23rd June, 2021. Georgetown, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: June 23, 2021 at 19:15 pm
On the 16th of June, 2021, at around 3:15 PM, four officials from the Government Food and Drug Department, along with a driver, arrived at the home of a small business owner, Mr. Annandram Persaud, at Industry Village, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, South America. The individuals identified themselves as Carol Edwards, Triston Jones, Jennel Rodney, and Suzanna Atkins and presented official ID from the Food and Drug Department.
The officials then demanded to inspect the Brazilian Products which Mr. Persaud had imported through Lethem’s Customs Department using his import license. After examining Mr. Persaud’s import license, business license, and receipts of duties paid on the items, the officials proceeded to seize all the merchandise on the grounds that they were not labeled in English or they did not have an accompanying English translation to the Portuguese label.
The products included mostly Natura Perfumes, Colonges and Perfumed Products such as hydrating body lotion. These did not have English translations on the labels.
However, the products seized also included 8 Malbec Magnetic Giftsets (Cologne and Body Spray), 4 Malbec Bleu Giftset (Cologne and Body Spray), and 11 Coffee Colognes. These products, manufactured by the Boticario Company in Brazil, did have English translations on the label. However, the businessman explained to this publication that he was not aware that the Boticario products have English translations since “hardly anyone pays attention to the labels on these products.”
Mr. Persuad subsequently contacted both the Natura Company and the Boticario Company in Brazil through his suppliers. The Natura Company is presently deciding whether they are in a position to certify English label translations for such small quantities of exports. However, the Boticario company explained that their products already have English translations on the labels. Several other resellers of Boticario Products in both Guyana and Brazil pointed out that Boticario Products have English translations on the labels.
These products were seized on Wednesday, 16th of June – just 4 days before Father’s Day, while Mr. Persaud was in the process of delivering Father’s Day’s orders. Most of these illegally seized Boticario Products were Father’s Day orders which caused severe disruption to customer service and satisfaction – in addition to a personal financial disaster.
When Mr. Persaud called the Food and Drug Department on Friday, 18th of June, and requested to have returned those products labeled in English, he was told that the entire staff of the Food and Drug Department was in a meeting or were otherwise occupied or unavailable. The meeting apparently lasted until the morning of Tuesday, 22nd of June, 2021. However, after calling consistently and demanding the return of his illegally seized products, Mr. Persaud was finally arranged to go in to the Food and Drug Department at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, 22nd of June, 2021. Upon arrival, an inspection of the Boticario products revealed that they did have English translations on the labels, and the products were handed back to Mr. Persaud.
This publication deduces that if the officials of the Food and Drug Department were indeed doing “inspections” that day when they illegally seized the products, they would have seen that the products had English translations on the label – unless of course, they are really that illiterate – which is also a possibility. We can deduce then that the actions of those officials of the Food and Drug Department who were involved in the seizure of those products were grounded in spite, vindictiveness, corruption, and victimization. The sole objective appears to have been to halt Mr. Persaud’s Business immediately and at all costs.
The Guyana Food and Drug Department is still illegally holding over 1,000 bottles of Natura Colognes and Perfumed Products belonging to Mr. Persaud since no law in Guyana stipulates that cosmetics must be labeled in English. They have threatened to “dump and crush” these products if the label cannot be produced as to their specifications within a given time frame.
Editor’s Note: No law in Guyana stipulates that cosmetics must be labeled in English. Read Food and Drugs Act Chapter 34:03 here.
Meanwhile, dozens of other stores, shops, and individual vendors are being allowed to sell these same products without English labels across Guyana.
Urgent: We are seeking legal advice on the way forward in this matter. If you are an attorney at law who would like to represent us in this case, please send us a WhatsApp message on (592) 672-9748.