Prime Minister John Briceno explained to Love News yesterday that his administration is looking to penalize merchandisers and retailers who are engaging in price gouging. Price gouging is where shopkeepers raise the prices on goods and services, specifically, goods that are zero-rated or not taxed. PM Briceno spoke with Love News yesterday explaining that the consumers will have to be the one to report the cases of price gouging. He further added that consumers could possibly benefit financially from the legitimate complaints. The initiative on tackling price gouging came through this week’s Cabinet meeting at the suggestion of Minister Abelardo Mai. In speaking with the Attorney General, Magali-Marin Young, Love News learnt that business owners found guilty could be fined up to five thousand dollars.
Magali Marin-Young, Attorney General of Belize: “At the Cabinet level, at the policy level yes Minister Mai brought that issue to Cabinet and Cabinet has supported him in taking whatever measure is necessary to combat and prevent price gouging. Now he has to look at how to strengthen enforcement and I am sure in very short order we will get those instructions from him and his technical team.”
Reporter: Is that something we can expect to be tabled at the next house meeting ?
Magali Marin-Young, Attorney General of Belize: “I know it’s a priority for Prime Minister and he has asked that try that it be ready for the next house meeting so we’ll try our best to get it done as soon as we get those instructions.”
Reporter: Now one final question on that what kind of penalties would the merchandiser or the business face in the event that they’re found guilty of price gouging ?
Magali Marin-Young, Attorney General of Belize: “So there’ a range. I think the penalties are up to if I’m not mistaken up a thousand dollars and I think it may be as much as five thousand dollars because it has been amended.”