Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2017 Contents news A17
Friday, July 28, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Report fake food to
The Consumer Affairs Division is
calling on members of the public to
come forward if they come across any
"fake" food products.
After several videos of fake food items
sprouted on social media, the Consumer
Affairs Division and the Caribbean In-
dustrial Research Institute (CARIRI)
became involved after numerous reports
were made of allegations of the sale of
plastic rice and cabbage.
Videos of fake rice, fake cabbage, fake
cheese, fake chicken and even fake eggs
have flooded social media in the past few
Some citizens claimed to have come
across these products locally and at-
tempted to cook the items.
In an interview yesterday, Director
at the Consumer Affairs Division Dex-
ter Morgan called on members of the
public to come forward with the bogus
Morgan said he saw the videos
on social media and the division
has since launched an investiga-
tion after the allegations were
"Bring it and identify the
source and make a report and
there is a hotline 800-4277
and 800-CFDD," he said.
He said members of the
public could also bring
the suspected items to the
Chemistry, Food and Drug
division in the Ministry of
These items can be
tested at that division for
One of the companies identified in
social media video of processing and
distributing the fake food said it was
considering taking legal action against
the person who made the video.
The company spokesperson said that
the person did not show the product be-
ing poured from the bag but had some
type of product in his hand and a nearby
container before bouncing it.
They also said they did not even call the
company but took to social media to vent
and make false claims about the brand.
Minister of Agriculture, Land and
Fisheries Clarence Rambharat said he
was aware that videos had surfaced on
social media identifying certain food
items as "plastic."
He confirmed that tests were done by
the Caribbean Industrial Research Insti-
tute (CARIRI) on rice which was imported
from Guyana, was proven to be void of
any "plastic" material.
As for the purple cabbage, Rambharat
claimed that he had no concrete evidence
to suggest that the cabbage was local or
plastic and further advised citizens to
buy locally to ensure that the goods they
purchase are of the highest quality.
Similar allegations were also report-
ed in Jamaica and Barbados concerning
"plastic" cabbage and rice.
The Jamaica Customs Agency
had placed a temporary ban on
the clearance of rice at all ports
of entry following reports that
"plastic" rice has been found.
However, members of the media
were told that the matter was in-
vestigated and the product tested
was proven to be real.
There could be a break-
down of work at the Siparia
Regional Corporation (SRC)
as UNC councillors and al-
dermen are threatening
to stay away from council
meetings until corporate
secretary Natalia Cummings
is removed from office.
Three months after the PNM
councillors failed in its motion
to oust SRC chairman, Dr Glenn
Francique North councillor
Doodnath Mayrhoo raised a
motion of no confidence against
Cummings on the basis of po-
litical bias during Wednesday's
In the motion, Mayrhoo
claimed that the SRC has been
seeking advice, guidance, and
reports in a timely manner from
her, but this has not been the
case. He accused Cummings of
having a bias towards certain
members of Council, among
several allegations. Contact-
ed yesterday, Cummings said
she would return the phone call
within minutes, but did not.
Speaking after the meeting,
Dr Glenn Ram-
they have lost
faith in Cummings.
He made a call to Lo-
cal Government Minister
Kazim Hosein to remove
Cummings, saying that the
UNC council members have
lost trust in her.
"We cannot operate with a
corporate secretary whose ad-
vice we do not trust in. Please
Minister, Senator Kazim Ho-
sein, we call upon you to do the
right thing and give us a new
corporate secretary that will
bring some new confidence and
trust to the work of the Siparia
Regional Corporation," Rama-
Hosein said yesterday that
Ramadharsingh has not raised
the issue with him before. He
said the position of corporate
secretary was not a political ap-
pointment but administrative,
therefore, if the council has tak-
en a decision the chain of com-
mand dictates that the chair-
man writes to the CEO who will
then relay their concerns to the
The motion was rejected by
PNM members of council who
stormed out of the chambers,
saying that there was no basis
for the debate.
lor Gerald Debesette said they
could not support a motion that
would jeopardise the future
career of Cummings. He said
once they left, a vote could not
be taken because there weren't
enough members to constitute
The SRC has a council of
13 members, inclusive of nine
councillors and four aldermen.
The PNM has six, the UNC six,
and one independent. The in-
dependent, Leo Doodnath,
was absent from Wednesday's
Ramadharsingh said the mo-
tion against Cummings was
carried. However, Debesette
argued that the motion could
not be put to a vote after the
walkout because there was no
quorum to constitute a meet-
A quorum represents a half of
the council, meaning that seven
people were needed to continue
the meeting. He said there were
only six members.
Dr Glen Ramadharsingh
Since the installment of the new council, the SRC
has been plagued with problems. There was con-
tention among members when Ramadharsingh was
chosen as chairman over Doodnath, who was the
SRC chairman for the previous two terms.
In January, Doodnath, the SRC's vice-chairman
declared himself as an "independent" member who
would be "guided by conscience and merit" on issues
brought before the council.
In April, PNM councillor Maurice Alexander moved
a motion of no confidence in Ramadharsingh, on the
basis that there was mistrust in the chairman and
his handling of the regional corporation's affairs. The
motions were defeated when Ramadharsingh used
his casting vote to stay in the chair.
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