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Fernleaf Milk Saga: Compensation unlikely – Minister Benn

Compensation is not likely for the persons who were detained in relation to the fernleaf milk powder saga, the police had initially believed to be cocaine. On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn said that he had not met with anyone to discuss any form of compensation. 

“I don’t know if the police have met with any person,” the Home Affairs Minister told the media at the sidelines of an event, “we had a incident before, not related to cocaine I believe, where a person was taken from a flight and we expressed some commiseration  and apologised and so on and I think some help was given,” he said, but there is no suggestion that this was done in this matter. 

In early August, the Police confirmed that it released two persons who were detained when initial tests done by the police at Ogle Airport indicated that drugs could have been in the packets of fernleaf milk powder. At least one of the persons was destined for Barbados. 

Minister Benn said that when the testing was done at the airport, the substance was placed in the vial with a chemical used for testing. It turned blue, he said, indicating that it could have been some indication of a narcotic in the packets.

“I understand from the explanations given that the fernleaf milk powder itself is the only one which this phenomenon has been seen,” Minister Benn explained, “in fact when it is not mixed with any cocaine, surprisingly the fernleaf brings up the blue colour.”

The packets were further analysed by the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory and the police had later said that it was not cocaine. Minister Benn told the media that he stands by the testing capability of the Guyana Police Force and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit as he said both agencies use “the universal test” for these purposes. 

Additionally, the Minister commended the police for their action when asked if a mechanism can be in place to avoid a recurrence, “It begs the questions of course, why we carrying milk powder to Barbados, but that the other issue, it was unfortunate, but the police had to response in the only way which they could, turns up blue, therefore it has to go, certain action has to be taken.”