The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) yesterday seized over 100 scales from vendors at city markets and the Meadowbank fishing wharf for infractions that included them being defective, unverified and unapproved.
Acting Director of the GNBS Evadnie Inniss told reporters yesterday that in collaboration with the Guyana Police Force her agency swooped down at the Bourda and Stabroek markets, also at the fishing wharf at Meadowbank where they seized the scales.
The seized instruments included 74 dial scales, 12 hanging scales, 24 spring balance scales, seven equal arm scales, 12 imperial scales and one measure.
The majority of the scales seized were dial scales and Inniss said that although vendors are warned not to use these, as they are not approved for commercial use, they seemed to be the scale of choice.
“The springs wear very easily on these devices and you’ll be robbed as consumers. That is why we seized them and they will not be getting them back,” she said.
The acting director said there was pandemonium, especially at the Meadowbank Wharf, when the vendors there realised it was a campaign. “They were running all over, throwing their scales in the grass …if they saw us coming one way they ran with their scales the other way,” she said.
Further, she noted that some of the instruments were in such deplorable and insanitary states that she was appalled that consumers would buy food and meats placed in them.
The numerals on some of the scales were missing or not at zero. Others had dried food particles and one was infested with roaches. There were also those that had broken and were repaired with scotch tape, plastic bags, rope and other materials.
Inniss explained that equal-arm scales are to be used for commercial trade and must be tested and approved by the GNBS for a minimal fee of $1,000 for the approved year.
However, when Stabroek News walked through the Bourda and Stabroek markets dial scales were being used by the majority of vendors.
When vendors were approached some were reluctant to speak but others defended their use of the dial scales, saying that it was not their intention to rob consumers but that equal-arm scales were either too expensive or that they did not know where to purchase them.
“I can get this scale for $2,500 let them [at GNBS] tell yuh how much fuh da red one… $10,000! Now how much banana I have to sell to make that money?” one vendor asked.
Another vented his frustration, “Dem always coming and seizing scale. Is a money I trying fuh mek. When yuh want the red scale you have to order it then you have to wait long, long. You know how much sales yuh missing waiting on dem *#&%.”
“Dem tell yuh metric this and that. It hard man, me done old and [ac]custom to pound and pint, that so simple. If they want metric let them teach ahwe fuh free. Ah fed up man, let them continue seize cause me can’t learn that,” another added.
The GNBS said it was currently working on a plan to get importers to bring in equal-arm scales.
Head of GNBS’ Legal and Metrology Department Shailendra Rai said steps are being taken to increase the fines under the old Weights and Measures Act and the agency intends to hold consultations on the draft Metrology Act. The first round of public consultations, he said, would be held next week, on June 18, at Regency Suites, Hadfield Street.