Regulator probes meat, rubbing alcohol 'gouging'


Tribune Business Reporter

Price regulators yesterday said they were probing potential cases of meat and rubbing alcohol gouging by pharmacies and food stores.

Danny Sumner, the Price Control Commissions (PCC) chairman, told Tribune Business: "I have gotten a few complaints this morning from different people. They were complaining about the prices on alcohol from one of the pharmacies; I won't call the name of the pharmacy.

"There are some issues coming from one particular pharmacy on [rubbing] alcohol pricing, but I have visited the food stores and they have alcohol now in stock. The prices are now down to a reasonable price. The price in the food store I saw was $3.80 or thereabouts, which isn't bad."

Mr Sumner added: "There were other complaints from a food store with the meat pricing. I just finished talking to one of my chief inspectors. When we get these complaints and we investigate, what has been happening right now is that the meat processing companies in the US, as I speak a lot of them are closing and a lot of them are cutting staff.

"Because of that certain meats would be hard to obtain, on and what can be obtained, the prices will go up. Bahamian consumers need to realise and pay attention to this. We look at price gouging seriously, and what we try to determine first is where is the gouging emanating from?

"Is it emanating from the wholesale suppliers in the States, or is it emanating once it lands through Customs in New Providence? Those are the kinds of issues we are looking at right now, so it is not easy for us to say this person is gouging, because they may not be," he continued.

"I know for a fact that a lot of the meat processing plants in the US are having problems. Some of the plants have closed and some of them are working on reduced staff. I have also understood that some of their workers in some of those meat plants in the US have come down with COVID-19, so that has been an issue."