Saltfish – At more than $500 per pound, we might have to rethink this key ingredient of Jamaica’s national dish. The price of saltfish has more than doubled in just three years putting it out of the reach of many consumers. Good thing we are a resourceful people. Red herring and pickled mackerel will have to step up to their new duties.
Chicken – Chicken is now a luxury item in supermarket freezers. Prices range from a low of $900 to a high of $1500 for a whole chicken. In fact, many supermarkets now sell more ‘parts’ and ‘back’ to meet the demands and meager pockets of shoppers. This hasn’t affected people's tastes for KFC though, judging by the weekend crowds.
Movie tickets – It now costs $1000 to see a movie in Jamaica. While this is comparable and in some cases more affordable than many other countries, it is still a high price for low to middle income Jamaicans. The costs add up as one usually doesn’t go to see a movie alone; plus how can you enjoy a movie if you’re not munching on expensive popcorn. Sorry Palace Amusement. I still have to pay for cable so I might as well enjoy it.
Ripe banana – There was much backlash when Jamaica Producers tried to raise its prices early this year but somehow they have managed to get around it. Still fruits in general have been a novelty item for some time unless you are blessed with a big tree in your backyard. Yes, it costs a lot to get your daily dose of potassium and other vitamins, and sadly some Jamaicans have no choice but to do without.
Electricity – It’s a sad fact that we’re paying a lot more for electricity than many of our trade partners. But what’s even worse is when energy conservation measures result in little or no change to the high light bills.
Bank account – In the past five years, changes in the banking sector have put the customer on the losing side. You now pay more for transactions done inside the bank than at the ATM. And while nearly all of Jamaica’s commercial banks have increased the fees for regular transactions, they’ve also made changes to their policies requiring a minimum balance of $50-100K to qualify for interest payments. That means that ordinary Jamaicans who can barely afford to save are even less likely to qualify for interest on their bank balance.