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Companies not paying NHI should 'stop taking it out pay cheques' - Hon Turnbull

- calls for penalties to be implemented against defaulting businesses
Calling for the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme to be funded properly for it to work for the people of the Virgin Islands (VI), Second District Representative and Opposition Member, Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull said some local companies continue to deduct monies from employees salaries; however, do not pay over the funds. Photo: NHI/Facebook
It was in 2018 during the House of Assembly’s, Standing Finance Committee, to examine the draft allocations for 2018, coming under the Ministry of Health and Social Development, that Director of the Virgin Islands' (VI), Social Security Board (DSSB), Ms Antoinette Skelton said NHI was spending more than it earns. Photo: SSB/File
It was in 2018 during the House of Assembly’s, Standing Finance Committee, to examine the draft allocations for 2018, coming under the Ministry of Health and Social Development, that Director of the Virgin Islands' (VI), Social Security Board (DSSB), Ms Antoinette Skelton said NHI was spending more than it earns. Photo: SSB/File
Persons crowd the Joshua J. Smith Building to register for National Health Insurance (NHI) on December 30, 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Persons crowd the Joshua J. Smith Building to register for National Health Insurance (NHI) on December 30, 2015. Photo: VINO/File
DUFF'S BOTTOM, Tortola, VI - Calling for the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme, controversially implemented in 2016, to be funded properly for it to work for the people of the Virgin Islands (VI), Second District Representative and Opposition Member, Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull said some local companies continue to deduct monies from employees' salaries; however, they do not pay over the funds.

Speaking during the Eleventh Sitting of the Second session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, July 2, 2020, Hon Turnbull said the government should go after the revenues owed by companies. Potential revenues, he said, amount to hundreds of millions.

"I'm talking about those of us, who live in this country, who operate businesses in the country, who have employees in the country, Mr Speaker, that we deduct Social Security and NHI from their paycheck and don't pay it in"

"And not a man ain't going and collect it? But they continue getting contracts from the same government and then we complain about we don't got money," Hon Turnbull told the House.

According to the representative, who had previously raised the issue in February of 2020, a key question asked during the implementation of the NHI programme concerned the penalties for non-compliance for both employers and employees. 

"We can't continue to develop systems and we are the ones that enable the breaking down of systems," he told legislators. 

He urged legislators to find a way to make sure there is compliance and penalise companies. "If you're not contributing on behalf of your employees to NHI, stop taking it out their pay cheques... there are complains all over," he said.

Ninth District Representative, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), whose portfolio covers Social Security, said the issues will be looked at as a matter of priority.

Challenges of NHI

It was in 2018 during the House of Assembly’s, Standing Finance Committee, to examine the draft allocations for 2018, coming under the Ministry of Health and Social Development, that Director of the Virgin Islands' (VI), Social Security Board (DSSB), Ms Antoinette Skelton said NHI was spending more than it earns.

Ms Skelton reported too that a significant number of employers in the Territory did not pay contributions for their employees, but the employees were benefitting from the system.

The DSSB said too that another challenge that could negatively affect the scheme was the legislation that said that children and persons over 65 years of age were entitled to receive free medical attention.

She had advised that those persons were not contributing to the NHI system, but they opted to go to private facilities instead of the public health care centres.

In January 2019, Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone (AL) had said some hard decisions needed to be made to make the scheme in the Virgin Islands more effective.

30 Responses to “Companies not paying NHI should 'stop taking it out pay cheques' - Hon Turnbull ”

  • Hmm (03/07/2020, 08:34) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mitch be realistic since the hurricane the economy of this country has been slow some lucky they have jobs. It's this heartless attitude why the BVI is how it is. You sat there and let social security put 17million dollars in one man's hands to build affordable housing at this time. A move that has blackball us in the international community of not needing grants.

    Why didn't they use it to stimulate small businesses? Some businesses were looted and some not properly compensated by insurance companies who are now buying up the properties of the poor souls who could not get back on their feet because of the same bad mindedness and deviousness of those heading these companies allegedly.
  • Wow (03/07/2020, 08:39) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is so true that’s why some them island people can’t get them money because them employers wasn’t taking out their taxes
  • YESYESYESSSSS! (03/07/2020, 08:42) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Finally! A headline I have been longing to see. The employee should make their own honest payments as many employers do remove NHI and do not pay it. That unfortunately leaves the employee in a ditch when they are standing at a medical facility and are told that NHI isn't covering any part of their bill because their employer has not paid. Crazy!
  • More Revenue avail (03/07/2020, 09:03) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hon Turnbull when you speak of the millions the Govt is missing on collecting. Another thought for you. Are you aware there is no law in place to address the lack of payment on prop taxes. I have just been made aware of this. Until you sell your property the govt will not collect back taxes..... I personally know of a person living in CGB who has not paid since 2003 and Poss as far back when he bought his house in 1996. Inland revenue told me based on the 2003 figure with tax & penalties he would owe $20,000. This is just one person but I was told it would have to,be addressed by the House and a bill passed to collect on these fees. You should look into this a lot of money just sitting out there needs to be collected . Just an observation
  • old (03/07/2020, 09:33) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Companies how taking out people money from there pay cheques and not. paying it need to go to jail. All that is sin.. It time.
    • D**k Puller (04/07/2020, 18:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

      This is not new!
      All nationalities of employers have been removing the funds from employers paycheck and not submitting. The employee is none the wiser until they go to make a claim from SS or see the Dr.
      People have been complaining to the labor department about this long time and only now due to circumstances our Premier is hearing this.
      Very sad. Employers you are stealing! Pay the stolen funds and allow the people to access for what has been paid for. Theft is illegal.

  • Not a Mitch Supporter (03/07/2020, 09:45) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the this instance I MUST agree with Mitch. I support his statement.
  • OMG (03/07/2020, 09:53) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    How do these employers get away with this ? Is there no law against theft by false pretenses, fraud, stealing ? or is it that its so prevalent it's the norm ? Make some laws & enforce them ! Natures Little Secret - Banana Republic Virgin Islands (BVI)
  • Feel N Good (03/07/2020, 10:03) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Finally someone find the courage to publicly speak out against an injustice that's been going on for too long...Amen....All I will say those people in authority who I've been pressuring employees for the wrong employers been doing Is hell bound.... It is wise to always think that God is watching us..
  • Jaigon (03/07/2020, 10:12) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Social security and NHI hires persons to enforce the laws against such employers. Are these people not doing their job. Employers who take out employees monies for tax, SS and NHI and not paying them to the relevant units are committing a criminal offense. What is been done about these people. I recalled one man loose sight in one eye on a job site and gets nothing because his employer was not paying his social security and NHI. How much more wicked can these people get. They needs to be locked up.
  • pat (03/07/2020, 10:34) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    yes yes Mitch is right but he sat with the NDP for seven years while they took the NHI money and send to a plane
  • Challenger (03/07/2020, 11:28) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    well said Hon Turnbull
    it is about time that this is discussed publically. its been going on for years and sadly it is mostly work permited employees who are victimized like ths...if they complain then they just get fired.
    employers who steel like this from their employees pay cheques should face criminal charges..because it is theft plain and simple.
    maybe a check on this could be each employer must obtain a letter of good standing from nhi and ssb before they can get their operating trade license renewed each year...and/ or letter of good standing must accompany any bid for government projects...i know that the RDA require it as part of the application process.
    this will generate revinue each year for the ssb and nhi for the letters and hopefully ensure that people do indeed bring these payments up to date. dont stop persuing this Hon Turnbull, there can not be any amnesty on this or bail outs for those who have stolen like this. it will only encourage more to do it.
    reapectfully submitted
  • Surprised? (03/07/2020, 11:35) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    What? Another law not being enforced in the BVI? Shocking news here VINO. Wouldn't a simple audit by SSB and NHI and a revocation of Trade Licenses put a stop to this? Oh yeah I forgot its the BVI where we only make rules never actually enforce them...
  • solution (03/07/2020, 11:47) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I would make recommendations to ask every single person in-charge of these departments or boards to be removed from their post.
    Reason 1. We see there is a problem but have not seen any sulotions or recommendations on fixes.
    Reason 2. These issues have been going on with the same people with change of government over 20 something years + and still happening with no solution.
    Reason 3. They introduce NHI and Social Security had these same issues for years with employers/employees not paying their fair share.
    Reason 4. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to smell something fishy.
    Reason 5. I can't type anymore because the list so long with the rubbish i read all the time with Social Security and NHI since it began and no one has resolved.
    So I can justify someone being removed from their post.
    Recommendation: put together a special unit within these establishment to deal with all outstanding revenue.
    Automate NHI, social security , login to see real time info on payments history. Mehn this stuff is so easy my child can come up with this stuff.
    This tells me they don't want to fix the issues........I'm also sure they read the blogs and there are people who have good ideas.
  • Hmmm (03/07/2020, 12:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Government, not receiving payments from businesses that are delinquent so investigate and make suitable arrests if a crime is commit.

