Sweet Drink Tizzy

In a country reported to have a high incidence rate of non communicable diseases one of the issues causing Bajan tongues to wag violently is the increase in the excise tax on ‘sweet drinks’. During last month’s budget presentation Prime Minister Mia Mottley decreed that effective 1 April 2022 (today) the excise tax on sweet drinks increases by 20%.

On the face of it one would have assumed the imposition of a sin tax in the prevailing circumstances should be accepted for what it is. Instead many Bajans are expressing that it is a revenue grab instead of part of a holistic approach to tackling the health of the nation. 

It seems ridiculous any government should have to legislate to encourage individuals to take responsibility for health decisions, such is the reality; people have to be protected from themselves. The government needs to tax citizens to ensure a balanced budget and at the same time implement effective policies to ensure there is a seamless relationship between achieving financial and non financial targets. Bad decisions taken by SOME Barbadians ultimately effect ALL Barbadians in the pockets.

Can we agree a national debate promoting a healthy lifestyle given the high incidence of NCDs is a good thing? The ‘proposed’ increase in the price of sweet drinks has triggered a national discussion, mission achieved. The blogmaster deliberately used the word proposed because a feature of the Mottley government has been to back out or delay a few decisions taken. Latest example is the postponement of breathalyzer testing because a metered taxi rate system needs to be implemented. You simply cannot make this stuff up.

There is voluminous information to support the conclusion sweet drinks have a high calorific content and therefore high consumption by individuals is likely to negatively impact ones health. The evidence is apparent that the current health trajectory Barbados is on must be interrupted. While we jabber away money must be found to pay for lifestyle choices made by Barbadians. If we want to drink sweet drinks and exhale smoke from our nostrils like Portvale factory, we must pay for it. A good government has to provide leadership that redounds to the benefit of the nation. There are numerous risk factors to manage as it relates to a healthy lifestylke, it is established sweet drinks contribute negatively to the risk factors associated with NCDs.

The blogmaster looks forward to those in the public and private sector charged with healthcare working together to implement effective measures to save Barbadians from themselves. 

See relevant link:

Sugary Drinks Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Time to Introduce a Fat Tax

The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations.

-Will Durant

Chief Medical Officer of Barbados Dr. Kenneth George was quoted in the news recently his concern about the rise of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). He singled out hypertension commonly referred to as the silent killer.

His intervention on the vexing issue of the high incidence of NCDs should give the country pause. A scan of the 2019-2020 Draft Estimates (TABLE 5) confirms what we know, taxpayers for another year will be asked to finance a significant national health budget allocation.  Several years on if an honest assessment were to be made the conclusion has to be, we MUST change our health policy. In other words, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister Jeffery Bostic- the country has not only descended into the economic doldrums, please add the health of citizens.

Barbadians have enthusiastically ingested the fast food culture exported from the Great White North. There is a generation weaned on Chefette and KFC menus. A typical pastime on social media is to be on the lookout for the ‘specials. The consumption behaviour of fast food will not change anytime soon. We should expect the ramification of the addiction to remove a large slice from national budget pie.

Under normal circumstances the adage that “the most important part of solving a problem is to know” will not apply. We have crossed the Rubicon. To impose a fat tax – call it what you want – will cause a sitting government to lose at the next general election. It is that serious.

Instead we prefer to glamorize obesity and blame a busy lifestyle which does not permit finding one hour to cook a meal.

Instead we prefer to glamorised oversized men and women to justify that to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle is acceptable because we are too busy doing some irrelevant activity.

Our health is not important enough to make time. Read the excuses now!

The blogmaster is not so naive to disregard the right of individuals to do as they please within the bounds of the law. However, if the errant behaviour will increase my tax contribution there is a good argument that those intent on feeding a negative lifestyle should pay a disproportionate the tax contribution.






NCD Story to be Told

Submitted by Bentley

Professor Jean van den Elsen and Dr Omar Kassar in the laboratory. They have worked to reveal a molecular link between sugar and Alzheimer’s Disease Credit: AP Commercial Photography

Have a read of this article. Ten years ago I outlined the link between diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer, erectile and other sexual dysfunction and other NCD’s. I identified the common cause as Chronic Metabolic Collapse Syndrome or (CMCS), a condition characterised by the body’s inability to effectively metabolise blood sugar. More and more research over time support my assertion. Until we can maintain our bodies in a state where they can efficiently metabolise sugar and carbohydrates we will have the scourge of NCD’s with us. The document titled “A Rational Approach to Diet, Exercise and Health” can be viewed at Barbados Underground, Item 27 in the Library, and was posted some 7 years ago. Is it because I’m not a member of the medical community that nobody’s listening to me? I’ve also posted several other 3rd party articles outlining the dangers of sugar consumption on this blog.

Relevant link: Sugar’s ‘tipping point’ link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed

Barbados Struggling with an Inactive Ageing Population

Submitted by Bentley

At 96 years old, Charles Eugster is a champion sprinter in his age group and regularly works out with weights to maintain a body closer to that of a 30-year-old

At 96 years old, Charles Eugster is a champion sprinter in his age group and regularly works out with weights to maintain a body closer to that of a 30-year-old

The recent debate on the number of elderly persons exceeding young people in Barbados got me thinking about the real problem we have. It’s not so much the demographic shift that’s the problem, the real problem is we have too many sick people; old and young and the burden on the health care system is having repercussions throughout society.

I remember back in 1997 reading a WHO report that stated that it costs one fifth to prevent disease as it costs to treat. There are so many things we are not doing and our society is not geared for active ageing. Unless we can move to the position of real health care (as opposed to sickness care as we now have) we will continue to bemoan the high expenditures.

As you know, I have written extensively on ways to go about this but unfortunately very little is being done and those in a position to lead are some of the worst offenders. I remember back in 1996 telling the then Minister of Health (Liz Thompson) that within 20 years our health (sickness) care system will collapse under the weight of chronic non-communicable diseases. Sadly, this prediction has come true. You have had my document, Rational Approach To Diet, Exercise in your library (item #27) for over 8 years now. It’s time to rekindle the online discussion.

Understanding How Pollution is Affecting Our Wellbeing

Submitted by Anthony Davis


Pollution, pesticides and fast food are killing our children with new Government statistics revealing that the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer has risen by 40% over the past 16 years. Analysis compiled by researchers from the charity Children with Cancer UK found new cases of cancer in young people rose by 1300 every year statistics were last compiled in 1998. The charity found this is most evident in colon cancer which has increased by 200% and thyroid cancer which has seen its cases doubled during the 18 years since the last report was released.

Mail Online dated 04 September, 2016

This pertains to the UK that, up until Brexit, was a member of the EU which has very stringent anti-air pollution laws. What do you think it is like in Barbados, Mr. Minister of the Environment, where everything and anything goes with respect to whether the air is polluted or not – especially as several people are putting forward various reasons as the panacea for reducing NCDs?

One can exercise as much as one wants, eat as much health food, and drink as many health drinks as one wants, one is only spinning top in mud if the air is as polluted as the filters in some of the stacks across the island. As the article rightly says, we cannot avoid air pollution, because we must all breathe.

I always smile when I see so many people exercising along the roads in Barbados, because they are doing something for some parts of their bodies, and not taking what is going into their lungs, and therefore directly their heart, into consideration. One sees many diesel vehicles belching black exhaust fumes into the environment, and these are the worst polluters of the environment. They contain CO2, NO2 and, worst of all, particulates which are so small that they go directly to the lungs thereby causing the type of lung cancer which those who work in coal mines contract after a number of years. Add to those the magnetites which have been discovered by Prof Barbara Maher in the brain, and we have a ticking time bomb.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) lies on one of those roads which sees a high volume of traffic on a daily basis, so the air which goes into that building will not be helping the patients there to get well. Also, people in this country are allowed to burn garbage, and anything else they feel like burning, whenever they like without the slightest regard for their next door neighbours, and those who are traversing the relative community. Those with lung disorders will be affected while travelling through any community in this island, when someone is burning something or the other, and I would suggest that those who suffer from asthma – especially children who are heading to school – always travel with their inhalers!

The Minister of the Environment, who says that he travels frequently, promised anti-air and -noise pollution legislation for this year, but it seems that all we’ll get once again are more taxes!

Yet another promise which is destined to be broken.

They say that enemies’ promises are made to be broken.

However, the year has not finished yet. He still has four months to make good his promise but, seeing that it was not mentioned in the budget, I guess that nothing will come of that this year.

Let me digress here.

The tax collector tells us not to panic because of the newest addition to the VAT, but why should we panic?

We’re accustomed to getting a new tax with every new budget.

The next problem is fast food.

I see it as a way of getting more taxes when more and more fast food restaurants are being allowed to be built at an alarming rate.

The tax collector said that sweet drinks are unhealthy, so he put an extra tax on them.

They are still the most drinks being sold – especially at fast food restaurants.

According to the same report, “burgers will remain in the colon for longer if the child does not exercise, thus increasing the risk of cancer.”

On the one hand tax was put on unhealthy foods, but on the other the tax collector removed fish, of all things, which is rated as being a healthy food from the basket of goods which are zero-rated.

Is he telling us that we had better go to fast food restaurants where we don’t have to pay so much for their fare?

Is it any wonder when more and more people – especially females – are becoming so fat?

What does the Minister of Health have to say to all of this?

