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Cline blames poor tax structure for VI health bind

- says government; ‘crazy’ media partly responsible for healthcare confusion
Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority indicated that the VI's poor tax structure was largely responsible for its healthcare situation. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), John I. Cline, has laid blame for the Territory’s healthcare situation squarely at the foot of its poor tax structure.

“Social healthcare right now, as we know it, is not sustainable. We cannot continue to look to the government to fund healthcare at such alarming costs and not be exposed to financial difficulties as we are really right now and in the future,” Cline stated.

The Chairman made the comments while a guest on the 'Speak Your Mind' show aired on May 4, 2013.

He suggested it was important that whichever government was in, recognise what is happening and put the necessary things in place to fix healthcare.

According to Cline, the current National Democratic Party (NDP) government is pouring in excess of $20M into the healthcare system and even this does not properly fund healthcare to the point where it can be said that quality healthcare is being delivered.

One of the problems the Health Authority Chairman said he observed, was that governments allowed the media to shape the healthcare discussion instead of vice versa. “Instead, these piecemeal things get out, the media house[s], they get a hold of it and then they just have a field day… they are so irresponsible, some of them, it’s crazy.”

Host for the evening, Julio ‘Sam’ Henry, quickly interjected with a disclaimer to say that this was not the view of Speak Your Mind; “We think the media has a right to their own interpretation,” he stated.

Henry said he witnessed that on occasion, persons representing the government’s position, did not appear to have the necessary information themselves. “The media now, might put a spin on that,” he added.

Chairman Cline urged that the media act responsibly in getting information out to the population in a way that makes sense. “If you have questions,” he said, “come back and ask the questions and have the proper discussion instead of making it look like we’re trying to pull wool over somebody’s eyes. That’s not what the issue here is.”

In an attempt to explain what healthcare is and what the government’s proposed National Health Insurance programme was trying to fix, Cline said, “…we’re trying to fix, in the BVI, healthcare delivery that is a quality healthcare that gives our people access at a sustainable cost.”

Describing healthcare as a human right, Cline said, “It is a widely accepted principle that every person living in their country is entitled to good healthcare, whether they have money or not.” He also said first class or quality care is also of great importance to the people of any country.

VI tax base too small

“Our people here, we pay income tax and that’s about it, other than the import duty we pay,” Cline stated, “If we want to build a great society with good infrastructure, good roads [and] good healthcare, we’re going to have to pay more; we’re going to have to pay more in taxes.”

The Health Authority Chairman said each time any government attempted to impose increased taxes in the past, they were punished and kicked out of office. “While we glory in the American society and all the good things that are happening there, it costs. It costs the people one way or another to develop and build great infrastructure and deliver services that we seek.”

Cline said Virgin Islanders who sought care in the US at exorbitant costs and refused to pay for the same thing here were helping to build someone else’s infrastructure, society and community. “When we charge them a fraction of that… $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, then it’s too expensive. You can’t have it both ways,” he said.

“If we want to build [the capacity] and the infrastructure, we have to contribute our fair share,” the Chairman suggested.

26 Responses to “Cline blames poor tax structure for VI health bind”

  • Cabby (07/05/2013, 08:07) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    Well said Mr Cline. Best thing I ever heard since living in the VI.
  • ccc (07/05/2013, 08:15) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    It seems true and clear that deeds ppl does not want the people dependent on them
    • and (07/05/2013, 09:24) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Should the people be dependent on the government? People should work and pay taxes so the government would have funds to perform its functions, not put their hands to government for everything. The thinking is ths country is bad.
  • bay yute (07/05/2013, 08:25) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    WOW, what a shame
  • RedStorm (07/05/2013, 08:29) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with Mr. Cline on the subject of health care and the fact that Tax should be a major factor in developing this country. If we look at the service at the hospital and the people's attitude at the hospital we will be in this mess for the next twenty years. I analyze this - if we go to PR for surgery that cost 10K and PR decided to give a payment plan, do you think you are building the country name Tortola or the BVI, NO! you are pouring money in another man country, while you here driving on road with pot holes, the PR people are driving on road smooth like a baby bo....Government need to negotiate some fees with these countries like Barbabos and Guyana and Venezuela in their money, the exchange will be cheaper.
    This should be done until they can get Pebbles up and managing. But if government sit and do nothing, the mess they now have will fester and when it get out of control it won't be able to fix, and only then they would want to send somebody Balo. Why a country who gain profit each day is going down like this. I was in the hospital doing surgery , three time and I could hear during the night how some of the nurse shouting in a rough and rude way with one of the male patients, they conversation at that llittle desk is out of order, some just don't need to work with the people, bad , bad attitude.