    There, titled fixed.
  • USED (03/07/2020, 12:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tarris Hill been doing that for years and getting away. Somebody need to look into that.
  • ok (03/07/2020, 12:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    NHI should not fault the employee for none payment. NHI as well as Social security are statutory deductions and must be paid. It isn't the responsibility of the employee to ensure that their contributions are paid. Its the responsibility of the administration of the NHI and Social security to go after the Employers. I am not sure how it is done but there should be an active Compliance Unit who are proactive and every month seek out all employers who misses their payment so that the moneys are collected.
  • Who is in Charge (03/07/2020, 12:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Past and present government is very slack in collecting Revenue. What is the use paying those at the top thousands and they fail to go collect the Government funds and that goes for Inland Revenue no vision...in American they do not get away that easy. all the individual should file taxes.
  • Bree (03/07/2020, 12:43) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    @Solution

    I totally agree with your observation. This solution is simple but we don't want to do what's necessary. Our elected Official/Leaders don't want to take that step. They don't want to put their family and friends and campaign donors in the jail. This will cause them to lose their clouts or positions. They need to get serious and put their foot down on this issued else we will always have citizens in front your face with the hands out. Employers need to be haul off to jail and made to pay what the owe along with compounded interest on the amount. If we expect the country to prosper we must take a serious stands on issues such as this.

    On another note, those employers who taking money from the employees paycheck and not paying it in, you ought to be a shame of yourselves. Some of them, around here spending money and showing off like they have it made when in reality to robbing their employees. Financing them, they family, side chicks and strip clubs on the backs of your employees. No kind a shame what so ever.
  • TORTOLIAN (03/07/2020, 14:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I ALWAYS TELL MY FRIENDS ALWAYS GO IN AND CHECK TO SEE IF THIER EMPLOYER IS PAYING NHI AND SOCIAL SECURITY. YOU JUST CAN'T TRUST THESE EMPLOYERS NOW.
  • Criminals (03/07/2020, 16:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The headline is misleading here.... those employers taking NHI and SS from their employees cheques and not paying them to the NHI or SS departments should be arrested and have their trade license revoked and only reinstated when the outstanding payments are made in full. No WP renewals or new permits should be issued to such companies. It has gone on too long. It is theft. I don't care who the person is.
  • Wow (03/07/2020, 16:45) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I THINK THAT ALL WE ARE DOING IS GIVING ENGLAND MORE REASON TO CONTROL US IN THE BVI BY PUTTING EVERYTHING PUBLIC
  • Theft (03/07/2020, 16:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is theft by any standard you want to apply.
  • rose (03/07/2020, 18:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    A rose by any other name is still a rose. Those companies/persons who collect funds from their employees and do not pay the money in to the Social Security Board are stealing from the very persons they employ.

    Downright shameful.
  • Diaspora (03/07/2020, 20:19) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Employers who deduct SS and NHI from employees salary and are not submitting the contributions to SS are probably committing fraud and are shortchanging both programmes and doing a disservice to the employees in their getting healthcare and building SS accounts in preparing for retirement. Government needs to empower SS to collect the arrears with interest from the dead ears. Legal action should be taken if needed.
  • ReX FeRal (03/07/2020, 20:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I disagree. If they take it out they need to pay it in. Enforce COLLECTIONS at NHI.
  • ginger (03/07/2020, 23:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    These employers are thieves. We need to put a lawsuit on all of them. Class Action Suit anyone? What happens if the employer decides to obscond one day without unbeknown to the Government or employee? Will the employee be now forced to pay Social Security, NHI and Taxes twice? Perhaps, a more drastic measure to ensure compliance of these payments to the respective Government entities will be to implement a monthly shame list like the one Riteway use to have for persons who gave them 'bounced'cheques. It can be put in print or electronic medium such as Social Security and Government websites, Island Sun/ Beacon Newspapers, Vino, BVInews and Facebook. That would or should wake their ar**e up! If that fails then the employee can take the employer to Court. Some of us have been blindly robbed for several years, mine as far back as April 2017.
  • It is about time (04/07/2020, 16:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    when we employees dem wan go fa dey surgery dem say we nah pay NHI but dem tek it out a we pocket.

    it is about time dem mek dem pay fo we..........

  • Well Well (04/07/2020, 19:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mitch u r someone i like let’s not be this hypocritical beccause you and that thiefing government knew this has been an issue for all the years you’ll took us for fools and was “governing” us! Shut up now. Or ensure something is done about it.
  • Sam (06/07/2020, 20:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    IF these companies not paying our money and taking it out The management need to resign, Pay the people from there fund they have there ,people hurting ,


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