CARIBBEAN: Antiguan gov’t to pass laws to boost healthy lifestyles

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CARIBBEAN: Antiguan gov’t to pass laws to boost healthy lifestyles
Minister of Health, Antigua and Barbuda Molwyn Joseph
Minister of Health, Antigua and Barbuda Molwyn Joseph
Minister of Health, Antigua and Barbuda Molwyn Joseph

ANTIGUA OBSERVER – The Ministry of Health is asking Antiguans and Barbudans to commit to lifestyle changes, as the government plans to pass legislation that would discourage the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and excessive amounts of sugar and salt as a part of an ‘aggressive’ wellness programme.

Speaking at Wednes-day’s Cabinet report, Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph said legislation would be passed to deal with food products that contribute to cancer.

“Legislation will be passed to deal with the products that contain high salt additives, sugar, alcohol, and tobacco,” Joseph said. “These are now confirmed, there is no dispute, … as the main contributors to cancer.”

Asked if legislation would include a tax on these products, Joseph said he wants Antiguans & Barbudans to make a change in lifestyle, but added that the people are entitled to freedom of choice.

“Non-communicable diseases can be arrested if we change our lifestyle. It is a simple, straightforward, message. As a nation, we can see a dramatic decrease in the deaths in this country,” Joseph said.

The Minister of Health had previously supported a tax on sugary drinks, and had asked Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin to prepare legislation for the tax in April.

The details of the legislation are still under consultation, and Joseph did not say if a tax would be included in the Bill.

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    • What? Tax the last thing poor people can afford right now, a softdrink.

      If we tax these bottom of the line items, unhealthy or not, these are just all some people can afford on a given day.

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