Guyana Rice Board distances itself from cocaine find in Germany

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has sought to distance itself from the largest single seizure of cocaine in Germany found stashed in a container with a rice shipment from Guyana.

German officials said that the 1.5 tons of cocaine was found in a container that arrived on board the container vessel, CMA CGM Jean Gabriel. It has a street value of Euro 300 million (One Euro = US$1.29 cents)

Law enforcement authorities here say they are working with the German counterparts on the matter and the GRBD in a lengthy statement said it wanted to inform the public that it inspects random samples of rice at the mill and at the point of loading onto the container at the wharf, to ascertain the quality of the rice.

“GRDB’s function is to grade the quality of rice …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 said its 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.”

It said that the shippers’ representative then locked the container, and all seals were placed on the containers by the shipper’s representative.

“The serial numbers were 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.”

GRDB said that after the containers were loaded and the fumigant applied and the containers were sealed, its records also show that Customs authorities scanned the containers on May 21 and 22 before being loaded onto the ship.

“The vessel the rice was loaded on was MV Asiatic Wind on May 25, 2020, and departed Guyana the following day. The destination for the rice was Poland. The vessel arrived at CAUCEDO, Dominican Republic on June 7, 2020 and was discharged on the same day.

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

The GRDB said that the officer on duty on the day the rice was packed confirmed that all GRDB’s Standard operating procedures were followed.

“The containers were inspected, and checks were made in keeping with the Operating Procedures,” the GRDB added

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