I thought gambling was still illegal here? So what are those lovely ladies doing sitting around town with lottery tickets, often chatting to policemen, who also buy tickets?

And if gambling is illegal, then I am sure that laying bets on horses is also illegal. So I was surprised to hear on the radio (I probably missed it before) that the races on Sunday were variously sponsored by legislators from both sides of the House of Assembly, including the premier! Isn’t that condoning lawbreaking?

Whilst riding a scooter without a helmet, number plates, licence and insurance is also illegal, it is understandable that our police are reluctant to chase miscreants because of the possibility of further accidents. But the Department of Motor Vehicles could do its part by at least ensuring that a rider/owner produces a helmet and insurance when registering his or her machine — even if it is not worn later, or the bike is ridden by someone else without a helmet.

I expect illegal bikes will still be brought over by small boat from the United States Virgin Islands under cover. I did note that the other week in the St. Croix carnival there were several very big bikes in the parade, and hardly any riders had helmets. The laws being stricter over there, perhaps it’s not the law to wear a helmet?

As for the apparent return of night-time drag racing, why don’t the police have roadblocks to Beef Island? Better still, hide, let them all get over there, then have a roadblock after the racing to catch them all when they try and return. I’m sure there are residents on Little Mountain who could call in when they hear the noise.

Police training

As for those charged with upholding the law, the police, we hear that they are to train recruits to the force here in the territory instead of sending them to Barbados as in the past. Why? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that in a recent recruitment exercise only one person passed the qualifying tests to go to Barbados, and then failed every single section of the course down there? I believe that recruit returned to an admin post in the service. Do we think we can train recruits any better, or to a standard acceptable here, which must be pretty low?

NHI plan

I still have an open mind about the proposed National Health Insurance scheme (after all, I might benefit from it). Have you noticed on the radio that the government is running little sketches about the advantages of the coming scheme? Some of the “facts” and examples given are of questionable validity, and could be designed to persuade the public that the scheme is a good thing. At the same time, our private medical facilities and insurance companies offering private health insurance have also increased their advertising (good for the radio stations’ finances). Competition in the market?

Many people with insurance schemes attached to their work are concerned as to whether they should continue to pay into both schemes (the government one being compulsory), and to know exactly what is on offer so that they can decide. We are still not being given enough detail on what exactly will be provided. This could all be academic, as the programme’s introduction depends on the completion and operation of the new hospital.

Perceived wisdom on the street is that NHI is so unpopular that the present government may lose the election if the programme is established before then. On the other hand, if they wait until after the election, win, and then introduce it, it could well be bankrupt in about four years. It is doubtful the Virgin Islands Party or other winning party would cancel the scheme if it has been brought it, so it might still go bankrupt.

Some insurance companies providing private schemes say they are extremely expensive to run, and are only just holding their head above water. Government may be digging a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. With all the other taxes they are proposing, the cost of living is going to leap upwards.

Tour buses

Finally, a note to tour bus taxi operators. When you are dawdling along showing tourists the sights (nothing wrong with that), please keep an eye on your rear-view mirror, and when you see a string of a dozen vehicles behind, please pull over and let them past.

Finally, finally, a note to the members for the First and Third districts: There is no job vacancy yet! But carry on the good work as opposition members.