Wednesday, January 17, 2018

High food prices as much a crime against citizens

 All law-abiding citizens are distraught about the crime situation in our country and have gone completely anaesthetised on the statistics thus far for the start of 2014; to say we are shocked and appalled is an understatement. 

Furthermore, statistics would quantify that for the past five years, the numbers are astronomical, given that we are not engaged in fighting a civil war or that some radical splinter group(s) are killing political opponents, but instead, we’re a country that has open, democratic elections.

There have been statements made by the powers that be, religious leaders, et al, which can only make you shake your head in bewilderment and ask yourself why do you have to be afraid when you leave your homes to go about doing the simplest chore or to conduct business or go to school. The fear is tangible; we are a people who are literally walking with eyes behind our heads.

But while we know that murders, kid­nap­pings, rapes and child molestation are crimes that make you cringe, I believe there are other crimes which also impact significantly on the citizens of our country—that crime is the high cost of food.

High food prices for the most basic commodities are out of reach for most of the working class, especially the ones who are paid minimum wage and the families where there are single incomes. The single parent with babes has to endure the cost of milk and disposable diapers where the pri­ces are staggering. 

How can the Government allow unscru­pu­lous merchants to sustain their greed at the expense of our citizenry? Are the legis­lators, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and consumer groups comatose? There has been rhetoric about reducing our

food import bill, but when we look at the budget allocation for agri­culture, it is never a priority. 

Who does the single mother have to turn to? Can she deprecate by herself? I say, yes! There are times when we have to exercise our rights and collectively send a message to get our point across. An idea only needs fertile soil to sprout. It starts with boycotting supermarkets that have for years gouged and hoarded to the detriment of consu­mers. Why should milk, baby formula and disposable diapers be so expensive?

Where is the media in disseminating information? High food prices is a crime, too. Splash those headlines on the front pages, the responsibility is yours. Report the murders but be reminded, it is a crime against our citizens when we struggle to buy the basics while merchants live opulently. 

Our country is blessed with resources and our population is not large, so why then are the basic commodities unreachable to some? The Prime Minister claims she is a woman who advocates for the downtrodden but insists on building a highway for billions of dollars, of promoting the protection of our nation’s children but has done little, except to reduce flour and oil as a token gift during Christmas. 

We need to be serious and realise that crime would continue to spiral out of control unless we understand that once the poor and the working classes are unable to enjoy the benefits of our nation’s rich resources, the body bags in 2014 would be piled high.

Mr Salaah Inniss