SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Five fuel stations on St. Maarten were controlled to ensure proper calibration of fuel pumps by the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication TEATT as part of a routine control last week.
Additional inspections were conducted to ensure that the price per litre is displayed in Netherlands Antillean Florins (Naf), which is the official local currency.
As part of the control, the Inspectors are affixing special marks on equipment to help consumers recognise whether the establishment they patronise has appropriately calibrated equipment.
These controls are in keeping with Article 19 of the National Calibration Ordinance. "The Inspectorate will be visiting commercial establishments throughout this year to verify that the weights, weighing and measuring instruments and dispensing equipment used in their businesses to conduct trade are properly calibrated." According to the Inspectorate of TEATT thus far 5 fuel stations have been visited namely; 2 stations on Bush Road, 1 station on Sucker Garden Road, 1 station on J. Yrausquin Boulevard and 1 on A. Th. Illidge Road.
Minister of TEATT, the Honourable Stuart Johnson, is again calling on businesses to ensure proper calibration of their machines and also to cooperate with his inspectors. "It must be clear that the Inspectors do not have a "gotcha" agenda and our goal is the protection of all consumers as well as businesses as often the calibration being offset can mean that the business is selling more for less. We want to ensure that a fair price is paid for the right amount of goods."
The national ordinance on calibration mandates that sizes, weights, measuring instrument, e.g. fuel dispensers and weighing instruments located in places intended for or used for the conducting of trade must be calibrated or recalibrated. The frequency of the calibration or recalibration depends on factors like usage and environmental factors. Additionally, sizes, weights, measuring or weighing instruments once calibrated or recalibrated, are issued an "approval mark" that has a limited validity period. Once successfully calibrated, a green inspection approval mark is applied. If disapproved, a red disapproval mark is affixed which is an equilateral triangle with perpendicular hatches on the inside. The need for recalibration is denoted by a yellow streak.
The Ministry of TEATT is encouraging the public to "always pay keen attention when either buying or selling commodities based on weight and size that the weight, size, weighing or measuring instrument has an approval mark affixed to it with a valid calibration period."
The sticker will indicate the next calibration due date. After this date has passed recalibration is required by law before the weight, size, weighing or measuring instrument can be used for trade again. Once calibrated a green inspection mark is applied to the equipment. If the equipment fails the calibration inspection, a red equilateral triangle mark is affixed with perpendicular hatches on the inside. When the equipment needs to be calibrated this is identifiable by a yellow mark.
If possible, include a photo of the disapproved object in use or record the date and time, you made your observations in your report.
The public should take keen note, especially businesses that tampering, removing or falsifying of calibration marks, using, misrepresenting or attempting to misrepresent a disapproved object as an approved object carries a punishment of up to 3 years imprisonment and is categorised as a crime.
Picture of approval, recalibration and disapproval marks used by the department.