Tandeka Barton replaces Marlan Cole as new head of Food & Drug Dept.


Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony on Tuesday revealed that there will be more shake-ups at the ministry as part of efforts to make services efficient following the removal of Dr. Marlan Cole as the Director of the Government Analyst- Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD).

The department is now being led by Tandeka Barton; she served as the Department’s principal Analytical Scientific Officer and is a part-time lecturer at the University of Guyana (UG).

The News Room understands that Dr. Cole, who has been working in various capacities at the Food and Drug Department for a number of years, has been reassigned to lend technical support to the Director of Standards and Technical Services.

The Health Minister said that a decision has been made to “reorganise” the department to make it more efficient.

According to him, there have been several complaints about the work of the Food and Drug Department, including lengthy processing times and challenges posed to importers seeking to register their products.

He also said that efforts are being made to modernise the services at the department and to ensure that the agency steps up compliance efforts.

“We have been discussing these things for a long time but nothing has really happened (and) we are hoping to be able to stimulate the leadership now to get these things improved,” Dr. Anthony said.

Days after reports of Dr. Cole’s reassignment were published, it was also reported that the Dr. Util Thomas was also reassigned as the Head of the Mental Health Unit.

And Dr. Anthony alluded to more leadership shake-ups.

“We have other areas in the ministry that we are looking at too.

“Generally, what we are trying to do is make sure these departments work more efficiently,” the Health Minister related.

Asked if he does not believe that existing leadership can herald in the sought-after change, Dr. Anthony responded: “I think sometimes the challenge that you have is that if you’ve been at the department for too long, sometimes you’re not able to visualise new things maybe and new ways of doing things and I think that can hold back the progress in the department.”

“Sometimes we need new leadership,” he added.

The Health Minister said that reducing people’s waiting times and providing more customer care-oriented services are targeted as part of new plans to transform the health sector.

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