BAHA wrongful prosecuted on Social Media Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 04 May 2017 00:00

While we believe that Social Media and the Talk shows, are great and much needed media for the general populace to vent or highlight things that may be occurring at a given time, those media also have their setbacks. Those setbacks are caused by those who seek to abuse, misuse or don’t understand how powerful those media are. Such was the case on Sunday, when someone posted a complain on Facebook, in one of the very popular Belize Buy & Sell groups. We gathered that the author of the post wanted to complain about what she saw as the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA), taking advantage of a struggling person. The genesis of her grievance was, the fact that BAHA’s Quarantine Officers confiscated some mangoes from her friend at the Agriculture Show in Belmopan, on Sunday. Her friend produces and sells a tasty refreshing frozen drink, known as Chamoyada. Mangoes happen to be one of the ingredients that, is used in the drink. There is where the problem originates, because we don’t have mangoes, available all year long and more important is that at this time of the year, our mangoes are not ready for harvesting.

Apparently the vendor in question claims he bought the mangoes, in good faith at the Belmopan Market and that he did not know that the mangoes were CONTRABAND, which had been brought into the Belize from across the neighboring Mexican Border. That is very strange for us to understand because the vendor in question claims to be a Trained Agronomist. So he should know, that the specific types of mangos he had in his possession only grow in Mexico and the particular type of mangoes CANNOT be legally imported into Belize. He should also have known the harm such unauthorized importation could cause to both humans and our Agricultural Industry. As usual, persons who had no idea as to why there is a ban on importing such fruits into Belize, joined in the condemnation of BAHA. Little did they know that when Agricultural Products are illegally brought into this country there is no way to know if these products meet the required PHYTOSANITARY CONDITIONS and as such they don’t know what pest or parasites, the produce may be hosting. Thus there is the possibility that the products may be unfit for human consumption or that the pest or parasites they may be carrying could cause harm to sections of our Agricultural Industry or destroy the entire industry.

The responsibility to ensure that all the phytosanitary conditions are adhered to is vested in BAHA. They get that job done at the point of entry, at our borders, seaports and airports. If the goods are smuggled in by clandestine means, then BAHA is prevented from performing those all important checks. When BAHA is made aware that any such CONTRABAND is in the country, the Quarantine Officers go out in an effort to locate and confiscate those goods deemed as contraband goods. That was exactly what they did on Sunday. BAHA also does routine checks of the markets, shops, restaurants and any other place where such contraband may end up. We have all heard about BAHA confiscating potatoes, cabbage, carrots, meats and other Agricultural Products from importers and vendors at the markets, shops and restaurants. Also we have heard of them confiscating plants, seeds and even animals such as parrots, chickens, dogs and cats , because their importation procedure cannot be verified.

To those persons who have been using the freedom they enjoy via SOCIAL and MAINSTREAM MEDIA, as an open season to attack other people on subjects they don’t understand, we say take time to educate yourself before castigating and ostracizing others, based on emotions, misinformation and what is popular at that particular moment. This freedom we all enjoy does not give us the right to call others all sorts of names including, thief, hustlers, dogs, idiots , ignorant and other names just because we don’t agree with what they are doing. It is even more pronounced when one does so, just because others are doing it. There are two old phrases one needs to always remember when one joins the choir in singing the popular chorus. (1) Be careful when siding with the MASSES because the “M” may, be silent. (2) Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.