­stry of the Pre­si­d­en­cy and the Mi­ni­stry of Pu­blic He­alth over de­lays in their con­tai­ners, one of them is clai­ming mo­re vic­ti­mi­za­ti­on.

Chief Exe­cu­ti­ve Of­fi­cer (CEO) of Su­e­ria Ma­nu­fac­tu­ring Inc., Frank Sa­ni­cha­ra, said Sa­tur­day that the Government Ana­ly­s­tFood and Drug De­part­ment (GA-FDD) is una­ble to find do­cu­ments for a ship­ment of Shak­ura Ener­gy that his com­pa­ny has brought in.

The Mi­ni­stry of Pu­blic He­alth, un­der which the Food and Drugs De­part­ment falls, had an­noun­ced an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in the al­le­ga­ti­ons of dis­cri­mi­na­ti­ons by the head of that en­ti­ty, Mar­lan Co­le. Government of­fi­ci­als and others ha­ve said that they ha­ve been re­cei­ving com­plaints.

Su­e­ria and se­ve­r­al other im­por­ters from De­me­ra­ra and Ber­bi­ce are pro­tes­ting what they say is an abu­se of of­fi­ce by Co­le. It is not the first ti­me Co­le is in trou­ble. He was sent ho­me ear­lier this year over an al­le­ged in­ci­dent but la­ter tur­ned back out on the job. The im­por­ters are clai­ming that they are being sin­g­led out. Su­e­ria has the dis­tri­bu­ti­ons rights to se­ve­r­al po­pu­lar pro­ducts, in­clu­ding Shak­ura Ener­gy Drinks. The ship­ments that ha­ve been held up by Food and Drugs are se­ve­r­al con­sign­ments of pro­ducts in­clu­ding Shak­ura Ener­gy Drink. In the ca­se of Su­e­ria, Sa­ni­cha­ra is a bu­si­ness­man who re­tur­ned ho­me to in­vest and has plug­ged hund­reds of mil­li­ons of dol­lars in ma­nu­fac­tu­ring of sweets and im­porta­ti­on of jui­ces. He has been batt­ling Food and Drugs for al­most a year now.

The jui­ce im­porta­ti­on bu­si­ness is a high­ly com­pe­ti­ti­ve one with a num­ber of lar­ge com­pa­nies in­vol­ved. Sa­tur­day , the Gu­y­a­na Ma­nu­fac­tu­ring and Ser­vi­ces As­so­ci­a­ti­on (GMSA) said in a sta­te­ment that it is “dee­ply con­cerned” about the re­cent ac­cu­sa­ti­ons being ma­de against Co­le in the form of a pu­blic pro­test.

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tes re­fer­red to by GMSA ha­ve in­deed been in con­ten­ti­on. Sa­ni­cha­ra had ma­de it clear that his com­pa­ny and others ha­ve been com­ply­ing but Co­le and the de­part­ment ha­ve been as­king for mo­re pa­per­work.

“So we buy a quan­ti­ty of jui­ces from a ma­nu­fac­tu­rer and pack the­se in dif­fe­rent con­tai­ners. Food and Drugs wants cer­ti­fi­ca­tes for each and eve­ry con­tai­ner. We are not su­re what el­se to do”, said Sa­ni­cha­ra. All do­cu­ments re­qui­red by the law we­re sub­mit­ted to Co­le, in­clu­ding Free Sa­le Cer­ti­fi­ca­tes.

Ac­cor­ding to GMSA, in the ab­sen­ce of an ac­cre­di­ted lab and phy­to-sa­ni­ta­ry en­for­ce­ment and an­ti-dum­ping le­gis­la­ti­on it is ex­tre­me­ly im­por­tant that the G-FDD per­form its du­ties un­im­pe­ded. Sa­ni­cha­ra said last week that his com­pa­ny lost over $30M and was for­ced to send ho­me staf­fers be­cau­se of the de­lays and dis­rup­ti­ons cau­sed by Co­le and his de­part­ment. On Thurs­day, He­alth Mi­nis­ter, Dr. Ge­or­ge Nor­ton, said that he is ta­king the al­le­ga­ti­ons against Co­le very se­rious­ly and that the­re will be no sa­cred cows and no vic­ti­mi­za­ti­ons of bu­si­nes­ses un­der the ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on.

Ahead of Wed­nes­day’s pic­ket, Sa­ni­cha­ra said that he had writ­ten to Pre­si­dent Da­vid Gran­ger to am­pli­fy his con­cerns with the Food and Drug De­part­ment. He said that he had pre­vious­ly writ­ten to the Mi­nis­ters of Bu­si­ness and Pu­blic He­alth, but it was not un­til he wro­te to the Pre­si­dent that he was con­tac­ted on the mat­ter.

Mi­nis­ter of Sta­te Jo­seph Har­mon, on Thurs­day cor­rob­o­ra­ted re­ports that an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to the mat­ter was un­der­way. Mi­nis­ter Nor­ton said that ac­ting on the in­struc­ti­ons of the pre­si­dent, he had ma­de con­tact with Sa­ni­cha­ra to in­form him that his Mi­ni­stry, which has res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for the Food and Drug De­part­ment, was in the pro­cess of exa­mi­ning the com­plaints. Mi­nis­ter Nor­ton said that he in­ti­ma­ted to Sa­ni­cha­ra that he will be in­vi­ted, along with Co­le, to at­tend a mee­ting ai­med at rea­ching a so­lu­ti­on to the si­tu­a­ti­on.

(Kai­e­teur news)

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