A call has been made for our supermarkets to do as much as possible to ensure that they carry not just imported stock but also sell locally produced goods.
Stating it was a complaint that he was faced with daily, Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, said retail outlets such as Massy Stores Supermarket provided the opportunity for Barbadians to display and sell local goods and services.
He made these comments today as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the fifth Massy Stores Supermarket, located at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael.
He told those in attendance, including members of the business community, stakeholders, as well as businessman Ralph ???Bizzy??? Williams and Managing Director of Massy Stores Barbados Limited, Neville Brewster, that if we do not sell locally produced goods, then ???the people that you depend on to shop in your enterprise are the ones who are depending upon the manufacturing sector for the jobs, so they can earn an income to come and shop in your enterprise. So, we all need one another and therefore I make a call for us to do whatever we can.???
While noting that merchandising was also an expensive undertaking and supermarket owners should seek to assist our local manufacturers wherever possible, Mr. Inniss conversely pleaded with local manufacturers to ensure that there was consistency in quality and supply at all times.
???I cannot ask retailers for a space on a shelf for local products and then local manufacturers do not fill the space and do it on a consistent basis,??? he reasoned.
Additionally, in respect of the interlocking relationship and ownership of importers, distributors, retailers and finance companies, and its resultant effect on the competitive nature of our enterprise climate, the Minister said that this disquiet needed to be frontally addressed before it ???created unnecessary and prolonged strained relations???.
Mr. Inniss also addressed concerns raised by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Barbados National Standards Institute regarding the failure of several products coming into Barbados to conform to established standards.
???Before the full weight of the law is felt, I can only advise that importers ensure that they are aware of the standards for items offered to the public and that they comply. We will not operate as high-handed and arrogant regulators, but we have a job to do on behalf of consumers, and under my watch we will do it without fear or favour,??? he charged.