Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley updates the nation on COVID-19 and government’s plan on dealing with the virus. The press briefing took place at the Hilton following a meeting with the Social Partnership. (BGIS)

With Barbados in the readiness phase for COVID-19, the business community is being warned that price gouging will not be tolerated, and consumers are being discouraged from hoarding supplies.

Barbados Private Sector Association’s Chairman, Edward Clarke, said it was important that everybody worked together for the good of Barbados at this time.  

He made the comments on Tuesday afternoon during an address to the nation, which was led by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who had earlier held a near six-hour meeting with the Social Partnership to discuss the national preparedness for COVID-19.

Mr. Clarke said: “We know that there are concerns by the public about price gouging at this time, globally.  We have heard in a news report about some of that taking place in some of the other markets.  This is not something we should tolerate in Barbados.  And I certainly will not be … tolerating such price gouging anywhere in Barbados.

“We believe that even the hoarding of supplies is something that should be discouraged ….  We need to understand that the weakest link is still a problem for us.  It is no sense for those that can afford to hoard not to allow those that don’t have, to procure, because that person that does not have, is the weakest link.  So, we must all protect ourselves, [and] protect our country from that situation. We must all be selfless and not selfish at this time.  There is no greed needed in Barbados at this time; it is a time that we all come together, whether it is a political party or a private sector, [or] labour leaders, to work together to ensure that Barbados comes out of this strong.”

The chairman noted that the country’s economy would be threatened if the virus impacts the island.  He added that the global economy would be severely impacted at this time, and stressed that it was not a time to panic.

“The world gets through these situations.  Barbados can get through these situations, so we must ensure that we do not panic as a country; we must be prepared; we must take our own precautions; we don’t have to congregate in locations overseas if you don’t need to; you don’t need to attend conferences if you don’t have to, and I would ask people to ensure that they protect themselves,” he urged.

Mr. Clarke gave the assurance that members of the private sector would do their utmost to work together with the Government and people of Barbados.

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