Tobacco Control Council finally launched

first_img2 years after legislationAlmost two years after Guyana passed legislation to regulate the sale and use of tobacco products, the Government has finally assembled a council which will be responsible for enforcing the law.Dr Shamdeo Persaud has been named Chairman of the 9-member council, and Attorney Cassandra Alves as the council’s Legal Officer. Other councillors are Mahadeo Ramjag from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Shailendra Rai from the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS); Desiree Edghill, Executive Director of Artistes in Direct Support; Melissa Del-Richards, Assistant Director of Sports; Dr Mayon Amsterdam, Technical Officer at the Public Health Ministry; Dr Latoya Gooding from the Giving Hope Foundation; and Chronic Diseases Coordinator Dr Kavita Singh as the council’s secretary.The mission of the council has been influenced by the Public Health Ministry’s framework of the Health Vision 2020, which is a post-Millennium Development Goals agenda for Guyana through expanding universal health coverage and enabling health-enhancing behavioural and cultural changes in and through the delivery of improved health services.The council was established following the mandate of the Tobacco Control Act, which stipulates that a council be established with the important role of advising the Minister on matters related to tobacco control and the administration and enforcement of the Act.Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence has said the council would play a pivotal role in how the ministry addresses non-communicable diseases.“It is my strong belief that you (the council) are well positioned to do the things that are required of you, because you represent all sectors of our community and you can interface with our citizens in our community groups — of the entertainment sector, of social media, our religious organisations etc — to spread the message of how important it is of us kicking that habit of smoking,” Lawrence asserted.The council’s Legal Officer, Cassandra Alves, told the gathering that Guyana is the first country in the Caribbean to implement a Tobacco Control Council. She, however, outlined the hard road ahead, as several regulations need to be implemented and enforced.“In accordance with the regulations passed last year, the tobacco industry had to start complying with the rules on the 25th of February this year, and they have started. We still have some problems with compliance; some people have stretched out the image too much, some have opted to not put certain things, some have put things on the package that they were not supposed to put there.“The tobacco industry cannot even put on the package a health message that they have made up, but only those that are prescribed by the regulations,” Alves explained.The Tobacco Control Bill was passed in the National Assembly on July 27, 2017. At that time, Guyana had the third highest prevalence rate of smoking in the world. However, in 2018, Guyana received the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) World No Tobacco Day Award for the passage of the bill.The bill bans smoking at all indoor workplaces and certain outdoor places, such as in any waiting area or queue in a public place, including but not limited to any public transport stop, bus stand or bus park.The legislation will be enforced by the application of several penalties in the form of fines and prison sentences for ‘certain transgressions’. These range from a fine of $200,000 along with 6 months’ imprisonment for persons who breach the new regulations, to fines for business entities of up to $9 million dollars.Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence (sixth from right) along with the Tobacco Control Council memberslast_img read more

Man dies after reportedly driving car into Demerara River

first_imgThe lifeless body of a Berbice, Region Six resident was on Monday morning pulled from the Demerara River after he reportedly drove his motorcar off the Timehri Wharf, East Bank Demerara.Dead: Umdut JagnitDead is 39-year-old Umdut Jagnit of Lot 5 Betsy Ground, East Canje, Berbice.Based on reports received, at about 04:30h, a security guard residing at Timehri Docks, EBD, was informed that a car was seen in the Demerara River. In turn, he contacted the Timehri Police Station and the ranks responded promptly.From initial reports, it is believed that the man might have driven his Toyota Carina 192 bearing registration number PHH 5423 overboard. The vehicle was subsequently pulled from the river.The car being removed from the riverJagnit’s body was reportedly in the back seat of the motorcar with the seatbelt wrapped around his left foot. The body was, however, inspected but there were no marks of violence.The body was taken to Lyken’s Funeral Home awaiting a post-mortem as Police continue their investigations.last_img read more