Published On: Fri, Sep 16th, 2022

MP Brownbill addresses high food prices by stating that, ehh, food prices are too high

PHILIPSBURG — Rising food prices pose a huge problem for many families on the island and the government is feverishly looking for alternatives. Recently, Minister Ottley (Economic Affairs and Tourism, as well as Public Health) announced that he is researching options to lease land for agricultural purposes in other countries, like Suriname. Whether that will do anything to bring food prices down, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, parliamentarian Chanel Brownbill (United St. Maarten party) has jumped on the food prices bandwagon with a press release that does little more than stating that there is a problem. Nevertheless, the problem is real and it is good that parliamentarians begin paying attention to it.

Brownbill, who replaces suspended MP Claudius Buncamper in Parliament, opens his press release with the ambitious headline “MP Brownbill pushes for lower food costs.” Unfortunately, Brownbill is not suggesting any solutions.

The MP concedes that the basket of price-controlled goods “is a great step taken by the government.” At the same time he is “looking forward to more measures.”

The press release calls for an analysis of the costs components – from production and shipping costs to local profit margins.

According to Brownbill, Minister Ottley’s idea to start food production abroad is “interesting.”

Some will question why Brownbill suddenly came out of the woodwork with what seems to be only his second press release since he became a parliamentarian. He has of course an irrevocable conviction to his name for tax evasion (18 months of imprisonment of with 12 months suspended, 240 hours of community service and 3 years of probation) so maybe that was the reason for keeping a low profile.

Another issue is the position of the National Alliance-United People’s party coalition. It lost some support when several members declared themselves independent. But Brownbill and Akeem Arrindell have expressed their support for the coalition, thereby guaranteeing a continued majority support.

Minister Ottley is also taking some flak for his suggestion to lease land in foreign countries for agricultural purposes and Brownbill’s press release could be seen as an attempt to protect the minister against further criticism.


Related article: Brownbill congratulates Youth Parlaiment on successful debate