Call for laws prohibiting sub-standard goods

Guiste believes laws should be in place prohibiting substantial goods
Guiste believes laws should be in place prohibiting substantial goods

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Harold Guiste has said appropriate legislation needs to be implemented to make it illegal to provide substandard goods or produce on the local market.

Guiste made that statement while addressing a one-day Quality Infrastructure Dialogue Forum for public and private sectors organized by the Dominica Bureau of Standards held at the Fort Young Hotel on Thursday.

“If the aspect of qualities that we seek is to be realized, the necessary quality infrastructure needs to be put in place,” he said. “This would, among other aspects include, appropriate legislation that will make it illegal to provide sub-standard goods or produce on the local market.”

He continued, “In other words if an importer of fish knows that there is no legal obligation for a local producer in Dominica to produce a certain minimum standard product then there is nothing to prevent them from exporting this substandard product. They would not have violated any law by so doing.”

Guiste said the issues of quality in the agricultural and fisheries sectors in Dominica are of paramount importance.

“It determines the level of extent to which farmers and fishermen can dispose of their produce and the level returns that could be realized on their investment,” he noted. “Agriculture in Dominica can no longer be business as usual. Consumer taste and preference for agriculture and fishery products has changed significantly over the years and demand has become the order of business.”

He went on to say that most of the producers in agriculture and the fisheries sectors in Dominica are not sufficiently aware of the quality of products demanded by the present day market, be it regional or extra regional.

In fact, he believes that there is a great need in Dominica for quality consciousness both by local consumers and producers.

“If consumers locally do not demand quality then the producers are not obliged to supply it….” he stated.

Guiste also noted that the bar on the export market has to be raised.

“Consumers are demanding more and local producers needs to rise to the occasion in order to secure markets and to become more competitive,” he stated. “Meeting standards for quality will satisfy consumer requirements, help to manage risk, assist with penetration of new markets, maintain existing ones, and generate much needed foreign exchange and increase income to our local farmers.”

He pointed to a recent suspension of buying of bananas from Dominica by Winfresh.

“We are all aware of the suspension of bananas from Dominica on the UK market in recent times which is a direct outcome of poor quality,” he stated. “The same is true for other crops as we face similar challenges in varying degrees in that area on the regional market.”

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  1. Ma Moses
    March 2, 2015

    And why are we forced substandard flour from St. Vincent and sugar from Guyana? Go and eat the bread in Guadeloupe and Martinique and taste the difference! By the way, they also produce better sugar Consumer protection and consumer choice should start at home. So far associate membership of OECS is only a talking shop and party time for politicians.

  2. Titiwi
    March 2, 2015

    it is clear that if we fail to export goods that do not meet international standards we have no right to be in business. But for the same reason we should not allow goods to be imported here that are fakes, dangerous or not fit for purpose. I do not want to buy an electrical appliance that is not made for our electricity supply and forced to buy an transformer on top that eats electricity. I never hear that electricity commission talk about that for example. Or what about used tyres? Are they not rejects from other countries because they are no longer safe? We should not accept ratoon again either.

  3. Oh La La
    March 2, 2015

    Sub-standard products is all we have Mr. Guiste. If you Ban it, there has to be an immediate plan to fill the shelves. We will have absolutely nothing to purchase when sub-standard products are banned. We are in a buy today through tomorrow soceity. Just accummulating more garbage on our beautiful island. All the Chinese stores are a gabbage pile for collection – the scent alone is disgusting!!!

  4. james
    February 28, 2015

    In my honest opinion the standard
    Of produce needs to improve significantly not just for the export market but for local consumption. In this light ut us high time that the Bureau of standard critically assessed the goods which ate coming into our nature isle. I have seen goods wiyj the ingredients only in Spanish and yhete seems to be

  5. The Facts
    February 27, 2015

    I thought that this law would include every sort of purchase. I hope it does; not merely covers fish.
    It does not appear that D/cans have consumer protection for all purchases. It is something that the government should immediately consider.
    A few years ago I read, on DNO, the experience of a few D/cans pertaining to shoes they purchased which did not last as much as a day when worn.
    I am certain the reason why this article is posted it is to obtain feedback. Your experience and views are important in order to be given consideration and no doubt implement changes. The more the better. There are voices in numbers.
    I do think that the government should enact a consumers’ Law as soon as possible (with no hesitation) and ensure it is adhered to. D/cans need this protection and soon enough.

  6. Shameless
    February 27, 2015

    Garson Guiste you just opened a can of worms :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: ! Take care you don’t get fired eh because them Chinese will report you to El Supremo for personally attacking their products.. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: .

    You see, I am very happy you said that but also know that the powers that be will NOT appreciate your candidness because it ruffles the Chinese merchants feathers. Anyway, go and tell the Chinese exactly what you just said and tell them I sent you 8)

    Assertive, NOT Aggressive! :twisted:

  7. Bod
    February 27, 2015

    Banning sub-standard products ? Holy crap, there’ll be nothing left to buy ! It’s all sub-standard !

