Eyewitness: What goes up…

… (in prices) never comes down

The Bureau of Statistics has just confirmed what every Guyanese has known for a year now…that food prices have headed north…to the tune of a whopping 14% between Dec 2020 and last July. To their credit, the Government wasn’t oblivious to this alarming trend, and reacted to one of the rationales offered for the rise – higher shipping costs.
This, it was claimed, was due to COVID-19 curtailing world shipping, and consequently pushing up the unit shipping costs for those few who were still importing.

Now, the costs of imported goods are normally defined as CIF – Cost (of the goods purchased abroad) plus insurance and freight. The Govt can’t do anything about the purchase costs and the insurance, but they mandated that the GRA wouldn’t be incorporating the shipping costs when they apply duties on the imported goods. The importers were supposed to utilise this break and pass on the savings to the consumers – at least that was the expectation.

Now, your Eyewitness can say for certain – coming as he does from the world of business and having dealt with the “filthy lucre!! – he knows it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for profits-in-the-hand to be passed on to buyers! It’s not for nothing that, from the beginning of modern business in early 17th century England, the motto of businesses accepted by the Courts was – and remains – “Caveat Emptor”!! – BUYERS BEWARE!! And the Government asking for the gift of freight costs to be passed on would be like asking the old slave owners to pass on the GBP20million they received at the abolition of slavery to the slaves they’d exploited for hundreds of years! Never happened!
But, anyhow, your Eyewitness was struck by another anomaly: the refusal of the Bureau of Statistics to reveal the “basket of goods” they use to calculate the rise is food prices. What the heck is this? Why is this a national secret?? Shouldn’t we know what exactly is causing the jump, so that maybe we Guyanese can make some changes in our consumption patterns? For instance, are imported foods so prevalent across the country – even with rural folks – that they aren’t blunted by local goods? Does it have to do with these SUPERMARKETS popping up everywhere like Jumbie Umbrellas – especially foreign ones that only shop foreign?

While we don’t want to be banning foods, if this basket of goods is exposed, isn’t it possible that we may have some local businesses starting to produce local substitutes? After all, the Government have insisted that all they want is to finally become “the breadbasket” of the Caribbean!
Let’s start with our own food basket!

…is more COVID sorrow

Your Eyewitness was shocked to learn this morning that the former DPI, AFC’s Imran Khan, passed away due to COVID-19. He was only 43, but was unvaccinated – and this might’ve been for a host of reasons. While your Eyewitness would’ve panned Imran in the past while he was a member of the Government, it was simply in the spirit of equal opportunity panning. He was very energetic in carrying out his mandate for his party and the coalition. But what impressed your Eyewitness was this: he never downplayed his rural origins of Vergenoegen – or, as the locals say, Vegeh!

But he hopes that Imran’s untimely death will convince those who’re still hesitant about the vaccines that – whatever their doubts – it’s not worth dying over. Your Eyewitness was very pleased when he read a report in this newspaper that Cathy Hughes, Executive Member of the AFC, was implicitly endorsing vaccination, along with an overseas AFC medical doctor who did so explicitly.
Maybe at that time she knew of Imran’s situation.
RIP, Imran Khan.

…is lighter than air

Your Eyewitness is kinda surprised that PNC heavyweight Volda Lawrence hasn’t thrown her hat into the ring for their leadership sweepstakes.
As a result, like fluff, mostly lightweights have risen to the top.