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Stricter security needed at Guyana’s maritime ports following cocaine bust in rice shipment

The five bags in which the cocaine was found in a container with a shipment of rice at the Kingston Container Terminal, Jamaica.

General Manager of one of Guyana’s largest rice distributors Nand Persaud and Co. Limited has called on government to implement stricter security at all of the main entry ports utilized by shipping companies.

His call comes one month after the Narcotics Police in Jamaica busted a shipment of rice from Guyana containing JA$100M in cocaine at the Kingston Container Terminal.

Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) sources said the rice was shipped by Nand Persaud to Jamaica. However, there are conflicting accounts about whether the bags of cocaine might have been placed in to shipping container with the rice in neighbouring Suriname or here in Guyana.

One source was adamant that the authentic container seals were removed in Suriname, the container placed inside and bogus seals used to shut and ‘secure’ the container.

The General Manager, Mohindra Persaud stressed that security at the wharves in Guyana is a critical issue that can affect the country on a whole as well as the country goods are being exported to. He stated that security issues can negatively affect the country’s international maritime standing.

“Something needs to be done about the lack of security at these ports to prevent incidents like these from occurring”, he told Demerara Waves Online News.

He stated that there is a need for security cameras and better fencing at the facilities along with new scanners to replace the faulty ones present.

“If we have a state of the art facility, it will attract more better business people and more people willing to business in Guyana. A lot of persons are skeptical of doing business with us because of simple things like security that suppose to be priority we don’t have. People will not come and do business in conditions that are not safe”.

Persaud stressed that Guyana will have be forced to deal with serious repercussions if such “petty things” are not addressed and fixed.

GRA sources said the mobile  container scanner has been parked up at Eccles for some time now, and there are concerns in some sections of the security sector that the scanner could not scan the containers thoroughly for narcotics.