#Nassau, June 29, 2019 – Bahamas –
Chairman of the Price Commission
Mr. Daniel Sumner
Price Commission Press Conference
The Department of Labour
Thursday, June 27th, 2019
At 2:00 p.m.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, a pleasant good afternoon to you.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today to announce the relaunch of the Price Commission hotline number as well as to update you on ongoing efforts which are being carried out by the Price Commission to protect consumers throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas.
Currently, the Price Commission falls under the carriage of the Ministry of Labour and has been given the mandate to serve and protect consumers from unfair prices charged by unscrupulous merchants.
Since assuming the post of Chairman of the Price Commission, I have received numerous complaints from various consumers about a number of merchants committing alleged price infractions on the breadbasket list of food items. These cases are considered to be serious breaches of the Price Control Act and the Price Commission is actively pursuing these matters in conjunction with the relevant law enforcement authorities and we wish to put merchants on notice that those found guilty will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I wish to assure the Bahamian public that the Price Commission is fully committed to protecting the interests of all consumers and as a result has intensified its partnership with NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency), the various consumer boards and law enforcement agencies to ensure that no consumer is unfairly taken advantage of at any time in The Bahamas particularly during the Hurricane Season.
Some of the Areas of Focus The Price Commission Will Be Keeping A Tight Eye On will include:
The Price Commission is aware that over the years, the Bahamian public has become overwhelmed by the practice of price gouging by a small pocket of dishonest merchants. Therefore, we wish to assure the public that we here at the Commission will be policing and watching out for any price gouging in accordance with Chapter 339 section 3 subsection 1 of the Price Control Act, so that Consumers are not taken advantage of.
Price gouging has a penalty of a fine not exceeding $5,000 (five thousand dollars) per item. So therefore we are putting merchants on notice to ensure that they have the correct prices on all food items and goods, particularly breadbasket food items that are made available for sale to the public in their stores.
Members of the public that suspect that they have purchased overpriced food items or suspect that they have been unfairly taken advantage of can contact our Price Commission Hotline number at 376-1157. Once again that number is 376-1157. Members of our team are on standby ready to assist the public with their complaints.
Another concern of the Price Commission is hoarding. In accordance with Chapter 339 Price Regulation subsection 5 it is an offense for a Vendor to withhold an item that can be sold immediately. Let me give a Scenario: During the hurricane season vendor (a) could sell a can of tuna immediately but chooses to hold back until vendor (b) has sold out all of his tuna. Vendor (a) then puts the tuna out to be sold but no other vendor has the tuna. This is considered hoarding.
The fine for hoarding is $2,500 (two thousand five hundred dollars) per item. In the past there have been some major cases involving one or two of the major food stores in the country. We are warning these food stores that the Price Commission will not stand by and allow the Bahamian people to be taken advantage of.
3.Family Island Inspections
So far the Price Commission has conducted price inspections on a number Family Islands including Long Island and Andros. Very shortly we will be stepping up our inspections on some of the other Family Islands during surprise visits.
The Commission is fully committed to paying close attention to the pricing, standard, quality and the shipping and handling of food items that are on the grocers’ shelves on the Family Islands. Further, we will be observing the excessive pricing of gasoline on the Family Islands.
4. Breadbasket List of Food Items
The Price Commission wishes to advise the public that it will continue to monitor and ensure the availability, quality and standards of Breadbasket items. We encourage the public to continue to familiarize themselves with the list of Breadbasket food items which includes:
- Cooking Oil
- Corn Beef
- Evaporated Milk
- Tomato Paste
Extended Breadbasket Items Include:
- Baby Cereal
- Baby Food
- Baby Formula
- Canned Fish
- Condensed Milk
- Fresh Milk
- Powdered Detergents
Finally as I conclude the Price Commission would like to thank the Minister of Labour, Senator the Honourable Dion A. Foulkes for his commitment to protecting the interest of the Bahamian consumer. Along with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Peter Deveaux-Isaacs. I would also like to thank my board members which include:
- Mr. Earl Godet
- Ms. Eulamae Gordon
- Mr. Huel Robins
- Mr. Dwight Allen
- Mr. Freddie Munnings
- Ms. Carla Bain
- Mrs. Belinda Wilson
- Ms. Leona Wilson
- And Ms. Essel Deleveaux-Spruill
We also wish to thank the public and members of the media for their on-going support. Thank you ladies and gentlemen of the press for your attendance here today.
Release: Ministry of Labour press release — Remarks by Chairman of the Price Commission.
Photo Caption: Mr. Daniel Sumner, Chairman of the Price Commission and Labour Consultant in the Ministry of Labour is pictured at center addressing a press conference on Price Gouging at the Department of Labour on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Also pictured at left is Mr. Earl Godet, Deputy Chairman of the Price Commission and at right Mr. Huel Robins, Board member of the Price Commission.