A new generation of leaders focuses on forces driving unreasonable increases in the cost of living
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Mr. Oliver Junior Williams, the candidate running on The United St. Maarten Party (US Party) slate in the upcoming election, today shared his views on lax enforcement of price controls in the island’s supermarkets. Mr. Williams rebuked the current government for its rampant ignorance of price controls in the supermarkets. Prices have spiraled out of control, and, in Mr. William’s view, not enough is being done about the problem.
Mr. Williams urged government inspectors to get out and do their work more thoroughly—executing the tasks they have been assigned to do and start implementing price controls that are currently nonexistent, in his view. Mr. Williams believes that supermarket prices are a key to addressing some of the serious imbalances that exist between the “haves” and “have nots” on the island, a situation that is resulting in children going to school hungry and other unacceptable conditions.
Williams’s insights into the supermarket pricing issue resonated with the US leader Mrs Pamela Gordon-Carty, who served as Sint Maarten’s Minister of Health, Social Development and Labor from 2019-2020. Gordon-Carty has observed, along with almost anyone who shops on the island, that the prices of items in supermarkets have increased drastically over the last years. She made the important point that some price inflation is inevitable, and that it is natural for prices to rise over time. The change in supplier and their prices also plays a major role too. However, in her view, there is a difference between normal market conditions and deliberate gouging of consumers by greedy merchants. A product that is there on the shelve from a prior inventory at a particular price can’t just change of price the next day while it not being from a different stock from which the price is different.
“I applaud Mr. Williams for his alertness to a serious issue on Sint Maarten,” said Gordon-Carty. Mr Williams said “We’re seeing prices go up every week, or even day by day. For example, I went to one supermarket in search of a specific hair product. I recalled paying about fls. 9 previously. So, I was shocked to see when I went into the market, they had it at fls. 17+. I decided to leave and go to another store. In the second store, they had the same hair product for fls. 9.90. Of course, I purchased it at the second store. It was a real eye opener, though, that the price was almost double, and the stores were about 100 yards apart—in the same district.”
Another time, Mr Williams went to the supermarket in search of garbage bags. The ones displayed at the front of the store were priced at fls. 22.50, but the one right behind it was priced at fls. 23.40. he said, “Now about 1 guilder may seem small, but it adds up. I recall when I was growing up, there was an economic affairs department in the government tasked with going to businesses on Sint Maarten to make sure their prices were within the ranges set forth by government. Now, of course this is not an easy task but not impossible as there is many legs to the execution hereof. It takes inspectors with knowledge, dignity and principle to execute existing laws while it is also necessary for us to ammend those same laws to have better control and maybe sot with the all stakeholders to reach to a more balanced remedy for this sifuation.. I do believe it would be a big benefit to the people of Sint Maarten.”
“With the amount of money rolling on Sint Maarten, how is it possible that this is still happening right in front of our faces, don’t we as a people have compassion no more? Have we lost all sense of humanity, what is truly going on in Country Sint Maarten” asked Gordon-Carty. “I consider this as one of the most pressing issue we face today, that deserves the government attention” said the leader of the US party that stands in full solidarity with this young candidate Mr Oliver Williams that will be running on the US slate this coming election.