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GNBS cracks down on unapproved scales; heavier penalties coming

Head of the GNBS’ Legal and Metrology Department, Shailendra Rai and GNBS’ Director Evadnie Enniss brief reporters about the unapproved scales in the foreground that were seized.

The Guyana Bureau of Standards is cracking down on illegal scales at markets, even as plans are being made to impose heavier penalties on sellers caught with the unapproved weighing instruments.

Backed up by police, several GNBS inspectors and surveillance personnel seized the 129 scales and one measure from sellers at the Stabroek, Bourda and La Penitence markets as well as the fish wharf at Mc Doom, East Bank Demerara, officials said.

The majority of devices seized were dial scales, which are not approved for commercial use, and their faces defaced and tied with rope and polyethylene. Also seized were spring scales, often used to weigh plantains, usually wear easily and rob consumers.

“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,” Acting Director of GNBS, Evadnie Enniss told a news briefing. Most of the scales will be destroyed and discarded, officials said.

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 red equal arm scales cane be used for commercial trade but must be tested and approved by the GNBS for a minimal fee of GUY$1,000.

Although the GNBS engages in year-round surveillance activities and respond to complaints, the agency seizes scales twice yearly—April to June and October to December. Verification of scales is done from January to March and July to September.

The GNBS said it was currently seeking to persuade importers to bring in the recommended type of scales for commercial use.

Head of GNBS’ Legal and Metrology Department, Shailendra Rai announced that steps are being taken to increase the fines under the old Weights and Measures Act. The agency intends to hold consultations on the draft Metrology Act.

The first round of public consultations on the new law is scheduled for June 18, 2013 at the Regency Suites, Hadfield Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown.