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Make healthy food more attractive, lower tariffs on imports– Hon Penn

Make healthy food more attractive, lower tariffs on imports– Hon Penn

Opposition leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) said healthy foods should be made more attractive, and the tariffs on those foods should be reduced in the face of the high cases of chronic non-communicable diseases affecting the Virgin Islands.

“I think we need to focus on preventative health measures. One of the things we did when in Government, where we had the healthy living, healthy lifestyle, and I think that transitioned into the CHIP Programme that you have now. We need to change the discussion, have a paradigm shift in terms of the way we look at health care in the territory,” he remarked while being interviewed on the UMOJA show on ZBVI 780 AM on October 25, 2021.

Opposition leader Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) said healthy foods should be made more attractive, and the tariffs on those foods should be reduced in the face of the high cases of chronic non-communicable diseases affecting the Virgin Islands.


NHI should focus on prevention- Hon Penn


He also took a swipe at the National Health Insurance (NHI), stating that they too should be refocusing their efforts towards preventative measures.

He stated: “NHI should be focused on preventing persons from getting sick instead of trying to treat the people when they get sick.”

“A healthier population also means a more healthy economy, that means they are more productive in the work force, it means persons are living longer, they are contributing more to the system so overall it is not just for the health of the patient but for the nation’s economy if persons live a healthier lifestyle.”

The host of the show, Mr Cromwell Smith, asked Hon Pennif he felt that more should be done legislatively to encourage persons to live healthier lives.

It's about good decisions not legislation- Penn


He replied that he did not feel that “we shouldn’t put laws in place to legislate certain things.”

Penn said persons should make the decisions that benefit them.

“The first thing we have to figure out is how does healthier living and healthy lifestyles means, and what that looks like. We have to then look at how we can get this implemented, whether it is in the schools or it is within our communities, in our older population or in the baby boomers, as you call them. I don’t like the heavy-handed approach that we have to legislate anything on to our population; I don’t think everything needs to be legislated.”

He added: “I think if we have a proper education campaign, will make sure we have a proper cultural shift in terms of the way that we present healthy food and make healthy food more attractive and if it is an issue of cost, we need to look at lowering the tariffs on foods that are healthy coming into the territory.”

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