Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 11 March 2021. “The use of excessive sodium in our diets can lead to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors such as hypertension or high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at CARPHA, in observance of World Salt Awareness Week.
In Latin America and the Caribbean high blood pressure rates are among the highest in the world. In CARICOM Member States the prevalence of high blood pressure/hypertension for adults ranges from 20.9% in Bahamas to 27.1% in St. Lucia.
Salt reduction is one of the most cost-effective measures to lower the rate of heart disease and other NCDs. The Caribbean is well known for its high dietary sodium consumption both in processed foods and as a result of added salt during cooking and at the table. The average salt consumption is 9 -12 grams per day, which is twice the recommended amount.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming less than 5g/salt or 1 teaspoon (<2g of sodium) per adult per day, from all sources. Lowering sodium use in children’s diets today can help prevent heart disease later in life, especially for those who are overweight.
Initiatives to reduce sodium consumption in the populations of the Region are therefore high on the agenda as a critical aspect of cardiovascular disease prevention and control. To address this problem of excessive sodium consumption, CARPHA developed a Regional Framework for Sodium Reduction in Populations to guide national strategies for the reduction of sodium intake. This framework envisions a healthy and vital Caribbean people where their average sodium intake falls below the current global target of 5g per day for adults and even less for children.
Kids Can Cook Too produced by CARPHA provides recipes with little or no salt. CARPHA has also developed a 6-Point Policy Package where a major component is the implementation of Front of Package Labelling so consumers can be empowered to make healthful food purchasing choices.
This year, the Caribbean Public Health Agency joins forces with the regional and international communities to observe World Salt Awareness Week which takes place from March 8 to 14 with the slogan: “More Flavor, Less Salt!”, and share the progress made by the Region.
CARPHA encourages you to use more flavor, but less salt, when cooking. Instead of salt try using fresh herbs and seasonings. Ask for less salt next time you eat at a restaurant. The reduction of salt in processed foods, coupled with mandatory nutrition labelling are part of the dietary considerations that have to be implemented. We urge governments and the private sector to create supportive environments to enable lower salt options to be provided, implement front of package labelling to provide easy-to-read-and-understand information for consumers, and reformulate food products to contain less salt.
Media Release: CARPHA
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
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