BVI News

Trade Commission to clamp down on businesses that tamper with measurements

Senior Policy Analyst/Strategic Adviser in the Premier’s Office, Lizette George. (Photo provided)

The government has announced that once established, the Virgin Islands Trade Commission will be equipped to address businesses that deliberately tamper with weights and measurements to make more profits.

An example of such tampering could mean being cheated at gas pumps; having gotten less fuel than the amount paid for.

Speaking on a recent airing of the Honestly Speaking radio show, Policy Analyst Lizette George said the Trade Commission will have a Fair Trade Division that will have a mandate to address such cheating in the BVI marketplace.

She was responding to a statement by host Claude Skelton Cline who explained that he has no guarantee he gets his full share whenever he pays for a certain amount of fuel at local gas stations.

“As it relates to the weights and measure issue, yes, those things will be addressed and that’s the reason why I say this agency (the Fair Trade Division) will be a highly technical agency because these are the things we’re going to be looking at when offering goods and services to our consumers,” Georges explained.

Large wholesalers that are also retailers

Georges also explained that the Fair Trade Division of the soon-to-be established Trade Commission will also be equipped to address the longstanding problem of large wholesalers that are also retailers in the BVI.

By offering wholesale and retail services, larger companies sideline smaller businesses which are the backbone of the BVI economy.

“That’s actually something the board can look at in terms of how the market operates and if, in fact, they are going to allow large companies to come in and just do distribution, not even wholesaling, because wholesaling is actually one of the areas that are reserved in the Act (for BVIslanders and Belongers),” Georges explained.

She continued: “We don’t want big businesses to disenfranchise small businesses so the fair competition policy which will eventually become an Act, will speak to those things in terms of ensuring that these big conglomerates do not disadvantage or disenfranchise locals and smaller businesses.”

In 2019, Leader of the Opposition, Marlon Penn had named North West — the parent company of Riteway food stores — as one large company that had an unfair advantage over smaller businesses such as restaurateurs.

At the time, the Opposition Leader accused the company of not adhering to the conditions of its trade licence that restrict such unfair dominance in the marketplace.

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  1. Rubber Duck says:

    The whole Trade Commission idea reeks of Communism, cronyism and unnecessary government interference
    , mindless bureaucracy and control.

    Successful economies do not have “ trade commissions “ , failed socialist experiments do.

    Pretending that it’s purpose is somehow to promote fairness is a con. Do not be fooled.

    Like 24
    Dislike 9
    • Cookie Monster says:

      Let’s give the Commission a chance to show if it will foster consumerism. The Consumers’ Act needs to be passed though in time for the creation of the Trade Commission…otherwise the Commission is nothing but a toothless tiger in the face of unscrupulous businesses

      • No way says:

        Nope. Lets not let it happen. It is going to screw up trade 100%. I agree with the top poster. Its just going to kill business unless your friends are on the board PLUS i bet they kill peoples applications and then start up their own. Nothing good of this will happen. It is time to remove restrictions and make trade open to all, not add more.

        Like 4
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      • @ Cookie Monster says:

        You need to read the act. After pages and pages of restrictions, rules , requirements, government empowering itself, the cronies charter and so on, there is one sentence that says the Commission will encourage enterprise. How is not specified.

        It will be more difficult and expensive for belongers to get trade licenses and next to impossible for non belongers imho.

    • concerned says:

      This issue is long overdue and deserves to be visited and dealt with. It is ridiculous companies answering wholesale to be selling goods at higher prices than retail shops, ripping off customers. I am surprised previous regimes have not handled this. The gas stations should be monitored as well.

  2. Oohh boiiii says:

    Let’s get this thing started . TELECOMMUNICATIONS first on the list
    Long over due

    Like 16
  3. My word says:

    Welcome tola in the year 2021
    where everything cluade skeleton says become law
    where the government wants to ration how much you make
    where trade laws are changed every day.

    and ohh where expiates are discriminated for taking on odd jobs we locals don’t want.

    Like 12
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  4. 5 gal jug says:

    It always amazes me that my 5 gal. plastic jug can hold 5.5 to 6 gallons of gas at some of these ‘honest’ gas stations on Tortola!

    Like 12
    • Different says:

      Are they serving US gallons or Imperial gallons. If your jug is Imperial gallons and you are buying smaller US gallons then that will happen.

      1 Imperial Gallon = 1.2 US gallons.

      I confess I don’t know which they serve

      Does anybody?

      Like 2
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  5. Just saying says:

    I really do wish the Trade Commission well as it seeks to address some of the long standing issues as it relates to fair trading in the BVI whereby empowering locals to truly be the driving force behind the economy. It is critical that small local players in the economy have a fair share of the pie as business owners as this will provide them with the platform to have a say in the development policy of the country and give them the independence to hold the government accountable.

    Entrepreneurship must be encouraged, if we want to be truly independent. When we can manage our own at the micro level it sets the foundation for the same at the macro level.

    Like 3
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  6. @ RUBBER DUCK says:


  7. Norris Turnbull says:

    @MY WORD. Every non belonger needs a work permit REGARDLESS OF who dont want jobs.

  8. redstorm says:

    What a game changer.

  9. Hope says:

    Start with Is***d D********t store. If the item does not work when you reach home they won’t take it back.

    Like 11
  10. Informed says:

    I paid for a trade license and the government tinkered with my customers and we lost business. Can they look into this to see why I paid for a service to operate a trade and the government blocked the customers and we lost money. Same for the mooring fees.
    We paid for Work permits for staff who were unable to work.

  11. Cap says:

    Tampering with a wholesale company not allowed to have retail businesses in these islands will be a travesty. This is nothing new to these islands..The same business you are targeting has been the reason the smaller buisinesses were able to develop. This is not happening in BVI only. Be careful what you create.. you will have to look at all buisinesses in that case.. Make Shure there are no favors.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
    • Really says:

      Usually Wholesaler like Road Town Wholesale have an agreement with suppliers to be the only company to import a certain item. So if they can’t be wholesale and retail certain items will only be available at Rite Way in the future and all the small stores will not be able to get it and Restaurants will need to pay Retail prices and everything will cost more.

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