Surely this comes under his portfolio, and so he should be standing up for what is healthy in this country, by making such legislation that would bring down the price of health food, because not many people can pay those prices nowadays, instead of just toeing the line.

The more people who get cancer – especially our children, and I mean really our children, not only those of certain people in our society, the greater burden will be placed on the QEH.

Another factor is the use of mobile phones.

One sees many people – especially females – walking around with their mobile phones clamped to their ears.

Some get on the bus with one to their ears and still have them there when they get off after one hour’s journey.

How much radiation comes from those phones?

The manufacturers say that the jury is out on how much radiation is emitted from them, so what does that tell us? It tells us that we should not be holding them to our ears for any prolonged period.

There’s a lot of talk about more children being procreated, but you are killing them off by not having any anti-air pollution legislation on our Statute books!

It is high time to clean up the air in this country!

So, members of this “people-centred Government”, the ball is in your court to make sure that the populace of this country can live as healthy a life as possible by putting anti-air and noise-pollution legislation in place!

A Date With Death

Submitted by Kammie Holder

Kammie Holder

Kammie Holder

Unfortunately many don`t know the various numbers of their health status. Many continue to eat themselves to death. Restaurants and food vendors have simply no understanding Sodium Chloride is corrosive and not needed in food. Celery is high in Sodium and is a healthier replacement for its corrosive family Pot Salt which comes in many branded flavours.

Electrolytes the body needs are Magnesium,Potassium,Calcium and Sodium and not Sodium Chloride. in addition the medical profession has also decided to even charge a higher fee for first visits and cannot ever be accused of extravagance in their charging.

Just over 3500 persons die yearly in Barbados and as an aging obese, stressed population we can expect more sudden deaths reporting due to social media and more mainstream media reporting. Latest statistics released by CDRC speaks to a population where 35 persons with a NCD to every 1 person with HIV.

As a country we are great at talking with the worship of money taking precedent over wellbeing of country and our fellow man. Restaurants and cook shops have all been irresponsible in the preparation of their gastronomic slow march to death foods. Each individual must take responsibility for what they consume under the pretext of good food. I am all for health care cost being  passed on to those who contribute to their own ill health, some may call it discrimination but smokers and alcoholics pay more to have access to life insurance.It should not take a Fast Food Tax imposition by Government to bring restaurants and cook shop to a Christian understanding by hitting them in their pockets.

The question begs, are you a walking dead who is just a heart beat away from a heart attack or stroke?


Alzheimer’s and Diabetes – What is the Underlying Truth

Submitted by Bentley

Alzheimer's disease

Diagram of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s Disease. Credit: Wikipedia

Have a read of the attached article. These people are now finding that there is a major link between these 2 conditions, something I’ve been saying forever. What they need to recognize is that these are not diseases in themselves but symptoms of a broader condition that gives rise to other conditions as well (hypertension, sexual dysfunction, heart disease). I call this disease Chronic Metabolic Collapse Syndrome and have written on it at least 10 years ago. We will never be able to fully deal with chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) until we recognize this underlying truth.

Related Link: New link found between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

NCDs + Air Pollution = Unhealthy Living

Submitted by Anthony Davis

Minister Boyce, Minister of Health

Minister Boyce, Minister of Health

I wish the Minister of Health would stop expounding the half-truth that to avoid becoming another NCD statistic one should partake in a healthy diet […] Continue reading

Burger King's Equine Burgers, Non-Communicable Diseases and the Coming of Cost-U-Less

Burger King opened in Sky Mall (Barbados)

Burger King opened in Sky Mall (Barbados)

The news this week that fast food restaurant Burger King had to pull ‘beef burgers’ from its UK outlets which were supplied by an Irish vender has alarmed many Barbadians. Why you ask? Burger King recently opened its doors at Sky Mall formerly Mall Internationale in Barbados. It is a bold move by Bizzy Williams the principal investo given the view that Barbadians are not regarded as burger lovers. Perhaps he is banking on the fact that Bajans have moved on from the McDonalds experience. Nothing wrong with eating horse meat though, the issue like most things nowadays is it is all about the lack of business ethics and public trust. If you say you are selling beef burgers how the hell does it translate to HORSE MEAT? Let us hope that the carcasses of some of those retired horses owned by Bizzy’s brother do not make it into the kitchen of Burger King Barbados.

What has provoked the interest of BU about the coming of Burger King is a statement made by President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Lalu Vaswani at the renaming of Sky Mall which coincided with the opening of Burger King:

“… Barbados’ food and beverage and agricultural sectors can greatly benefit from the opportunity to secure long-term supply partnerships with franchises. Equally, it is in the economic interest of franchises to ensure a viable local supply chain, since reinvesting in the local economy promotes economic growth and consumer demand,” he said. (Barbados Advocate – 1/28/2013)

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