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Gov’t prepared to price control unhealthy foods – Hon Carvin Malone

- Says will not legislate but willing to engage businesses in the fight against VI’s declining health
Pointing out other factors to reduce the cost of food, the Minister noted that VI has to source and purchase products better to reduce as many middle men before it gets to the consumer. Photo: Internet Source
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) says that in the fight against the Virgin Islands (VI) declining health, his government is willing to look into price control mechanisms with the private sector in an effort to reduce the cost of healthy food. Photo: Facebook
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) says that in the fight against the Virgin Islands (VI) declining health, his government is willing to look into price control mechanisms with the private sector in an effort to reduce the cost of healthy food. Photo: Facebook
“There’s been some suggestions internationally for example where you reduce the price for healthy foods and add the price on to luxury items and unhealthy foods,” Host Cromwell Smith posited to the Health Minister while sharing concerns that unhealthy foods are far cheaper than their healthy counterparts. Photo: Facebook
“There’s been some suggestions internationally for example where you reduce the price for healthy foods and add the price on to luxury items and unhealthy foods,” Host Cromwell Smith posited to the Health Minister while sharing concerns that unhealthy foods are far cheaper than their healthy counterparts. Photo: Facebook
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI – Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) says that in the fight against the Virgin Islands (VI) declining health, his government is willing to look into price control mechanisms with the private sector in an effort to reduce the cost of healthy food.

He was at the time speaking on the Thursday, July 12, 2019, edition of ‘Umoja’ on ZBVI 780 AM with host Cromwell Smith aka ‘Edju En Ka,‘ when he made the revelation during a discussion on the territory’s health.

Hon Malone, while noting that he is not a fan of government intervention in the free market economy with regards to demand and supply, said with the Consumer Protection Bill coming, the government is prepared to have a discussion with businesses with the aim of getting them to join the fight against poor eating habits.

Unhealthy People & Business

“There’s been some suggestions internationally for example where you reduce the price for healthy foods and add the price on to luxury items and unhealthy foods,” Mr Smith posited to the Health Minister while sharing concerns that unhealthy foods are far cheaper than their healthy counterparts.

While imploring that poor eating is connected to poor health in the territory, Smith charged, “Unhealthy people affect the business community, perhaps more than any other community because if you’re not getting productivity with people on the job because they overweight and they sick and then they take off more sick days… the business community need to look up and pay attention to that.”

According to Hon Malone, in agreeing with the sentiments, “It is an excellent concept in terms of how you encourage businesses to be a part.” He said that increasing the cost of luxury items can ease the burden on purchasing healthier options if the concept is implemented.

However, the Minister noted that since good behaviour cannot be legislated, the government is not looking at price control in that regard but prepared to engage businesses.

External Price Influencers

Pointing out other factors to reduce the cost of food, the Minister noted that the VI has to source and purchase products better by reducing as many middle men as possible before it gets to the consumer.

“The cost of freight is an issue to get products to the market, so that is another factor,” he said in illustrating that imports from the US Virgin Islands (USVI) to the VI are as high as from the United States to USVI.

Reiterating the need for more educational programmes, he said, “You have to have lifestyle changes and make it fun, because if you don’t have fun in your diet and exercise it’s going to be a fad.”

Further, the Minister said that for people to take the health food route, they first have to make it as uncomfortable as possible so that it will be a natural transitional process instead of 'eating healthy' becoming like a chore.

7 Responses to “Gov’t prepared to price control unhealthy foods – Hon Carvin Malone ”

  • 123 (15/07/2019, 08:47) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    its about time yall
  • Jordana (15/07/2019, 09:58) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I applaud the Min of Health for this initiative.. like I stated in a prior blog the health of our people is our wealth..cost of living here in the whole is High and that is due to high import costs of goods but at times some vendors would mark up their items over 100% which is wrong for that’s robbing the consumer....some Employers need to pay better
    Wages as well as to combat the high cost of living here and this is why persons go to places like St. Thomas to shop..Even with the ferry cost you still get more for the dollar..one of the things I am very happy about is that franchises like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut etc are not in the BVI - I implore u Min. Malone plz keep them out for if you think our people are unhealthy now!.. think again.. also to you have to keep an eye on these cafes and way-side restaurants selling all of this fried foods.. another possible solution is to tax the unhealthy foods like sodas, energy drinks, alcohol and cigarettes..eating healthy is a lifestyle change .. “eat to live and not the other way around”. Getting the supermarkets to lower prices on healthy foods this would be awesome..eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank.. e.g using salt free seasonings (like Mrs. Dash), herbs, garlic n ginger can also help with healthy eating ..
    • Hit the nail on the head (15/07/2019, 12:45) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your argument is one-sided. There are two sides. You would have remembered from principles of business at high school, that the further away a product is from the manufacturer, the higher the cost of getting it to the consumer. Also, too many of us rate the price of goods as if you are in the US or because we are close to the USVI. The shipping to the USVI is at domestic rates or a little above and the shipping to the BVI is at INTERNATIONAL RATES! Please do your research. You would also note from the same principles of business that there is a term called CARRYING COST of products while they sit on the shelf which is the time period between time on shelf to time of sale of product and is a percentage of the direct costs to get the product in the store. Please do your research or ask persons knowledgeable in business about the technical aspects of business. It seems that you are only on the customer side. Business owners cannot keep giving away their goods and services for free. They have to get a return on their risk for being in business !!!
  • musa (15/07/2019, 12:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    the same people go shopping in st Thomas eat the same unhealty food too
  • wize up (16/07/2019, 07:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    just a question: will government dictate what some of we can or can not do while living in the British Virgin Islands; over the years I thought the BVI was a democratic system whereby people have free of choice: what about pockwood pond and that dump site pushing out toxic fumes hour after hour and some folks on the west side of this territory!!!!!!
  • Future (16/07/2019, 12:45) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    NHI need to cover healthy foods and gym memberships.
  • Just Sayin! (19/07/2019, 17:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ummm the Premier & Minster themselves need to lead by example.


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