About Statistics and Good Friends

JUST SAYING. Press members received the press release by Leo da Silva, Chief CPI Department, at the Central Bureau of Statistics, by mail this week. The detailed document explained the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2015. My father was an economist and a statistician by profession, so numbers hold great fascination to me and I try each month to diligently read through Leo’s document in order to understand the fate of the nation. Many of my findings deserve sharing, but this one is worthy in particular: The subsistence  level  for  a  household  consisting  of  two  adults  and  two  children  (age  0-14 years) in December 2015 is Afl. 4,404, while for a single adult household it is Afl. 2,097. Think about this number in light of the fact that minimum wage is Afl. 1,637, so Afl. 460 BELOW the minimum subsistence level. For your information: The  subsistence level , according to CPI, is the minimum level of income which is  perceived  necessary  to  achieve  an  adequate  standard  of living  in  a  given  country.  The  subsistence  level  is  usually determined  by  estimating  the  cost  of  all  the  essential resources that an average adult consumes in one month or year. This is commonly called a basic needs index, and it varies according to the price of food, clothing, housing, transport and other items in the “basket,” which the last time I looked did not include any Cappuccinos, Old Parr, movies, nor vacations.

OLD FRIENDS, GOOD FRIENDS. A group of my veteran friends enjoyed a get together at the Nautical Club bar, on Friday. It seems to me that I spent many years at that bar in a past decade, when we once owned a boat, a hole in the water into which you sink all your cash. The Tiara, a twin engine fiberglass yacht, was anchored at the Nautical Club where before and after every sortie we had balchi di pisca and Awa di Playa soup. I went back on Friday after many years, the spectacular view remained the same, and the balchi di pisca are still awesome. The number of boats in and out of the water tripled and the restaurant is now glass enclosed and air-conditioned, with white tablecloths. Simon Tromp, who used to be the Americana/Occidental Resort food and beverage man, is in charge, but I am sure the menu stood the test of time, with Fish Creole & Pan Bati, still the crown jewel of the kitchen. The gathering, organized by Hubert Solagnier Sr. in honor of Joost and Janet Barens, was gezellig. Joost and Hubert met in the Food & Beverage department of the American hotel in the mid 70s, even before General Manager Barry Kaplan’s time. They remained friends through thick and thin. Hubert says Joost was a great leader and manager who taught his island rookies a thing or two about restaurants and kitchens. In return the pragmatic Dutchman was introduced to some classic Maitre D’s tricks. Example: How to graciously command $100 tip for a premium table at the packed Stellaris Supper Club. Theo van Loon, and the younger Steve Lacle joined the gezelligheid, with some stories of their own: Theo about his last position at the Caribbean Palm Village Resort and Steve about his current project, finishing a brand new Caribbean Mercantile Bank branch at Wayaca Falls, across the airport. Hubert delighted his friends with tales of the Steamboat buffet era, when $6.95 got you an amazing breakfast and $19.95 filled you to the gills, at dinner. And then it all fell apart, with the premature death of the partnership, he explained. Hubert who recently sold his company operating the Touchdown Sports Bar & Grill, to a group of unexpected investors, considers himself lucky for having flipped a business, just in time. While we were expecting Victor Joseph, Frank Kelly, Edwin Trimon and Jose Chiquito, they didn’t make it, but we had fun anyway.