Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 18th 2014 Contents Alcoholics, smokers
also a big problem
Saturday, January 18, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
While agreeing with Health
Minister Dr Fuad Khan s state-
ments made this week that obese
Trinidadians are a burden on the
nation s health care system, the
north branch of the T&T Medical
Association wants to add alco-
holics and smokers to that list.
Yesterday, Dr Frank Ramlack-
hansingh, public relations officer
of the association, said: "We agree
with everything Dr Fuad Khan has
said, but let us not forget alcoholics
and smokers, who are also a bur-
den on the health system."
Ramlackhansingh said four years
ago, research by a doctor doing a
postgraduate degree showed that
the large number of admissions to
the Port-of-Spain General Hospital
was related to the abuse of alcohol.
"Alcohol licks up the whole
body---the liver and stomach.
Smokers present chronic obstruc-
tive pulmonary disease (COPD),
which licks up your lungs, and they
develop emphysema, and asthma,
which is a big burden on the health
system," he said.
Emphysema is a type of COPD
involving damage to the air sacs
(alveoli) in the lungs. As a result,
the body does not get the oxygen
Ramlackhansingh strongly advo-
cates physical exercise to his
patients. He reluctantly admitted
to running between four and eight
miles a day either at Caura or Blan-
chisseuse, and has won several
"People do not want to be
obese," he said.
He said sporting facilities need
to be provided to encourage people
to lead a more active lifestyle.
"There are the Eddie Hart
grounds and the Aranguez savan-
nah along the East-West Corridor,
but outside of that, there are very
few places to participate in outdoor
Ramlackhansingh said Khan
should have made his statements
about people s eating habits and
the effect on their health before
Christmas, when people usually
He also questioned why Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
was encouraging the consumption
of flour, rice and oil by the 20 per
cent discount offered in December
to consumers, when these partic-
ular items are "really not too good"
Four armed men were arrested
less than an hour after they held
up a maxi taxi driver and his pas-
sengers in Champ Fleurs on
Around 6.30 pm, Adrian
Nicholas, 43, of Champs Fleurs,
was driving his maxi on the Priority
Bus Route when he stopped to pick
up a passenger near Carib Brewery.
Police said as soon as Nicholas
stopped the maxi, a passenger got
The man, who was waiting at
the side of the road, boarded the
maxi and with the help of another
man, who also pretended to be a
passenger, they robbed Nicholas
and the other passengers of cash,
cell phones and jewelry. The three
then got out and ran into an alley
leading to Mt Lambert.
Nicholas drove to the St Joseph
Police Station and reported the
Almost an hour later, police from
the St Joseph CID led by Insp Mark
Maharaj were on patrol in Mt Lam-
bert. The police spotted a silver car
with occupants fitting the descrip-
tion of the men.
Officers stopped the car and
found the stolen items in the trunk.
The four occupants---a 27-year-
old man and an 18-year-old, of San
Fernando; a 33-year-old man of
Claxton Bay and a 23-year-old man
of KP Lands, Valencia---remained
in custody up to late yesterday.
Investigators said the four men,
who all have criminal records for
similar offences, were being ques-
tioned about several other maxi
taxi robberies in the same area over
the past few months.
The suspects will be put on iden-
tification parades over the weekend
and are expected to appear in court
In a separate exercise, later that
night, the same group of officers
searched a house in Arouca, and
found a pistol and a cache of
ammunition. The items seized
included a .380 pistol, three 12-
gauge shotgun cartridges, five
rounds of 7.62 ammunition and 38
rounds of 9 mm ammunition.
The 37-year-old owner of the
house was arrested and charged
with firearm and ammunition pos-
session. He is expected to appear
in the Arima Magistrates Court on
Sgt Rene Katwaroo and Vetus
Hernandez are continuing inves-
Medical Association on health care burden:
r C r y r A A C r
r r r r y PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
A A A
In a report in Thursday's T&T Guardian, Khan said: "The health
sector is geared towards treating these people who are basically
unhealthy as a result of their diet, and as a result of their
lifestyle, and if I try and equate what happens to the private
sector, the overall thing might be over $5 billion and more."
Khan said the increasing number of patients suffering from
the complications of non-communicable diseases was
contributing to overcrowding at public health institutions.
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