    Don't take about the financial department, its a mess, people insurance card get lost, people insurancce not charge then years later they sending collection agent to you. It need to clean up. Government do something so that we can attract the medical tourism here. BVIslander are leaving here and going Guyana for eye surgery and paying less than 9 hundred dollar, in St. thomas that same eye surgey cosst 3 thousand dollars. I know this mess ain't easy to fix, but start some place and work on it.
  • ayo watch out (07/05/2013, 09:17) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    These media houses need to tread very carefully, this is the fifth politician I have heard complain about they being irresponsible. Failure to self-regulate will lead to restrictions. Watch out!
  • Truth (07/05/2013, 09:21) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    Cline this is exactly the situation with healthcare in the BVI. It should have been addressed years ago
    As a people we do not want to pay any taxes. We think everything should be handed to us. We prefer to build up another country and leave our country to decay. This is a serious problem in this country. The Government should assist the people in certain situations, but each person has a responsibility to provide for themselves and families as well as contribute to the upkeep of the country. Governments, except perhaps for Singapore, does not generate income, the funds largely comes from taxes, That is life!
  • Blame it on the rain! (07/05/2013, 09:32) Like (6) Dislike (9) Reply
    I just sick of this damn political spin all these special interest lobbyist are doing. You in there now so just fix the damn thing and stop the wishy washy talk. After all you are apart of the people who help mess it up.
  • law student (07/05/2013, 09:34) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with some of the points made that higher taxes are needed to build the BVI. Just one problem with this. Cost of Living in the BVI is too expensive, so if government wants to increase taxes they better think about increasing salaries also. You cant talk about one side and leave the other.
  • wise up (07/05/2013, 09:45) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    others like cline can speak like that; he and his other ndp friends have loads of money; OUR people make 4.25 per hour(get the picture)....
    • wise one (09/05/2013, 19:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      So therefore their contribution of 3.5% will be greater than yours. Right now everybody pays the same insurance premium whether their income is small or large. Who can't afford it just have to do without and hope not to get sick. NHI is a much fairer system allowing both rich and poor to get treatment when they need it, without going bankrupt. OUR people should be the strongest supporters of NHI.
  • Strupes (07/05/2013, 09:55) Like (12) Dislike (18) Reply
    I don't want to hear this man. He feeds off of the Government by getting every contract in every business he is in for years. He only preaches on the VIP's sins but he is blind to those of the NDP. God don't like onesideness.
  • Hmmm (07/05/2013, 09:57) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply

    Ro..n1eee send this man to do all his dirty work because they are bone friends. Ro..n1eee could do no wrong for this man. I hope he tell Ro..n1eee that he has a lot of blame for the lack of money in health because of his $!50 million & counting Santo construction hospital questionable project that not only broke health but the entire country then blame it on VIP.

  • Baygyal (07/05/2013, 10:00) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lisiten, the Premier stated that a hold be put on this health insurance scheme, yes scheme, so why does everyone see it fitting to carry ahead with the speeches , talk shows etc. The mere problem we have in this place is that we have too many Premiers period!
  • Ah (07/05/2013, 10:04) Like (6) Dislike (10) Reply
    If the Opposition didn't make noise about the illegal charging of the Seniors then they would be charging them ALL now. The NDP wants to destroy the Opposition but thank God for them to protect us from these dictators that even come in the form of pastors. Note I am a supporter of any side but calling it how I see it.
  • Where the money? (07/05/2013, 10:06) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply

    The money from Health needs to be account for by Ron... because his ill advised & poorly funded hospital construction project is what has brought us to our financial knees. Ron... is a strong willed person but he is not good for this country as a leader. Now he has his choir boy delivering his messages.

