Haitian authorities say traders face a fine of half a million Gourdes and a five-year jail term after police detained at least three of them for engaging in “black market” activities as a result of the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Commerce said despite warning all traders that they are strictly forbidden to take advantage of the situation, many have engaged in the illegal activities of increasing the price for their goods.
The Ministry said that the practice has serious consequences for the poorest families who find themselves deprived of the products essential to their subsistence “due to the unjustified and abusive rise in the price of basic necessities.”
Traders are also being reminded that they face up to five years and a fine of between $100,000 and $500,000 Gourdes if they are convicted of any offence under the relevant law.
The acting director-general of the Haitian National Police (PNH), Rameau Normil, said that several people had been detained after the police deployed surveillance officers in all areas to deal with the black market activities.
He said following an operation on Sunday, several people at the Fresh Market, Konpa Market and Caribbean Market were arrested in the presence of a justice of the peace on charges of illegal price increases, providing false medicines and other illegal activities.