Wednesday , October 4 2023

Opinion: High cost of Living

Dear Editor,

During election time the discussions often become heated. Focus is often diverted to side issues from the main challenges that are difficult to resolve.

There was a lot of commotion on your site about the origin of the mail published in my last letter to the editor. There seems to be a general agreement that this mail has been circulating since 2003. IT experts have confirmed that the technical information in the headers of the mail is valid. So, technically, the content is not suspicious. But has the mail been really send by W?

Some claim that the originality of the mail was already questioned in 2003. At that time it would have been very easy for W to prove that the mail did not originate from his computer by having his computer checked by the authorities. He did have a good motivation to do this because it surfaced in election time as well. However, for reasons unknown, W did not choose to do so. Because of this, it cannot be proven anymore that the email is a falsification. Given these facts, I have no reasons to assume that the email was not send by W.

However is this relevant? In my view, it is not. The process of deciding “who goes where with whom and who gets compensated” is a common procedure everywhere. This is nothing to get excited about. There are many different interests, so compromises cannot be avoided. Nothing wrong here. What is clear, is, that W is a real leader.

It was interesting to observe, that no remarks were made about the fishy issues. Questionable behavior seems to be acceptable by the community.

On another issue: the political programs of the two parties.

Neither party seems to have concrete proposals for solving the issues they identified. In both programs, the top issue is the high cost of living. Sabans wake up! You are living on an isolated island in the Caribbean. With 2000 souls on board this is almost a private island for all of you. And you are amazed about the high cost of living?????

Even if the ABB would be removed, the prices would only decrease a small margin: 6% means $ 0.06 on a dollar!!!! You would hardly notice that. The Unique supermarket gives 10% discount on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That is almost double the impact than a removal of the ABB would have! Yet on these days it can be observed that many people are still frequenting the other supermarkets.

Increasing salaries would immediately result in increased cost of living. There is no magic in 2015.

What could be done though, is to reduce the impact of the high cost of living for those on low salaries or pensions. This is done in Holland. It holds an increase of tax for those are well off and distribute these new funds to the poor through subsidies. This can be done in a way that is neutral for the overall budget, so Holland will not complain.

However, the solution that both parties advocate, is to force the tax payers in Holland to send more money to Saba, without the residents doing anything in return. It should be Christmas on Saba all year round!

Neither party is addressing the problems of the roaming goats. The WIPM government is reducing the problem temporarily by having some of the goats shot, but refuses to work on a final solution, although this is of course very straight forward. The SLP does not want to touch this issue. No change here!

Neither party has proposals for making the dualistic system efficient (See my letter to the editor on this subject). This is the basis of our democratic system. From my perspective, this should be a key issue in this election. Change is needed, but the party that supports “Change” does not seem to have better ideas to effect this than the sitting government.

So on March 18, do you go for “The Devil you know” or for “The Devil you don’t know yet”?

The choice is yours.

Kees Jansen

Opinion: Solar Power for Saba is not the obvious solution
Opinion: Party strategies: how does it work inside?


  1. Mr. Jansen,

    “IT experts have confirmed that the technical information in the headers of the mail is valid. So, technically, the content is not suspicious.” What IT experts may I ask?
    Anyone can copy and paste the headers from an email, and change them, and have it look valid. An IT expert could only validate the email by going to the source computer or retrace it from the receiving computer. And as you stated above, this was not done.
    Perhaps, this was not done because we did not have the technology or experts available on hand on Saba. I don’t know the reasons, but if it is important, you can ask W yourself.

    People are not questioning or complaining about its fishy content, because it was fabricated.

    In regards to the high cost of living, you are right, we are a small island and therefore will have a high cost of living. We also should not think that taxes will be stopped or lowered. If you want certain services, such as better education, health care, etc, the money will need to come from somewhere. Holland (meaning mainland Holland) has its own trouble, and we should not expect to get a free ride.

    In transitions, things often get more difficult before they get any better. And transitions take time, its a work in process. Sometimes we have to help ourselves, and stop expecting others to help us.

    You mentioned that more shoppers go to other stores and not to Unique Supermarket on the days they have 10%. However, you may not have noticed that prices tend to be higher at that store than the others. I’m not trying to bash that store, perhaps there’s reasons for the prices. Perhaps, a comparison should be done by the Economics Dept and the question of why some prices are higher could be asked. Although, pricing I believe is at the store’s discretion and ultimately shopping is at the consumers’.

  2. Uniques prices so much higher than the other stores so the 10% don’t mean nothing. Her fresh product is mush better there but everything else usually dollars more so why woulds we shop there even with a discount

  3. It is well known by everyone that each supermarket has different costs for the same product. Shops all over the world do this with the view that if you do a whole shop in one place some items will be way overpriced and you don’t even realise it. Is it really a hardship to walk 20 yards to a different shop.

    In defense of Unique it is untrue that her prices are “dollars more” and Big Rock are just as guilty of sneaking in high priced items which you assume should be more or less the same island wide.

    Jumbo eggs – Big Rock $5.75 doz – Unique $3.70 doz
    An identical boxed orange juice – Big Rock $4.70 – Unique $2.80

    There are examples on all the supermarkets bumping up certain products, but you have to shop around and it’s a case of swings and roundabouts and know what the items you regularly buy cost – it’s not rocket science.