Sugary Drinks Tax is Another Attack on Our Pockets from the Gaston Browne Administration- Lewis


Sugary Drinks Tax is Another Attack on Our Pockets from the Gaston Browne Administration

The Gaston Browne Administration continues to show contemptuous disregard for the sky-high cost of living which is suffocating our people.

It is shocking that this administration seemingly believes Antiguans and Barbudans purchase sugary drinks because they are deliberately seeking less healthy options, and not out of mere survival.


The Prime Minister clearly fails to recognize that it is the high cost of healthier drinks, foods, fruits and vegetables, that drives the buying habits of the neediest among us.

In fact, Gaston Browne’s slew of new taxes and tax increases has degraded the spending power of poor and middle-income families, and made healthier alternatives more expensive.

It is therefore the ABLP Administration that has forced our people to spend on cheaper, less healthy food items.

To now raise taxes on food items that the Gaston Browne Administration’s economic hardship has forced people to buy is an unconscionable and a merciless attack on the poor and vulnerable.


To encourage healthier choices, while protecting the pockets of our people, I recommend the following alternative actions:

1. Reduce the overall tax burden on our people by rolling back the recent tax increases, and reducing the duties on essential items. This will increase disposable income that could be used to purchase healthier food items.

2. Make further tax reductions on healthier food and drink alternatives, to incentivize their purchase.

By leaving our people with more spending power, while reducing the prices of healthier alternatives, buying behaviour will naturally result in healthier buying habits, contributing to public health and a reduction in non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Richard S. Lewis MP




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  1. While I understand Gaston has been attacking our pockets in some wrong ways, it would not be a wrong tax if they give concession waiver on healthy food, these fast food and surgery drinks overwhelm the heath system in the latter end with diabetes etc. so let’s tax that surgery drink but that’s not the ultimate solutions, need concession on healthy foods.

  2. Are the local juices included in this tax. Because many of the juices made locally contain obscene amounts of sugar. Regardless of the fruit juice they contain the sugar presents health problems contributing to diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

  3. “It is shocking that this administration seemingly believes Antiguans and Barbudans purchase sugary drinks because they are deliberately seeking less healthy options, and not out of mere survival.” ~ Richard Lewis

    I honestly thought that Richard Lewis had the capacity to become leader of the UPP, and eventually, Prime Minister of this country. However, the above statement has revealed Little Richard’s absolute lack of capacity and critical thinking skills.

    It is a well established FACT that the desire for sugary foods is rooted in lifestyle choices. Many people who are able to afford healthy foods gravitate to sugary ones because sugar is known to have addictive qualities. Antigua and Barbuda is not the first country to hike the tax on sugary foods as a way to control demand for them. It is either the country is going to take a stand and help to avoid people developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure, and heart disease OR we do nothing and the healthcare system becomes burdened in taking care of these kinds of patients.

    Little Richard, the hallmark of a good/great politician is recognizing that you DO NOT have to oppose everything. Agree when necessary as it shows maturity and political nous.

  4. A thoughtful and well written article.
    Growing up poor means that the soda for $3.50 was a better bargain that the equal parts of a natural drink that used to cost $8.00. Now with the cost inflation, those prices have doubled.
    These habits have been formed out of necessity, not willful disregard for our own health. Also, please note that many times the practicing of “juicing” may not be as ‘healthy’ as we think because often we add sugar to the natural fructose levels obtained when we remove the fiber during the process. At the end of it all, we may be doing harm to ourselves, not realizing our mistake.

  5. I believe that is the best tax the government will implement I only sorry the government can’t get 300% for any drink that is over 15%sugar

  6. I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it again.

    The sugar tax was an idea that came about roughly when the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union (one of their biggest financial and economic traders, bar none), and ever since the Brits voted to cause their own financial downfall and hardship, they’ve had to look at other ways of raising revenue by STEALTH.

    One of them without a shadow of a doubt was the dreaded and despised sugar tax.

    They dressed it up, just like the ABLP are doing about health concerns and the onset of obesity; but guess what?

    The Brits are still putting on weight, diabetes is running rife and medicines to combat it is running low or running out in many places.

    Gaston Browne and the ABLP haven’t got one original idea in their empty heads.

    So again, when the UK “financially” coughs, Antigua gets the “economic” cold and sickness …

    … and there I was thinking that our government was only following the UK’S protocol of the monarchy!

