Price Control By Another Name?


lynette-eastmond-blp.jpgmmottley.jpgcmascoll.jpg

According to the most recent CADRES/Peter Wickham poll, uppermost in the minds of more than 40% Barbadians surveyed is the high cost of living. This ‘revelation’, on the eve of a general election, which the same poll has predicted a 5.5% swing against the government has served to galvanize the government into a frenetic response to ensure that they are re-elected. Anyone in the boots of Prime Minister Owen Arthur would probably respond in the same way.  Evenso, the action by the government can be viewed as disingenuous. In recent years Barbadians have been fed rote responses by our ministers in government, including the Prime Minister, that high prices and the resultant high cost of living are linked to movements in the global market, e.g. the rising cost of oil.

To the credit of the government, the initiative led by three of its young brigade: Clyde Mascoll, Lynette Eastmond and Mia Mottley, who in short order, have been able to persuade, coerce, and co-op the co-operation of our captains of industry, to agree to a fixed mark-up on a basket of food stuff, which has been deemed to contain the staples to satisfy the average household. We congratulate the government on this initiative to attempt to control the price of certain foods which are purchased by the average household. We however have to question if the proposed strategy is a sustainable one. The realization that our government maybe threading on ground never trodden before was highlighted on a call-in program earlier this week hosted by Tony Marshall. One of our elusive University of the West Indies lecturers called the program to offer an opinion on another issue; Marshall took the opportunity to ‘ambush’ lecturer Justin Robinson by asking him to comment on the initiative by government to engage the private sector to selectively reduce the price of selected products. Robinson’s response was interesting. He referred to the government’s initiative as ‘collaborative price control’. He further informed the listeners that up to the time of his calling the program, he had not been able to find any similar documented protocol which he could use to offer as a comparison. We don’t have to rehash the many arguments which point to the ineffectiveness of a price control strategy. What are we trying to say? The jury is out on whether this form of collusion between private sector and government will have the desired impact.

Can we describe this initiative as a useless form of price control?

The truth is, we heard Mr. Robinson and we also heard Senator Robin Bynoe who expressed concern that the retailers will have to bare most of the cost associated with this initiative by government. In his opinion, the wholesalers in the current arrangement will not see their revenue stream negatively affected in any significant way when compared to the retailers. Consequently, Senator Bynoe has expressed the hope that government should look at a plan to compensate the retailers. However, Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley was quick to indicate that no such concern was tabled at the meeting between government and the private sector so she could not respond to the concern. We are confused by this comment from Mottley. Given the legitimate concern voiced by Senator Bynoe, can we expect that retailers might be forced to ‘hide’ many products on the ‘list’? Businesses are in business to make money and many supermarkets have been vocal in the past about their narrow margins and reducing profits over the years. Is this a case where the richer will get richer? Barbados Shipping & Trading (BS&T) and Hanshell Inniss are significant wholesale and retail operations in Barbados. Supermarkets like Big B, JB’s, Super Centre, etc which are owned by BS&T should be able to manage their margins more efficiently because they control the distribution and retail parts of the transaction. Will this latest move by government force the stand alone retail operations to sell-out?

We believe a more strident consumer voice in Barbados is required to demand equitable prices for goods and services in Barbados which would be more sustainable. We do not trust the artificial market which is being created through collusion by government and the private sector.

 

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Cost Of Living in Barbados Out Of Control Like A Runaway Freight Train

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36 Comments on “Price Control By Another Name?”

  1. only me November 21, 2007 at 1:02 AM #

    i see it as an election move i cant see price controls like this being long term

    Like

  2. Bush Tea November 21, 2007 at 7:35 AM #

    One would need to be a complete idiot in this day and age and particularly, this country – to believe that ANY form of price control could do anything but provide short term false hopes and serve to convince those who want straws to hold on to, that ‘something was being done’…

    I, for one, have given up any hope that wise decisions will be taken to deal with this situation. There are too many cases where it seems that the idiotic route has been the position of choice for our governments.

    The ONLY avenue through which FAIR (not necessarily low) prices will be arrived for Bajans is with the existence of COMPETING entities which have no vested interest in COLLUDING with the existing oligarchy.

    Only the CREDIT UNION MOVEMENT currently meets all the conditions to fill that role – or they did until the same government rushed a stupid bit of legislation through parliament last week (aided by the blind mice who currently sit on top of the Credit Union movement -retarding its potential)

    If you were a pessimist like me, you would wonder if the big boys who brag about giving instructions to our government did not (like I do) identify this threat to their power and issue appropriate instructions…!?

    Fortunately for our politicians, Bajans are so ‘smart’ that through all this, our main concerns are that Rhianna should dress like a church girl so that they could feel good about her international success.

