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Super Value Chief: 'Our Prayers Have Been Answered'

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Rupert Roberts

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Super Value's president yesterday hailed the supermarket industry's reclamation of its full hours and Sunday shopping, saying: "Our prayers have been answered."

Rupert Roberts told Tribune Business that the Retail Grocers Association and its members had obtained "'everything we requested" from the Government apart from the traditional extension of shopping hours to 11pm on Christmas Eve.

Describing the previous 5pm Saturday closure, due to the 6pm curfew, as "unbearable", the Super Value chief revealed he had written four letters to the Prime Minister's Office in the previous three weeks prior to the easing of restrictions arguing for a loosening on the basis that COVID-19 numbers had sharply reduced.

"The whole country is very happy about the new hours we have been given," Mr Roberts told this newspaper. "We were very impatient. In the past three weeks I had written four letters requesting an extension of the Saturday hours because we had unbearable hours to work in.

"We had to work in the confines of the hours they gave us, and it wasn't working. We couldn't get our sales in. We kept pointing it out to them. We wrote and notified them of what we wanted as Christmas hours, and they took everything into consideration and gave us everything we requested and what we wanted. Our prayers have been answered."

Disclosing that the Retail Grocers Association and Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) had also written to the Prime Minister's Office on the issue, Mr Roberts confirmed that food stores had regained Sunday shopping as well as all their hours during the week.

"The Prime Minister did promise me three weeks ago that if the cases go down he would give us what we wanted," he added. "The cases did go down and he gave us what we wanted and requested. It gave us a sense of relief, and gave merchants and consumers a sense of freedom.

"If we do the right thing we'll have a good Christmas with the economy we have. Hopefully it goes into the New Year. The economy is bouncing up a little." Mr Roberts, though, warned that keeping the present hours depends on Bahamians maintaining their discipline and keeping the COVID-19 infection rates down.

"We could lose it again," he said. "The only thing he [Dr Hubert Minnis] did not give us is that normally on Christmas Eve customers shop everywhere else and come to the supermarket last, and we're forced to stay open until 11pm.

"We requested that, but he only gave us until 9pm. We'll have to manage with that. If cases go down further the Retail Grocers Association will go back to them and ask for the traditional Christmas Eve hours. If things go good we'll be tempted to go back and ask for 11pm on Christmas Eve."

Comments

tribanon 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes, your prayers have been answered Mr. Roberts. But how does that help most of us who can no longer afford the food and other items you sell in your stores at ever increasing outrageous prices that now go way beyond the very definition of gouging??!!

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stillwaters 1 year, 1 month ago

Wasn't this the same man bragging earlier on this year about how much money he was raking in?

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GodSpeed 1 year, 1 month ago

Roberts has been making a killing 😂 but yes we should always have our Freedom!

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps he makes a killing because we as Bahamians eat too. too, much for the most part.

Bahamians will do well to cut back eat a little less it will all be good for most of us.

This overeating is not true for all of us, but it is true for to many of us.

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stillwaters 1 year, 1 month ago

A fat body seems to be some kind of weird badge of honour for Bahamians now.

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TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

By his very own admission, I shall remain shopper, watchin' for good buys days on rolls toilet papers, but can't be a customer for em's prayer was answered.
Grocer Rupert, admits havin' asked in faith,
but with doubting as to what Mr. Minnis's reaction be em's prayer? It is written right there on the page of the Bible."But let him ask in faith,but must kneel with no doubting' Shakehead** a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not?

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