The Barbados Association of Retailers Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN) wants to see the end to the sale of “unhealthy” snacks and beverages to this country’s school children.
In fact, BARVEN spokesman Valentino Barrow has suggested that better can be done.
“We could find other alternatives. I remember when I was going to school we had fruits. I know there are healthier snacks on the market. We need to stomp out those unhealthy snacks,” he insisted.
Pointing out that BARVEN was doing what it could to encourage its members to offer healthier options, Barrow said the issue also called for greater support from parents.
“We have been having some workshops in educating the vendors on vending to children, things that are [damaging] to their health, and that include sweet drinks and the likes, various amount of confectionary that we know the children like but are not healthy.
“We also have to educate some of the parents, because even if we break through to a lot of the schools, the parents are still going to be buying these snacks for the children because it is always a ‘quick fix to get them out your hair’. But we need to also educate the parents about these snacks,” said Barrow.
In relation to a recent row between vendors at one school and education officials, Barrow said that matter was rectified.
Over the years there have been several calls for snack vendors to provide healthier options to school children. And in recent months the call was intensified following a fallout between some school vendors and education officials.
Barrow told Barbados TODAY that BARVEN fully supported this call, adding that the association saw the children as the future and they needed to be protected form the health risks associated with unhealthy eating habits.
His comments came as he reported a smooth start to the new school term for snack vendors.
He said that since the start of the current school term there have been no reports of aggression towards snack vendors at schools across the island from education officials.
However, he said there were still discussions to be had in relation to the tradition of vendors plying their trade on school compounds across the island.
“I can tell you that some of the vendors had opted to seek other locations, and others took the protocol to see if they can be accommodated on the premises. But we still need to have further deliberations with the authorities relating to that,” said Barrow.
In November last year a row between the principal of the Grantley Adams Memorial School and the vendors resulted in the vendors being removed from that school’s compound. One vendor was eventually permitted to sell on the compound.