Rhythm & Views by Malik Stevens

The Cost of Living on St. John

The other day I asked a couple of students on the island what are the things that concern them the most about their home island, St. John, and where do they see it going in a couple of years. The answers I was given were a bit sad.
Many of the concerns the students have revolve around the cost of living on St. John, which is rapidly rising. They feel like everything is going up in price, and that soon it will be impossible to live on the island. As a result, the island will eventually become a tourist hot spot and that alone. These students know prices are going up worldwide, but to them it seems as if it is increasing twice as fast here, on St. John.  
“The other day I went to the store and a bag of chicken that was once $12 is now $20. That is ridiculous,” said Gifft Hill student, Jessica Samuel.
The land tax is going up, the electric bill is going up, gas is creeping up the ladder, you have to pay a tax to bring your vehicle over from St. Thomas, transportation prices are escalating, you can’t buy clothing on the island, and the price for groceries is becoming more amazing than ever.  

Adults on St. John, always motivate the students to go away and make something of themselves in college.  Then they encourage them to come back and be the leaders of the island. How do they expect the students to want to come back knowing just how expensive it is going to be start a life and raise a family of their own?  

Not only is there a rapid rise in the cost of living on St. John, but there is also a rapid rise in everything else that is making life on St. John a bit less flavorful. The crime rate is going up, the population seems as if it will soon exceed the island’s peaceful capacity, traffic is ridiculous, and our beautiful island is being over developed. There is also a downfall in the things that should be going up, like test grades, activities on the island for the youth, and most of all, adults that have the time to just be there for the kids. The adults consume all their time balancing more than one job to barely make it on St. John).   

With a rapid rise in the prices and everything not wanted, there should at least be some improvements to the schools, the public facilities, and the medical care given on the island. St. Johnians practically have to go to St. Thomas for everything that they need.
The whole issue of the cost of living on St. John is a hard one, because there is not a lot that the people on the island can do about it. Students feel like this is going to get worst and that their home, St. John , is falling a bit to the way side, but with a bit of luck and time the cost of living will improve and the students’ concerns will revolve less around how expensive island life has become.  Hopefully, the next time there is a major inflation there will be an increase in the people’s paychecks.