    No wonder we have Greenland, the Hilton-Veco Prison, Operation free flow of funds and dozens of other examples of wasted resources..
    .. a fool and his money are soon parted..

    One positive – we heard from a Cave Hill big-up – and what a contribution. a logical, reasoned, non-political opinion. THAT IS WHAT UNIVERSITIES ARE FOR… not cricket and low standards..

    Thanks Justin…

    Like

  3. Leviticus November 21, 2007 at 8:10 AM #

    I thank the Dems for helping us to see through the smokescreen. BU is going soft on this one and quite platitudinous.

    Go in to the supermarkets next week and see if the prices have come down. No brands were mentioned in the “basket” so some prices might actually go up.

    I have seen rice on the shelves at lower prices than the price proposed after the 20 percent reduction. That shop-keeper can now put his price up.

    What about small shop-keepers who have bought their stock already?

    And, BU, what do you make of BLP Senator Andrew Bynoe saying the merchants have to be compensated?

    Like

  4. only me November 21, 2007 at 8:27 AM #

    my my children language and threats

    Like

  5. David November 21, 2007 at 9:28 AM #

    Leviticus we have recorded the issue as we see it and we have expressed some reservation that the collusion/intervention by government we view with suspicion, in fact we used the word disingenuous.

    What is it that you are trying to say?

    Like

  6. Such stupid comments November 21, 2007 at 9:28 AM #

    Folks don’t be fool by the mouthings of Anonymous and believe that s/he is supportive of the BLP. That is exactly how TOM PEE operates. A similiar job was done on Johnny Tudor on the DLP Website when he dared to run against TOM PEE for the Presidency of that Party.

    So don’t be fooled. Keep cussing TOM PEE , Keep Cussing.

    Like

  7. Wishing in Vain November 21, 2007 at 9:53 AM #

    You lot of blp supporters will stoop to any level to get a vote, let me suggest to you that this method is dispicable and sad and hardly likely to generate a single vote in your favour it may well generate a vote against you my suggestion is to abort (as should have been done with some of the delivered members of the blp) this disgusting method of vote catching.

    Like

  8. Velzo November 21, 2007 at 11:00 AM #

    Where is the post by Anonymous that “Such Stupid Comments” Mascoll refers us to?

    Like

  9. Such stupid comments November 21, 2007 at 11:27 AM #

    Velzo the post obviously was deleted, but then again you would know that. The style still remain that of your loser Tom PEE who used the same tactic against Johnny Tudor. Desperation politics is the order of the day. Character assisination is the methodology and failure will be the outcome.

    Like

  10. Velzo November 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM #

    Ok Clyde, thanks.

    Like

  11. Wishing in Vain November 21, 2007 at 12:11 PM #

    The stray dogs are out in all their numbers today both here and on BFP.
    The master must be hurting that the dogs are so rabid.

    Like

  12. Wishing in Vain November 21, 2007 at 12:13 PM #

    The stray dogs are out in all their numbers today both here and on BFP.
    The master must be hurting that the dogs are so rabid..

    Like

  13. Such stupid comments November 21, 2007 at 2:08 PM #

    You fool, stray dogs don’t have a master. Domesticated puppies and loopy dogs like you do. So continue to lap up Tom’s pee.

    Like

  14. Velzo November 21, 2007 at 2:30 PM #

    Mascoll, we really bother you don’t we… You now have your nose up Owen’s rear-end so you can barely breathe.

    Like

  15. Such stupid comments November 21, 2007 at 3:15 PM #

    Velzo and WIV et al why are you so concern with rear-end and asses? Is that the thing that attract you most. Then you need to check on TOM PEE and Leroy PEE they also seem to have a liking for asses (all puns intended) They like you both (or are you the same person)

    Like

  16. Andrew November 21, 2007 at 4:41 PM #

    Why do the BLP members like to cuss duh one another so doah???

    Like

  17. Wishing in Vain November 21, 2007 at 4:46 PM #

    Pressure, Pressure, Pressure they are not accustomed to feeling it and boy look how they crack up under some of it.

    Like

  18. frankology November 21, 2007 at 4:56 PM #

    Andrew. No one knows if it is a Dee or a Bee. During silly seasons we do have imposters.

    Like

  19. Bush tea November 21, 2007 at 7:03 PM #

    One would need to be a complete idiot in this day and age and particularly, this country – to believe that ANY form of price control could do anything but provide short term false hopes and serve to convince those who want straws to hold on to, that ‘something was being done’…

    I, for one, have given up any hope that wise decisions will be taken to deal with this situation. There are too many cases where it seems that the idiotic route has been the position of choice for our governments.

    The ONLY avenue through which FAIR (not necessarily low) prices will be arrived for Bajans is with the existence of COMPETING entities, which have no vested interest in COLLUDING with the existing oligarchy.

