Member of Parliament George Pantophlet hopes that the prices in the different establishments such as Supermarkets and hardware stores are being closely monitored.
It is no secret that the prices in some if not most of these businesses are dramatically increased during the hurricane season. This places an additional burden on the people of St. Maarten. It is the responsibility of the Minister of Economic Affairs, specifically the department of Economic Control to make sure that if a hurricane is imminent these prices are frozen and not allowed to be increased before or after the passage of a hurricane. What is also critical is the list of 12 items that should be controlled in all districts on the Dutch side of the island not only in the major supermarkets. The major supermarkets that are being used do not reflect a true picture of prices everywhere. He will be sending a letter to the Minister of Economic Affairs requesting a report on these items and the areas that were controlled and when they were last published in the media. The Member of Parliament says he is looking forward to receiving the list from the Department of the list of 12 items which has to be presented to the different supermarkets. What must not be neglected either is the control on perishable items. These controls are important to safeguard or protect the people of St. Maarten against price gauging. The Member of Parliament also must comment on the matter of wages, minimum wage and the indexing thereof to compensate for the increase in the cost of living. Increasing the minimum wage and the indexing has to be supported by strict controls and adherence to the price list established by government in order to benefit the wage earners. On a another issue He also said that it would be negligent on his part not to question the logic of government allowing the increase in gasoline prices to facilitate the sale of the wholesaler’s current stock, which were acquired when the oil prices were higher that they are currently? If this is the case then the Department of Economic Affairs will have to present the Member of Parliament with proof of the purchase and sale of gasoline from January 2011 to present. Also what was paid for the gasoline in Trinidad and what was the final price when it arrived on the island? What the Member of Parliament is vehemently pursuing is the reducing the cost of living on the people of St. Maarten.