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Saint Lucia’s Bakers Association Inc. has reacted with concern to reports of price gouging by local bakeries.
The reports prompted the Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives, and Consumer Affairs to issue a statement on Thursday declaring that there had been no increase in the selling price of bread products.
The Ministry said the creole and sandwich loaves are price controlled and protected.
The Vice President of the Bakers Association Inc. Sylvia Cadasse told St Lucia Times that no reports of price gouging had come to her attention.
Nevertheless, she declared that anyone found guilty of the offence which can lead to fines or imprisonment or both should face the full brunt of the law.
“If there’s price gouging that cannot be right,” Cadasse asserted, adding that the practice would be difficult to monitor.
The Bakers Association estimates that there are over 50 local bakeries.
Between 20 and 30 are association members.
Cadasse explained that although the members are facing rising input prices, they benefit from government subsidies on flour.
“If they are not part of the association and are not on the approved list they will not enjoy the subsidy. They have to come and join the association and be on the approved list,” she told St Lucia Times.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, as per Statutory Instrument # 67 of 2013, the creole loaf is EC$0.12 per oz, and the sandwich loaf is EC $0.15 per oz; plus, EC$0.60 for slicing and packaging per sandwich loaf.