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AL GILKES: Fat tax just a bare joke

Al Gilkes, [email protected]

AL GILKES: Fat tax just a bare joke

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THE FAT ATTACK has now changed from encouraging our obese and overweight population to make lifestyle changes in the interest of preserving good heath, to the recommendation of Government taxing the fat off their tails.

But how would this work? Would such unconventional action involve the establishment of a Department of Fat Reduction in the Ministry of Health, staffed by a combination of fat inspectors and fat police?

I can just imagine a day in the life of such a department starting with a staff fat self inspection in which waists are measured, weights taken, and bodies checked to ensure that muscle to fat ratios are in keeping with what has been legislatively determined as the perfect ideals for varying heights, ages, bone structure and so on.

Obviously, any fat inspector or fat police who has allowed herself or himself to stray from those ideals, perhaps due to a period of exercise dodging or one of food gorging or even a combination of food gorging and alcohol binging, would have to suffer the consequences and be punished.

This could take the form of military style punishment in which they would have to perform an extraordinary number of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and other such exercises, followed by an extraordinary number of laps around the Garrison Savannah in which no males would be allowed to volunteer to do so at night for obvious reasons.

If after a prescribed number of days there is no tangible sign of fat loss, the offenders would be suspended, also for a prescribed number of days or weeks depending on how significant is the muscle to fat ratio and other determinants. Obviously, the final punishment would be dismissal from the Department of Fat Reduction and a return to the ranks of the general fat population where they too would be subjected to whatever be the measures in place for the now criminal act of being in possession of too much fat on the body.

I again imagine that, like the illegal parking inspectors who patrol the streets of Bridgetown every working day looking for culprits like me, armed with nothing but their pens and books of parking tickets, the fat inspectors would be armed with weighing scales, tape measures and other technology to quickly and assess and determine if and by how much a suspect is guilty of being fat.

Once found to be so, the suspect would then be turned over to a fat police who, like the illegal parking inspector, would take to his or her pen and book of anti-fat tickets with varying levels of fines to suit the varying levels of fatness.

Obviously, the fines would have to be paid in court and not on the spot in the interest of avoiding unscrupulous fat inspectors and police having to be arrested and charged by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force with the illegal act of fattening their pockets from the proceeds.

I hope Government is seriously not considering this suggestion of fines for fat persons and making it law. To start off, members on both sides of Parliaments in both Houses of Parliament would be among the first to be affected by a Fat Attack Act, or whatever it would be called.

Can you imagine the scene in the Parliament Buildings yard before the start of the next sitting of Parliament with a unit of fat inspectors and fat police at the bottoms of the stairway measuring, weighing, pinching and fining members for contravening the very low that they passed?

Obviously, the last in line would have to be those occupying the topmost position in what might be renamed the Ministry of Health and Fat Affairs, the minister himself/herself and the shadow minister on the other side of the divide.

I know I would be among the first members of the general public to be fined under the new legislation because, although I am not really a fat person I have a fat midsection, too fat in fact.

So much so that while walking along Broad Street recently, a woman standing on the sidewalk pulled me to a side and suggested in the sincerest of manners that I get into some serious exercise otherwise I soon would not be able to see anything below my waist.

Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]