“Why is Govt wasting our time? – minibus association

first_imgVenting his frustration over Government’s slow approach to a proposal submitted to the Business Ministry over a week ago, President of the United Minibus Union (UMU), Eon Andrews, on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over Government’s seemingly careless attitude towards tackling the woes of the minibus and transportation sector at large.Andrews had, over one week ago, submitted to Business Minister Dominic Gaskin a proposal for not only a fare increase, but several other requests in regard to the transportation sector with the hope of having addressed the several issues plaguing that sector.President of the UMU, Eon AndrewsAndrews is contending that the Business Ministry should have informed the Union that several other Ministries would have to be consulted on the matter, instead of leaving the union proverbially at sea.“I noticed yesterday in (Guyana) Times where he (Minister Gaskin) had indicated that he got to — because of the nature of the thing (proposal) — he has to consult the other relevant ministers. But he had not indicted that to me, and that would have been good if he had said that to us, so that we would have known we would have had to wait a little bit,” Andrews reasoned.“I don’t know why the Government is wasting our time,” Andrews declared.He added that, under the previous administration, such matters were given more urgency, especially since it is one which has a chain effect on not only drivers, but commuters as well.“They (the previous administration) would have dealt with it, even if we had to just talk. They would have called us in already, we would have been talking…they always would have called us in quickly,” he said.The Union head has said he is concerned that minibus operators might take certain actions which may very well affect commuters if the Government does not deal with the issue in a timely manner.According to him, it is not the UMU’s vision to exploit commuters, but to set fares which are ‘fair to everyone’. Andrews said he is aware of cases in which passengers are being made to pay increases in transportation fares as high as $60, when all that the UMU has requested is a $20 increase for short drop drivers and $40 increase for drivers who travel longer distances.“We are concerned because, if they (minibus drivers) take action, it means that especially the travelling public, although it is a free-man transportation, they will punish. There may be persons who may react to those increases, and you know, there might be some violence and police story and these kinds of things; so I don’t think that’s the way anybody wants us to go. So I think that the Government ought to do something quickly,” the UMU president posited.The Business Minister recently told reporters he is not responsible for fixing minibus fares, and he just intervened from a consumer point of view in order to find out their concerns.He went on to say that the proposal which was submitted to his Ministry will be shared with the respective Ministers, who will then carry the burden of introducing the said proposal to Cabinet.The proposal for a fare increase comes at a time where minibus and taxi drivers have been protesting, and even striking, about the climbing gas prices.Desperate to get the attention they need, drivers blocked the Vryheid’s Lust access road along the East Coast Railway Embankment. Several tyres were burnt, and an old car was set on fire to garner the attention needed, with the hope of having the fuel crisis addressed.Several protests were also organised by drivers of the various routes subsequent to this incident. Gas station prices for fuel have increased rapidly, from $215 per litre to prices ranging from $230 to $250 per litre.last_img read more

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IPA to be turned over to Police – Health Minister

first_imgRecalled LAILAC infant milkThe Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department’s (GA-FDD) order to recall all Lailac infant milkThe recalled LAILAC infant milk on the shelf of a supermarket on Saturdayproducts will now be handled by the Police as International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA) continues to disregard the directive.This is according to Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton, who in a telephone interview with Guyana Times stood by the decision made by the GA-FDD, noting that since the product does not meet the country’s required standards, then it is an appropriate move to have the Lailac infant milk pulled from the market. He added that since local distributor IPA refuses to do so, then it will become a legal issue where the Police will get involved.“If the law so says and the product does not abide by the regulations then the Food and Drug Department has a right to pull the product from the market. If they (distributors) continue to defy the order, then it’s a legal matter and when it comes to a legal case, it goes to the Police and a decision will have to be made,” the Public Health Minister said.Dr Norton further added that he is disappointed that the Analyst-Food and Drug Department has not started to seized the milk from the shelves of retail and wholesale entities.“It could be that the company brought in the milk some time ago, probably sold it to supermarkets and the supermarkets continue to display it so that they don’t make a loss. What I know that can be done is the Food and Drug Department can literally go and seize these products. I don’t know why they’re not doing it.”Additionally, he said that an investigation will be launched into why the GA-FDD is inactive with respect to seizing the milk.The GA-FDD in early February 2016, issued a recall for the Lailac infant milk, however more than six weeks after the recall deadline of March 22, 2016, the product remained on the shelves of numerous retail and wholesale outlets.The IPA has persistently disregarded the GA-FDD’s instructions contending that LAILAC infant milk is a milk-based baby formula.The recall by GA-FDD was issued on two grounds – the product’s noncompliance with Food and Drug Regulation (12) of 1977, which prohibits distributing a product in Guyana that is not distributed in its country of origin. GA-FDD Director Marlon Cole was quoted in other sections of the media as saying that LAILAC was not and could not possibly be sold in France as milk.“Our regulations clearly state that the product must be freely distributed in the country of production. That product is not sold in France. No other Caribbean country has LAILAC milk. It is not milk,” he was quoted as saying.The other reason for this recall was based on concluding after reading the product’s label which showed that the product is labelled infant milk although in the production process non-specified ‘vegetable oils’ were used to replace milk fat. According to the GA-FDD, in making the product as close as possible to “mother’s milk”, unless specific vegetable oils were added to the cow milk-based substance, when digested by infants, the formula can prove to be dangerous since the fatty acids in the triglycerides produced influence their function negatively.The IPA has admitted its LAILAC product was not sold in France, the country of origin but only in the Third World countries. The IPA continues to argue that the product is being distributed in France, but under a different brand.last_img read more

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