(Trinidad Guardian) The Pesticides and Chemicals Board, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, is currently considering the banning of importation and distribution of Gramoxone, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat has revealed.
He did so in Parliament yesterday, replying to questions from UNC MP Vidya Guyadeen-Gopeesingh.
Rambharat said herbicide paraquat is commonly referred to as Gramoxone. The latter is one of 16 brand-name herbicides sold locally with paraquat as the active ingredient. Trade names include Sunquat, Raze, Gramoxone, Super, Wopro Super and Weedless.
He said paraquat is used in agriculture to control a wide range of broad-leaved weeds, grasses and as a defoliant.
“At the same time paraquat is reportedly used in over 40 per cent of suicides in T&T,” Rambharat noted.
“For this reason, among others, the local Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Act and Regulations include an additional requirement—in line with international standards.
“In addition, premises licensed by the Board for the sale of paraquat must keep a register of sales and purchases including the basic information on the purchaser. As a Class 1 pesticide, paraquat must be displayed in a secured place only, to which the public has no free access.”
Rambharat said the banning of the importation and distribution of Gramoxone is primarily a matter for the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals, “….which has the responsibility to deal with all matters relating to the importation, registration and licensing of pesticides and toxic chemicals like Gramoxone and the cancellation of such registrations and licenses in circumstances where the Board deems it fit to do so.”
“I’m advised that this matter is currently being considered by the Board,” Rambharat added.
He was grilled by Guyadeen-Gopeesingh and UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh on whether the ministry would advise that the pesticide to be banned. Rambharat repeated several times that a decision on the matter rests with the Pesticides and Chemicals Board.