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Fitz Bramble

East Kingstown MP, Fitz Bramble in a Jan. 11, 2023 photo.

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The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has launched a “cost of living tracker” to monitor the impact of rising commodity prices on the standard of living that Vincentians enjoy.

It is constructed by taking the average cost across four to six supermarkets of each food item and then taking the weekly amount, the party said.

“The NDP believes that by showing the impact it will further show government and other stakeholders the need for action at the same time helping families understand the impact on their household finances.”

Meanwhile, MP for East Kingstown, Fitz Bramble, speaking in a video to launch the tracker said “… it will take the average prices to show you the change in average prices of basic items that Vincentian individuals and families use for everyday living such as bread, toilet paper, flour, … rice, … powdered milk and other items”.

Bramble, an economist, said the tracker will look at the average change in prices of these and other goods that Vincentians use, over a period of time, more than likely every three months, depending on the changes in the prices.

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He said the NDP is operating the cost-of-living tracker to indicate and highlight the seriousness of the impact on the cost of living in St. Vincent and the Grenadines because of the increase in basic prices that Vincentians require to live.

“And we want to be able to bring this seriousness to the attention of the government and other stakeholders,” Bramble said.

Bramble said the tracker is very important because the average Vincentian earns between $1,500 and $2,000 “and over the past year, prices have increased to the extent where presently it is costing the average Vincentian close to $1,000, give or take a couple hundred dollars depending on your circumstances, to live,” Bramble said.

He said this means that “we are in a cost-of-living crisis, because if it is costing you close to half of your income just to live by providing basic items, that is a crisis and it deserves and it requires immediate attention”.

Bramble said the NDP believes that several measures can and should be taken to provide relief to the Vincentian people

He said the long-term solution of creating more jobs and better jobs for more Vincentians, particularly the young people, is obviously something that must be considered and implemented.

“But more immediately, the New Democratic Party would reduce the VAT from 16 to 13%. That would bring tremendous relief to every Vincentian.”

He said the party also believes the government should review the list of vatable items to see if any of them can be made zero-rated so Vincentians will have less items on which to pay VAT. 

“We also believe that for low-income earners some relief can be provided by way of maybe a temporary increase in their earning, let’s say for a six-month period.

“And the New Democratic Party also believes that serious consideration should be given to the fuel surcharge on the electricity bill, for example,” Bramble said.

He said there are measures that the NDP believe can be considered, adding that those he mentioned “are some of the more important and we believe immediate ones that can be taken and which the New Democratic Party government would take if in office.

He said the party is urging the government to implement the measures to bring relief to the people of this country.

Bramble said inflation has been “around double digits” over the last year, adding that while the source of inflation “is not solely the government, the government can provide relief to the people of this country and we are urging them so to do because that is what a new democratic party government would also do”.

Meanwhile, the NDP said in a press statement that the response of the ruling Unity Labour Party has been “to turn a deaf ear and ignore the problem, showing once again this is a government tired and out of touch.

“The NDP will always put the people first, we have set out a 5-point plan to tackle cost of living,” the party said, noting the announcement of the tracker.

“Our research shows that the average family spends $180 a week on food. Further, increases in food costs are only going to put more strain on families,” the party said.

“Something must be done urgently,” the NDP further stated, adding that Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday has outlined the NDP’s plan.

“And, we call on the government to put aside any pettiness and take a real look at our plan, our people need support,” the party said, adding that its cost-of-living tracker will also track the average weekly shopping for a family in SVG.

One reply on “NDP to track food prices to highlight need for gov’t action”

  1. Who feels it know it. How will the NDPbbe different to the ULP? My father used to say no better the beef no better the barrel. They all the same self serving parasites. Believe me that the grass is always greener on the other side until you get there.

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