I am astonished by the verdict and the reasoning in the article "Company acquitted of Label Tampering" published on March 2nd in The Daily Herald. It is unacceptable that some unauthorized importers and retailers are deliberately altering or removing the supply chain production codes. This is a flagrant violation of the law and a grave threat to all shoppers and consumers.
Tampering with labels on tobacco, or any other products is intolerable and should be punishable by law. The fact the judge made a “technical error” between wholesale and not retail makes it obvious that our laws need to be updated. For reference and wholesale sells those goods to the retailer and the retailer sells those goods to the final consumer or customer. As any importer, your justification that the supplier “sent it like that” is surely an example of a supplier that you should not be dealing with, obviously not trustworthy and very suspicious. “Know thy supplier” is one of the more basic and common principles that all importers and retailers should adhere to. I wonder if this “sent it like that” excuse would hold up as well if illegal or prohibited goods were found.
It undermines the efforts of public health authorities to reduce tobacco consumption and protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke. It also deceives consumers who have the right to know what they are buying and using.
Label tampering is not only illegal, unethical and irresponsible, but more importantly a serious and danger to all consumers and shoppers in St. Maarten /St Martin. It is a form of fraud that puts profit ahead consumer safety.
Those who engage in label tampering or purchase products that have had label tampers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
A very concerned citizen