United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn has called for the speedy enactment of the food safety regulations even as the Bill gained the attention of a Parliamentary Select Committee. Quinn made these comments when he addressed the dinner and awards ceremony hosted by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association Ltd over the weekend.One year has passed since the Food Safety Bill 2016 was first read in the National Assembly. It was after fierce debate on both sides of the House in February 2017, that the Bill was placed before a select committee. Ambassador Quinn, however, maintained that enactment of such legislation was key in protecting the health of citizens and to ensure that regulations were duly monitored.“There is a need to ensure proper food safety legislation is in place. This provides the necessary assurance that food will be produced, processed and stored in a way which protects the health of consumers. There is work afoot for a food safety bill, and I would encourage the conclusion of such legislation as soon as possible,” Quinn told the GMSA gathering last week.He added that his country’s advocacy for such legislation was to ensure that all of Guyana’s resources were for the benefit of all and to ensure that Government spent in a way that would benefit all citizens and to ensure proper regulatory oversight.When Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman addressed the Bill in February, he stated that it looked to prevent the spread of foodborne diseases through the control of the production, preparation, handling, storage and the transportation of food and provide for connected matters. Trotman added then that the Bill would consolidate the functions of agencies like the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD).The Bill also speaks to: requirements for registration; licensing of food business; power to charge fees and suspend and revoke licence; return of licence; Permit to engage in street food vending: requirement for health certificate; application for permit; granting or refusing of permits; and cancellation of permits. Provisions for permits for food handlers and obligations of operators of food-handling establishments are also included in the Bill. The Bill addresses the liability of food inspectors, who will not be liable when acting in good faith, according to specific provisions.The establishment of a Food Safety Authority and other matters related to food safety are addressed in the Food Safety Bill 2016. The Authority will have the power to seize food and issue notification of unsafe food.Provision for a “general offence and penalty” is provided for in the Bill, which means that for any general offence, there will be a fine of $20,000 and imprisonment of six months. The political Opposition had called for the Bill to be sent to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee to which Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had agreed.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SHERMAN OAKS — A land deal designed to rescue the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center has fallen through, and the facility that serves scores of local preschoolers and seniors could be forced to close within two months, officials said Thursday. The owner of the facility at 13164 Burbank Blvd., formerly called the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, had put it up for sale when it hit financial straits in 2002. Two years later, a benefactor stepped in and offered to purchase the two-acre site with the intent of preserving the center. But negotiations between the two sides have broken down, potentially dooming the 50-year-old center that serves 30,000 to 40,000 Jews, in addition to non-Jews. It could close by June 20. “I’m sorry to see they rejected the last offer that I made,” said Hyman Jebb Levy of Encino, whom Valley Cities officials revealed had been in talks to buy the center. “More than that, I’m sorry to see there won’t be a JCC for the Jewish community in (this part of the) Valley.” Messages left for several board members of the property’s owner, renamed the Jewish Community Centers Development Corp., were not returned. Though the owners questioned whether Levy intended to preserve the community center for at least 15 years, Mike Brezner, president of the Valley Cities board, said it came down to money. Brezner said when talks about selling the center began in 2004, it was appraised at about $2.3 million, though the property is likely worth more than $7 million today. “Our assumption is they have another offer at the table,” Brezner said. A town hall meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the center. On Tuesday, supporters staged a demonstration outside the center, hoisting signs that read “Don’t let greed destroy our center.” Julianne Hall of Sherman Oaks, a single mother who sends her 10-year-old son to the center’s after-school day care, was among them. “It’s really the only connection he has to Jewish culture,” she said. “He feels this is his home. It just tears me up.” Other services are a preschool, which has 97 children, and activity classes for seniors. It also hosts community gatherings and events, all on an annual budget of about $1 million. Among the problems that led to the insolvency of the Greater Los Angeles JCC were millions in debts owed to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. But federation spokeswoman Deborah Dragon said the issue mostly has been resolved and won’t be affected by the sale of the Valley Cities center. In fact, Dragon said the federation has funneled more than $1 million to the center’s preschool program in the past several years. “We are also open to working with them to help find alternative arrangements for families who have been enrolled in the program,” she said, “should the Friends of Valley Cities elect to discontinue the program.” — Eugene Tong, (818) firstname.lastname@example.org