Draft bio-safety bill caters for `contained’ use of gene modified organisms

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) are in the process of drafting bio-safety/bio-technology legislation which will cater for the “contained” use of gene-modified organisms.

The draft is expected be concluded by June month-end.

GINA said on Thursday that the draft bio-safety/bio-technology bill which has been developed by consultant Teni Housty entails, “contained use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)/Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), labelling, use of GMOs/LMOs for feed and food and release of GMOs into the environment.”

During a consultation on Thursday, GINA said that Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud stated that for many people bio-safety and bio-technology are complex and because of the lack of familiarity in various areas, more work has to be done on awareness and understanding of threats and opportunities.

Persaud said, according to GINA, that there are opportunities in biotechnology, but this cannot be explored if there isn’t the necessary framework to protect against potential problems.

“We do hope that with the legislation and allowing us to fulfill our international obligation…that we will be able to distinguish ourselves as we would have done in other areas in terms of how we would be able to fulfill the obligations on the UN convention on biodiversity in which Guyana is involved,” Persaud said.

“This is just the start of the consultation and public awareness, because I don’t want the private sector to believe that the Ministry will impose the legislation…we want to ensure that there is applicability in Guyana’s context in terms of what are the opportunities,” Persaud added.


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