Barbadians Told There is no Quick Fix to Cost of Living

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Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. (FP)

Although government is trying hard to keep its promise to lower the cost of living, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler has likened this fight to "a battle against a much bigger goliath".

Speaking to reporters during a live radio press conference last Sunday, October 30, at Almond Bay, Hastings, Christ Church, the Finance Minister noted that a spike in petroleum products, coupled with an increase in grain prices, had impeded their efforts to bring prices down.

"…We did come into office on a promise to try to reduce the cost of living but … we have had an unprecedented spike in commodity prices and an unrelenting march in oil prices which filters through to everything we produce.?? In the context of that, I do not think that Barbadians are unreasonable people…they know that we [government] have tried, but we are fighting a much bigger goliath than we would have expected in the circumstances," Mr. Sinckler remarked.

Inspite of these challenges, the finance Minister said the island had been able to keep inflation at seven per cent as opposed to nine per cent in the years 2002, 2004 and 2005 under the previous administration during times of prosperity.

"We have tried to tackle the situation by doing better sourcing, [we] adjusted some tariff rates in the trading system of Barbados and in 2009 for example, when grain prices peaked to unusually high levels, government subsidised the operations of the flour and grain companies so that, that pass through would not have the full effect on the people of Barbados.?? Government has consistently said that there must be a structured overall examination of pricing structures in Barbados …, he surmised.

He maintained that it would be difficult for him as Minister of Finance, any other minister or member of the opposition, to "say that they have a magic formula that can solve the issue of pricing in this environment".

In the interim, the Mr. Sinckler alluded to changes to the existing basket of goods and an announcement would be made to the public shortly.

julie.wilson@barbados.gov.bb

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