    Only the CREDIT UNION MOVEMENT currently meets all the conditions to fill that role – or they did until the same government rushed a stupid bit of legislation through parliament last week (aided by the blind mice who currently sit on top of the Credit Union movement -retarding its potential)

    If you were a pessimist like me, you would wonder if the big boys who brag about giving instructions to our government did not (like I do) identify this threat to their power and issue appropriate instructions…!?

    If it was not so painful, it would have been funny hearing Ms Eastmond and other ‘senators’ spouting nonsense about protecting credit unions and ‘forcing them to have annual budgets’. …coming from a government that spends BILLIONS of our tax dollars without any serious accounting…. builds multimillion dollar highways without PLANS OR BUDGETs etc…

    Credit unions are monitored by their members and should be free to DO WHATSOEVER those members decide is in their best interest – including providing avenues for fair food prices.

    Fortunately for our politicians, Bajans are so ‘smart’ that through all this, our main concerns are that Rhianna should dress like a church girl so that they could feel good about her international success.

    No wonder we have Greenland, the Hilton-Veco Prison, Operation free flow of funds and dozens of other examples of wasted resources..
    .. a fool and his money are soon parted..

    One positive – we heard from a Cave Hill big-up – and what a contribution. a logical, reasoned, non-political opinion. THAT IS WHAT UNIVERSITIES ARE FOR… not cricket and low standards..

    Thanks Justin…

    Like

  20. frankology November 21, 2007 at 7:13 PM #

    This is what you call a man. Freundel Stuart states in the senate, that he has no problem with the Credit Union bill, since it is to regulate the union.

    That is the behaviour a quality politician. I hold my hat to you.

    Like

  21. Phoenix November 21, 2007 at 7:32 PM #

    Frankology,

    Freundel Stuart is a man who speaks FRANKLY !

    Not one who cloaks his partisan BLP views under the guise of NEUTRALITY !

    I was following your post over the past several days and was quite happy how the 2 HINDS…Jerome & Adrian expertly exposed your CRAP !

    In other words…..BLP HOGWASH !

    There is a Minister responsible for the ABC highway contract !

    Why you do not get him to tell Barbadians what he and the BLP crooks signed with the CONTRACTORS !

    David Thompson never signed it or introduced it…..!

    Like

  22. HMMMMM November 21, 2007 at 10:58 PM #

    Bush Tea, I could not have put it any better.

    Like

  23. frankology November 22, 2007 at 12:28 AM #

    Freundel Stuart is a man who speaks FRANKLY !

    Not one who cloaks his partisan BLP views under the guise of NEUTRALITY !

    I was following your post over the past several days and was quite happy how the 2 HINDS…Jerome & Adrian expertly exposed your CRAP !
    ………………………………………………………………..
    Why when you hear any member of any opposition sides with Government on any given bill, that we don’t hear people with partisan politics like you gives the excuse of the person is ‘frank’. His colleagues in the lower house says no.

    You seems to be too party affiliation blind to see the discussion with the two Hinds were not vented with political talk, but the laws dealing with Parliamentary Procedures. Instead of creating divisions, why didn’t you join in the discussion with pertinent facts so that you can enlightened to blogs family.

    I know who I am, I know what I am. What I am not is a person that is so blind, that I fail to see. I can see clearly and not from any polical party point of views.

    Now you have time, read over all my statements regarding the highway and you will see that I have been totally against the wastage of funds, the questionable awarding of the contract. I have been accusing the Minister at Large of this project, and should be fired. So Phoenix you have risen too late, this is Barbados today! Too many things occur and you have a lot of catching up.

    Like

  24. Leviticus November 22, 2007 at 1:08 AM #

    Why don’t you go to the racing pools and stop wasting your time on these blogs, frankology?

    Like

  25. Bush Tea November 22, 2007 at 7:19 AM #

    Frankology,

    All due respect to you…(honestly), but you may wish to consider doing a bit more reflection before rushing to put down your ‘two cents worth’ on every possible issue.

    Some of these issues are particularly complex and it is often wise to do a lot of listening and a lot less talking in order to be seen as at least ‘not foolish’.

    For example, the reason that Freundel Stuart may have sided with Ms Eastmond and the Government side in supporting the Credit Union bill is most likely that (like you) he knows very little about the philosophy of Cooperatives and has been guided by someone -probably high up in the movement- who also knows little about it.

    This is not improbable, judging from the way it is currently run.
    Common sense would tell you that any organisation controlling assets exceeding 1 billion dollars in Barbados should have some influence at least at the level of COW or Bizzy…..do they?

    Here is a parable for you:
    when you consistently get foolish results it is a clear indication that fools are in control.

    …but then again, where ignorance is bliss ….

