No Cement

Flashback: OUT OF STOCK: A sign that reads “No Cement” is displayed at a hardware store in East Trinidad. The price of cement has tripled since Covid-19 came to our shores in 2020. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

LEECHES, opportunists and those who want to “dig out other people’s eyes” was how Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday described some hardware store owners who decided to increase the price of cement during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While there were no inflated costs from manufacturers to distri­butors, Rowley said he “needed an explanation” as to the sudden increase of the pro­duct at hardware stores.

In some instances, prior to the current lockdown, some hardware dealers had been selling cement for up to $150 per bag.

A bag of cement usually retails for around $50.

“I would like somebody to explain to me what is the driving force behind the increase of cement because, you see, a lot of people like to jump in front as if they going to land on the Government,” the Prime Minister said.

“They are going to tell you what wonderful citizens they are, but they are leeches and they are greedy and they will take advantage of the sick and the infirm because I have no understanding as to what has gone on to increase costs of any cement, warranting an increase in the cost of cement.”

He added that in the next two to three weeks, there may be a consi­deration to reopen hardware stores, but for customers who visit these business places, they should “keep a frown on your face if anyone in the establishment were to tell them of an increase in the price of cement.”

“...It is not right and it is simply taking advantage of a bad situation,” the Prime Minister said. “I hope we do not see any more of that because in so far that some of us are going beyond the call of duty as our healthcare staff is, there are others in the national economy who are only seeing opportunities to benefit for themselves, and that really upsets me and that should upset you, too.”

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