Fri | Oct 20, 2017

BSJ targets block makers with inferior products

Published:Thursday | December 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Maurice Lewin (left), acting executive director of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), and Dorothy Campbell, communication specialist at the Consumer Affairs Commission, in discussion while reviewing a block maker’s certificate during a press conference called by the BSJ to give an update on concrete blocks.

Recalcitrant block makers, who breach stipulated standards set out by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and continue to sell substandard blocks to consumers, will face tough sanctions as the regulatory body vows to take action against wayward manufacturers.

Yesterday, the BSJ reported that there has been a decline in the number of block makers whose products are of a poor quality.

However, despite the decline in the production of faulty blocks, from a high of 83 per cent across all parishes to 63 per cent in November, the BSJ said the compliance rate was still too low.

Orine Henry, director of the Regulatory Division at the BSJ, said the entity will be seizing deficient blocks as it continues to monitor the sector.

She said the BSJ could take block makers who produce inferior blocks to court.

If a person is convicted of breaching the stipulated standards, a fine of $3 million could be imposed, or a penalty of 12 months in jail.

"Who we really have an interest in are the persons who are out there making blocks and have not made any effort at all to bring their blocks into compliance. Those are the persons we are interested in targeting and sanctioning," Henry told journalists yesterday at a press conference.

PLANS FOR CERTIFICATION

She said the BSJ has an Industrial Training Unit and the agency is currently planning a developmental training for block makers next year. Participants will be certified at the end of the training exercise.

Executive director of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), David Miller, said consumers who purchase inferior blocks can seek redress through the courts. He indicated that the commission is willing to assist persons who discover that they have purchased faulty blocks, which may pose a risk to their property.

"On the face of it, it seems to us that there is sufficient information out there to bring a matter successfully in the court against the block maker," said Miller.

The head of the FTC said there is an established standard that block makers are supposed to abide by, and the BSJ would have records on the persons who are found with inferior blocks.

"Therefore, that's a matter that we would proceed to the courts with to obtain some kind of redress, not only for the consumer, but [for] some kind of sanction against the block maker."

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com