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Cocaine smuggling damaging export trade

One day after a man was jailed for five years for exporting cocaine in ochroes, a senior private sector representative on Thursday said the United States (US) usually puts Guyana’s agriculture exports under greater scrutiny after such busts.

Addressing the final of a two-day National Economic Forum at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), member of the President’s Committee on Competitiveness Ramesh Dookhoo pointed out that Canada and the US regard Guyanese exports as high-risk

“It (drug smuggling) is ruining the reputation of Guyana’s businesses. Every time someone is caught with drugs at the airport, twenty other legitimate businesses are hassled by the American authorities,” he said.

Dookhoo’s concerns followed Wednesday’s conviction of electrician Electrician, Hadrick Cummings who had earlier this week attempted to smuggle 15 kilogrammes of cocaine in ochroes to New York.

Cummings, of Ebony Import and Export, was jailed for five years and fined GUY$40.5 million for attempting to smuggle the cocaine worth GUY$13.5 million through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on August 12.

Dookhoo, who is the Chairman of the CJIA Board, lamented that drug smuggling has forced many legitimate exporters to close down their businesses.

“Legitimate exporters are sometimes profiled highly by the authorities in North America and this result in frustration and some legitimate exporters of our products have left the business entirely,” said the former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission.

He urged authorities to stop the scourge of drug smuggling through Guyana’s ports especially the CJIA.

Guyanese, American, British, Canadian and Malysian authorities have found huge quantities of cocaine stashed in rice, sugar, molasses, coconuts, fruits, vegetables, coconut milk, timber, soap powder and fish meal.