JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has emphasized that while government fully supported a liberalized market-place, price gouging would not be tolerated and if necessary, powers under existing laws would be enforced to prevent consumers from being taken advantage of.
Addressing yesterday’s (September 21) sitting of the House of Representatives, Mr. Patterson noted that a September 16 survey conducted by the Consumers Affairs Commission (CAC), regarding prevailing prices, had found that most food items available in the outlets surveyed were within the price band that obtained prior to Hurricane Ivan.
However, Mr. Patterson said there were unscrupulous vendors or individuals who had been buying out inventories from major outlets and affixing their own significant mark-up prices.
“We will not tolerate a situation where a few individuals take advantage of the public at large. We are seeking to indulge in the process of gentle persuasion. We are encouraging consumers to arm themselves with the information that we are making available to them. We will not stand idly by in the face of selfish price gouging,” he emphasized.
Mr. Patterson informed that Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, had met with the leadership of the private sector, and the government was satisfied that adequate food supplies were already in the island. “Where there were increased demands as a result of the hurricane, arrangements had already been made to start either the procurement of those supplies from abroad or stepping up the productionof those items that can be produced locally,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister added that the outlook for the availability of canned beef, canned fish as well as chicken meat, rice, cornmeal, flour and fats was good.
“There need not be any panic as regards the protein content of those sources in our diet. We foresee that barring any other calamity, our citizens should be able to enjoy the full range of foods to which they are accustomed, before the passage of too much time. In the meantime, let us exploit the culinary talents, which I know we have, using those foods which are available,” Mr. Patterson urged.

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