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Soualiga News II (3568)

Consumer prices Caribbean Netherlands continue to fall in Q3

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In Q3 2020, consumer goods and services on Bonaire were 4.8 percent cheaper than one year previously. Prices also decreased on St Eustatius and Saba, by 3.3 percent and 1.6 percent year-on-year respectively. For all three islands, these were the largest price decreases measured since Statistics Netherlands (CBS) introduced these price indices in 2011. This is reported by CBS on the basis of the consumer price index for the Caribbean Netherlands.

The recent price decreases are partly attributable to the allowances for electricity, drinking water and internet, which have been provided by the government as of 1 May 2020. As a result, the fixed usage tariffs for electricity and drinking water amount to 0 US dollars, and fixed internet subscribers receive a monthly discount of 25 US dollars. In Q3, the subsidies had an effect on all three months, while in Q2 this only applied to May and June. The full effect of the subsidies is therefore only visible in the third quarter.

Electricity prices on Bonaire down by one-third

On Bonaire, the average price level declined by 4.8 percent relative to Q3 2019. As a result of the government measures in May 2020, prices for water, electricity and telecommunications continued to drop. Relative to Q3 2019, water was more than 27.4 percent cheaper, while prices for electricity and telecommunications were down by 33.1 and 18.7 percent respectively.

Fuel prices declined as well: petrol was 17.2 percent and diesel 33.9 percent cheaper than in Q3 2019. Relative to Q2 2020, the price of petrol dropped by 21.8 percent and the price of diesel by 37.8 percent.

Prices on St Eustatius more than 3 percent lower

In Q3 2020, consumer prices on St Eustatius were 3.3 percent lower year-on-year. The government measures of 1 May caused telecommunications and electricity prices to decline further. Compared to Q3 2019, electricity was 27.9 percent and telecommunications 18.1 percent cheaper. The price of electricity was 21.9 percent down on the second quarter of 2020, due to a reduction in the variable tariff.

Electricity on Saba almost half the price

In Q3 2020, consumers on Saba paid on average 1.6 percent less for goods and services relative to one year previously. Here, too, the government measures of 1 May caused electricity and telecommunications prices to drop further in Q3. Electricity was 46.9 percent and telecommunications 12.2 percent cheaper than in Q3 2019. Relative to Q2 2020, the price of electricity was down by 33.6 percent, due to a variable tariff reduction on this island as well.

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on compiling the consumer price index (CPI)

Bonaire was in a soft lockdown from 21 to 30 September 2020, which impacted in-store price observation on this island: prices for some products could not be observed. This was not the case on St Eustatius and Saba. However, due to the government measures, some products and services on both islands were limited or unavailable in Q3 2020. CBS chose an appropriate estimation method for these products. This memo explains the decisions that were made.

Provisional figures

Figures referring to Q3 2020 are provisional and will become definitive upon publication of the figures over Q4 2020.


A Papiamentu translation of this news release can be obtained from Statistics Netherlands’ office on Bonaire by sending a request via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


StatLine: Caribbean Netherlands; consumer price index


Internet consultation closes on Nov.18. Proposal to amend the Act Electricity and Drinking Water BES is open

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - On Wednesday the 21st of October, the proposal to amend the Electricity and Drinking Water (BES) will be open for consultation.

In the summer of 2019, the proposed amendments were already consulted extensively. With the outcomes of the first consultation round, the proposal has been modified. Only the part of the proposal that concerns the Act Electricity and Drinking Water BES, will be up for consultation in this round.

The aim is to secure a reliable, sustainable and stable supply of drinking water that is affordable and hence accessible to everyone.

The proposed provisions also contribute to improving the implementation of the Act.

The internet consultation round will start on Wednesday the 21st of October and will close for comments on the 18th of November.

In the following link you can find the proposed amendment of the Act and the possibility the send comments:

(RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


‘We are not infallible,’ king says in video statement about Greek holiday

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – King Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima have issued a two-minute video in which they speak of their regrets about going on holiday to Greece last week.

The king, Maxima and their youngest daughter returned home from their Greek holiday home after less than a day following a public outcry in the Netherlands about the trip. The two older girls returned on Tuesday evening.

‘It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us,’ the king said. ‘Even though the trip was in line with the regulations, it was very unwise not to take into account the impact of the new restrictions on our society.’

The royals’ holiday home is in a code yellow zone but last week prime minister Mark Rutte had urged everyone to minimise travelling, as part of a new package of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The king did not mention the decision to allow the two older girls to return home several days later. According to the state information service RVD, there were no seats left of the plane to bring them back on Saturday with the rest of the family.

