Having read the articles on NCDs and a UWI report on Page 7 in the Sunday Express (September 12), I wish to suggest that the time has come for the Ministry of Health, the regional health authorities and civil-society organisations to become more directly involved in promoting healthy living.

While one reads about many individuals with co-morbidities succumbing to Covid-19, public- and private-sector organisations, community groups and faith-based bodies should recognise the need for vigorous health education programmes identifying risk factors for co-morbidities.

This can be done by increasing health promotion advertisements and conducting health-emphasis programmes to recognise international health awareness initiatives—for example, International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (2021), World Heart Day (September 29) and World Diabetes Day (November 14).

In addition, policy makers can develop guidelines, standards and policies to encourage healthy living. These measures may include taking steps to reduce the availability of unhealthy options on sale at public health institutions—for example, at cafeterias, restaurants, tuck shops and vending machines.

These measures at public health institutions may involve introducing a system to monitor compliance.

Other policy measures may be to attempt to begin reducing the advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks in the print and electronic media, and on highway billboards, aimed at children.

Further, consumers need to be more aware of products containing high levels of saturated fat, sodium and sugars. This issue can be addressed by strengthening the capacity of the Consumer Affairs Division and engaging in dialogue with manufacturers.

Consideration should be given to the development of a time frame for the introduction of Front of Package Warning Labels (FOPWL) on items high in saturated fat, sodium and sugars. The FOPWL initiative has been promoted by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (

Other initiatives of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition include the Healthy Caribbean School Project, with a rating system for schools in the region. Another project is Preventing Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean, which includes a Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard identifying 15 indicators to measure a country’s policy and legislative response.

Now is the time for vigorous action to combat NCDs and educate the public about the health complications associated with excessive consumption of sugary beverages.

Ian Green



THE first and only face-to-face encounter I had with Yasin Abu Bakr was on a green bus belonging to the Defence Force.

And that day the Muslimeen leader caused me to abandon my journalistic impartiality.

Against the backdrop of a rise in Covid-19 hospitalisations, pupils in Forms 4 to 6 are being required to return to in-person classes today, whether vaccinated or not. We hope for the children’s sake that they are all vaccinated given the fact that the highly transmissible Delta variant is among us.

The Government has decided that all Forms Four and Six, whether vaccinated or not, will be in school today but have they thought out the logistics of such a move?

I have taken note of the comments of Senator Anthony Vieira published in Saturday’s Express.

I must firstly place on record my disappointment that the Senator would remain silent in the Chamber on Thursday, but choose to attack the Opposition through the media. If the Senator thought anyone was conflicted, he had a duty to raise it in the Chamber so his allegation could be properly answered.

With the long-awaited passing of Yasin Abu Bakr, we have had several people making comments.

One of these people was Selby Wilson who, and I quote, said it was a “painful period”.

Democracy is an aspiration, not an achievement. It is a work in progress, not a finished product. A people can never be fully satisfied with the status of their democracy so long as humans interact with one another.