Tyrone Reid reports

Jamaica’s Consumer Affairs Commission, CAC, has entered the price increase dispute between Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke and his Opposition counterpart, Julian Robinson.

Dr Clarke challenged Mr. Robinson’s numbers, noting that they are not factual or credible.

The CAC says based on its data, none of the grocery items highlighted by Robinson have had an increase of over a hundred per cent between February 2016 and February 2021.

Our news centre’s Research and Special Investigations Division has been fact-checking the numbers.

Mr Robinson during his budget presentation suggested prices for many key goods have gone up by as much as one-hundred per cent in some cases since 2016.

However, Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke rejected the prices presented as not being grounded in reality.

But, speaking this afternoon Mr. Robinson doubled down on his numbers.

He says it’s the Finance Minister that’s out of touch with the average Jamaican.

Checks with the Consumer Affairs Commission’s website revealed that in March 2016, local chicken back retailed for a low of $60 per pound to a high of $158 dollars, giving a rough average of $139 dollars.

In March 2021, a pound of chicken back is being sold from a low of $165 dollars to a high of $279 dollars, representing a rough average of $222 dollars.

According to the CAC data, a 500 millilitre of Lida cooking oil sold for a low of $180 to a high of $231 dollars in 2016, representing a rough average price of $205.

In March 2021, that same bottle of cooking oil retailed at local supermarkets for a low of $201 to a high of $251.This represents a rough average of $226 dollars.

When Nationwide contacted the Consumer Affairs Commission to settle the price increase dispute, the Director of Research at the CAC, Racquel White, says none of the prices for the items listed in Mr Robinson’s contribution to the Budget Debate has increased by over 100 per cent between 2016 and 2021.

When our news centre contacted the Shadow Finance Minister, Julian Robinson, he requested the CAC prices and asked to be allowed the time to conduct his own checks before responding.