‘From the start of the coronavirus crisis, we have done our best… to be there as much as possible for everyone who is looking for support in uncertain times,’ the king said.

‘It is a difficult time for everyone…we have heard the poignant stories in many meetings with you, in person and digitally. We feel connected with you and with all those people who have been directly or indirectly affected.’

The message, recorded at the family home in The Hague, concluded with the king stating: ‘We are part of this. But we are not infallible.’ Prime minister Mark Rutte earlier accepted full responsibility for the trip, saying he had made an error of judgement.



Dutch CBS starts Student Survey 2020 in November

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In the month of November Statistics Netherlands (CBS) will be conducting a Student Survey on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius regarding the lives of young people in the Caribbean Netherlands. CBS carries out this study in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).

This study sets out to collect information on aspects of young people’s lives such as their home situation, how happy and healthy they are and what they would like to do after their graduation. The information produced by this research can be used to develop youth policies on these islands.

This study is being conducted in association with secondary schools and senior secondary vocational colleges on the islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. CBS is inviting all pupils and students up to the age of 17 (on the reference date of 30 September 2020) at these schools to contribute to the study, in order to get an accurate understanding of what life is like as a young person in the Caribbean Netherlands. Participation is thus very important. 

CBS will handle all data carefully and confidentially as this is an obligation that is stipulated in the law. Personal data will not be linked to the given answers.

Parents of young people will be further informed about this research in the week of 20 October by means of a letter from CBS. Parents of children under the age of 16 can contact CBS if they do not wish to grant permission to take part in this study, by calling the office of CBS during office hours on +599 717 8676. They can also send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. CBS would like to thank all parents and pupils in advance for their cooperation and participation in this study.


Community Reminded to remain Proactive in Removing Mosquito Breeding Habitats after Rainfall events

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Over the weekend there was substantial rainfall, and the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is reminding the community to remain proactive in removing mosquito breeding habitats in and around your yard or place of business.

Source reduction is the key to decreasing the mosquito population.

A bite by an infectious Aedes aegypti mosquito, spreads diseases such as Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and Malaria, and therefore it is crucial for every household to prevent its breeding.

Breeding sites are places where water can settle especially after rainfall events. Places where water could settle include: tin cans, old tires, empty paint cans, buckets, old saucers, flowerpots, cemetery urns/vases, old pet dishes, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.

Every household and business must do their part to eliminate Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites.

Once again, it is very important to check around your yard and place of business to make sure there is no standing water after a rainfall event.

Contact the Vector Control Team at (721) 542- 1122 / (721) 542- 1222 / (721) 542- 1322 / (721) 542- 1540 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to report a mosquito nuisance or to request assistance.


Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer?

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – That was the theme for World Hypertension Day that was observed over the weekend on Saturday, October 17 under the banner: “Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!”

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death from cardiovascular disease, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, calls on the public to be knowledgeable about their blood pressure number as this could be an early warning signal. Persons should have their blood pressure measured twice a year.

Persons with high blood pressure issues should have this checked on a regular basis by visiting their physician. Other measures that can be taken to reduce risks are: reduce alcohol consumption; do not smoke; eat more fruits and vegetables; reduce stress; be more physically active; reduce ones consumption of foods high in sugar, fats and salt; By taking these measures you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

The Caribbean Region has the highest prevalence (23.1%) of high blood pressure in the Region of the Americas as noted in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 2019 report on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) “NCDs at a Glance: NCD Mortality and Risk Factor Prevalence in the Americas.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) “Hypertension or high blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high.”

AHA: “It is often called the silent killer as most people have no symptoms until after damage has been done to organs like your heart, blood vessels and kidney.”

Sometimes the first-time persons are diagnosed with hypertension is after they are admitted to hospital for a stroke.

As Sint Maarten is still dealing with COVID-19, CPS would like to remind the public that persons with hypertension are at a higher risk for severe illness and death due to COVID-19 infection.

Therefore, it is important that everyone remains vigilant and take the necessary precautionary measures for COVID-19 including protecting those who are more susceptible to infection.  


Rutte admits ‘error of judgment’ in not preventing royals’ holiday in Greece

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Prime minister Mark Rutte has said he made an ‘error of judgment’ in not preventing the royal family’s much-criticised autumn trip to Greece.

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and their three daughters flew back from their Peloponnesian holiday home on Saturday, less than a day after leaving on a government jet.

The holiday was widely condemned in parliament and on social media as it came a few days after Rutte announced a ‘partial lockdown’ to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections and urged people to avoid non-essential travel.

In a letter to MPs, Rutte said he took full ministerial responsibility for the king’s decision, in keeping with protocol, and regretted not intervening sooner.

