Mottley: Tax intended to save our people

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has doubled down on her decision to increase taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages by 100 per cent, saying that to do otherwise would be tantamount to an “act of treason”.

Delivering the feature address at the launch of the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) City Campus in Bridgetown and the UWI Private Sector Forum at the historic Mutual Building on Lower Broad Street Thursday night, she said the increase was by no means punitive.

“We are a society that has one of the highest incidence of obesity, childhood obesity and adult obesity, and it is against that backdrop that I say to the soft drink and sweetened drink manufacturers that our tax is not intended to penalise them, but it is intended to save our people,” Mottley said.

“We want to save our people by ensuring that they have less access to sugar because we simply cannot carry the cost anymore of the level of diabetes, hypertension and other chronic NCDs (non-communicable diseases) that are engulfing this nation. When I see the numbers with respect to dialysis and the extent and pace at which they are growing, believe you me, I would be committing an act of treason if I do not insist on us reducing our reliance on sugar in this country.” (CLM)

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