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Price Commission Sends 'Gouging' Report To The Ag

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Price Commission has forwarded its report on complaints of pre-Hurricane Irma price gouging ahead to the Attorney General's Office, its chairman has confirmed.

"We forwarded our findings to the AG's Office, and we are awaiting a review from them before any statement is made on whether we will take legal action," said Syndia Dorsett.

"We have to ensure that we are on the right track if that is done so we don't embarrass ourselves. I have completed my part of the exercise, and we are now just waiting on the AG's Office to make a determination on whether there is a sufficient case against those persons."

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, during an address to Parliament last month, said "several individuals and supermarkets" have been referred to the Attorney General's Office over 'price gouging' allegations.

The Government had warned ahead of Irma that 'price gouging', and similar schemes to spike prices, were considered "criminal offences". It also advised retailers and wholesalers against "hoarding" items for "speculation" or "profiteering" and marking up.

Dr Minnis had instructed the Price Commission to monitor the tariffs being charged for items such as 'breadbasket' foods, medical and prescription drug supplies, and hurricane preparedness items such as plywood and nails.

The Price Commission, the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) and the Standards Bureau all fall under the Ministry of Labour. Ms Dorsett said all three entities will work together to create synergies and ensure there is no overlap, adding that the Price Commission also plans to undertake a public education campaign to sensitise consumers of their rights.

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