Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power

Motorists are finally getting a break this Saturday, as fuel prices in St. Maarten drop following several hikes. Gasoline and diesel fuel are going down (see related story) by respectively 25.5 and 13.7 Netherlands Antillean guilder cents per litre.

That may not seem like much, but every little bit makes a difference not just for vehicle owners and operators, but society in general. Rising transportation cost drives up consumer prices, especially on an island relying heavily on products from overseas.

Reducing that vulnerability requires more local production, of – among other things – food. Freshly appointed Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Grisha Heyliger-Marten (DP) said earlier this week (as reported in Tuesday’s edition) that she would not be paying lip service to agriculture, so expectations are high in that regard.

Former minister Omar Ottley (UP) spearheaded a considerable expansion of the so-called “basket” of essential goods for which government sets maximum prices. After initial hiccups regarding coordination with distributors and retailers, the measure appears to have worked at least to some extent in keeping inflation in check.

When it comes to imports there is little else to do, since shipping rates have recently been adversely affected by external factors such as wars, pirates and climatic conditions, just to name a few. Efforts are ongoing to bring in less expensive vegetables and fruit from the region on a smaller scale, but ultimately tried and trusted main supply chains remain the supermarket sector’s proverbial bread and butter.

What people can do is be more price- and quality-conscious when they shop. Take note of specials in the newspaper and make comparisons between stores to facilitate well-informed decisions.

Remember, knowledge is power.

The Daily Herald

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