He wrote: ‘I realised too late, especially after the press conference of Tuesday, October 12, that the planned holiday, which complied with the regulations, could no longer be squared with the rising infections and more stringent measures.’

The prime minister added that he had not informed health minister Hugo de Jonge of the royal couple’s holiday. De Jonge was caught off guard by questions about the trip at last Friday’s weekly press conference, when he stood in for Rutte.

In a statement released at the weekend, the king and queen said they had cut short their holiday in response to public criticism.

‘We don’t want there to be any doubt: it is crucial to follow the guidelines in order to get Covid-19 under control and discussion about our holiday is not contributing to that,’ they wrote.




SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Despite the drop in COVID-19 cases, the situation on St. Eustatius remains a concern. The Public Entity of St. Eustatius will therefore, prolong certain measures and also implement additional measures in connection with the latest developments related to COVID-19. The measures will be in effect for 14 days. The additional measures are necessary to prevent potential further spreading of COVID-19 and to allow the Public Health Department to conduct thorough and extensive contact tracing and sourcing. The two weeks will also be used to analyze the COVID-19 virus situation on St. Eustatius.

Bars, restaurants and casino’s must be closed for the upcoming 2 weeks. Take out and/or curb side delivery from restaurants is possible. Schools can reopen their doors again with the strong advice to practice all the COVID19 health guidelines to wash hands thoroughly and frequently, to wear facemasks, to adhere to social distancing of 1.5 meters and follow other hygiene measures.

Schools have been closed for a total of 4 weeks; three weeks due to the COVID 19 developments and 1 week due to the October school break.

“Education stakeholders and the Public Entity agree that children are missing out much needed social interaction that the school environment offers. It is also important that after such a long period of distance learning that students return to school where they can benefit more from the face-to-face teacher student interaction”, states Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij.

Schools, Day care Centers and Out of School organizations have all their protocols in place. These will be communicated with parents in the coming days.

The maximum number of persons allowed at social gatherings remains at 15. This measure applies to all types of gatherings and events. This includes gatherings within families, churches etc. which take place both outdoors and indoors.

Shops and supermarkets will remain open, however, the number of persons that can enter the supermarket is limited: maximum 15 for large supermarkets and maximum 10 for small supermarkets and other shops, excluding staff. The social distance of 1.5 and the other hygiene measures are applicable. Loitering outside is prohibited.

Island Council Elections

On the day of the Island Council Elections, Wednesday October 21st 2020, the maximum number of 15 persons at the polling stations is not applicable. This exception only counts for the two (2) voting bureaus during election day. Persons present at the polling stations must at all times keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from the nearest person and must adhere to the standard international hygiene regulations for cleaning and sanitizing.

It is highly recommended that one wear a protective face mask upon entering the voting bureau. Employers are impressed upon to allow their employees to vote during working hours. This is to prevent a rush to the polls after most businesses close at 6.00 pm.

The exemption with regards to the maximum number of 15 persons is also valid for the day and the location of the official elections results on October the

23rd 2020 as well as on the day and at the location of the installing of the Island Council members, on October 29th 2020.

COVID- Drive Thru

The Public Health Department will introduce a COVID Drive-Thru at the van Tonningenweg. This enables the Public Health Department to actively investigate if the virus is spread and if yes, how far the virus is spread on the island.

Thus far tests were only taken from patients at home, in quarantine or at the hospital. In order to have a better view how the virus is developing on the island, the Public Health Department will take as many tests as possible with as little exposure of residents and medical state as possible.  More details of the process of the Drive-Thru will be shared tomorrow, Friday October 16th at 10 am on the radio, during a special edition of Shedding Light, and on Facebook. (Statia GIS)


Business Aviation, Women and the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY - By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - CARIBAVIA has announced that it will hold its annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference in June 2021 on St.Maarten. It is not that a Caribbean conference is just for the stakeholders in the region. On the contrary. A Canadian company is involved in infrastructure improvements at several international airports in the region. French and Canadian companies are providing radar and electronic safety systems. The aircraft that are needed to provide airlift in the region are built in North- and South-America as well as in Europe. The largest executive ground handling provider present in the region is an Anglo/American company.

When acquainted with the economy dynamics and the culture of the region, there are definitely opportunities for foreign investment in the region that could be explored and especially in the high-end segment of both aviation and travel industry. It is not wise to judge the region by statistics for “Latin America AND the Caribbean”. The Caribbean has to be seen as a sub-region of its own. Depending on the selected island or territory, there may be a variety of opportunities. That applies to industrial, commercial and private investment occasions as well.