  • GW Busch (07/05/2013, 10:17) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Read my Lips Senor Klein: NO NEW TAXES! Also no taxation without representation! You have filled you r belly up off of Gov. contracts to the tuen of millions! Where is the monies collected at DMV going? Surely not to help maintain and build roads! It is hard when you look around adn there is no tangible veidence of the USD$1 billion that is generated in this place - along with a Gov budget in the region of $300 mill. - it makes no sense whatsoever! Also Mr. Klein what about the STAMP DUTY fiasco that you and your buddies have swept under the rug? Man ayo talk a good talk but walk so dang crooked it's a crying shame! NO NEW TAXES!
  • hold on (07/05/2013, 10:32) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply

    I know there are challenges in Health care but I don't trust Cl....He will paint such a poor picture for the wrong reasons so that he & his Minister friend can bring in some new company or system or something where both of them & their cronies would be benefiting in the back. This has been their MO for years.

  • Corruption (07/05/2013, 10:35) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply

    These people stealing the health money behind the scenes in a high tech way then complaining that there is no money for health care. Check whose company the Hospital purchasing goods from like the lights, etc. It is one big racket & Cl...e ain't no saint in it so is the new woman in charge & bully Minister. God will hold you guys accountable.

  • HSA Staff (07/05/2013, 13:35) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Grime ignoring all the squandermania, largesse, and buffoonery that is going on under his watch and really trying to blaming it on low taxes?

    Now he want to censor the press so all the dirty deeds can go on behind closed doors.

  • Natty (07/05/2013, 16:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is strange that in every country children and senior citizens do not pay at hospitals and in Tortola now they have to pay. The government need to think of ways and means to help these seniors and children from having to pay for services at the hospital. This is very bad. It is just because proper tax structure is not in place. It will definetlely need something to offset the expense but not having them paying for health services.
  • bb (07/05/2013, 18:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    JESUS CHRIST did NOT die on the Cross for us to LIVE IN FEAR or BONDAGE!

    • Grill Pasta (07/05/2013, 23:22) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      What will this accomplish? Nothing...Who will be held accountable? No one for the stae of health care

  • T (07/05/2013, 19:57) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    While Mr. Cline can eat cavier and fillet mignon, some of us can barely afford canned tuna. Most of us simply can not afford high taxes. Salaries are low, rent is high, insurance is well over $700 per month and rising, food is expensive. S Should I go on?
  • Inequality (09/05/2013, 12:00) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    While I understand the logic behind Mr. Cline's idea, cline you have to take into consideration the salary of MAJORITY in the bvi. Most of us, qualified/unqualified are underpaid and overworked. Cost of the basic necessities; food, clothing, shelter is ridiculously priced too high. You cannot expect to adapt another tax or increase the tax rates on persons who are qualified making $2250 at minimum and under qualified with experience at only $2000. If you want to impose such regulations, then the government of the bvi needs to revisit to minimum wage and create/upgrade their payscales addressing specific job titles and salary.

    Majority of our employees are employed by the private sector who's interest is merely to outsource the work or bring in their preferred employees, pay them higher salaries and give the mediocre jobs to the locals and pay them little above minimum wage.

    You can't expense an average BVIslander to get a salary of $2024 after deductions while paying rent of $900+, groceries at $700+ not to mention electric, cable, water, daycare, preschool etc to pay more in taxes. That system of living paycheck to paycheck is exhausted. How about those who dont even have a degree ad have necessary bills to pay? Those who have kids? Their pay is even less.
  • wise one (09/05/2013, 19:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    These same struggling people will benefit the most from NHI. They won't have to worry about a total financial meltdown, or going around with a begging cup if they, or their children, get seriously sick or injured.

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