Govt 'attacking unhealthy lifestyles, not corned beef'

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest. 
Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff


Tribune Staff Reporter


The government is not attacking corned beef, but rather unhealthy lifestyles, said Acting Prime Minister Peter K Turnquest at the opening of the 2018 Agri-Business Expo on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources is once again hosting the three-day expo at the Gladstone Road Agricultural Centre. This year, the theme is “Together, We Grow”.

With Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis attending the CEO Summit of Americas in Lima, Peru, Mr Turnquest is serving as acting prime minister.

In his keynote address, Mr Turnquest referenced the controversial planned breadbasket food reforms lead by Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

“We’re not attacking the corned beef,” Mr Turnquest said. “We are attacking obesity and unhealthy lifestyles."

Although absent, Dr Minnis did release a statement published in the event booklet. In it, he promised that his administration will give “greater priority” to the “ideal of achieving self-sufficiency through increased agricultural output."

Dr Minnis added: “It is my hope that this Agri-Business Expo will continue to expose the public and business sectors to the deep and sincere recognition of the need and requirement for locally produced goods and services which are essential to the expansion and diversification of our economy.”

Mr Turnquest also spoke to this, saying his government’s long-term goal is to “drastically reduce our reliance on imports by growing, processing, marketing, and exporting our food.”

“Ultimately and simultaneously, achieving this goal will significantly reduce our balance of payment.”

He added: “I heard someone say on the radio the other day, how do we reduce our balance of payment — meaning how do we maintain more of our foreign exchange here in this country? We earn a lot of money from tourism, but we turn right around and spend that money to import food. So this is one of the ways we do it – by encouraging and incentivising local farmers, local producers to produce the foods that we eat ourselves as well as food that we serve to our guests. We want to see farming communities in our country prosper and grow and contribute even more to our national economy.”

Mr Turnquest also said the government has taken steps to ensure that the mail boat operators’ services are expanded and upgraded.

“Our island nation requires this to move people, goods, and services in an efficient way. We are assessing the packing house operations so that you, the farmers and consumers, are beneficiaries of modernised facilities that facilitate the transition of fresh, whole foods from the farms to your tables," he said.

Mr Turnquest encouraged young people to take advantage of the opportunities that “now present themselves as gaps”.

He added that government agencies are collaborating to promote training and skills development in this area.

Referencing the importance of new technologies such as hydroponics and aquaponics, he said these will “encourage the efficient use of space for a larger, quantity yield that will help to feed our people healthy foods at affordable prices."

The efficient use of space is particularly important considering the damage to arable land caused by hurricanes in recent years and the needs of a growing population, Mr Turnquest noted.

In terms of economics, he acknowledged that current tactics used to prioritise local farmers and producers will not always be feasible.

“With respect to…artificial barriers to trade, we’re going to have to become more competitive in what it is that we do. Very shortly, we will not be able to get away with buying imports or putting high tariffs…to protect local producers. And so we’re going to have to come up with creative ways in how we incentivise farmers to ensure that they remain competitive," he said.

These may be through concessions, Mr Turnquest said, but he reiterated: “It can’t be at the border”.

“And so that’s going to take some thinking. And I encourage the farmers and the livestock producers to put some thinking around that. Because the way we’ve done it in the past will not do. Not in this world.”


sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

We can make our own organically-grown pork/mutton/cow corned beef ....... but we just a lazy bunch who rather buy foreign garbage.

ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Ain't KP overweight? Get together with the speaker and start a weight loss program. That'll be the best example for the nation. Get Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham to do some senior exercise too. Not walking..well they can walk but film them doing some other stuff weight lifting, Tai Chi, and eating healthy. They can have their stew fish once a week with a small piece of Johnny cake. I nominate @Tal to make sure they stick to the program

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

Taking a shot at pudgy KPT is a low blow ....... But he/others should get the point ........ Our leaders can set a good example by modeling good habits for the citizens ...... We tend to mimic what our leaders do ........ So they should not lie, tease, forget dates, bully, scheme, cheat, abuse, and look shabby ........ LOL

Giordano 6 years, 3 months ago

They need to attack the high price of the breadbasket,both the unhealthy and the healthy one, this last one is even much more expensive. Also they need to attack corruption and leave the cornbeef alone; get those few thousands of millions of dollars back, stoled by past administration,actually in the hands of a known, small group of corrupt local politicians who abused the public purse under big time impunity,they need to stop the complicity with the wrongdoing and bring back descency, human dignity and respect. What a value in going to all of these international and local conclave or coference,now in Lima,Peru and London Just to read beautiful speeches but very far away of accomplishing anything. The state machine of production needs to be turned on by the newly,elected officials without any failure .

banker 6 years, 3 months ago

Wot ???????? Fire Engine een a health food??? Lawd a mercy! Next ting dey be tellin' us is that peas 'n rice causes Haitianism. I guess that I'd better stick to organic KFC or all natural Whoppers.

TalRussell 6 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Acting PM KP, you're not alone in ya thinking. There are the 91,409 who voted red on 10th May 2017, that's also thinking if the governing Imperial red party has launch an all out attack against the good old staple food item likes poor man's and woman's survival diet Corned Beef - they is really scraping at bottom governing credibility barrel.... and judging by book cover, KP should be last one volunteer lead charge change how overcome ya bad eaten habits.

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

BOL ........ Will the FNM lose the 2022 election if they ban Devon corned beef from Bahamian foodstores?

bogart 6 years, 3 months ago

We could feed ourselves growing many vegetables in our yards but many have experienced too many tiefs....jonsers....vagrants....TIEFING the fruits and vegetables getting the phone calls that tiefs are in the yard TIEFING and it is not worth it bevause after that TIEFS then steal anything that isnt anchored down.....and ots a waste of time complaining so its easier to stop......many fruit trees have been chopped down all over because of tiefs coming into your yard tieffing.....easier to buy mangoes tomatoes, beans, spinach, limes, sours, bananas, cassava, plantain, corn, etc in the food store than having the tiefs. SOLUTION WOULD BE TO PASS A LAW TO FLOG THE TIEFS WHO TIEF YOUR GARDEN PRODUCE AND ENCOURAGE GARDENING FEEDING COUNTRY PROJECT.....if not we continue ti import and live behind walls, barb wire, cameras, motion sensors, stores with barb wire on roofs and the horrible experience of having to race home from work....cause the now come in the hous....

Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 3 months ago

For decades Bahamians have been cutting down fruit trees on their land in order to avoid attracting trespassers. As a consequence, fruit that used to be common everywhere is now nowhere to be found except in the food stores at an exorbitant price. I remember in my younger years inviting children in the neighborhood to pick sour oranges, limes, pears, mangos, cherries, hog plums, guavas, etc. from my trees to take home and share with their families. The children were friendly and grateful. Gone are the days.

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

So sad ........ now all they eat is artificial nuggets, chips and soda ...... BAD

ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Gee I thought this was an unusual thing. My relative had all kinds of goodies, one day he met a rasta up the tree, ask him what he doing in his yard, rasta say I just getting one or two pears, next thing I know everywhere was plain grass not a fruit tree in sight.

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago


bogart 6 years, 3 months ago

.....ThisisOurs........did they say that the Rasta said 'Jah plant it fer everybody'......phenominal amount of common yard tiefing ....drove many to gated communities even on a small 80 sq mile island....hundreds of millions of dollars diverted ftom nation building to ....iron bars security screens on doors windows......walled chainlink ....motion sensors.....fencing.....razorwire on fence....exrralocks on everything......camers systems..computer....alarms on house on car....HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT COULD HAVE GONE TO NATION BUILDING ......AND NOT ONE MANGO, LIME OR PEAR FRUIT TIEF EVER CAUGHT AND ARRESTED.....many tourists sightseeing and wondering at all the razor wire even on rooftops.....houses 50 feet apart boundarywalls and razorwire all over..versus our US neighbours without walls, razor wire....

sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

That is Nassau's experience ......... not an Out Island lifestyle ..... But 75% of Bahamians prefer to live in their own little prisons on the 21x7 dirty rock.

If yall do not see that there is a better way ...... it is so sad for yall in Nassau

TalRussell 6 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Sheeprunner12, does you think it has anything declaring independence has anything do with colony islands, Imperial red government not only blocking admittance Queen's Official Opposition into the Peoples Honourable House of Assembly .... and just within past 72 hours -declaring an all outright war to block the grocery stores from stocking on their shelves and selling the poor and near poor from man's and woman's corned beef.... my comrade, governments have been pre-general election removed from office for far less matters than depriving the poor and near poor of their most affordable solid meat meal... How can the PM and acting PM fall asleep at bedtime whilst under such cloud blasphemy?

hrysippus 6 years, 3 months ago

A Bahamian staple is corned beef, . . . . . .. When low on dollars it brings relief, . . . . .. A good fire engine can fill your belly, . . . . . .... Solid as a house given you by Trevor Kelly, . . . . . ... And if you looking for breakfast food, . . . . . . .... And you ain't afraid of rough nor rude, . . . . . .. The you cannot beat Quaker Grits or Oat, . . . . ... Filling food to mash right down your throat, . . . . . .. But plenty we is lazy and fat, . . . . . . ... But don't comprehend what brings on that, . . . . . . ... Prefer to break their fast at a fast food place, . . . .. .. High cholesterol there ain't no disgrace, . . . . . .... Ingesting their food, no need to chew, . . . . . . .. But time to join the high-blood queue,.... . . . . . ... .. In this life you reap just what you sow, . . . . . . . If eating cheap and fat is the way you go, . . . . . . . . ... . Don't expect to live three score and ten, . . . . . .... . But to meet your end young and sudden.

DaGoobs 6 years, 3 months ago

The ridiculous prices we pay for food based on import duties is at the bottom of this problem. If all I can afford is unhealthy foods because the cost of the good stuff is so high, then that's what I will buy because it's what I can afford based on the low wages that I am paid. Years ago I used to buy lots of fresh fruits from the food store. Nowadays I got trouble buying bananas at $1 for 2 or 3 but I can't afford grapes or strawberries or oranges any more, the cost is too high KP, you in charge of Finance and import duties. What can you do to lessen the load on the small man in this country so he can afford to buy these things again?

PastorTroy 6 years, 3 months ago

This is good news, let's see some execution.

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