Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Price Commission sounds warnings to grocery store owners

Nassau, July 2, 2019 – Bahamas – Merchants are being warned of price infractions on breadbasket items and price gouging.

Daniel Sumner, Price Commission Chairman, said the Commission is actively pursuing complaints of alleged price infractions on items including butter, cheese, cooking oil, corned beef, evaporated milk, flour, grits, margarine, mayonnaise, rice and tomato paste.

The Chairman spoke recently at a Press Conference at the Department of Labour, Rosetta Street.  Members of the Price Commission board were present.

“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,” said Mr. Sumner.

He assured the public that in its quest to protect the interests of all consumers, the Commission has intensified its partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and with consumer boards and law enforcement agencies to ensure that consumers are not unfairly treated particularly during the Hurricane season.

The Chairman encouraged merchants to ensure that they have the correct prices on all food and goods, particularly breadbasket food items that are made available for sale to the public. Price gouging has a penalty of a fine not exceeding $5,000 per item.

He urged the public to use the Price Commission’s hotline number – (242) 376-1157 to report complaints of overpriced food items that they have purchased or if they suspect that they have been unfairly taken advantage of.

Moreover, Mr. Sumner expressed concerns of hoarding by major grocery stores. The fine for hoarding is $2,500 per item.

“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,” he said.

Furthermore, the Chairman announced that the Commission has conducted price inspections on Long Island and Andros and will be making surprise visits to other islands.

“The Commission is fully committed to paying close attention to the pricing, standard, quality, 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,” said Mr. Sumner.

By Kathryn Campbell

Photo Captions

Header: Earl Godet, deputy chairman, speaks to the media about price control infractions.  Also shown (2nd from left), Daniel Sumner, chairman, and Huel Robins, board member.  Also present was Freddie Munnings, board member. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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