Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Port doesn't check outgoing cargo: Trade Minister

Trade Minister Vasant Bharath told reporters Monday officials do not screen and check containers leaving the country's ports.

He made the point to explain why no one was able to spot the cargo of cocaine, valued at $640 million, that left the port of Port of Spain and landed in Norfolk Virginia.

He suggested that it might be a good idea to change that and scan containers before they leave. He met Monday with the Comptroller of Customs, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, ExporTT and ministry staff to discuss what can be done to improve vigilance while not increasing the bureaucracy at the ports.

“What we don’t want to do is introduce too many processes that will affect the work we are doing regarding ease of doing business and affect in any way more bureaucracy from taking place,” Bharath he told reporters.

He acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago is getting a bad name because of this incident and the one in the United Kingdom where a British Navy veteran died after drinking a Pear D soft drink laced with liquid cocaine. Pear-D is manufactured by the local company, SM Jaleel and the drinks exported with the cocaine to the US were in cans with labels from a Jaleel subsidiary.

However both the company and the relevant government offices have cleared Jaleel of any suspicion.

“I think it has been definitively proven than SM Jaleel had no part in the export of any of those products-- first to the UK and this one. ExporTT has been able to verify that. We have got to be very careful that the name of T&T, brand T&T, and T&T manufacturers generally are protected from this," the minister stated.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai