The Story Of Respectable Thieves Colluding To Price Gouge Bajans

The issue of high food prices continues to be furiously debated in Barbados. To be expected much of the debate is tainted with partisan political rhetoric. The government ran a political platform during the last general election based on a promise, one of many, to Barbadians to reduce food prices. The reality is Barbados was in the lag period of a looming global recession but it did not deter many Barbadians from believing a magic wand was all that would have been required to right the problem.

Several factors in recent months have had the effect of negatively impacting food prices on the world market. Barbados imports almost all of its food and therefore this makes the business of food security a top priority. BU agrees food prices are controlled by external forces but there is a level of efficiency which must be managed internally to ensure Barbadian consumers benefit from the best price.

Earlier we discussed on another blog Breaking The Stranglehold On High Prices Will Call For A Holistic Strategy. What came out in the discussion, to the surprise of some, was the reason the ministry of commerce discontinued publishing the prices of staple products sold by leading retailers in Barbados. BU has confirmed from a reliable source the ministry has no budget to support the initiative of publishing food prices. It seems paradoxical that a government who has as its number one priory reducing the cost of living cannot not exercise budget ‘cleverness’ by allocating a relatively small sum to support the effort of officers in the ministry of commerce, harsh economic times notwithstanding.  Again BU is reliably informed that the ministry of commerce has about 10 officers who are mobilized from time to time to check prices on shelves across Barbados. Unfortunately the output of their activities will remain secreted on the desks of bureaucrats in the various government departments.

The point which cannot be easily proven but is known  in some quarters has to do with the modus operandi of some local leading wholesalers/importers. Many source cheap goods or goods at a cheap price in the USA and forward to companies in the USA for onward shipping to Barbados.  Guess who owns the companies in the USA forwarding the good? Guess if the accuracy of the information listed on import documents which are inspected by local Customs Officers are truly accurate?

The practice of mamaguying Barbados when it comes to food prices has been occurring for many years. BU has been told some of our technocrats at the Central Bank are aware of the practice of invoice manipulation. Who will be so bold as to challenge the elite in Barbados by confronting them with their own unethical and dishonest behaviour? Of course rising pricing are greatly influenced by what happens in the global commodities market but it does not mean we have to add to the final price because of inefficiency in customs, excessive port of authority handling charges, manipulation of invoicing of goods and other corrupt practices.

Disappointing has been BU’s experience investigating this matter, the silence by those who understand what has been occurring over the years has been deafening. Nobody wants to confront our respectable Captains of Industry who are all satisfied to pay $625.00 to be members of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and get the chance of blaming small players who operate on the outside of this elite organization.

BU invites Barbadians who have the time to submit a list of prices of five to ten staple products consumed by the average Bajan family at a minimum of five leading supermarkets e.g. Supercentre, Emerald City, Popular, Tri-mart, Channel, Jordans. BU will update for discussion.

38 thoughts on “The Story Of Respectable Thieves Colluding To Price Gouge Bajans

  1. I spent a few days in St. Lucia recently, and took time to go through the shops checking and comparing prices, I was surprised to find that things like onions and white potatoes that were imported into both St. Lucia and Barbados were far cheaper in St. Lucia.

    My shock came when I discovered items that were manufactured in Barbados being sold cheaper in St. Lucia, for example, Pine Hill Dairy juices and over-the-counter medications made by Carlisle Laboratories at Warrens. I am a simple person and am not capable of understanding matters of this nature and would really like it explained.

  2. During December I was in Jamaica for three weeks. Food prices remain below the prices here in Barbados…but then it was always so. But to my horror when I returned and went straight to the supermarket just to buy the things that I normally get there until market time, and compared the prices with a previous bill (I pretty much buy the same thing from this particular supermarket so was able to easily compare) I found that prices had risen by a ‘toops’ below 20%. In three weeks? Did food prices go up globally since then? Did the supermarket in question put all that food on the shelves from new stocks of hiked prices out of Europe (I do not buy US products!).
    VAT had gone up and so food prices but VAT was not included in the price of the goods – it was added at the cashier – so someting wrong wid ‘dis scenario I would say. Where did this hike come from and was it genuine or was this a case of ‘thieves in the night’ ensuring the opportunity to put a likkle more on products not pass them by because we the consumers are dumb and just shop at supermarkets to be seen and to chat with friends, therefore, do not pay attention to our purchases and their prices? Hmmmm…..

    Now today I saw a Shaddock in the vegetable section and having not seen a good large Shaddock like that in years, and knowing I wanted to include same in my book Barbados Bu’n-Bu’n that I am writing…I proceeded to the counter feeling smart about my local purchase only to be shocked to find I had to pay BDS$13 odd for same! Now this is a local fruit but at BDS$3.74 a kilo I thought that a little expensive. But I needed it for a photo shoot so paid. But I did wonder how much the ‘farmer’ who brought that in got? When I peeped in the ‘receiving’ door, I saw a lot of produce that had just arrived, all neatly bagged, and it looked local but have not been able to ascertain who supplies local produce to this particular supermarket to get an idea as to their mark-up on these items. Perhaps in the interest of ‘transparency’ it would be interesting for supermarkets across the island to let us the consumer know what their mark-up is on local produce.

    Perhaps their mark-up is low on local produce and the farmer is rightly enjoying the benefits of having grown the crop, therefore, the need to put a huge mark-up on imported foods…me ent know how dem do their ting…but if the farmer not making ends meet, I would be vex in such a scenario all round.

    Now, in complaining about the price of the shaddock, I will admit to the following: I have no problem with paying a higher price for food as long as it is good food. For instance I pay a tad more for organic chicken (delivered to my door) and I mean a tad more, maybe $1 to $2 a chicken but…they are ‘clean’ (I am told by processors here they do not use hormones/antibiotics but do they know what exactly is in the feed? and how come my organic chickens take longer to become the right size for sale than the ones that come from processors….Hmmm.) and let me tell you the pleasure I get out of paying a farmer with my hard-earned money instead of a grocery that digs out me eye with crap, is phenomenal. Orgasmic even.

    Food security is a very necessary part of what is required here in Barbados, indeed in the Caribbean. I am of the belief that we can feed ourselves better through a good system of exchange of foods within the region. But… I am definitely a proponent that while our governments are talking, we should be acting. So meanwhile go to the markets across the island, buy from hucksters, ensure your purchases are from our soil, or Caribbean soil, and remember that the more you do not shop in supermarkets, is the more you send out the message that enough is enough. Perhaps then we shall see a decent mark-up, and even a better buying policy in terms of good foods versus bad foods. It is up to us the consumer.

    If we continue to just accept whatever is given to us, and then complain on blogs or to each other…how many times do I hear right there in the supermarket “I cannot believe these prices, can you?”….”my goodness what will do soon.”…. but yet there you are, Madame and Sir Consumer filling up your baskets with everything possible and again enjoying the ‘supermarket friendship and bonding mostly based on “see what I have in my trolley” for this means I am now one to be counted in the society. I guess this kind of ‘feel good’ does not happen in an ordinary market where one is purchasing from people who toil day and night to ensure they can make a living eh? Well again…if you would, Ladies and Gentlemen Consumers, change your mind-set, you will find it as I do, totally exhilarating. Love walking out of the market with bagfuls of local produce. Makes me proud as hell!!!! Makes me fall in love with life. Gives me a youthful look upon my face and all those wrinkles caused by knowing me eye getting dug out in supermarkets, disappears. And if on occasion it gets dug out in the market (because that can happen) I still feel good because I know that person I bought from is a farmer, not a tief, but a hard-working farmer….!!! I only buy from farmers there…they have the best offerings and the best prices!! This goes for the fishermen too…fresh fish from the market is a delight.

    We, the consumers are the ones to speak by action. We really should not need to have government account or look into pricing… they might be busy doing other things for our good…hopefully like working towards stopping the importation of foods that are unhealthy for us (easily done by the way!) and using that money to subsidize farmers with equipment…(no seeds, fertilizer or pesticides from Monsanto please!) and good, clean information re good clean practices that will not only help the soil of our island but reduce their and the people’s health bills too! Simple as dat.

    I will never say do not enter into a supermarket. Because there are things that one might require from there. I know I do. But I do urge people to do the local thing advised above, buy as much as you can this way, and then go to the supermarket – even that will show a decline in sales. It is actually up to us! So march into action. Visit your market. Feel good. Have multiple orgasmic experiences because you are doing the right thing. Reduce wrinkles. Go home happy. Feel the love.

    Sounds good eh? Try it, you might like it!!!

  3. Hi Rosemary, nicely and humorously written. Although, Hoadie seems to have rubbed off on you…

    ”Visit your market. Feel good. Have multiple orgasmic experiences because you are doing the right thing. Reduce wrinkles. Go home happy. Feel the love.

    Sounds good eh? Try it, you might like it!!!”


    Dont mean literally though of course.

    • Tony Marshall, our leading talk show moderator if we go by VOB sponsored systematic confirmed by BU’s informal poll has been articulating the view that the power is in the hands of the consumer; he is correct in theory. What happened in Egypt did not occur in a vacuum, such uprisings have to be led and agitated for.

  4. What has happened to the fruits that were to come from Dominica as promised by our late P.M in his maiden speech at the Oval? One of the main reason many local farmers are not planting large amounts of vegetables is because after preparing the field and nurturing these vegetables to ripen, up comes a wholesaler whose purchasing for a supermarket and offers you a price way below the price expected to break even and make a little profit. Most of the time you have no choice but to sell, as the supermarket will not purchase directly from you and they are but so much that can be sold to locals privately. The horror in this story is to visit the same supermarket where your produce was just sold and the price being offered to the consumer is sometimes 200% above the price you sold at. I’ve had to sell sweet potatoes already at $ 1.00 per lb, only to see the same potatoes being offered at $ 4.00 per lb. I prepared the field, nurtured the crop, which included cleaning the field while the potatoes were growing, digging those potatoes, washing and bagging, the process took about 14 to 16 weeks, to get a mere $1.00 per lb. The supermarket collects, payes to package and put on the shelves, all in a matter of hours and they are all gone within 6 hours, they were sold at $ 4.00 per lb; not fair. There must be some farmer protection. I know farmers who in disgust have ploughed the crop back into the ground.

  5. As I type I am downloading a blackberry app that can scan bar codes, I believe that if there was a bb app Tailored for bajan supermarkets that reads your bar codes in real time as your shopping and shows the DIFFERENCE in price at the leading supermarkets it would go a way in reducing the cost of living.

    I am looking for someone with the technical know how to create such an app.

  6. Stupes aparently it don’t work wid cheap phones like the curve ya need a camra with auto focus, the name of the app I tryed is scanlife barcode reader, can someone with a better phone give it a shot and tell me if it works.

  7. @The Scout…here again, why not sell in the market if you are a farmer…make your own profit. If ALL farmers did this, surely the supermarkets will cry out for your products and then you lay down the rules. 200% profit on local vegetables is a disgrace! No wonder I prefer to buy my produce in the market…however you look at it, whether the particular vendor sells it to me and I then see it at another stall cheaper, it is still better than paying for a 200% profit product. By the way what I love about the market too, is that if you made a mistake one day by purchasing from the ‘wrong’ vendor who has dug out your eye, there’s a choice of never going back there again and letting them know this too, as I do.

    I am glad that you came up with answers re the profit margins the supermarket makes as compared to your price to them. and yes! you are the one that toiled and and and….I understand the feeling, it goes here in Barbados not only in food…what I forgot to mention is that I toiled for almost four years over a book I wrote, in order to get a sale here in Barbados, I was ‘forced’ to reduce the wholesale price of same considerably but the company paid me much required cash…much to my horror they then turned around and sold it more than the usual retail price anywhere in the world…more than what I was making on same said book. They broke their word, so I broke mine and wholesaled it to who I liked and what price was convenient for me. Maybe they will never order from me again, I know sales will be slower as I am selling one by one, but I prefer not to feel cheated, thank you very much…and yes Crusoe! like Hoadie I find many things about life orgasmic, including selling my books at a price that makes me happy even if it is one orgasm at a time…and in this case slow and sweet. Loud and clear.

  8. By the way…some ideas for farmers to make nuff money:

    Snail slime cream
    £15 a jar
    When all the handlers on a Chilean snail farm realized that they had exceptionally smooth hands, they worked out the slime that the snails were secreting was responsible for their silky mitts. They began to harvest the supposedly therapeutic fluid and use it in a number of face creams that are said to help eliminate acne and fight wrinkles. As a result, a variety of unguents containing snail slime have become available – none cheap and all more attractive than the original slime.

    …and for Lowdown…here’s an extra one for you:

    Maggot cheese
    £40 per kg (approx)
    Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese made from sheep’s milk and riddled with live insect larvae. Flies are allowed to lay eggs inside the cheese, leaving thousands of white transparent maggots that are either scraped out or eaten. They are able to jump up to 15 centimetres, but believe it or not this is a good thing – casu marzu is considered to have passed the point of no return when the maggots die.

    Pure orgasmic profit all the way!

  9. I don’t care what the supermarket owners ( and yes I am looking at you david neilands and andrew bynoe) say they rip off the poor small farmers and the consumers with their pricing.Even the farmers markets like Brighton farmers market are also guilty of ripping off the consumers – their prices are sometimes just as high as the Supermarkets or even higher than the hawkers.

    The Supermarkets have also been accused of ignoring small black farmers and giving first right to small guyanese indian farmers who seem to have a monopoly on the herbs(e.g. chives,thymes etc) market as well as other products and many small bajan farmers are turned back when they try to sell their produce to Super Centre,Emeralds,Tri-mart etc.

    Perhaps government can buy their products from these farmers and have their own wholesale/retail farmers market and sell directly to the public.

  10. MashUp & Buy Back – I agree re Farmer’s Market…that is just another social gathering supermarket except outdoors. Went once. Will not return. Why must government buy farmer’s products. Why must government always have to do everything for everyone. Let government deal with the big issues…and farmers and consumers take up their own problems and solve them.

    Why can farmer’s not sell their products like many do in the markets we have already…or find an empty lot…rent it for small money…get your licence to sell, and have a Farmer’s Market Co-Operative. Keep prices low and you will sell all your produce and make all the money you need…no gouging allowed, of course!

  11. Barbados deserves to be PRICE GOUGED, any island community of 300,000 people that cannot feed itself should not wine about prices. The country needs to have government regulations, incentive etc. in place such that the majority of it’s food supplies and production is local. Prices for basic food items can be controlled if the government establishes proper regulations that govern necessary supplies to meet demands. Granted there will always be a need for imported foods, these imports should however not include the basics. Feeding a population base of 300,000 is not rocket science, however it appears it’s well above the local political mentally levels. Politicians like to blame, in this case the local supermarket entrepreneurs, for their personal inabilities to address and put measures in place to rectify the problems.

    Put the blame where the blame deserves to be.

  12. @The Scout | February 2, 2011 at 7:34 AM |

    What happened to all the fruit from Dominica that was to arrive here and lower the cost of living? Yuh ent hear dat de boat sink in de Dominican passage?

    De boat leff Dominica two and a haf years ago , set sail for Bim. It was a sunny day with blue skies and a light breeze. Dem had to go tru de Dominican passage. De seas real ruff dere and any boat dat overloaded liable to sink real quick.

    The ETA in Bim 10.00AM was de next day. So many a man was waiting with high anticipation down at de Careenage. Some ah wee had we trucks, some had dem wagons and of course de old men went and tek dem donkey carts outta de stables. De donkeys were a bit disgruntled dat dem get tek outta retirement to go back tah wuk. So it became a waiting game. All eyes were pon de horizon, trying tah see who cud spot de boat first.

    After many hours waiting in de hott sun some leff and say dem wud come back later. Some of the ones dat stayed were glad to get a push up in de line. Nightfall came and Dawn crept in. Many left and a few stragllers remained looking outta sea.

    Today eff yuh go down by de careenage yuh cud still see some people staring outta sea at de horizon, waitng fuh de Boat from Dominica.

    The problem was solved when someone checked dem email an get a message from fambily in Dominica, dat had boat sink in de Dominican passage and was raised from de sea floor just last week. It said that it was bound for Barbados and wee fruits and vegetables was now at de bottom of de ocean see see see!

  13. islandgal246
    cuh dear!!!!!!!!! Did you hear anything about the fella that was coming to open Cost-U-Less, da plane drop out de sky?

  14. Nahh scout. He must be paddling from the us in a dinghy cause he suppose to be coming again in a few months. Wasn’t that not sinckler said during the st.john by election.

  15. The Scout wrote, “I’ve had to sell sweet potatoes already at $ 1.00 per lb, only to see the same potatoes being offered at $ 4.00 per lb.”

    I will tell you the same thing I told my late father. You have to sell some of your produce directly to the public. It is hard to work in the field and then be your own vendor too but it is the only way to make a decent living farming in Barbados.

