It is very rare when members of the medical fraternity make public comments about their views on social disputes. However, Jack Charles’ rice war seems to be pushing everyone’s buttons and now one of Belize’s most respected medical experts has weighed in. In a post on his personal Facebook account dated February 15, 2016, Dr. Bernard Bulwer had some very strong words to the Belizean public about Jack Charles.
In the post titled “OPEN LETTER TO MR. BELIZEAN RICE AFLATOXIN EXPERT”, Bulwer writes,
“Dear Mr. conscientious, self-proclaimed philanthropist, public health and nutrition expert; your persistent, self-serving, Belizean rice-aflatoxin scaremongering is not in the best interest of the Belizean public. As a Belizean health professional, I feel a sense of responsibility to weigh in on this matter, and put things in perspective.
My fellow Belizeans, the real threat to your health is not, and has never been rice aflatoxin-related (liver) disease. Our biggest food threat is our near wholesale abandonment of many healthy traditional food choices in exchange for the highly-processed foods found in supermarkets… The scientific and public health evidence is clear. Highly-processed foods and sweetened drinks, with their toxic trans-fats, artificial additives, and excess sugar are direct causes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. These are the number 1 food-related killers in Belize.”
In the letter Bulwer addresses Charles directly, in Creole, “Soh I really noh like how you come da my country, mek latta money from my people by profiting from your highly-processed food enterprise, and pan tappa dat, yuh di persist and di try tek my people fi fool.”
Bulwer also has a message for the masses: “Belizeans, start eating more natural foods, avoid those foods that have labels on them (especially highly-processed foods). Start to grow more of your own food, even in the city. Home boys, start organize yourself in the community and start planting, raise your fowl, go fishing, and barter with your neighbours. Who come from country and have land need fi go back da country and plant. Stap di give people who no like unnu unu money. Deh no kay bout unnu. Stop being active participants in your own demise.”
It appears that Charles’ ploy to taint the locally produced rice as being cancerous is back firing on the millionaire importer. He may have bitten off more than he can chew with this rice war.