T&T is ranked as the 98th among countries with the highest consumption of alcohol. Minister of State in the Social Development Ministry Alicia Hospedales said so during her contribution to Wednesday's debate on the Provisional Collection of Taxes Order in the House of Representatives. She said that information was provided by the World health Organisation (WHO).
Hospedales said the Government's decision to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco products was a good one as it is intended to act as a deterrent to users of those products. Responding to claims from Opposition MPs Ramesh Maharaj, Dr Roodal Moonilal and Chandresh Sharma that the initiative was not likely to succeed, Hospedales said she begged to differ. She said the measure would be successful.
The minister said T&T had been ranked among the countries with the highest number of Alcoholics Anonymous groups per capita in the world.
She added that it was a strong indicator that alcohol use and abuse "was a major problem in T&T." She said from statistics it seemed that citizens of this country were drinking more alcohol than water.
Hospedales said the use of alcohol had caused a myriad of problems for individuals, families and the society as a whole. She quoted statistics which showed that in T&T "66 per cent of highway deaths was due to alcohol use, 63 per cent of fire deaths, 60 per cent of motor cycle deaths, 50 per cent pedestrian accidents, 50 per cent of drownings have all been due to alcohol consumption."