Businesses violating maximum price regulation being fined

  Businesses violating maximum price regulation being fined

An inspection in progress.

PHILIPSBURG--Businesses that are violating the maximum price control list announced by government are being fined, the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT) as well as TEATT Minister Melissa Arrindell-Doncher said in separate statements on Wednesday.

The TEATT Inspectorate has begun control and enforcement activities at retailers (supermarkets) across the country to ensure adherence to the established maximum prices on items in connection with coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

During the controls on Saturday, March 14, several supermarket retailers were controlled and violations were discovered. In these instances, fines were issued to the retailers. Controls will continue to ensure compliance, the Inspectorate said.

“Given the impact because of the global pandemic COVID-19, increased demand and volatility of global prices on the items are being experienced here on St. Maarten as well. It is the intention to review the list periodically with stakeholders to ensure that these essential items remain available to the population of Sint Maarten as the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide,” it was stated in the release.

“The assistance of the public is being asked at this juncture to monitor retail prices of goods on the list. For the Inspectorate to effectively address any violations, when purchasing items. Firstly, consumers should consult the latest maximum price list found on the government website for the item description, price and size. Should it be discovered that prices at the retailer are higher than regulated, first notify the retailer of the discrepancy. If it is urgent, then take a photograph of product and price, and get a detailed receipt including the date of purchase, description of the product and the name and address of the business where the item was purchased.”    

An official complaint should then be lodged with the TEATT Inspectorate. Consumers were urged to make use of standard alternatives for cleaning and disinfecting like hand soap and other normal household detergents to reduce the demand on specific items. “You always maintain the right as a consumer to not buy at the price offered by the retailer and reporting violations to the department.”

Businesses that fail to adhere to the established maximum prices risk imprisonment for up to four years or a maximum fine of NAf 10,000, in accordance with Article 8 of the Price Ordinance.

The TEATT Inspectorate can be contacted at tel. 542-4511 or at the main office located at Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard #6, Philipsburg. The list is available on the website of the Government of St. Maarten:

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