MP Lake calls on Government to look into cost of living and food price build-up of supermarkets

United People’s (UP) Party Member of Parliament (MP) Maurice Lake says it is high time Government sits down with supermarkets and distributors of food products in the country to get a grasp on why consumer prices on the Dutch side are so high compared to the French side.
“The cost of living on St. Maarten is trying for so many people. We have to start looking at the items that cost our people the most money and food is high on the list. Yes, the Economic Affairs and Inspection Department needs to carry out price control inspections, but it is time for government to looks pass the price of the items on the shelves and look at the way the prices are built up,” UP MP Lake said on Monday.
The MP added that for too long supermarkets and distributors have claimed that the price of shipping to St. Maarten is too high and that the population is too small for them to buy food and food products at competitive prices to ship to the island.
“Government needs to have an independent study carried out with respect to the costs of shipping food products to the island.  Faced with the prices offered by French side supermarket Super U,  I anticipate that one of the first things supermarkets and distributors will say is that Super U is part of a huge chain of supermarkets and can get better prices. I am sure if there is closer inspection of the Dutch side supermarket prices there will be room for price reductions,” UP MP Lake pointed out.
The MP would like government to find out how Super U can offer rock bottom prices to shoppers. “They ship via of our port and they are stocking their shelves with products made in Europe and not from the United States like the majority of our Dutch side supermarkets,” said MP Lake.
“I also don’t understand how Curacao which has to pay import duties, and the Supermarket market prices on that island are less than our Dutch side Supermarket prices.  We cannot sit by and just listen to one side saying this and that in order to justify the high cost of living that our people are experiencing.  We just cannot!
“I went to Super U with my Mom over the weekend to check the prices and atmosphere. My mom shopped and left with two big bags of goods for only US $62.91. Super U was like a home coming, because a lot of Dutch side people were shopping there. I had discussions with them about prices. Many shoppers wished the Dutch side had a Super U type of supermarket,” the MP added.
“I like the variety in goods, products, and fresh vegetables, the customer service and environmental friendliness of Super U. They don’t provide plastic shopping bags just like some of our Dutch side supermarkets do.
“The daily necessity products such as rice, milk, toothpaste and chicken are at great prices for the consumers to buy more for their family.
“Super U is a plus for the community and hopefully competitor supermarkets will reduce their prices. This way more buying power is given to the people.
“As Government, we need to address the cost of living for the people and that starts with looking at the price build up and price points used by Dutch side Supermarkets,” UP MP Maurice Lake concluded.