Director of Commerce Defends Barbados Price Digest

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Terry Bascombe, has defended his department’s decision to publish a four-page newspaper pull-out on supermarket prices in Barbados.

According to him, the exercise was designed to assist consumers in being frugal and in making informed choices in purchasing basic food items.

Noting that the digest was not intended to penalise those businesses with higher prices, he said: “Some persons were concerned that it would have been used as a punitive measure … All we are doing is publishing the facts … and the department does not offer any narrative on the actual data to influence the thinking of Barbadians.”

Bascombe further stated: “It was not also our intention to ask persons to drive around the island in search of lower food prices. What we are urging consumers to do is analyse the information and take note of the distribution and the range of prices across the different outlets. By doing this, one would find that there are some supermarkets that carried more products than others, and some which sold similar products, but at different prices.”

The Director of Commerce said it was expected that, “over time, consumers would have gained more knowledge about the factors that influenced food prices. However, I still think that they are a bit high, but, for some products, it is more understandable why they are that way.”

Bascombe admitted that recent studies done by the University of the West Indies on the cost of living in Barbados were very helpful in shedding light on the incidence of high food prices in Barbados.

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