Crackdown on imported goods
Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss has served notice to importers that he will not be sitting back and allowing products to enter the island that do not meet certain standards.
Although not giving specifics, he disclosed that his ministry has had to deny entry to certain products and remove others from the shelves of some establishments because they did not meet a certain standard.
And Inniss assured that as work was being done in identifying products that did not meet local and international standards, vigilance would be stepped up.
He made the comments following a tour of the Barbados Bottling Company (BBC) today.
“Coming on tours like these we are quietly reminded of the need for us to be vigilant in terms of what comes into Barbados. We are not the kind of administration that looks to ban and stop things unceremoniously but we certainly want to know, for example, that as the effort is made by a local company like BBC to have the right labels affixed to their products, we have to ensure that those coming into Barbados are similarly labelled as well,” he said.
“That is perhaps the best way we can have a level playing field.”
Inniss said officers at the Barbados National Standards Institute, along with other relevant ministries were working “everyday to ensure that the standards are established”.
Those standards, he said, were not limited to issues concerning health but also extended to other products including furniture and toys.
“We are seeking to be more vigilant. On the instances where we insist on standards for locally produced items we cannot turn a blind eye to similar products that come into Barbados that do not meet the same standards. I think the playing field would be really uneven then.
“And that is one way we can address the imbalance – by being very vigilant and denying entry to anything that we think don’t meet the standards. We can’t have one set of rules for our local manufacturers and then turn a blind eye and accommodate that coming from elsewhere because the price is a little less,” added Inniss.
The Minister also urged Barbadians to buy more local products in an effort to keep Barbadians employed.
“It also means that we in Government . . . have to up our game in terms of getting more of our products out in the region and international markets,” he added.
“We continue from time to time to have some challenges in the external markets, but we are not going to throw our hands in the air and say ‘there is nothing we can do’. I believe that wherever we have good products as these we are duty- bound to get them out in the wider market.”