BCA says they’re not to blame for the high prices on the shelves
While GOB is hopeful that their meeting with the Belize Chinese Association (BCA) will lead to meaningful relief for Belizean consumers, the BCA isn’t so sure. The association, which comprises Chinese business owners from across the country, says they aren’t to blame for the high prices on the shelves. The BCA’s President, Johnston Au, explained that while the association is not in support of price gouging, there is little his members can do to keep everyday prices from increasing. According to Au, the root cause of the issue has more to do with the importers and large-scale wholesalers.
Johnston Au, President, Belize Chinese Association: “This meeting is very productive. It’s long but it’s too short for us to sort all the problems that we have. We are working on that and the most important part that is not we just it’s the retailers and we are not the importer or not even the primary wholesaler. The max in my community is the secondary wholesaler and then majority is the retailer so our price is affected a lot very much by the importers. If anybody doing that well that one should get penalized.”
Au further explained the association is expressing concerns surrounding the ticketing system that will be used to penalize persons caught price gouging. He says that the community feels the system may lead to several issues.
Johnston Au, President, Belize Chinese Association: “That ticketing to me is that it is very hard to justify. To prove it is hard, for any officer to issue a ticket to any premises is very easy but if the officer is doing the right thing does he or she do the necessary things to find out if that premise is violating to really qualify for that ticket ? So that is very tough that will cause a lot of argument. It’s the market. The market controls the prices and the competitions does a lot and keeps the prices down. So from the time I heard gouging and I don’t believe the gouging is happening because the market does a lot and has done a lot so this wouldn’t exists. If any premises wants to keep their business going they cannot put any price they want.”
Reporter: Do you believe that the competitive nature of retailers is going to play a huge role in this ?
Johnston Au, President, Belize Chinese Association: “Of course. Of course.”