    Instead of selling to the supermarket at $1 per pound, sell to the public at $2.50 but you have to tell your customers the price in the supermarket is $4 so they know they are getting a “bargain”.

    Small farmers in Barbados will always struggle if they sell all their produce wholesale.

    A couple years ago I went to a Brand name supermarket in Barbados and see a quarter of a breadfruit for $5. which means they sold the whole breadfruit for $20.

  16. Hants
    I didn’t have to rely on farming to live, I was just doing it as a civic duty. Today I give produce from my land to my neighbours and needy people. Even then some people want to exploit me by telling me they know a friend who is in need and want me to send produce for them. I would tell them I would take the prodce if I’m given an address, none has come so far. I really just plant for my house basically but the extras are given away.

  17. Does anyone realise that in the event of a world crisis, ALL food warehouses in the island instantly become Government property?

    There must be provision in the legislation re State of Emergency.

    Although, as many here have said on another issue, with legislation, it is Parliament that has the final and urgent say.

    So, it dont matter, all that matters is… a crisis, warehouse food belong to all of us.

  18. When we are looking at price gouging we must also take a look at LIME. Do you know that we pay for 2mbps mega btyes and only get 1.75. That is the most that LIME can give. i down graded my package to see how it would be would believe it was at the same 1.75. LIME is also price gouging and we must let it be known. Anybody that has internet from LIME check it and see that you are not getting what you paid for.

  19. @just observing: “Do you know that we pay for 2mbps mega btyes and only get 1.75.

    It’s not as simple as that.

    How have you made this determination? What tool did you use to make this measurement? Over what period of time?

    On what exchange are you routed to your DSLAM? What is the brand, model and firmware version of your modem?

    With the exception of one, all my clients receive the bandwidth they are paying for over xDSL ***most*** of the time. The exception is a new client who I’m advising on how to convince LIME to fix the issue (probably a bad modem).

    It’s easy to complain without the facts.

  20. @CHRIS

    i took my modem to them to be checked and was assured that working perfectly. The day i brought it back it worked at the 2megabytes after that it went back to 1.75. There are others who tell me they are experiencing the same problem.

    You make the assinine assumption that i do not have facts.
    The modem that i am using is the modem LIME gave with the package.

    Seems you have appointed yourself spokeman for LIME, since you are tell them me and the others that are complaining on the radio programme want the service for which we pay.

  21. I think you mean this link

    I wouldn’t even say that would reliably give accurate speed test result since it still in barbados internal network. You need to at least get to some location in us where our traffic come out to get a realistic speed. If you not getting your full package internal that would suggesting either wrong modes or settings in modem. If its one of the new one well lime does all that so it not you. If it a new one it would suggest an overloaded dslam with not enough bandwidth for all users in area or some app on the computer grabbing the bandwidth

  22. @just observing: “i took my modem to them to be checked and was assured that working perfectly.

    Just because you were assured by the Company’s representatives that the device in question is “working perfectly” does not necessarily mean that the device in question is, actually, working perfectly.

    Here is a hint — people may lie to you.

    Particularly if money is to be made (by them) by doing so.

  23. A year plus and more ….and things have gotten WORSE…prices have said to have increased 30% since 2008…… can begin to fathom the hurt and suffering……….if we wanted change then…imagine now…..NAH BUSTERS……..THIS IS A ONE TERM GOVT…FA SURE…
    Sen. Benn….where is the extended BASKET OF VAT EXEMPTED GOODS….that were promised pre budget?…..IS Cost-U-less that is supposed to be coming …. follow the way of PriceSmart….opening bargains…..employing staff…only to join the bandwagon of Bajan price gouging merchants after a year ?
    No boys……..DLP is set for a square cut……..heads gine roll…
    ONE TERM ……Fellas….like no tricks in 76 slogan…

    .”fool we once shame on we……fool we twice….SHAME ON WE”..

  24. While we at it………….GASOLINE PRICES are the Swords of Damascus…..
    Imagine we paying here in BARBADOS…$0.50 per kilometer for gas ..and that is in a new 1600 cc salon vehicle…..A DOLLAR PER MILE……not to mention a gas guzzling SUV 3000 cc…..we looking at $1.50 per mile…..

