Article by Randy Bennett – Published on July 29, 2021 – Barbados Today
The findings of a Government-sanctioned investigation into whether businesses were engaging in price gouging should be made public in the next few weeks.
This was revealed today by Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, who said the necessary research had been completed.
In an interview with, Symmonds said the findings of the investigations conducted by the Department of Commerce over a month ago would first be discussed at the level of the Social Partnership.
He said while it was briefly discussed yesterday on the opening day of the Social Partnership meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, more thorough conversations were scheduled to be held next month.
Symmonds said the details would be shared following those meetings.
Speaking at celebrations to mark the Day of National Significance on Monday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley hinted that the topic of pricing and a prices and income protocol would be high on the agenda of the Social Partnership.
“We did the necessary research and yesterday it was discussed briefly at the meeting of the Social Partnership. It has been deferred until a date in August when there will be a full presentation and thorough discussion on it.
“It will be the centerpiece of the August meeting as I understand it, when the major issues will be dealt with,” Symmonds said on the sidelines of the official launch of the Starbucks Barbados Café at One Haggatt Hall this afternoon.
The update comes almost two months after Symmonds disclosed he had directed the Department of Commerce to conduct the exercise in Barbados.
At the time, Symmonds said he was not convinced that the increase in some prices was as a result of external factors such as logistical difficulties or a shortage of products.
He warned that if it was discovered that businesses had no legitimate reasons for increasing their prices Government would consider all options in addressing the issue including implementing price controls.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Anthony Branker, previously rejected suggestions that price gouging was prevalent on the island.
He argued that the COVID-19 pandemic had created mistrust in the business environment.
Branker maintained that the misconception of price gouging was due to a lack of understanding of the costs of doing business and all associated variables.