  7. … oh, and by the way, if this ABLP government is really concerned about the HEALTH of Antiguans, why don’t they also look into the increases in heart issues with Pericarditis, Myocarditis, turbo cancers and Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS), that’s currently a problem here in Antigua (as well as across the globe)?

    SUGAR TAX??? TARL!!!

  8. There is no doubt Richard Lewis has leadership qualities. Wash an basin ,you are obviously missing the point . This administration is raising tax on sugary drinks not for health purposes ,but to pay their public debts that is killing them . If this administration cares about the health and well-being of its people ,why serving hot dogs and hamburgers to the kids from school meals program ? I can see a minion from any angle . You are obviously one .

  9. This government has NEVER shown any concern for the citizens of this country in ten years and they’re not about to now. Gaston Browne has so mismanaged the country’s finances that he must find money somewhere to prop up a failed state. Prior to 2014 the man was incapable of running a successful business, what makes us think he can run a country?
    I am no lover of sugary drinks, but this is not the solution. Antigua and Barbuda cannot endure anymore more taxes. When a bottle of soda cost $3, a carton of juice will cost $9. The juice of comparable cost contains maybe half the volume as the soda. Not much of a choice there.
    Look, let’s just face it. This guy is greedy and leads the most incompetent cabinet ever. These hoodlums and original ideas are two mutually exclusive events.
    For a man who promised NO TAXES, what a liar he is.

  10. @Brixtonian:
    The concept of Sugary drinks being since Brexit is not factual. In America, the idea of taxing sugary drinks was started under the Bill Clinton administration. The expectation was to drive people to consume more healthy drinks without creating a demise of the manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

  11. @Bluddy Bloke:
    If you ban sugary drinks, you will remove the choice that people should have. You will also be affecting the revenue of businesses. Ask the hotels and restaurants would be negatively affected. That trickles down to the household. Think about that for a moment.

  12. I’m quite surprised that no one is saying that the government is copying Barbados by implementing tax first as a deterrence, then move on to total ban on surgery drinks.
    I wonder what it feels like to always live a life of continuous negativity, no matter what. Some people suggested that the money would be used to pay government bills, but why should anyone care what the money is used for, while the country is heading over the cliff of diabetes. The disease is factually common in Antigua, but no one seems to care until they themselves are overtaken by diabetes.

    People just need to open their eyes and face the reality of what’s happening and quit the consistent criticism for evening the government does. There’s no country in the world that does everything right or wrong. Where can you find a perfect government in this dark, broken, and crooked world. We need to be honest with ourselves at least sometimes.

  13. As always @ Dave Ray, missing the MAIN point of my response/argument; and I note with much interest that you haven’t mentioned a single word regarding the other major health issues (factual) that Antiguans are facing as well since Covid-19.


    Do you CAREFULLY pick and choose what you respond to?

    SEEMS SO … 😁

    Bring it Dave, I haven’t lost a debate since Uni’

  14. Does this mean fat cows like Fugly Benjamin and Moo Marshall will also pay extra for the sugary drinks?

    Just another way for the creative self enrichment dictator Gaston Browne to pad his bank account.

    That never worked in any of the other countries yet this as5h0le thinks it will work here.

  15. @ Dave Ray: If you were head of State similar t you being the head of your home, would you not allow wisdom to dictate.

    A responsible leader or administration always have their priorities set on having a healthy nation first.

    Prevention is better than to cure!

  16. @Wash hand. And, you do not have to oppose Hon Richard Lewis because he is seeking to make Gaston accountable. He is correct from one point of view and Brix is also correct from another. But, some kind of balance is needed here and a scope has to be established rather than a total broad brush.
    Good discussion though.

  17. If you think sugary drinks is a serious problem, look around you :
    White four products
    Fried chicken and chips with mayonnaise/ketchup
    Pizza – cheese and grease
    Fried rice/chowmein – msg
    Pasta.. need I say mre?

  18. No one needs to drink soda. Just drink water and eat a fruit for the same $3.50. The biggest problem for health in Antigua is lack of ACCESS to the healthy options. Every community should have a place to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Poor people shouldn’t have to spend $5.50 or more to take a bus to town and back or put gas in an expensive car to buy a mango or apple for $1 or pear or banana or carrots for $2. Instead they should be able to walk over to a nearby grocery shop and spend the $5.50 on the fruit or vegetable. When there is no easy or affordable access to healthy options, people will buy the unhealthy ones just to have something to eat.


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