It was agreed last month that the price of sugar in Belize would increase from fifty cents a pound to seventy five cents a pound. That increase is to take effect on January 1, 2016 but several stores have already hiked up their prices. That is illegal and the owners can be jailed, fined or both. That is why the Belize Bureau of Standards is asking the public to report the stores that are already selling the sugar at seventy five cents per pound. Director, Jose Trejo, says that they have already received several complaints.
“Presently we have only received officially and when I say officially I mean that calls have come in, receipts have been provided to us of situations where merchants are gouging the consumers. We have acted on those complaints and inspected 35 establishments in the country; 12 in Belmopan, 8 in Santa Elena, 15 in Belize City and 1 particular distributer. We have been in the market place and checked to ensure two things, that the price is there and that merchant is not exceeding the current established price for sugar. We urge the consumers and general public to call the hot line and to be willing to provide documentation and evidence so that we can pursue it. We are following up and we will pursuing those complaints that come into our office because it gives us for legal process to take place.”
Trejo says that failure to comply with the Supplies Control Price Regulations will result in jail time for the store owner for a maximum of six months, a fine of one thousand dollars or both.