Gov’t engages importers on Florida certification challenges

The Government is working to ensure hassle-free trade for local manufacturers and importers sourcing goods through Florida, USA.  

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond on Tuesday engaged stakeholders on the matter at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall delivers his address as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Oneidge Walrond (right) and Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Minster of Health, (left) look on.

The consultation sought to address the issue of certification required by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department before goods are imported from Florida to the Guyana market.

The Attorney General said this matter has hampered the business community for nearly five years and the process has caused recurring problems. He explained that a change of laws in Florida saw the Federal Department divest its responsibility to issue exportation documents for food products to an agency called Florida Enterprises.   

“Unfortunately, our Food and Drug Department has difficulties with that process and they feel that the quality control is not there with the Florida Enterprise; that there is no warranty of the suitability of the goods certified by that agency for export and as a result, they have not been accepting goods certified by that agency for importation into Guyana.”

Since the PPP/C Government became aware of the matter, it has started engaging the business community.

The AG made it clear that the Government is committed to ensuring the sector flourishes, adding that Guyanese consumers must enjoy the widest variety of goods. He also said there must be quality control with the importation of goods into Guyana, especially food and food products.

To this end, several measures will be initiated to ensure the Government’s mandate is upheld.

“We fortunately arrived at a compromise, and the compromise is that where there are goods that have an authorised approved distributorship in Guyana, those goods will continue to be imported only by those authorised distributors, and in relation to those goods, the Federal Department’s certificate will be required.

In relation to other goods that are not the subject of distributorship, those goods the Food and Drug Department will accept the Florida Enterprise certificate. I want to make it clear also that many countries in the Caribbean are accepting the Florida Enterprise certificate. So, Guyana will not be unique in accepting that certification as fit and proper,” AG Nandlall added.

A section of the meeting during this morning’s consultation.

This proposal will be taken to Cabinet for approval before implementation.

The AG also underscored that the Food and Drug Department will accept the Florida Enterprise Certificate for goods en route to Guyana, until the decision is finalised.

Meanwhile, Minister Walrond pointed out that the Government is keen on resolving the matter in its continued bid to enhance the business sector.

“My colleague and I have been tasked by the Cabinet to see how we can get a resolution at the Government level. We don’t want to dictate how we move forward. We want to have all stakeholders come together and for us to be able to come to a consensus,” she said.

Both Ministers noted that the Government will continue to host similar engagements to ensure the business sector is secured.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Minster of Health, also attended the consultation.

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