Food Price Gouging: Ian Bourne Dusts Off The Evidence!


Detective Bourne Might Have Evidence Of Hoarding, Gouging

Bajan Reporter might be on to something…

While shopping, Ian made some keen observations about the dusty condition of certain imported food items.

He makes a compelling argument that the above photo might be evidence of what the Prime Minister recently described as “… an element of price-gouging and some collusive behaviour on the part of major suppliers…”

A story worth reading at Bajan Reporter: Barbadian Retailers deny price gouging, so why do some overseas products have dust on them?


Filed under Barbados, Business

13 responses to “Food Price Gouging: Ian Bourne Dusts Off The Evidence!

  1. liz

    Am I the only person who notices that this is a very dusty/dirty island now?
    Not at all relevant to the above, but by any chance are there any business places where the staff do not do their jobs properly and clean the shelves/items on a daily/regular basis?
    Does 15% vat increase the cost of goods?
    Is it a case now of hate the business man love the government – get ready to elect them again?

  2. Wishing in Vain

    I have stated on this site before the extent of climbing duties and taxes are playing on the cost of living but more so I want also to mention the number of levels of markup that exist in many products imported by these major importers, when they opt to setup offshore companies to route their orders thru and these offshore companies put on their markup then they onward sell this same item to another division of the same company where they in turn put on another level of markup does this method not create artificial increases in the cost of living?
    Classic example being the BS&T group where they setup a shell company in Costa Rica that is partly owned by the wife of the Chairman and this company is used to pass transactions thru for the purchase of bottles for Banks, now have you seen or heard Cozier or any of them at Banks explaining this sad situation?

    For further reading see the CB comments below where they state that the import duties have risen once again.

    Rise reported in Government tax revenues
    GOVERNMENT’S Overall tax revenues rose by 3.6 per cent during the period January to September this year, says Dr. Marion Williams, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados. She also reported that import duties rose by 12.1% during the first nine months of this year,value-added tax receipts were up by 1.8%, on top of an expansion of 12.1% in the corresponding period of 2006.Direct taxes increased by 5.5% during the review period, Government’s fiscal deficit is anticipated to reach around 2.5 per cent of GDP, approximately 1.0 percentage point above the ratio registered one year ago.

    And we are wondering why our cost of living is climbing?
    Take a look at the fact that gov’t continues to tax us off the map, Mr Benn was correct in his call to remove taxes of feeds etc for the livestock and to remove the burdensome VAT on electricty bills and maybe we will make a meaningful effort to reduce the cost of living.

  3. reality check

    stripping or siphoning off profits through different foreign companies is a classic and well practiced method of avoiding tax and giving it to a government that is completely corrupt and incompetent.

    Whether it be self preservation or prudence one wonders at what point does this exercise compound the burden on the already financially terrorized little guy?

    That being said, BOLT projects that siphon monies offshore to special accounts and corporate accounts in the names of Chairman’s wives is just about illegal and fraudulent in every jurisdiction I am aware of.

    The real question to be asked, however, is in a society where fraud and corruption is the norm, who is going to stand up and say enough?

  4. peltdownman

    Government has to take more things into account other than the cost of living. High duties are applied for a reason, and that is to protect local producers from being eliminated as a result of imports of cheap products for just about anywhere. Lowering or eliminating those duties will result in loss of jobs in manufacturing, migration of even more labour from agriculture, and a real strain on the balance of payments, as we become flooded with cheap imports, most of which cannot be counted as “necessary”. You do have a point, though, with the movement of paper transactions through offshore companies. It is actually called “transfer pricing”, and a good example of how this works internationally is in the price of bananas, which typically leave their Caribbean or Central American ports at about one fifth of the price that they are wholesaled in Europe. It is a practice carried out by most major, and not-so-major companies in the world, and is done to avoid taxes on mark-ups, as profits are made by offshore subsidiaries in low- or n0-tax territories. So the producing country gets very little in taxes, and the consuming country gets very little in taxes, and the traders keep their money and profits offshore. Unfortunately, WIV, you can’t stop it, and there is no reason why Barbadian companies should not carry out the same practice as their international competitors. Sad, but true.

  5. Wishing in Vain

    The burden of VAT is spread too far and too wide and really needs to be reconsidered and revamped to show a little mercy in some areas of its application one of those measures being the application of it as it applies to our electricty bills now that would be a sensible progressive move but guess what these folks will not address this because it was a measure put forward by the DLP, what does that tell you?

