BVI News

Penn pushes for antitrust legislation | Says current unfair trading could wipe out small businesses

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn

Leader of the Opposition, Marlon Penn is calling for antitrust legislation to be drafted to prevent small businesses from being wiped out under the pressure of larger players in their respective sectors.

This legislation — which Penn said would serve as support to the recently-introduced Consumer Protection legislation — would ensure fair competition among businesses.

Stating that local small businesses are already under threat, Penn described the matter as one of great importance.

“Premier, I urge you, we have to move swiftly to ensure that the antitrust legislation accompanies this [Consumer Protection] Bill.”

Unfair advantage

The Opposition Leader referred to North West, the parent company of Riteway food stores, who he said has an unfair advantage over smaller businesses such as restauranteurs.

North West … pretty much wipes out the small business community in that area,” Penn claimed.

“They are the wholesaler and they are the retailer, so they are selling you the product, and they’re still competing with you when you are trying to sell your product in the environment. That would not be allowed in a big economy like the US.”

“It even trickles down as far as food and selling food. They supply the food to the restaurants and still sell the same food within their stores. They cook the same food items,” Penn argued. “There’s no way that the little food place next door could sell a plate of food cheaper than Riteway is selling a plate of food because they’re buying their chicken from Riteway, they’re buying everything from Riteway so they can’t compete. Family-owned companies who have been around this territory for decades, generations who have passed on from generation to generation, who would virtually disappear if we do not do something about this antitrust behaviour.”

Ignore trade restrictions

The Opposition then accused the company of not adhering to the conditions of their trade licence that restrict such unfair dominance in the market.

He stated that, despite their restriction, North West are “still selling these goods and services”.

“When that [trade] license was issued [to North West], it was issued with some specific conditions in terms of their operations and how it should operate within this environment.”

“How can local businesses compete with a company that has outlets in the US, throughout the Caribbean, and in Canada?” Penn questioned.

“They (North West) have to make up their mind whether they want to be in the retail business, or they want to be in the wholesale business. You can’t have both. Premier, you have some work to do. You say that your government is for the people so let’s work for the people.”


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  1. Break Up says:

    You’re right on this but late. When this sale was being negotiated, I said there should be a breakup at that time. Now we will know that this will go for everyone.

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  2. Wait says:

    He was in the government for 8yrs and was the jr. minister for trade and didn’t do it and now come talking foolishness.

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  3. YOUTH says:

    I am so disappointed in Marlon. All he does is oppose. When he was in government he did nothing now everyday just talking talking talking.

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    • laugh at this one says:

      he opposes because he is the leader of the Opposition, hence he have to oppose en though he dont want to. get it. Leader of the Opposition=oppose

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  4. LOL says:

    Okay smart man marlon. You refused to do it when you was in government so just support it when the VIP brings it.

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  5. Please says:

    B**by’s does the same thing and it’s twice cheaper than RW… Would they also be affected by your “antitrust” legislation? Those are places where we can get very good food for a reasonable price. Leave them alone! Competition is key and a business driver. Also, most supermarket chains in the world do the same thing, so I am not sure what you are talking about Mr. Penn!

    Like 18
  6. East End man says:

    Marlon you sat quite in your ndp government and said nothing when they went with our $8mill for the sewage project in the east and you allowed the same mark to put it in the cruise pier project. You said nothing when the same ndp with mark let our $7mill fly away with that no good plane deal. Now you are in the Opposition you have found your voice and all of a sundden you know about everything. SMDH.

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    • Stupes says:

      So he should go to the HOA and shut up? That make sense…boss we need the opposition to be a balance for the best interest of our territory. Where things could be done better speak up Marlon! Let’s improve our systems.

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  7. Three words says:

    Waste of time!

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  8. Lodger says:

    Doesnt he have a vested interest? If so he should declare it.

  9. Mr. Green says:

    Keep it up you guys and you will loose again! You can’t tell me that the same sanitary conditions exist in food trucks with no running hot water as do in larger kitchens. Just mind your own business and stop looking up everyone’s butt!!!!

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    • Well says:

      I guess we want a one stop shopping center/Walmart. Who is to stop them from selling printers, generators, radios, stoves, furniture, fridge etc… With their buying power a lot of smaller companies will suffer. But they say competition is good…step up your game small businesses.

      • CW says:

        The whole point is they can’t step up their game because they cannot compete. Do you read more than the headline or are you just in a rush with your STRUPE COMMENTS

  10. Retired says:

    Mr. Penn should consult with a BVI lawyer before he makes anymore incorrect legal statements. He’s confused US law with UK law since there is no ‘antitrust legislation’ in UK law.

  11. Steooopyd says:

    Shut up Marlon.

  12. Disappointed says:

    Leader of the opposition you have a short memory. You are fighting a battle not for the businesses you mentioned, but you know who you are fighting for. You said nothing when the former RTW was wholesale and retail. He is not fighting for the people , he is just trying to oppose the present RTW for a bad mind against the company. How many businesses in this country are not doing the same? Some of the questions he is asking in the house make no sense. He is really a disappointment.. What his government did not or could not do, he is now expecting a new government to do.

  13. Anonymous says:

    At least somone is seeing the wicked ways of the wicked, greedy don’t give a s**t about noone but his profits.

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