Cocaine in rum shipment: DDL concerned about international shipping routes
– convinced shipment was not contaminated in Guyana
As investigations continue into the discovery of over 1100lbs of cocaine in a consignment of rum in The Netherlands, beverage giant, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) is convinced that the various checks and balances executed in Guyana would have detected any illegal substances.
This is an addition to its own security mechanisms employed during the stuffing of containers with its product at its Diamond plant.
The discovery was made in late November after the shipment left a city wharf in Guyana. It nevertheless, made stops at two other ports before arriving in The Netherlands.
However, DDL in a statement late Saturday, related “DDL has always been and remains committed to ensuring that its reputable image and that of its internationally-acclaimed Demerara brands of rum, which only recently won Geographic Indication (GI) recognition in Europe, is never compromised. DDL is therefore disappointed with the contamination of a recent shipment of its product to The Netherlands”.
It further stated that the company is concerned that international shipping routes which necessitate transhipment through certain other countries now present a growing lack of confidence in transhipment arrangements and hopes that more effective security and detection measures would be implemented so as to prevent contamination of shipments that threaten the credibility of reputable companies and their products which earn significant foreign exchange for the nation.
“DDL’s rigid commitment to protection of its unblemished image and that of its supply chain and its products is demonstrated in the fact that the recent discovery of the contamination of its container was made by staff of its contracted bonded warehouse who immediately called in the relevant law enforcement agencies in The Netherlands, following which DDL informed the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) Customs officials. CANU was subsequently informed by both The Netherlands authorities and the GRA” the beverage giant stated.
Following the discovery of cocaine, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), reiterated that the consignment, which originated in Guyana, was scanned according to the stipulated procedures, and no contraband or prohibited/restricted substances was detected among the said cargo when scanned.
“The consignment was shipped to The Netherlands, and transited to another Caribbean territory, where it was offloaded and remained for a period before it was loaded onto another vessel destined for The Netherlands, where the discovery was made,” the GRA added.
That was followed by a statement made by Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh, hours after the matter was brought to light. Singh told the media that the ship transited in two other countries before arriving in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
“The container was scanned and checked before it left Guyana, and we have verified that there was nothing but the product, which was rum from one of the local distilling companies, inside the container,” he stated.
GRA further stated that, through joint enforcement and intelligence activities with CANU and other local and foreign law enforcement bodies, there has been put in place a system of rigid controls, thereby reducing the probability of narcotic substances being exported or transhipped through Guyana’s ports.
It was reported that over 1100lbs of cocaine were on November 25, 2021, found in a shipment of rum that departed Guyana and arrived in The Netherlands. The plastic-wrapped cocaine was discovered by Drug Enforcement Agents between the boxes of rum in the consignment.
Meanwhile, authorities in The Netherlands would have released the shipment to DDL’s control after the illegal substance was removed.