Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2017 Contents In a move worthy of the
Monty Python comedy
group at their sublime
best, the T&T Defence
Force (TTDF) has come
up with a list of things that
they say the people of Dominica
desperately need, that beggars
the imagination. After conduct-
ing a critical needs assessment on
the ground, the TTDF published
a list in Sunday's Guardian which
included chain saws; generators;
roo ing supplies; gasoline and
diesel fuel; tarpaulins; water;
pre-packaged food; medical sup-
plies; baby cereal; disposable di-
apers; stoves ... hold on... back
up... "baby cereal?", "disposable
diapers?" Is this a sick joke? Some-
body trying to be funny? Includ-
ing "baby cereal" and disposable
diapers as "critical needs?" Equiv-
alent to chain saws, generators,
medicine and water?
Let's dispose of the plastic di-
apers, even though the question
arises, where are you going to
put them after use when your
entire water and sewage system
is not working, but OK they want
disposable diapers because they
accustomed to that and apart
from hygiene and the possibility
of transmitting gastro, give them
that. But baby cereal? How in
heaven's name does baby cereal
get on this list? Is someone paying
for baby cereal to be placed on
this list of critical needs?
Let's get this straight. Nobody
needs "baby cereal." There's no
such thing as "baby cereal" just
as there is no such thing as "baby
food." What exists are products in-
vented by companies that deal in
food designed to make you think
babies need "baby food." Infants
can eat almost any food that adults
eat without any problem.
Up to a few years ago, "baby
cereal" was being touted as the
irst food for babies. That was
simply because of the iron it con-
tains, iron which we now know is
poorly absorbed and not needed
in well fed babies, especially those
breastfed. "Baby cereals" were
actually recommended as irst
foods, based solely on American
tradition and culture than on any
scienti ic evidence.
Sixteen years ago I listened with
anguish as two bubble-heads on
CNN wrongly criticised Madonna
for refusing to feed her son "baby
rice cereal" as a irst food.
This refusal has now gone main-
stream, even in the USA and in
Great Britain. It does not matter
what the irst solid foods are.
There is no medical evidence
that introducing solid foods in
any particular order has any ad-
vantage. You do not have to feed
babies commercial "baby cereal."
It is not necessary, in well times,
far less times of disaster.
Apart from not
they are highly
all the natural in-
out. Arti icial vitamins and min-
erals have to be added and again,
these are poorly absorbed. Second
they are 90 per cent starch, either
wheat or corn or oats i.e. re ined
sugar. Processed starch drives up
the blood sugar quickly and drops
it quickly, causing hunger, irri-
tability and increased intake. In
addition, many have added sugars
usually disguised with names like
"banana puree concentrate" to
fool you into thinking they contain
Fourth, they have no ibre and
are a major source of constipation
in six-month-olds. Fifth, babies
fed these processed foods seem to
prefer processed foods later on in
life so there is link between com-
mercial "rice cereals" and obe-
sity, diabetes and cardiovascular
disease. Sixth, they are expensive
and use up foreign exchange. Sev-
enth they are a major cause of gas,
colic, abdominal pain, irregular
bowel movements and allergies.
Finally, they continue that insid-
ious and detrimental process of in-
sisting on believing that "foreign"
is better than local.
This may be true for many things
but not for food. Our traditional
West Indian foods like "blue food,"
rice and peas and callallo and ish
are superior "baby foods."
All over the world people are
now attempting to buy local, eat
better and cut down on their car-
bon footprint and so on. Let us
keep our local food customs. Send
a message. Real food for babies
and their mothers. Not fake food.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Head of News Shelly Dass firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Irving Ward -- email@example.com
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Address Guardian Building, 4 --10 Rodney Road, En-
Managing Director Lucio Mesquita
Circulation Manager Cashyap Sharma
Sales Manager Sonja Romany
Port-of-Spain classi ieds
22 24 St Vincent Street, (PO Box 122)
Telephone 225 4465, ext 4232, 4235, 4251, 4254
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Internet address guardian.co.tt
For a new civic narrative
With Republic Day past us, it's time for the red, white and
black garlands, banners and ribbons to be taken down again.
We had a good moment to celebrate and reflect on independ-
ence and becoming a republic -- two major milestones in our
nation's still young life.
The problem is, beyond the ireworks and parades, people
feel there's little to celebrate. A recent survey conducted for
this newspaper showed the clear majority of those polled be-
lieve the country is heading in the wrong direction. And, with
rare exceptions, conversations about Trinidad and Tobago's
situation nowadays are negative. More than negative, they are
There are good reasons for that: governance in this coun-
try is ineffective at best, corruption is presumed at all levels,
productivity is appalling, public services are poorly delivered,
accountability is non-existent, crime remains untamed and our
infrastructure, already poor, is crumbling in front of us, pot-
hole by pothole, leak by leak.
The narrative must change if we are to get out of this down-
ward spiral. The Government can make a start by producing,
in just over a week from now, a budget that is brutally honest
about the state of our nation's economy and brings forward the
hard but necessary measures needed to get us back on track.
If our leaders also have the political courage to tackle corrup-
tion at all levels (including amongst themselves), then we have
a real chance to turn a corner and truly mark our independ-
ence and republican days with pride.
If there's one single aspect of life a nation must get right irst
is education. Then, the rest follows.
And here we have a big problem: ours isn't very good. Ac-
cording to the Programme for International Student Assess-
ment set up by the OECD, a group of mainly rich countries, we
are below average in maths, reading and science -- trailing far
behind the likes of Singapore and Finland.
Part of the problem is delivery. Teacher absenteeism and
poor training aren't helpful, and the infrastructure is poor.
The other part is policy. We still base our education on a
system created in Victorian Britain with the aim to properly
educate a few to run the country and give the rest just the
basics as they were destined to work in the mills, ports, ships
and factories of the time.
If we are to remain relevant in the 21st century, it's time to
seriously consider what education system we want for the next
To all those who have already donated items and money for
the hurricane relief efforts under way in T&T. A lot more needs
to be done, at home and abroad, to begin the reconstruction
for those who have been affected, especially in Dominica and
Antigua and Barbuda. Please keep supporting the campaigns
and keep giving generously.
Citizens and members of the Building T&T Foundation take part in a candle light anti-crime walk on Saturday night
along the Aranguez Main Road, San Juan.
PICTURE ANISTO ALVES
Dr David Bratt
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