  6. yatinkinkiteasy

    How about a major Corporation in Barbados (recently embroiled in a takeover bid by Trinis)that has a Sister company in Florida to “source proucts”…read, make a profit….that then ships to this Barbados Distribution Company….where import duties, environmental taxes and Vat are paid…that then “wholesales”(with a 25% or higher mark up)…to retail outlets, including their own chain of Supermarkets…these Supermarkets then add on their “non price gouging ” mark up of 25 to 35% , to the public, and then…….get this……add another 15 % VAt on 80 % or more of the items they sell…….net result..the Barbadian Consumer pays 2 to 3 TIMES the price of the same product sold in a US Supermarket. Anyone who has been recently to the US can easily verify this claim.I have prices of specific items in the US and Barbados to prove my point….and yet, we have at least one Government Official stating that prices of food in Barbados are similar to the US….Lies… Lies, and more lies to fool the people that perhaps cant affford to travel to the US (or Trinidad for that matter) and see how we are being priced gouged in Barbados at the Supermarkets!…There is a popular word for what is being done to us in Barbados, and it begins with “B”

  7. OMG

    Did I understand todays Nation correctly that the opposition leader wants to stop the temp workers in government from being appointed.

    I dont even go in the supermarket I beg my neighbours daughter to bring home some school meals and fast on Weekends. 😛

  8. Sundowner

    It’s not just food that is affected by price gouging, we purchased rear wheel bearings for our car , $118.00 per wheel from Simpsons and $57 per wheel for EXACTLY the same from Hothersal Trading…………

  9. Bush Tea

    Any set of people, many with “university degrees” who allow themselves to be gouged in the various ways that we all know about, by a select group of merchants – many of whom did NOT even bother about getting degrees – probably deserve to be ripped off..

    There are inescapable laws of nature such as
    …a fool and his money are soon parted.
    …where there is no VISION, the people suffer

    There is such an obvious answer to this problem that it is beyond me how we could be complaining about being ripped off by these merchants in 2007.

    No wonder these people get together every weekend at Cattlewash to plan new schemes, fete, and laugh at the rest of us patsies.

    Any intelligent person would KNOW that price controls WILL NOT WORK

    Setting minimum wages is just like spitting in the air.

    The solution is for THE PEOPLE of this country to establish their OWN competing supply systems.
    The Government cannot do it
    – our idea of ‘government’ is to elect a set of otherwise unemployable idiots and allow them to tax us and play games with our money like monopoly.

    Adrian L was talking about GEMS losses…. how about Harrison Cave? Who in their right mind would spend 30 million dollars to ‘develop’ a cave when the likely payback period on the investment is probably measured in centuries?

    Same with George Washington House at Garrison – millions of dollars spent, and probably 6 – 8 visitors on a good day…. then there are the ‘biggies like Prison, flyovers, greenland etc etc etc etc

    So FORGET about the government solving the price gouging problem.

    Where then is the solution?


    Can you imagine that this other set of idiots now have assets in excess of 1 billion dollars – and have ZERO impact on ANYTHING in Barbados?

    I don’t even know who is in charge of it.

    For the last 40 years ordinary Bajans trusted this ‘movement’ with their money, hoping for some empowerment in return….. so far NOTHING.

    The Credit Union is the ideal body to establish an efficient, transparent and meaningful structure to retail food and other essentials in Barbados.
    …to support their members -small businesses, agriculture, and retail ‘shops’ etc as was the Bajan norm….did they step in when the BS&Ts et al were destroying the village shops?
    What happened to the Agro-processing plans that were discussed in the early 1990’s?

    What was their bid for BS&T?
    Where do they have a supermarket?
    How does their Insurance Company make any difference to Barbadians insurance choices?
    Apart from supporting the same businessmen by providing funds for consumer goods and to buy land at deliberately inflated prices there is no vision for empowerment, no leadership in any area of significance.

    Are they happy to sit down and count how much ‘savings’ they accumulate?
    To whom much is given – much is expected.

    Time for this movement to WAKE UP and make a difference.

    On another matter, for them to sit back quietly and allow Government to bring them under the same dispensation as other banks without even a whimper, is a huge disgrace to the co-operative concept… but that is another matter again.

  10. KA

    Government has more responsibility for high prices than it claims.

    First, Barbados has the highest port charges in the region (200% higher than some) which results in higher landed costs for goods.

    Second, the VAT Division occasionally disallows the Input VAT claim on some imported goods, which means that those goods will then be costed higher since the cost is not recoverable.

    However, these 2 factors do not explain why many imports cost less in other islands. For example, brand name soups, sodas, and baby food imported from the USA cost less in Grenada and St. Lucia than they do in Barbados. Furthermore, the selection is BETTER for some of those products in the other islands (St. Lucia had Gerber Meals YEARS before they were available in Barbados); there are ranges of flavoured drinks in Grenada that aren’t available in Barbados.

    BS&T and the other importers fail to strive to bring us variety, new items, or better prices.

    But you would think, that with St. Lucia and Grenada having smaller market bases, those goods would cost more than here!? It seems that economies of scale are not applicable to Barbados…

  11. yatinkinkiteasy

    I wrote this little observation a few months back, but think it fits and contributes to this discussion on why prices are so high in Barbados.

