The effects of the cost of living on the elderly was the topic of discussion when representatives from the Ministry of Commerce met with the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) earlier this week.

Minister of Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn and officials from the department of Commerce met with BARP members, including President, Ernest Batson, to discuss a host of issues related to consumer protection, and the effect on the aged.??

Mr. Benn emphasised that "some type of consciousness had to return to the way people do business", especially where the nation’s elderly and poor were considered. He explained that efforts were being made to address the costs of, not only basic items, but those which were crucial to the welfare of the elderly and persons with special needs.

Senator Benn reaffirmed his Ministry’s dedication to aggressively address the matter.?? He added that dialogue with parties of interest, such as BARP, served as a step towards identifying viable plans of action.

In turn, Chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee of BARP, Jai Jebodhsingh, highlighted the fact that greater attention should be placed on elderly people who live in poverty and stressed that businesses should consider the social and moral implications of the high cost of living. It was also noted that a 2008 CADRES survey indicated that while BARP made a significant contribution to consumer spending, some of its members existed on incomes of less than $500 a month.??

??The Commerce Minister also met with representatives from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry earlier this month to discuss the rising cost of living and ensuring fair prices for consumers.??

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