  8. Concerned Citizen
    February 27, 2015

    Standards regulations should be amended or even enacted to give the Bureau of Standards the clout to administer the standards act. A number of attempts have been made to encourage cabinet to pass the necessary legislation but all efforts have been futile. The onus is on this new parliament and cabinet to pass the required legislation so that labelling standards and quality requirements are adhered to by local manufacturers and importers. Demanding quality from various industries in the absence of the required legislative framework is like beating a dead horse.
    Dominica’s economy may be hindered if there is inadequate legislative support to empower agencies which impact trade or globalization. Globalization forces states to become more competitive in the production, promotion and distribution of goods and services. To facilitate globalization standards bodies exist with the mandate to provide guidance through standardization and conformity assessment.
    Dominica needs to get…

    • The Facts
      February 27, 2015

      Generally every country should have a Consumer Protection Law. The government is obligated to enact one. Therefore, what is causing the hold-up, delay and approval?
      In this era and with all sorts of imported goods, it is necessary that D/cans are protected from inferior goods which are sub-standard and which they pay a good price for. It is time for this Law to be enacted.

  9. Francisco Telemaque
    February 27, 2015

    If he is talking about quality and control, and reference the suspension of Banana, that’s a poor example, since the reason for that suspension is obvious. This guy should know that quality is born out of direct, and sincere efforts. It is the result of careful planning, knowledge, leadership and teamwork.

    Unless, a company, or individual sets high quality standards, commits to meeting these standards, something less will always occur. Consumers, and other users of products are placing great demands on companies to deliver merchandise that meets their standards of quality; from food to automobiles, and even the construction industry.

    We saw a China man boast, about the prefabricated homes installed in Dominica, they are looking good, however, was there a quality control inspector to determine if the construction and material will stand the test of time, he said they will withstand earthquake, but what about an over two hundred mile per hour hurricane

  10. Snorkeller
    February 27, 2015

    The most damaging sub-standard goods we consume are the foods we eat. The hormones and steroids in the chicken and other protein products are killing our people and doing so quickly. Girls not even eight years old are getting full breasts and having periods, so many young boys walking around with big breasts, torsos and pot bellies laying the foundation for obesity and all the other non-communicable diseases. It’s a disaster in the making and obviously it bloats our health care costs and diminishes the quality of our lives. When will we learn. Dominica imports over 95% of the foods we consume, and this suggests that we are neither food secure nor do we have a modicum of food safety. Is our government listening? Are our people, mothers and fathers, consumers, are we listening? Are our institutions responsible for protecting our people such as the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Trade and Commerce, DNC listing? Are we prepared to do something about a situation that can be reversed.

  11. Trevor Fabien
    February 27, 2015


    It should read, Shoes which don’t last

  12. Trevor Fabien
    February 27, 2015

    This is not what the bureau of standard should be focusing on. The are far greater issues which must be tackled by the Bureau, such as the a wave of sub standard Chinese goods which are being sold in various parts of the country. Toys which may have dangerously high levels of lead, shows which last a day, counterfeit perfumes which are made up of God knows what. That is where this Bureau should and must start. Instead of using punitive measures to try and have farmers and fishermen improve their product. This quality they are seeking from these people is not something which can be controlled easily.

    Please concentrate on the poisonous Chinese goods. Thank you

  13. natureislandguy
    February 27, 2015

    Do Not Buy from any store that does not offer a refund or replacement on faulty goods of any kind. Ask before purchase

    • The Facts
      February 27, 2015

      They must also provide a receipt. This should be mandatory.

  14. Tampa
    February 27, 2015

    But Mr. Guiste, you are the PS in Agriculture. Instead of simply highlighting all what is wrong tell us what you and your ministry are going to do to remedy the situation. I did not hear you mention any initiative that you or the government is currently undertaking or plan to undertake to change the current situation. So start telling the public what steps are actually being taken by you and your ministry to solve the problems that you have outlined in your presentation.

  15. Zandoli
    February 27, 2015

    So what are you going to do? Imprison vendors who sell damaged dasheens?

    • The Facts
      February 27, 2015

      Not imprison them. If the dasheens are damaged, not good and spoilt, they should be able to return them and should be reimbursed either with better ones or money refunded.
      People pay for goods and have every right to expect them to be good quality. The vendors should ensure that they sell good produce to their customers. Another matter, all should provide receipts to their customers. There must be a Law to protect customers.

  16. Shaka zulu
    February 27, 2015

    All we do is pass blame. What is the responsibility of the bureau of standards and measurements. We all know in agri production obtaining consistent quality is very difficult. To reach quotas that meet standards you need very large production. This is where the problem starts. Farmers cannot make profits because they do not have the quality volume, as a result the pressure to add poor quality product is great. How do we combat? Who ensures quality of product going out and what kind of QA/QC we have in place. Maybe we should go back to well organized plantation systems.

  17. Lougawoo Mem
    February 27, 2015

    I totally concur. But what about the substandard, inferior goods made in China that now flood our local markets? Can’t return or even get a refund from the stores. Can you address that too sir?

    • PapaDom
      February 27, 2015

      You see you received dislikes for asking a very pertinent question. That is how we come, so political that all reason goes out of the window. The most ironic part of this is those are the very persons you are likely to hear asking “if everything in Dominica has to be about politics”

      • Lougawoo Mem
        February 27, 2015

        That’s why we are considered last in just about every category of growth in the region. I can only pity those who perpetrate this form of……….. on our country….

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