Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Islanders warned about price gouging during hurricane emergencies


During the ongoing monitoring of Hurricane Beryl, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) branch in Belize Rural South (Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye) is reminding the public that price gouging (raising prices on goods) during an emergency is illegal. They encourage residents to report any instances of price gouging by establishments as Hurricane Beryl approaches Belize.
On Monday, July 1st, NEMO warned that during emergencies, people may panic and rush to buy supplies such as plywood, leading to price gouging by some businesses. The government organization urged businesses to refrain from raising their prices unfairly in times of crisis. They emphasized that price gouging during a potential natural disaster will not be tolerated and that businesses engaging in this practice will face severe consequences based on reports of price gouging.
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has taken proactive action to address any potential price gouging. On Monday afternoon, their inspectors visited multiple stores to check the prices of goods. Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez emphasized that price gouging is unacceptable and stated that his team will actively monitor businesses to prevent anyone from taking advantage of this emergency.
Mayor Wally reminded islanders to start preparing as the storm approaches. He said that whether Hurricane Beryl directly hits Belize or not, people should start making arrangements as soon as possible. One possible threat is the surge that the hurricane can cause. Residents living in low-lying areas are urged to take necessary precautions to secure their properties. Mayor Nuñez also advised those who may want to voluntarily evacuate the island to make arrangements, as public transportation options, water taxi services, and airlines will stop operating on Wednesday, July 3rd.
The SPTC and the Belize Tourism Board are working with hotels to evacuate guests. They advise tourists not to travel to the Cayes for the time being. The local NEMO branch will be available to assist as best as possible. For any inquiries, the San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Coordinator Vanessa Parham can be reached at 614-5865, while in Caye Caulker, Kristylane Wolfe can be reached at 611-6603.

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