    Bajans Must be Wealthy.

    Barbados, it seems, is one of the most expensive countries in the World. And yet, everyone seems to be spending money like mad!…New cars, even with 200% duty,the latest cellphones, expensive clothes, dining out, nightclubbing, travel, you name it…….Bajans must be wealthy.
    When one looks at the prices being advertised for rental of houses or apartments, it makes one think: “where do people get the money to afford such housing”. Salaries, as far as I can tell are not that high, and there are deductions for NIS and in most cases, Income Tax. Then , one looks at prices in the Supermarkets….it is simply ridiculous what is being charged for most items on this Island. And yet, one sees Bajans filling up their carts with whatever they want….. Bajans must be wealthy.
    When wealthy people shop, they generally will not bother to check the prices of items they pick up in a store….they just proceed to the checkout counter and pay….whatever the total is, no problem. This behaviour can be observed daily ,and repeatedly, at most Gas Station stores where prices are not displayed for most items offered for sale, either by marking the products themselves or posting of signs close to the products.(This practice by retailers is a breach of Barbados law, but who cares?)
    Several weeks ago I asked the cashier at one of these stores in the Warrens area, why there was no price shown on the two items I had picked up….her response was that I could have them scanned before I paid for them, if I wanted to know the price. The response from the store manager was equally stupid:” the price stickers fall off the products because of the cold”.(One of the products was a can of nuts, the other a chocolate) Apparently, I was the first person to have ever complained about the lack of prices being posted or attached to the product.. This particular store, I am told, does over 5000 transactions per day,and no one asks what the items cost…….Bajans must be wealthy.

  12. Makaveli

    Don’t want to “diss” barbadians, bajans…my people.
    But we have to take most of the responsibility for the increase in prices…we tolerate…stupse, damn it we encourage it.

    Every item purchased in the retail food sector has a price, and prices continue to go up.

    Now unless the quantities purchased go down, merchants are going to refuse to lower prices. when you purchase those goods at the new prices in the same quantities you REWARD the merchants for price increases.

    In basic economic theory , the price elasticity of demand would indicate relative inelasticity for the bajan scenario.

    Normally as price goes up the demand should go down. They are exceptions…earlier i mention a time when Chefette prices where going up, food portions were shrinking yet drive thru lines were longer……maybe the fast food was a Giffen good, (i.e people were more attracted to the product by the increased price, e.g some wines) , it was due to rapid expansion of money supply (low interest rates + economic bubble/construction) or even consumer irrationality. I thought it was the number of cars but inside would be just as burst.

    While I accept that there is limited choice in retail
    and there is an oligopoly in place; the extent of the gouging and price inflation possible is determine by more factors that have to do with the demand side than the supply…

    How much of your income are you willing to spend on non-essentials?

    Do you have a rational concept of essential and non-essential?….chicken believe it or not, is not essential, it’s important, for some very important BUT not essential.

    For some of us, foods can be addictions…apart from being illegal a large part of the cocaine value is in the strength of addiction. If you can’t do without cheese then you will pay $40 a pound for it…heck even steal to get it. While cheese seems like a ridiculous example bear in mind the concept remains the same.

    If you adopt consumerism, expect to get shafted on prices.
    And if you do not come up with alternatives/substitutes to this order of things because of laziness, ignorance or cowardice
    Or if you cannot discipline your spending, and suffer for a time to put these bastards in there proper place…then I’m sorry but you deserve to suffer….
    If you shop at a supermarket where someone buys $3000 of groceries in one run and you making $2500 a month your in the wrong place and you’re going to pay more.

    Power resides with you the people of this country…
    If you are not part of the solution, your are probably part of the problem.

    Stop being so DOCILE and SHEEP-like make some
    r*ssh*le noise…stupse!! and follow through with action, you made noise for 8percent, yet you tolerated getting screwed by VAT for 10+years…….and price gouging. When gas was $10-15 a barrel in the late
    nineties gasoline never went down….. and somehow oil prices are only used to justify a price increase but NEVER A DECREASE.

    Are wealthy?
    Are you scared?
    When will you say enough is enough?
    When they is nothing left to fight for?
    Then the wolves deserve their feast!
    Do not underestimate how basic Christian morality has conditioned you for the role of sheep.
    No shepherd will save you, you must save yourselves.

  13. Hants

    Makaveli….Brilliant. Except that Bajans spend like Americans. Buy nuff food, eat nuff food and as long as they have money they will spend.

    The economy has to get worse and the prices have to go way up before you see a change.

    Some intelligent Bajans live according to their means and others will sa “yuh cahn eat de money”.

    Meanwhile the merchants take their money and buy benzes and Yachts.