    Like

  26. frankology November 22, 2007 at 10:16 AM #

    Oh no Leviticus, you and the others will only bring one-sided commentary to these blogs, and another thing, I don’t gamble in that form. I prefer to gamble with the nonsense that I see sometimes on these blogs. Don’t worry about me, worry about the politicians.

    Like

  27. Wishing in Vain November 22, 2007 at 10:43 AM #

    It is my belief that each and every move conducted by Mr Thompson is a cause for concern by a party obviously rattled by the threat of being exposed to the public for its corrupt acts not only in HARDWOOD HOUSING but so to with VECO, triple costing prison, so to 3S DANOS Road Works triple costing project, the exceedingly costly baths, the triple costing Greenland, the Cheque are you beginning to get the picture as yet?

    Like

  28. frankology November 22, 2007 at 11:54 AM #

    WIV, Hardwood issue will be under investigation Tuesday, we dealt with the Highway, now let’s move on to VECO. We must find out about the tendering process. We must find out if by building this facility, if homes in the area will be devalued, we must find out if the residents around the facility are having reduce water supply, or, any dipping in electricity due to an increase of usage within the area. If natural gas will be supplied to residents near the facility.

    Awaiting the start of this discussion.

    Like

  29. Wishing in Vain November 22, 2007 at 12:28 PM #

    What I will tell you first and foremost is that the awarding of the prison contract was fraudulent from the very outset.

    Let us understand that the starting price from VECO was quoted at US $ 60 million and our local group put in a bid of US $ 67 million.

    This US $ 7 million excess turned out to be a small price to pay for a project that ended costing US $ 142 million an excess of US $ 82 million of our taxpayers dollars.

    This local group had little or no chance of obtaining the the contract when from a moral stand point some partners within this group refused to pay the 7 % bribe money or commission to Hallam Nicholls to get them the contract, let me clearly state that Bizzy and his group were ready and willing to make the commission payment, so it is not Bizzy that I am referring to when I state the party refused to pay on Moral grounds, it was others from within the group that objected.

    This same situation applies with the awarding of the West Coast Sewage Treatment Project, requesting a commission for the awarding of a contract.

    The prison is a sad example of the gross level of corruption that is taking place within this island, we would have been better off paying the 7 % commission.

    Like

  30. more November 22, 2007 at 2:45 PM #

    So why don’t the people who got shafted speak out?

    Like

  31. frankology November 22, 2007 at 4:28 PM #

    Based on your statement and my observation, it look as if we are seeing money going to someone, maybe, that someone could be the person selling the idea to the parties involved, thus, you will see a cost knocking around during the signing; and later on we will hear of additional funds needed, and these funds always doubling the initial cost.

    With the highway, we first heard of $120 million, then $140 million without a stroke of work, then the whopping $360 million and the work ain’t finish yet. Probably, we are paying a contractor to contract the contractor and none went out to tender and this could be the reason for our financial headaches.

    Like

  32. Wishing in Vain November 22, 2007 at 5:03 PM #

    More, because these are people that make their living here in Barbados and are aware of the corruption as it exist.

    Like

  33. more November 22, 2007 at 7:08 PM #

    WIV,
    things will not get better if everyone adopts this attitude.

    Like

  34. Rene December 1, 2007 at 9:20 PM #

    It doesn’t matter which political party is in power and I don’t need to be a university graduate to understand the following.

    1) The value of our dollar is down in the world market due to the fact the value of the currency it’s tide to is also down in the world market.

    2) We import most of our items be it finish product or raw materials.

    3) Farms can’t not grow or raise enough produce or livestock to satisfy the present market. We are unable as a country to subsidies or farmers. Plus most materials in farming such as feed, seeds, chemicals are in most cases imported.

    4) As long as we use oil to power or electricity we are at the mercy of rising oil prices.

    5) We are not prepared or willing as individuals to take cuts in salaries or to make life style changes in our every day life to bring down the import bill.

    6) We need to support local companies and buy local products. Companies need to provide value for money to attract local consumers.

    7) Government needs to aggressively find cheaper fuel and energy alternatives and we as a nation need to learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

    The above points only are only a drop in the bucket of views, causes, action that need to be taken by the people and government, we all have a part to play in it. We often sit here point fingers when we should be thinking of ways to actively make changes. I think or mind set and the way we go about things on this island is what needs changing more so than any political party at this time.

    Like

  35. SOFTMAN December 2, 2007 at 9:09 AM #

    I would like to point you to the website http://www.miseryindex.us/irbymonth.asp which tracks us inflation. The figures do not support any real spike in us inflation. this argument of the weak dollar fuelling our price increases seems to be overplayed.

    We do not import that much from non-us sources.

    the us inflation figures do not support the idea of the weak dollar increasing the costs of inputs to the US and this in turn being passed on to us.

    I am open minded about this but I remain unpersuaded that the weak dollar is a major factor in our cost of living.

    Like

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