So it’s farewell to the National Health Insurance scheme, eh? For now anyway, and possibly forever. I was not really against it: I just could not see how it would work here, financially and practically. The case in point of a young girl needing a $200,000 operation shows that overall it would be horrendously expensive for the government, and probably for the populace as well.
I see President Roosevelt still wants to force feed tourists on pumpkin soup at hotels! Doesn’t he realise that most hotels already have that on their menu?
So the premier has been to Brazil to a tourist conference, presumably to drum up business for us. They speak Portuguese there, you know, not Spanish. Perhaps when he is back he will tell us how easy it was to fly there and back from here?
I sometimes wonder whether our politicians think they are talking to aliens. The minister of education and culture thinks that only Virgin Islanders should be allowed to hire out speedboats and houses! Come again? Does he know that there are only five or six people hiring out speedboats in the territory — half of them belongers — and that one of them has his boats built in Virgin Gorda? So stopping the couple of non-belongers from renting out their boats is really going to improve our economy and create masses of jobs for belongers — not!
Worse, he doesn’t think expatriate house owners should be allowed to rent their properties when they are not here! So they will try and sell up and leave; the housing market will collapse because no one will buy a house if they can’t rent it out; and tourism will decrease — just what we need!
Gun Creek plan
The proposals for Gun Creek sank like a stone at the public meeting. Now why wouldn’t the public want some expansion of facilities over there? Because they don’t trust the government’s intentions, even if they are sincere. The Virgin Gorda public may be biting the hands that feed them up in the north there, but they don’t seem to want any expansion unless it is on their terms, and I don’t know what those terms are. All one can see is that there has been precious little development on VG, despite the fact that they keep re-electing the same representative and apparently getting nothing for it.
Now we are holding a full moon party in Puerto Rico! Wouldn’t it make more sense to bring the travel agents here to the actual parties, so they can see what great facilities, entertainment and accommodation we can provide? Most Puerto Ricans who have money to travel come here maybe twice a year in their own boats, and as such do not spend that much money here. And PR has so much more to offer tourists than we do!
Do I hear correctly? The Water and Sewage Department is no longer going to send out bills? We have to go and ask for our bill? And this will save them money? Well, our bill never has the meter readings on it anyway, so we only ever get charged for the meter when I go in and tell them how much we owe! This proposal would work if they persuaded everyone to pay bills online. But then, they are promised a modern billing system by Biwater, after the contract is completed. Since poor old Biwater still can’t get the necessary authority to start digging up the road to get seawater from the Bay (why?) it’s going to be a long time coming. Some cynic said the longer Biwater is held off the more money Ocean Conversion-BVI can make?
Meanwhile, the sewerage projects in East End and Road Town are to restart yet again! The holdup in East End is said to be due to land disputes — in other words, the populace want a sewerage system, but not when it encroaches on their land, unless they get a good recompense. How public spirited some people are! And how lily-livered our government is in not pushing through their requirements.
The holdup in Road Town is said to be due to collapsing pipes when excavating. Where is/was the preplanning for these projects? Why don’t they tender the job to an experienced company instead of the inexperienced “contractors” they employ for everything? So, just another $250,000 added to the cost, a sop to the contractor for the holdup. How could he have spent that amount doing nothing for a few months? And I bet that won’t be the last addition to the original cost.
We are being urged to take a staycation (sorry, but I am off for a while). If you do take one, I urge those who have not been there to visit the Old Government House Museum and the 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum. They are well worth it.
At last someone in the Department of Motor Vehicles has seen some sense and reverted driving licence renewals to birthdays, and not residence or work permit dates. Hooray! This stupid regulation was particularly difficult for non-belonger drivers over 70, who have to renew every year.
I will miss William Walker’s precise analysis of many of our problems and projects. I hope government has been taking notes. My condolences to his wife Anne at this sad time.
Finally, thanks to all you marmalade addicts, I have been able to donate $900 to various charities this past six months. Many thanks for your support.