Since starting a surveillance and inspection campaign in April, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) has seized 380 measuring devices and plans to start enforcing penalties on persons caught using unapproved and unverified apparatus.
Speaking to the media yesterday at a press conference, Chief Inspector of the GNBS Shailendra Rai explained that even though the bureau launched its annual campaign in April, over the weekend, during inspections at the Stabroek and Bourda markets, they were able to seize over 100 items including scales, masses and rulers.
“The aim of the exercise is to ensure that the devices used in trade are accurate and reliable since the GNBS has a mandate to do so,” Rai said, while pointing out that they have been having a recurring issue of businesses using domestic scales for commercial purposes.
“Despite advising them to not use the scales they are still continuing to do so and we took the initiative to do something about it,” he added, while explaining that since the domestic scales are not made for the amount of work that a commercial scale would be made for, they often degrade fast and give incorrect readings, which was equivalent to consumers being robbed.
In terms of the devices that are approved for commercial use, Rai explained that they also have problems with persons’ devices being too old and not being verified, these would have also been seized in the operation.
“Although some were approved, they were not verified for the current period, the first half of the year, hence a number of them were seized,” he said.
While the GNBS is executing its mandate by carrying out the operation, Rai urged consumers to be more conscious of the devices being used to measure their products.
“Once you see someone using a dial [domestic] scale then you should not purchase from them. It’s like you are asking them to rob you. What the consumers need to do is ensure they purchase from vendors who are using approved scales,” he said, while pointing out that every scale or other measuring device that has been verified by the bureau will have a seal with the date that it was verified and how long it has been verified for.
“…The scales must be in a good condition, on a leveled surface and the consumer must be able to witness the weighing of their products. It must be done in your presence unless it is prepacked and even in those cases we are currently putting systems in place to start the verification [of] weight and net content,” Rai stated.
Penalties from lack of adherence to the Weights and Measurements Act are currently not being enforced, Rai said, as they are too small, but he said the Act is currently being reviewed and on completion of this, the bureau will put systems in place to ensure that persons who continue to use unapproved and unverified devices are penalized.
Additionally, Rai also explained that persons should not request their measurements in imperial quantities, since only the metric system is legal and all the scales and other measuring devices have been made for the metric system. “So if a consumer requests imperial, the vendors would try to sell them on the metric scale and more than likely they can get robbed,” Rai said.
According to Rai, the inspectors have visited 3,563 shops along the East Bank and West Bank of Demerara and in George-town, which include the Bourda and Stabroek markets, and will continue their campaign throughout the country.
From the 3,563 shops and businesses, 335 scales, 43 masses and two rulers were seized. All unapproved scales are to be destroyed and dumped. However, owners will be asked to repair unverified scales and take them back to the bureau for verification.