Barbados Association of Retired Persons Meet with Trade & Commerce Minister to discuss Food Prices

Productive and cordial. That was how the meeting between the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) and Minister of Trade and Commerce, the Hon. Haynesley Benn was described by BARP President Ernest Batson this week Wednesday 16th February 2011.

BARP had written to the Minister expressing the Association’s concerns about reports of price gouging which have been circulating in the media, and the Minister responded by inviting BARP representatives to meet and discuss the issue yesterday with Ministry of Trade and Commerce officials at their Headquarters.

Minister Benn stated that it was his Ministry’s priority to reduce food prices and welcomed the opportunity to work with and receive input from an organisation as established and creditable as BARP.

Left to right BARP member Frank DaSilva, Chairman of BARP Consumer Protection Committee Jai Jebodhsingh,President of BARP Ernest Batson, Minister of Commerce and Trade Hon. Haynesley Benn

Chairman of the BARP Consumer Protection Committee, Jai Jebodhsingh, pointed out that many BARP members are living on the poverty line with incomes of between $500 to $1000 per month, and that they can no longer afford to purchase basic food items at the current price levels. An area of particular concern was that food items appear to be landing at the Bridgetown port at relatively low costs, but by the time they reach retail outlets, the prices have been highly inflated.

Minister Benn confirmed that this will be the first of many meetings on the issue of prices he intends to have with BARP, and he looks forward to working together with the Association for the benefit not only of its members, but for Barbadian consumers generally.

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