PM Douglas Talks About High Food Prices
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 28, 2009 (CUOPM)
Consumers are complaining that despite government’s removal of customs duties on numerous food items, the prices on the shelves are still high.
“Government has acted very swiftly and comprehensively to cushion the effects of increases in goods and services that are provided in the country. We have removed the duty on numerous items and we have deprived the treasury of revenue in order that the consumer can benefit,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in response to an email sent Tuesday to the radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
“When we hear of situations where the price of goods instead of going down are still going up and when the amount has been removed that should have been sent to the government treasury and is no longer collected, and the trader or the businessman pockets it and increases his profit at the expense of the consumer, that is not good, it is not fair and naturally people will react to this,” said Dr. Douglas, who said it was unfortunate that despite all the government has done “some of our partners in social development are not playing the partnership role that is expected of them.
Dr. Douglas said that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has been charged with the responsibility of monitoring the prices of goods.
“If the Government has made a bold step to help the consumer the benefits must accrue to the consumer and not to the businessman to further increase his profits beyond what he is already getting,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who called on consumers to be “vigilant and where they see situations of price gouging to report them to the Consumer Affairs Department.”