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Companies should do proper research


REV. H. MALCOLM GIBBS-TAITT

Companies should do proper research

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HAVING SEEN CONTRIBUTIONS from Senator Professor Emeritus Sir Henry Fraser, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Health John Boyce in “Soundbite” in the last SUNDAY SUN on the issue of taxing sweet drinks, what I have seen does not convince me that any of these people have the answer.

There must be a different approach and solution to this problem.

It was also disappointing to see that the chief executive officer of the Heart Stroke Foundation of Barbados, in calling for firmer strategies, saw increasing taxation as a way of reducing sales of sugary beverages.

One day someone will recognise that 80 per cent tax of little or no income achieves nothing. Increased taxation is not the only answer to save people from themselves. There is an education deficit, for sure.

There have been people who bought food or drinks from establishments, and then saw the need to bring class action suits against the entity, being the result of their fatness or other health hazards.

A lawsuit in 1994 against McDonald’s, before the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, alleged that tens of thousands of children suffered obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and other health problems after being misled about the company’s products.

Another case was Liebeck vs McDonald’s Restaurants, in the famous coffee lawsuit. A New Mexico civil jury awarded US$2.86 million to plaintiff Stella Liebeck after buying hot coffee from the company.

You know, if these products were never manufactured, there would be no need for the health deficit or for the lawsuit. The answer is in the need for companies to do proper research and refrain from endangering the public.

In Quick Query, when asked: “Is it necessary to remove sweet drinks from one’s diet in order to be healthy?” Dr Nicole Moore-Clarke, said: “Yes, because of the amount of sugar present in soft drinks, which of course would be high risk for those with diabetes mellitus. And of course with the coloured drinks, quite a few people are allergic to the dyes. We don’t know, but it’s out there that dyes could be one of the causes, or underlying causes or triggers for cancer.”

Do we have to wait until somebody sues the Government for sense to be brought to this matter? The Government has a responsibility to protect its subjects from themselves. We are not in the United Kingdom, where the people are properly educated on consumer issues, and will respond positively to negative taxation. We are not at this point yet, and are unlikely to reach there anytime soon.

– REV. H. MALCOLM GIBBS-TAITT, Consumer analyst

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