photo: Esther Henry

ORANJESTAD – “The prices did go up! It’s unreasonable for such a large jump”, says a pensioner shopper at the Duggin’s Supermarket in St.Eustatius. “It’s understandable due to the difficulty of getting the supplies right after the hurricane, however local government should really invest in farming. Vegetables and fruits are expensive, but we should grow it here in Statia.”

The annual price increase was 1.8 percent on St. Eustatius (Statia). In 2017, the average price level for consumers on St. Eustatius was 1.9 percent up on the previous year, the Central Statistics Bureau Netherlands (CBS) reports.

On average, prices of food rose less rapidly in the past quarter. Potato and egg prices, in particular, became much more expensive compared to one year previously, CBS reports. Eggs are priced at $4.25 for a jumbo 12 at Duggins. However, it is expected to decrease to $2.95 – $3.00 soon.

On St. Eustatius, households paid 1.8 percent more for goods and services in October, November and December 2017 (Q4). Unlike on Saba, prices on St. Eustatius were higher throughout 2017 compared to 2016: up by as much as 2.1 percent in July, August and September (Q3).

Transportation difficulties
Duggins is the biggest local supermarket. Persons flocked after hurricane Irma due to the intensity of the storm, so this supermarket faced a challenge of restocking food items due to the threat of the second hurricane, Maria.

A management employee at Duggins states, “After hurricane Irma, we had a problem with restocking certain items such as flour and sugar, since we were waiting on the container from Miami.”

“After the hurricane, it was devastating!”, adds a cashier at Duggins. “There was no stock on the shelves and people were complaining. Due to St. Maarten’s destroyed harbour there were no supplies.”

Eva Vaders, a shopper at Duggins says, “I used live on Saba but migrated to St.Eustatius. But, Statia prices are less expensive than in Saba.”

No loss
Lady Ama’s, the smallest supermarket on the island faces no challenges after the hurricane. The owner of the store said, “After hurricane Irma, there was no financial loss. Persons did their hurricane shopping before and called me a day after the hurricane to open back up for more shopping.”