  25. Corn beef lands here at $1.07 plus …..and incurs duties, vat, markup etc and put on the shelf at $5… that is poor man food. Merchants don’t care about this but target fast moving items to INCREASE price….
    We breeding trouble I say….we breeding mosquitoes and beer bottles…

  26. @Ready Done
    You can down load the app on an ipod touch and it will give you all the information on the item, and the price in the US. It will not work in a local supermarket because they don’t have WiFi (I wonder why). It works only on items imported from the US, but it is a good guide as to what you would have paid as a US shopper. Sometimes the difference is huge.

  27. It’s going to get worse! Over 50% of the US is under severe drought conditions and that means that corn, a part of almost every processed item, will be soaring in price, along with soya. Brace yourselves!

  28. @ Peltdownman | August 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM |
    “It’s going to get worse! Over 50% of the US is under severe drought conditions and that means that corn, a part of almost every processed item, will be soaring in price, along with soya. ”

    This situation has already been drawn to the attention of the Government and Bajans. So what are they doing about it to prepare for the coming food shortage and high imported prices? Zilch! Nada! Rien! Only James Paul in is usual tempered outbursts with no follow up or action.
    As Senator Chandler pointed out it would take a good “share’ of starvation to bring us to a state of reality.
    SOS to Brudah Bim and Rosemary Parkinson. The time has finally come to make your contributions materialize in meaningful ways.

  29. Take a look at the Google Earth image of Barbados and see just how little arable land is left. But so what – food security? Nothing will be done. The rum industry under severe threat from subsidised rum from the USVI. Will we lose the WI Rum Distillery? Who Cares? Nothing will be done. We are a “do nothing” country.

  30. In many places where cost of living is high, food is reasonable. Where not all food, the most used or specific to that country. Barbados seems to be different. People have to eat. No choice.

    we would be surprised at the amount of ministries/agencies/corporations that have busted budgets and can’t do what they are mandated to do for the overall betterment of the country and its constituents. Fool me once…..fool me twice….

    The original Observing (not just observing, whoever he or she may be)

  31. “I’ve had to sell sweet potatoes already at $ 1.00 per lb, only to see the same potatoes being offered at $ 4.00 per lb”

  32. What is price gouging? How do we definitively determine when price gouging occurs?
    BRo cas comments re cost of items msde in Barbados cheaper in other countries notwithstanding
    We have to come to the realisation that cost of goods would be high in Barbados because cost of services ( wages, utilities, duties, VAt to name a few) to put the goods on the market is very high. And there is a reason for that. Since the 1960’s when a country with little resources took the gigantic step to dispose of the means test in the dispensing of most social benefits and embarked on a policy of freenesses ( free education from cradle to grave, free school meals, free tenantry land and now free houses), money had to be found from somewhere to foot the bill; hence exorbitant duties on imports, the cost of which was passed on to the consumer. One good thing, the customer had the choice of shopping conspicuously in Broad street and up scale supermakletswhere the cost would obviously be higher ecause of greater overheads or opting with mauby pockets to swan stree and low end supermarkets like popular with reduced overheads. The choice was and is still ours. pricing of utility services is done by regulatory control except for water of which the Govt can be legitimately accused of price gouging when they hiked the rates by 60% in one swoop.Just a thought.

  33. What is price gouging? How do we definitively determine when price gouging occurs?
    The Bajan parlance… when they want to juck out ya eye…..highway robbery then…over charging..take your pick

  34. Peltdownman | August 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM |
    Take a look at the Google Earth image of Barbados and see just how little arable land is left. But so what – food security? Nothing will be done. The rum industry under severe threat from subsidised rum from the USVI. Will we lose the WI Rum Distillery? Who Cares? Nothing will be done. We are a “do nothing” country.
    Did not Sir Charles stated that all of the food Barbados needs could be produced under a few acres of green houses? Somebody took him at his word , hence the disposal of the land towards other non agricultural activities.
    @ Millertheanunnaki .
    As Senator Chandler pointed out it would take a good “share’ of starvation to bring us to a state of reality.
    Perhaps if this happens, the Mighty Gabby would be deemed a prophet over his recent mouthings. During the Cold War, one of the great concerns of the Western Powers,ie NATO was the fear that crops may fail in the then Soviet Union, and the T34,T-72 and BRDM tanks will be used by the Kremlin as supermarket trolleys to requisition food stuff from the sprawling farmers’ market between the Baltic and the North Sea . Hungry people are dangerous, where ever they may be.

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