June 25, 2023 -The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has sought to assure the producers of honey in Guyana that their concerns about the exportation of their products are not being ignored.
This is according to the Director of External Trade at CARICOM’s Secretariat’s Directorate of the Caribbean Single Market and Trade, Dr. Chantal Ononaiwu.
Ononaiwu was speaking at a breakfast seminar titled “The Original Jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Private Sector”.
Guyanese honey producers say they are facing substantial difficulties exporting locally-made honey into the Caribbean because of laws in Trinidad and Tobago that block trans-shipment.
Ononaiwu was responding to concerns from the Vice Chairman of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), Rafeek Khan, and GMSA Adviser Ramesh Dookhoo who both pointed to the need for Trinidad and Tobago to remove the prohibition of transportation of honey from the 88-year old Beekeeping and Bee Products Act.
Ononaiwu also admitted that honey has been a “longstanding issue on the agenda” of CARICOM’s ministerial Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that would remain there until it’s resolved.
Trinidad and Tobago’s honey, bees and bee products are guided by the island’s age-old Food and Drug Act of 1960 and Beekeeping and Bee Products Act of 1935.
And as per the country’s Beekeeping and Bee Products Act, only honey originating from the Windward and Leeward Islands can be transshipped to the twin-island republic.
The country initially restricted the importation of honey from Grenada and other Caribbean countries over concerns about a potentially disastrous disease of honeybees, the American Foulbrood disease.
However, Grenada took the issue to COTED in 2013 and the Council decided that Trinidad’s denial of market access was in violation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM’s central treaty.
The twin island republic was then directed to lift the prohibition on the import and trans-shipment of honey.