After Europe, the Caribbean is the second-most popular getaway for the wealthiest six percent of all travelers in North America. These are private aviation clients. The region needs to increase this number. On the other side, providers abroad need to reach out and help the region to accommodate this clientele and encourage the growth. If both find each other and cooperate, it will be a win-win situation.

Every passenger arriving on a private aircraft, is a potential investor in the region.

In 2021, special attention at the conference will be given to female aviation and travel professionals. Equality in the industry deserves extraordinary consideration. The industry has brilliant female experts that are outstanding performers. CARIBAVIA intends to highlight these specialists by letting them take the stage and make a presentation for the companies that they work for, or for their own independent activities.

In a spontaneous response from one of the ‘Ladies in Aviation’ who were approached regarding the formatting of the conference, she expressed, “I say go super radical and let us girls take the lead in chairing all the sessions that you do. Plan around our expertise. Any of us who are journalists (or ex journalists) can pretty much research ahead and chair a panel as that is in our DNA. You have pilots, expert marketers and amazing women who run FBOs included in this list. That way if there is another woman or two on the panels so be it. Visibility is key. Even go super-super radical and have all the chairs be women of color, preferably local and get the rest of us to speak across your panels. We have good stuff to say and to offer.”

The conference may not be created quite as super-radical as is called for. CARIBAVIA tends to be a trend setting initiative where it is recognized that many Executive Assistants who are relied upon by executives are female, and often their discrete advice behind the scenes is followed. Woman are very often the frontline workers in the aviation, travel and tourism industries who make things happen. Empowered women are enthusiastic, mindful, purposeful, optimistic, willful, encouraging, respectful, enlightened and dedicated. They have the needed typical characteristics in dealing with matters varying from customer services to management: sensitivity, assertiveness, care, empathy, passion, faith, adaptability, courage, and they have the ability of multi-tasking.

The 2021 CARIBAVIA conference will be unique because of giving special attention to the combination of private and business aviation, courting a high-end clientele, and highlighting the outstanding performance of women. CARIBAVIA is a serious communication platform for aviation and travel professionals that is held in the exotic tropical setting of the Caribbean. For the Caribbean, airlift to the various island destinations is crucial. A relaxing atmosphere just makes it easier for people to communicate. That is why this is the ideal location to discuss all issues around aviation, travel and airlift. To reach the attractive island destinations, flight connections and aircraft charter services are important; airport, FBO, maintenance, fuel supply and other aviation related services are essential.

Some participants may even want to spend an extra weekend in the Caribbean. CARIBAVIA will take place June 15-17, 2021 on St.Maarten, the Friendly Island.

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venue simpson bay resort

Conference venue. 


Saba Lions Club marks 10-years of Meals on Wheels

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - October 16, 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of World Food Day and aims to raise awareness on the issues behind poverty and hunger. 2020 also marks the 10th Anniversary of the Meals on Wheels program of the Saba Lions Club.

The COVID-19 global health crisis is a time to reflect on things that we truly cherish. These uncertain times has made the Saba Lions Club even more aware that we must appreciate the one thing that some take for granted: food.

Food is the essence of life and preserving access to safe and nutritious food -especially for the vulnerable citizens of Saba- is an essential part of one of the core projects of the Saba Lions Club. The Meals on Wheels program aims to support approximately 50 vulnerable seniors per day and the program is focussed to keep older Saba citizens safe and nourished in our community.

Especially now, with the uncertainty due to COVID-19, the Meals on Wheels program seems to be needed more than ever! The Meals on Wheels program provides a healthy and diverse diet which contributes to a healthy life.

Whenever they can, the Meals on Wheels chooses locally grown fresh food and also grows vegetables and herbs in their own ‘garden’. Arebella Hassell has been with the program basically since the beginning of the program and the first meals were served on September 13, 2010!

The Saba Lions Club is very grateful that, together with our stakeholders, we have been able to reach the 10th anniversary of the Meals on Wheels program and wish for many more years to come. “In a moment like this”, Lion Carl Buncamper stated, “it is more important than ever to recognise the need to support our stakeholders throughout the food system who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to fork even amid disruptions as unprecedented as the current COVID-19 crisis.”

The Meals on Wheels program is funded by the Public Entity Saba (75%), individual contributors (local and international) as well as by the Saba Lions Club. The Saba Lions Club collaborates with the Saba Health Care Foundation (doctors and nurses), the Community Development Department, and the Benevolent Foundation.

The Saba Lions Club also works closely with the local supermarkets as it relates to supplies. Next to the Meals on Wheels program, the Saba Lions Club also provides monthly food baskets to the vulnerable children of Saba.

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The kitchen staff with in the middle Arebella Hassell.



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