MEMBER OF Parliament for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, is appealing to Vincentians to embark on a national anti sugar campaign, in order for us to maintain better health.
With both brown and white (granulated) sugar out of stock at most supermarkets across the country, Cummings is seeing this scarcity as “a blessing in disguise.”
Speaking on the NDP’s New Times programme on Tuesday September 13, Cummings spoke about the high incidence of persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines who are being afflicted by strokes.
“There seems to be a spate of strokes going around in our country,” the New Democratic Party (NDP) Chairman commented.
He also noted that there is a link between stroke and non communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
“I have to note, as shadow minister of health, an alarming increase in the number of persons who are suffering from stroke.”
Cummings feels that “there is a clear need for a serious campaign for lifestyle changes, in the way we eat, what we eat and the way we exercise.”
Cummings also expressed concern about the many persons who have to undergo amputation of their limbs, as a result of diabetes.
Speaking about the present scarcity of sugar, the parliamentary representative for West Kingstown said “I wish everybody would recognize this as a blessing.”
“It is an opportunity for us all to seriously revisit the use of sugar, whether it be refined sugar, or brown sugar.”
“We have all become so accustomed to using sugar and using it in excess, without recognizing the danger in the use of this commodity.”
The NDP Chairman lamented the high concentration of sugar in popular beverages and foods that we consume daily.
“While our bodies need carbohydrates, there are so many other sources of carbohydrates,” the shadow minister of health pointed out.
He listed breadfruit, mangoes and other fruits and root crops that are so readily available in St Vincent and the Grenadines, as much better sources of carbohydrates, than sugar.
Cummings expressed the view that we should consume the foods that nature provides for us,instead of relying so heavily on imported foods with high sugar.
“The lack of sugar should be treated by our people, as a blessing in disguise.”
Cummings called on the government to make it more affordable for people to eat more local foods, by removing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from these items in the supermarkets.
Now that there is little or no sugar available, Cummings suggests that we change our diets and “start by using less and less” sugar.
Instead, he wants us to “eat the banana and eat the mango,” but also do so in moderation.
“Cut out the sugar, reduce the salt.” “Eat sensibly and well.”
“You are what you eat, all year we have a sufficiency of fruits, vegetables and fish to sustain us in a healthy way,” Cummings added.
The September 9, 2022 edition of SEARCHLIGHT included an article about a further shortage of sugar in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Samuel Bruce, supervisor at the Sugar Department at the Agriculture Input Warehouse, had given this indication in an interview.
Bruce had stated that a shipment of 2000 bags of brown sugar had arrived here from Belize on August 29.
This shipment was sold out within a week, and was not able to meet the local demand.
White sugar is also now in short supply across the country.