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UPDATE:– Natalio D. Wheatley urges Premier Smith to show leadership

- and take NHI back to drawing board
Social commentator and talk show regular Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru is pleased with the statements by Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith on the petition to send the National Health Insurance (NHI) back to the drawing board. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith said that once he receives a petition that is presently gathering signatures to have the National Health Insurance (NHI) taken back to the drawing board he will look at it very carefully. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith said that once he receives a petition that is presently gathering signatures to have the National Health Insurance (NHI) taken back to the drawing board he will look at it very carefully. Photo: VINO/File
A screenshot of the online petition. Photo: VINO
A screenshot of the online petition. Photo: VINO
The person responsible for the petition is Natalio D. Wheatey aka Sowande Uhuru. Photo: VINO/File
The person responsible for the petition is Natalio D. Wheatey aka Sowande Uhuru. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Social commentator and talk show regular Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru is pleased with the statements by Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith on the petition to send the National Health Insurance (NHI) back to the drawing board.

Premier Smith had told this news site that he has to see what the petition “comes with” before he crafts a response.

“Having received I will look at it very carefully. And having looked at it. Then I’ll respond. But I’ll have to see what they come with properly before I can determine what that response will be,” he said.

“I know that the NHI is something that would be good for the BVI and it would be something good for the people of the BVI and in that way. It has been our concern for a long time for those who are underserved with medical care, particularly the young and the elderly, whom we all in this territory should be concerned about and this is why the Government had decided to put this programme in place,” Premier Smith had told Virgin Islands News Online.

“I am happy that he will take criticisms seriously,” said Wheatley. “There is a great deal of opposition to NHI in its current form, and I hope he will be willing to go back to the drawing board and come back with something that everyone will be pleased with,” said Wheatley, who is of the view that the Premier and his Government will take the moral high road and take a second look at the NHI in its current form.

“Sometimes being a strong leader isn't just about forging ahead but being willing to take a second look,” Mr Wheatley said.

Petition gathers more than 600 signatures

Asked for an update on the number of petition signers, Wheatley said that he and others are still in the process of gathering signatures and distributing further paper petitions. Some 600 plus signatures have already been amassed online and on paper as at a few days ago.

“I can't give a figure for live signatures until we collect all the petitions from people. Quite a number of people still want to sign so we are still in the process of distributing,” said Wheatley.

He said that contrary to what some may think of their efforts, they want persons to be covered with insurance. However, they want the people who are comfortable with their own private insurance to be able to have the choice to keep it should they so desire.

Mr Wheatley also noted that in many instances, the NHI’s coverage is not as comprehensive as they enjoy now. He cited the example where persons who might be travelling frequently because of their job and who would need for their coverage to work wherever they are. He also cited people who might be citizens of other countries but work in the VI and would need their coverage whenever they are in their home countries.

“We are asking the Government to halt the NHI and take it back to the drawing boards to address these concerns of the people,” said Wheatley.

See previous article published on September 19, 2015:

‘I’ll have to see what the NHI petition comes with’ – Premier Smith

-said he will look carefully @ NHI petition before formulating a response

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith said that once he receives the petition that is presently gathering signatures to have the National Health Insurance (NHI) taken back to the drawing board he will look at it very carefully.

He was speaking to this news site at a recent public event when he was asked about the petition and what he would do once it reaches him. The petition includes a copy of a letter written to the Premier by a group of concerned citizens telling him about the dangers they anticipate with the coming into being of the NHI in its present form.

As of this morning, September 19, 2015, the online petition, which can be found at www.change.org, showed that some 595 people had signed it.

“Having received I will look at it very carefully. And having looked at it. Then I’ll respond. But I’ll have to see what they come with properly before I can determine what that response will be,” he said.

“I know that the NHI is something that would be good for the BVI and it would be something good for the people of the BVI and in that way. It has been our concern for a long time for those who are underserved with medical care, particularly the young and the elderly, whom we all in this territory should be concerned about and this is why the Government had decided to put this programme in place,” he said.

“But of course any criticism and any suggestion will be taken seriously,” said Premier Smith.

More people on the breadline

Persons in the insurance sector believe the Government’s move to bring into force the National Health Insurance (NHI) is likely to put more persons on the breadline.

The Insurance Association of the BVI (IABVI) in a recent press release circulated throughout the territory stated that while members of the IABVI would like to offer its customers supplementary or top-up plans it does not feel this would be affordable to most customers due to the expense of NHI.

This news site sought the confirmation and further explanation of some of the leading insurance companies in the territory and, according to those who responded, they are likely to be facing a situation where they would have to send home a very large percentage of their staff in certain departments.

Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru, lecturer at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and social commentator has been on a campaign over the last few weeks raising awareness of the perceived shortcomings of the NHI and started the petition which is transitioning from online to paper petition with live signatures, altogether totalling more than 600 signatures. These will be passed to the Premier upon completion of the signature-gathering process.

