Rice “mix-up” in Panamanian shipment did not injure export relations – GRDB Head
– miller accepts responsibility although probe did not reveal when, where it happened
The rejected shipment of rice to Panama has not injured or hurt the local market and rice exportations from Guyana to that country continue to progress.
That is according to General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Nizam Hassan who told reporters on Tuesday morning during a press briefing that investigations into the matter have been concluded and that the GRDB is not to be blamed.
“It was not the rice ordered by the buyer – rather than white rice it was parboiled rice returned to Guyana and replaced with white rice…There were no wrongdoings on the part of the GRDB or its staff. All the relevant and requisite procedures were followed by the GRDB and its staff in the execution of its duties,” he said.
According to Hassan, it was 33 containers of rice that had been rejected by Panama but his agency executed the duties that it was mandated to.
“The GRDB did, in terms of when products are inspected for export, the GRDB did all the relevant activities with regards to testing, sampling the rice, to ensure that it reaches the criteria, witnessing the loading of the container, witnessing the seal that is put on the container. The GRDB did all of that.”
However, this issue has been resolved, and relations between the two countries remain strong and fruitful, he noted.
“We have not lost the market nor was there any injury. We apologised, we the GRDB apologised to the Institute, informing them that we are sorry about this and we will replace the rice and we did so.”
The GRDB Head explained that the contract for which the issue arrived was fully serviced in 2018 and through a new contract for 2019 that commenced in late December of last year, Panama continues to be supplied with rice from Guyana.
Meanwhile, Attorney-at-law Juman Yassin, on behalf of the miller that shipped that batch of rejected rice to Panama, told the media that his client accepts full responsibility for the “mix-up” in the rice shipment.
“He has accepted responsibility for this mix-up and he has also accepted responsibility publicly here today for this apparent mix-up for the shipment being parboiled rice instead of white rice. He indicates that there must have been some negligence involved and as the owner of the mill he has accepted responsibility and will ensure that in the future there is stricter safeguards and control,” Yassin noted.
Additionally, the Chairman of the Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association, Rajendra Persaud, explained that there was no way that the miller in question could have benefitted financially from such a move if it had been intentional on the miller’s part.
“The said miller produces both parboiled rice and white rice…from value standpoint, parboiled rice is approximately 20 per cent higher than white rice so there is no financial advantage to ship parboil in the place of white rice. If it was the reverse, then you would have seen financial advantage. So I am not sure what went on, I cannot really comment on that, but from my standpoint, I think there is no financial advantage.”
Persaud added that such a mix-up should never occur again by any miller because although it did not affect export relations between Guyana and that country on this occasion if it occurs again then it could possibly have a worse effect.
“The rice that was shipped to Panama, the parboiled rice was found on the port and not really in the customer’s premises. It was intercepted on the way to the customer. So it didn’t hurt that much but at the same time we need to fix it.”