Saint Lucia, recently low on rice, received over ten containers of the commodity last week and ten more this week.
“We were low in stock,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Sophia Alfay-Henry recalled.
The Ministry official explained that suppliers encountered some delivery issues.
However, Alfay-Henry disclosed that with the arrival of the recent rice shipments, Saint Lucia was at ‘full capacity.’
“We have all items in stock currently at the warehouse and we are fully prepared for the busy Christmas season,” the Permanent Secretary stated.
She said there was no need for people to hoard or stock up rice unnecessarily.
Alfay-Henry said the government supply warehouse has sufficient stock.
Regarding high food prices she observed that there is ‘imported inflation’.
“We are not out of the woods yet in terms of the increase in prices,” the Ministry official noted.
As a result, she explained that some imported goods arrive in Saint Lucia at a higher price than formerly.
Alfay-Henry said not every price increase is due to merchants seeking excessive profits.
Nevertheless, the Ministry official noted that some goods have price controls.
She observed that recently the government included sanitary napkins on the list of price-controlled items.
“So that’s a layer of protection for the consumers. It means that once these goods arrive in Saint Lucia, there is a maximum mark-up that can be added and the prices of these goods must be confirmed and signed off by the Consumer Affairs Department,” Alfay-Henry said.
In addition, she explained that the authorities monitor the goods, which have a price limit depending on the landed cost.
The PS stated that essential commodities like tuna, milk, flour, rice, and sugar are on the price-controlled list.
She also said should consumers have concerns, they should contact the Consumer Affairs Department.