Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool, who owns OneMart supermarket that is known for its frequent sales and comparatively low prices, has denied fresh claims that his establishment is involved in price gouging.
He was responding to a resident who, in a post on social networking site Facebook, lamented that OneMart was selling a bag of ice for $10.
The resident indicated that the price is lower at another supermarket – Bobby’s.
“Well I tell you Elton – Bobby’s supermarket – is the real people’s man…and need to be branded the people’s store – not OneMart… If you see the size of ice OneMart selling for $10… And he – Vanterpool – was quick to jump on the news bout ‘no price gouging at my store’. Tell that s***t to the birds; they got more to eat in there anyways,” the resident complained.
Vanterpool fired back in a Facebook post today, suggesting that there is a difference in the sizes of the bags of ice being compared.
“I wish to assure you once again that, in my capacity as an elected government representative of the people and as the owner of OneMart supermarket, I am totally committed to these Virgin Islands. I pledge every day to do what I can for the betterment of our people. I find it necessary to clarify a recent attack on OneMart that was posted on social media. I stand by our competitiveness and reiterate that there is no price gouging at OneMart,” Vanterpool said.
In his social media response, which also includes photos of receipts from different supermarkets that aren’t legible to BVI News Online, the minister further said: “The photos attached represent an apple-to-apple comparison of the various supermarkets and specific items. Please also note the size of the bag of ice we sell at OneMart that is being referred to. I trust this clarifies and brings to rest this debate and that we can all continue to work together.”
Vanterpool, in the meantime, lauded residents for their resilience as the territory continues to recover from category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria, as well as a devastating tropical wave.
“I would like to commend everyone for your resilience as we all work together to recover from the devastation caused by the recent hurricanes. It is very easy for one to get discouraged, frustrated, and negatively emotional, but I encourage us all to stay positive,” Vanterpool said.
Director of Trade Karia Christopher, in the meantime, recently stated that her undercover team has caught one major supermarket price gouging.
She did not name the supermarket, adding that the names of all entities caught in the act have been sent to Premier Dr D Orlando Smith for him to decide what action will be taken next.
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