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Measures to be put in place to regulate Gramoxone

Measures to be put in place to regulate Gramoxone

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Steps will be taken to regulate and monitor the purchase, distribution and use of the deadly herbicide Gramoxone, in the wake of a number of actual and attempted suicides credited to the poison.{{more}}

This assurance has come from Chief Agricultural Officer Reuben Robertson following concerns raised by Medical Practitioner Dr. Jamil Ibrahim about the easy access and availability of the poison, especially to youths.

In an interview in Midweek Searchlight on November 9, Dr. Ibrahim said that proper measures should be put in place to regulate the use of Gramoxone. He also suggested that a substitute commercial product be used in its place.

The doctor pointed that the lethal agent in the product: Paraquat, had been available since the 1950’s, but was banned in Europe since 2002, and that as of 2007, it is only available commercially in the United States for persons who have a license to use it.

“…So if somebody gets poisoned, wherever the stuff is coming from, they would know if it comes from your stock, then you would be liable. This is not happening here in St. Vincent.”

Robertson indicated that regulation of the herbicide is something that the authorities have been looking at, but a number of preliminary steps have to be put in place first.

“One of the things we are trying to do now is have every farmer registered, so that the person who is going to buy chemicals of a certain quantity must be able to show some sort of ID as a farmer.

“And if not, they must have some form of ‘prescription’ to be able to be able to buy chemicals.

“As we develop and get a little more sophisticated, there will be a need for this, because a child should not be able to go and buy pesticide, or even pick it up.”

In the meantime, Robertson said that educating persons of the dangers of these chemicals and their antidotes is what should be taking place.

He said that there should be certain areas where chemicals should be kept and locked away, so that only those who are authorized would have access to them.

Robertson also said that he thinks that persons should be held more accountable when an individual misuses Gramoxone in a bid to commit suicide, but this can only happen with the move to register farmers.

“Because you have to keep records in terms of how much chemical came in, how much was distributed, how much was used, what area was covered, so that we could trace it back to misuse or abuse of the chemicals on the farm.”

The Chief Agricultural Officer joined with the Medical Practitioner in saying that suicide by poisoning, or any other means should not be an option when a person is having challenges.

“I think there are other ways to solve problems than turning to suicide,” Robertson indicated.

“People need to talk more; they need to be able to express themselves and talk to somebody they can confide in and tell them what the problems are and seek help.”

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