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More options can lower prices

Gercine Carter

More options can lower prices

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PROMINENT Bridgetown businessman Geoffrey Cave believes competition is the way to counteract price gouging in Barbados.
Giving his views on the issue during an interview with the DAILY NATION, Cave said: “Businessess cannot run [roughshod] over customers. The truth is [that] a customer looks around and they know where they are going to get good deals.”
He added that businesses were always looking for new opportunities to do well, and “if you get a group that is not looking after its customers, you are going to quickly see a new venture open and somebody is going to focus on that and try and do it better, and the result is that that’s where you are going to stop the gouging”.    
The businessman maintained:  “It is not something that I worry about, because if people are doing business badly, the customers will go somewhere else. Customers are not going to stay and be treated shabbily, and there is great opportunity.
You see every day a new business opens.”
And?Cave suggested it was easy to start up a food business.
“All you have to do is to be nice to people and buy the food and sell it. It is an area where a lot of shopkeepers have grown in Barbados; shops have grown and people know.”
The Cave Shepherd chairman, who is also an Independent senator in the Barbados Senate, acknowledged the economy was “going through a difficult period, noting that tourism was being severely affected by the impact of the worldwide recession on the main source markets from which Barbados drew visitors.
“Our suppliers are the United States and Britain and our biggest supplier of tourists is Britain, and they are in drastic recession,” Cave stated.
“Canada has come through it best because their banking systems were more conservative than the Europeans or the Americans, and they have managed the recession much better. So our supply of tourists coming from Canada is strengthened, but the other side has weakened drastically and our economy is in a difficult state because that’s where our business is,” Cave said.
But he noted although people were still coming to Barbados, the disposable income they are spending had been cut.
“The result has been that sales in the shopping industry supplying tourists, as well as the restaurant industry supplying tourists [have] really been marginalized.
“We have had two and a half years of that recession, and we in Barbados have not recovered. All that impacts your businesses. The profit which you will make and the Government will get taxes from has been cut, so the Government has had a difficult period, and the result is the deficit has widened.”
Cave was of the view that Barbados had managed itself fairly well in the circumstances and added: “I think for the first time we have now seen the Government doing a taxation Budget, which has made it more difficult, but basically the Budget has to be balanced and if we don’t get it right we will be in trouble, and all that will happen is that the currency will evaporate.”