DH editorial: Apples and oranges

Curaçao’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) per July 1 indexed the poverty line to 1,228 Antillean guilders per month for people living alone, compared to NAf. 1,045 in 2008. A single parent with one child now needs at least 1,597 guilders, up from NAf. 1,359 eight years ago, while those with two children require NAf. 1,965 or NAf. 293 more than before.

For a childless couple the minimal monthly amount is set at 1,843 guilders, NAf. 275 more than in 2008. Couples with one child need NAf. 2,210 compared to NAf. 1,881 eight years ago, while those with two children require 2,579 guilders or NAf. 384 more than back then.

The percentage of households living below the poverty line has gone down, but still stands at more than a quarter. Part of the reason is the minimum wage of NAf. 8.20 per hour, which amounts to NAf. 1,597.77 per month for a 45-hour workweek and NAf. 1,420.24 for a 40-hour workweek. This means a single-parent fulltime employee with a child can still be living in poverty.

The Social Economic Council SER last year set St. Maarten’s general poverty line at NAf. 1,154 per month, based on Government’s financial aid of NAf. 983 received by some 630 households and the minimum wage of NAf. 1,442.75 (40-hour workweek). Their conclusion was that 20-25 per cent can be considered poor, similar to the rate in Curaçao.

Transparency International (TI) in its National Integrity System Assessment had earlier come up with a whopping more than 75 per cent. The report said three quarters of local households had a gross income of less than NAf. 4,000 per month and 67.5 per cent less than NAf. 3,000.

However, TI applied the norm of Dutch budget information institute Nibud used for a poverty study in Bonaire, which is, of course, part of the Caribbean Netherlands. That’s like comparing apples and oranges, as the latest figures from Curaçao also confirm.
Source: Daily Herald
Apples and oranges