`There was no need to close New Thriving’
– City Council
Restaurant had corrected defects
April 18, 2004
`Our Inspectors had inspected the restaurant and found several violations. The relevant statutory notices were served. The instructions were complied with and the defects were corrected. In this sense, there was not need to issue any closing order.’ - City Council
There was no need to issue a closing order against the popular New Thriving Restaurant in Kitty for the violations inspectors from the Mayor and City Council unearthed earlier this year.
According to the City Council, the relevant statutory notices were served after the violations were discovered, and the defects were subsequently corrected.
In a statement to the media signed by Public Relations Officer, Mr. Royston King, the City Council sought to clear the air on what it termed “the apparent misunderstanding on the part of some of the role and functions of its Meat and Food Hygiene Department.”
King referred to an article published in the Stabroek News on April 13, which quoted Guyana National Bureau of Standards Director, Dr. Chatterpaul Ramcharran as saying that the council “needs to be more vigilant; they need to do more surveillance work”.
In the same article, President of the Consumers Association of Guyana, Mr. Pat Dial is quoted as saying that “consumers agree that the laws need strengthening, especially since the Meat and Food Hygiene Department appears to be floundering”. Dial also suggested that under the current system, there is no guarantee that offenders will not continue to violate the laws because the laws are not being enforced.
The City Council, in its statement, pointed to the steps that were taken with regard to the restaurant. The Analyst Food and Drug Department, with whom the City Council says it shares a good working relationship, took an independent action following a report that a child had suffered food poisoning after eating at the restaurant.
The Analyst Department took a sample from food materials from the person who was suspected to have been poisoned, but no sample was taken from the restaurant, City Hall contends.
“This posed a serious difficulty with the question of a control sample and the verification process. As a consequence, our inspectorate could not act on the analysis provided by that department.
“In the meantime, our Inspectors had inspected the restaurant and found several violations. The relevant statutory notices were served. The instructions were complied with and the defects were corrected. In this sense, there was not need to issue any closing order,” the statement said.
Closing orders are guided by the Municipal and District Councils, Chapter 28:01. Sections 75 and 76 part IV of the Provisions Relating to Eating Houses state that “the Medical Officer may, by notice in writing, require any alteration to the structure or to the internal arrangement of an eating house which he may consider necessary for the convenience and sanitation of the eating house and every keeper of the an eating house or may cancel any existing registration thereof.”
Where it is certified to the Council by the Medical Officer that any eating house registered under these by-laws has not been maintaining sanitary conditions, the Town Clerk, on a resolution of the Council, shall refuse to renew the registration of that eating house, or may cancel the existing registration.
“The Meat and Food Hygiene Department could only close an eating house by a resolution of Council. This too is guarded by a number of well defined steps which were put in place to ensure fairness and justice. We have always acted responsibly in such matters because we understand what must be done and how it should be done,” King said in the statement.
According to City Hall, the work of the Meat and Food Hygiene Department is extremely critical to the good health of the nation, but it is one of the “unsung areas” of our responsibility.
“We are quite sure that, the records in those agencies that are concerned with Meat and Food Hygiene and allied activities, in this city, will show that our Meat and Food Inspectorate has over the years been extremely vigilant, and, in fact, has prevented through its watchful eyes, many unpleasant situations from occurring in our Capital.
“Over the years, the department has been inspecting all eating houses and provision shops, according to their schedule. Our inspectorate has been seizing unwholesome food materials, and recommending closure of those who refuse to comply with notices to correct defects.
“Citizens will recall the many instances when our inspectorate, were criticised by all and sundry for taking appropriate action against recalcitrant and unscrupulous food businesses that were attempting to increase their profitability at the expense of the health of consumers,” the statement said.