Recent adjustments to the price per pound of Grade C rice and white sugar have prompted the Belize Bureau of Standards to strengthen market surveillance activities for Controlled Price Goods. A total of one hundred and fifty stores have been visited across the country. Of that number, thirty businesses were found to have been gouging prices. That has resulted in the confiscation of almost three thousand pounds of flour, rice, white and brown sugar. According to Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo, the department is working closely with the Solicitor General’s office to amend existing regulations pertaining to Price Control.

On the Phone: Jose Trejo, Director, Belize Bureau of Standards

“We issued a press release on Monday regarding the market surveillance activities with respect to the price control regulations specifically to the price control regulations. We wanted the general public to know that we have been diligently trying to ensure that there is compliance with the price control regulations. So our officers have been engaged in market surveillance activities countrywide and the report we sent out basically was a status report on what has been done so far. The figures you see there, issued in the press release, is over or close to three thousand pounds of basic commodities, majority of which were confiscated, a majority of which include sugar and rice and mainly the sugar. So this is basically what we’ve done so far and the work continues. We are looking as well to amend the principal act for the Supplies Control Regulations to introduce administrative charges. As you know, our process right now requires us to go through the process of building a case file and submitting it to the D.P.P. for prosecution purposes. That takes time because we have to prepare our paperwork and win the case to prosecute. In the case of the administrative charges we will be introducing penalties across the respective regulations within the act so that we would be able to issue a penalty or issue a charge immediately whether we come across any offending party and that will make it much easier for us to take action immediately instead of us going through the courts. So that is something we’re working on closely with the Solicitor General’s office. Of course there is a process to it because we will need to make recommendations to the amendments it would have to go to the National Assembly for them to approve the first, second and third reading so we can make those changes.”

Channel 5