The online petition can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

https://www.change.org/p/dr-hon-d-orlando-smith-premier-of-the-virgin-islands-stop-the-nhi-and-go-back-to-the-drawing-board

22 Responses to “UPDATE:– Natalio D. Wheatley urges Premier Smith to show leadership”

  • ccc (19/09/2015, 10:20) Like (5) Dislike (12) Reply
    Nhi is a done deal
    • @ccc (20/09/2015, 19:41) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      True...the doc 'Will' look at it...then place it in the cabinet. 'He's not telling a lie'.
    • ccc-disagree (24/09/2015, 07:57) Like (6) Dislike (8) Reply
      ccc. I have to disagree. I don`t think its a done deal. There are a few stubborn people who is part of the decision making, I think the minister will make some adjustments. I would like to see the cap off, that would reduce the fees to about 4 to 5% with the cap lifted more monies flow into the pool ( pay as you earn system) all will pay less. I hope and I want to believe that none visa holders are considered when it comes to over seas care. I am sure they have other things they are looking at. Not a done deal as yet. its Jan 1st still have enough time. I am excited about the NHI.
    • Herman Edwards (24/09/2015, 10:30) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
      Any plan that can't be changed isn't worth having.
  • no way (19/09/2015, 14:23) Like (33) Dislike (6) Reply
    The NDP has to reconsider its policy on entire NHI
  • bvi (19/09/2015, 14:32) Like (5) Dislike (69) Reply
    The petition is nothing but nonsense. Dont waste your time looking at it, doc
  • .................. (19/09/2015, 15:40) Like (16) Dislike (6) Reply
    I still msintain ndp must go
  • NHI (19/09/2015, 18:02) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
    Should be for those who do not have insurance! Point Blank! Where is democracy?
    • @NHI (20/09/2015, 19:56) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      With the world economy systems failing these days countries need to have an in-house financial system on healthcare. These insurance companies are healthcare franchise businesses that are removing much of the VI dollars out of the territory. They employ a skeleton crew so you can't say that they have employed many in the country like hotels etc.
  • too selfish (20/09/2015, 14:38) Like (17) Dislike (4) Reply
    NHI is very good for the BVI. I'm looking forward for it implementation in Jan. like anything new. it will need a few adjustments. a lot of people in the bvi dont have visa. Trinidad. Jamalca. Guyana. Santo Dominco. should be part of the net work. The rich will not be going to Peebles Hospital, they will be going overseas using their connections and their NHI card. let the rich pay their fear share lift the cap. I have private insurance. but it not all about me.
  • Jan 1st. (20/09/2015, 14:59) Like (6) Dislike (20) Reply
    Govt. have to listen to the people's concerns. Make a few adjustments. im confident NHI is going to be a blessing for the BVI. Jan 1st, im excited. The Private insurance obviously going to be in oppostion. Jan 1st. like i say a few adjustments. we good to go. Jsn 1st, 2016. A day in our History book. a good day.
  • Hoss b4 Cartoon (21/09/2015, 05:49) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Is there a page of signature petitioning for payment those who collectively has arrears healthcare bill of over 30 million dollars. This bill paid ( not by gov) and no future arrears is the only possible remedy. It is a monkey wrench in the treasury which we must confront and resolve. That is what needs to be addressed and resolved by Sowande and
    prior to any discussion about NHI changes. Freeloading has its disadvantage. Somebody and everybody pays.
  • wize up (24/09/2015, 07:52) Like (0) Dislike (11) Reply
    wheatley should use of his energy and encourage those persons to pay their hospital bill: but we have a good leader that is willing to do a review of NHI unlike the one fellow that put traffic lights at the roundabout I road town although we was advised not to install them at that location ( I know, but talk that)
  • adj needed (24/09/2015, 08:25) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    few adjustment will be made, NHI will work. The fees are just too high, if every one pays as they earn the fees can be reduced for all. Lets not give up, lets not commit abortion (killing the child before it born) give the child the chance to born and see what it can grow to be. We never know.
  • OPTIONS LESS (24/09/2015, 08:39) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just imaging the long lines at Eureka waiting to use the only MRI machine in the BVI, Imaging its not working. Also the long line at Bourganvilier waiting for operation. Something to think about.
  • political snitch (24/09/2015, 10:34) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Tell LARS to take his NHI commercial off channel 55 and radio because both of you all are PEP's.
  • Really???? (24/09/2015, 11:18) Like (0) Dislike (32) Reply
    The 600 that signed the petition is only 2% of the general population, which is the minority. So should the Government hault everything that someone has a negative opinion on?
  • Awesome (24/09/2015, 13:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Leadership long wait yall
  • peace (24/09/2015, 15:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are more than 600 people that want to sign the NHI. Mr. Wheatley you need to do a house to house campaign.
    Everyone don't have access to the internet.
  • TORTOLIAN (25/09/2015, 09:50) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Nathalio, the Premier is your first cousin..so what are the true sentiments when both of you are talking
  • Africand (25/09/2015, 16:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sowande gets more signatures than votes! Maybe he should rethink before his next campaign!
    • wize up (26/09/2015, 18:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ Africand: you guys can put great statistics together and it is actually a factual statement.....


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