Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Price-gouging hits Bog Walk shoppers

Published:Thursday | April 16, 2020 | 12:21 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer
A policeman conducts a temperature check on a motorist in the vicinity of Angels, St Catherine, on Wednesday.
A policeman conducts a temperature check on a motorist in the vicinity of Angels, St Catherine, on Wednesday.

Residents in Bog Walk have accused shopkeepers of price-gouging as a seven-day lockdown of St Catherine took effect yesterday morning.

Scores of commuters fitted with face masks to guard against contagion from COVID-19 braved the midmorning sun to stock up on supplies during limited shopping time before returning to their homes.

“If you buy tin mackerel, it suddenly move from $90 to $100. Flour normally $100, now $110,” a female shopper said yesterday.

“Bread fly from $320 to $340. Chicken back fly from $100 to $120 per pound.”

It was revealed that the sudden hike in prices for basic food items was adversely affecting residents, some of whom had lost their jobs amid the economic fallout.

“It is very sad that we are now paying more for goods when you can hardly find money,” Marvette Brydson said.

A hawker was observed selling masks three times dearer than the going price weeks ago for the protective gear.

“Come get unnu mask. It is only three bills! Come get it as it soon raise, as a coronavirus time now,” he said.

The Jamaican Parliament approved legislation making price-gouging a criminal offence with a fine of up to $2 million.

Price-gouging occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods, services, or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.

The Trade (Sale of Goods During Period of Declaration of Disaster Area) Order took effect on March 31.

The legislation was introduced amid complaints that some supermarkets and pharmacies have been hiking the price of sanitising products.

Several persons endorsed the lockdown but asked for greater consideration for the poor.

“Bwoy, mi support any effort to deal with this virus, but it rough, as a case like me with five pickney and getting this sudden price increase, I don’t know how people like me a go manage,” a shopper said.