T&T’s ban on importation of poultry from Guyana “ill-advised” – Agri Ministry

first_imgThe move by the Trinidadian Government to ban poultry, raw and cooked, from entering from Guyana on the premise of the recent news of a duck virus is “ill-advised” and “premature”.Guyana’s Agriculture MinistryAgriculture Minister Noel HolderThis is according to a press statement on Monday issued by the Agriculture Ministry through the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA).According to the Ministry, such an advisory by the twin-island Republic is ill-advised while noting that the consumption of poultry meat poses no health risks.“The GLDA wishes to assure the general public that the issue with the duck disease, which has been suspected to be, but has not been confirmed as Duck Hepatitis Virus, has been contained and restricted to six duck farms on the coast of Guyana.  Measures implemented, including the closure of our hatchery, the only one in Guyana that hatches duck eggs commercially, have assisted in containing the disease.  The disease has not manifested itself in the other poultry sectors [of] chicken, turkey and Guinea bird, and has only been observed in ducklings between the ages of 3 to 15 days old.”The Agriculture Ministry also noted that the public should be made aware that it is safe to consume all poultry products despite the actions of the Trinidadian Government.“While a disease incidence report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) may elicit a country response, we are disappointed at the premature and excessive response of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago which has placed a ban on all poultry products, raw and cooked, coming from Guyana.”In light of the ban, former Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy lashed out at the coalition Government for not informing the country about the virus.A memo dated May 31, 2019, and signed by the twin-island Republic’s Senior Veterinary Officer, informed its Customs and Excise Division of the ban.“As instructed by the Chief Veterinary Officer Animal Health Sub-Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries in accordance with the Animals [Diseases and Importation] Act Chap 67:02, please be informed that with immediate effect all and any raw and cooked poultry meat from Guyana is banned from entry into Trinidad and Tobago until further notice. Upon arrival at ports of entry, such items are, therefore, to be seized for destruction,” the memo stated.T&T’s Agriculture Minister, Clarence Rambharat confirmed the ban and revealed that Guyana advised them of the presence of Duck Viral Hepatitis in a part of the country.“As a precaution, the Ministry’s Chief Veterinary Office has notified the Customs and Excise Division of an immediate ban on raw and cooked poultry originating from Guyana. While Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago do not trade with each other in poultry, the ban is precautionary and targets passengers coming into Trinidad and Tobago with raw or cooked poultry in their possession. The ban is instituted because Guyana has advised of the existence of duck virus hepatitis in a part of Guyana,” a LoopTT report quoted the Minister as saying.However, in a statement on Saturday last, Dr Ramsammy took the Guyana Government to task over its handling of the matter. He pointed to the fact that not only did it fail to inform the populace of the DVH outbreak, but it was also unaware of the ban by its Caribbean neighbour.When contacted on the ban on Friday last, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told Guyana Times that he is currently out of the country and has not been appraised of the situation before he ended the call citing long distance charges being applied to his phone.According to Ramsammy, the coalition was equally surprised and caught off-guard with the ban.“At the time of the announcement, Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture was, as usual, out of the jurisdiction – he was out of the country this time. He always seems to be somewhere else when agriculture faces a threat… There is no indication that anyone in the David Granger-led APNU/AFC Cabinet knew anything about the ban. It appears they were as shocked as ordinary Guyanese citizens that Trinidad and Tobago announced the ban,” Dr Ramsammy noted.The former Agriculture Minister explained that Trinidad’s action could not have been arbitrary. He noted that it is practice for Government officials from a country to inform relevant authorities in another country about its intention to take certain actions because of issues coming out of that country.last_img

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