Mrs Smith-Archer was speaking on JTV’s the Big Story with host Cathy O. Richards on August 16, 2022.
“The biggest thing right now, whether we want to call it this or not, we have a cost-of-living crisis, and the cost of doing business is linked to the cost of living so one of the biggest struggles again is for business to try to maintain normal prices."
Mrs Smith-Arched added; however, that as a result of global increases in prices and inflation rates as much as 12% outside of the VI, those prices have started to trickle into the VI economy.
“When we go to the grocery store, we have to close our eyes at check out because of the sticker shock, so it isn’t something where persons are just trying to profit,” she added.
The BVICCHA Chairman noted, “A lot of it is in reaction to what is happening in the global market that is going to translate back to here,” she said while adding that local businesses are looking for alternate suppliers to get the best prices for local consumers.
Mrs Smith-Archer, touching on inflation mitigating measures, said the Government can step in a negotiate with the private sector stores to make essentials more accessible to families who need them the most.
She said in the case of the VI, the government can negotiate for concessions in sales tax, import taxes or energy.
Pointing to a similar initiative in Barbados, Mrs Smith-Archer said the Government can negotiate with the major supermarkets for the provision of essentials at a lower cost.
She also called for more to be done as it relates to the reduction of the cost of electricity, “If the price of electricity is being driven by the price of oil, then we need to look for fuel from other sources”, she added.