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‘We want answers’

Saturday, December 14 2013

click on pic to zoom in
GRIVING: Alston Lewis holds his son Joromie Lewis' picture at his home in Grieggs, St Vincent and the Grenadines. ...
GRIVING: Alston Lewis holds his son Joromie Lewis' picture at his home in Grieggs, St Vincent and the Grenadines. ...

THE parents of 33-year-old Joromie Lewis, who died after drinking a Cole Cold Pear-D drink laced with lethal amounts of cocaine, in the United Kingdom, were yesterday seeking answers about their son’s death.

According to a Guardian UK report, Lewis died in a Southampton hospital a few hours after drinking the beverage on Thursday. Hampshire Police who are investigating the matter, said the drink was laced with lethal amounts of cocaine. They noted the bottle was tampered with and believ Lewis consumed the drink unaware of its deadly contents.

Cole Cold is manufactured by local company SM Jaleel and Company Limited. In a release, the company stated it does not export Pear-D to the UK, and any of that item found in the UK is therefore considered contraband. As a precaution however, the company issued a voluntary recall of its Pear-D product, still on the market, from the batch containing the code BB JAN 08 14.

In an interview with SVG TV News at their place of business in Greiggs, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the parents of the Royal Navy veteran Alston and Morna Lewis said they did not fully understand the circumstances surrounding their son’s death.

They said words could not describe the hurt they were experiencing and that a memorial service would be held for Lewis next week.

Weighing in on the issue, Trade and Industry Minister Vasant Bharath said, “It is something that can happen in any country. It simply comes down to the rigidity of practices with regard to proper labelling and proper control over what’s actually shipped out of countries now.”

He was responding to reporters who questioned him about the incident after the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding between the TT International Financial Centre (IFC), Quatrro Limited and Caribbean Electronic Payments Limited at Tower D, International Waterfront Complex.

Bharath noted that he has spoken to a representative from SM Jaleel and was assured the company was working with the Hampshire Police to determine how the drink got onto a store shelf. “Clearly something like this can cause significant damage. The Ministry of Trade has information to show that SM Jaleel has not exported this product to foreign markets,” he said.

Instead he believes someone has consolidated a shipment of Pear-D, purchasing cases of the product at a supermarket, injected it with cocaine in order to traffic the drug and one of the bottles somehow got onto a supermarket shelf in the UK.

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