In the near three-hour long motorcade that wound its way across Tortola this past Saturday, protestors sought to raise awareness about the controversial health plan that would act outside of the mandatory National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme already in place for all residents.
This time around, several cars joined the protest as it moved from Road Town through the First, Second and Third electoral districts, before returning to the territory’s capital. Other motorists honked their horns as householders waved along the route to demonstrate their support of the ‘We the People are Fed Up’ protest.
Last week, government officials acknowledged the supplementary insurance plan was contentious and chose to halt the initiative after intense public backlash followed by members of the parliamentary Opposition distancing themselves from the initiative.
Organisers of the pre-planned protest were later asked why they would continue with the motorcade given that government had halted the insurance initiative.
In responding to the question in a Facebook post before the motorcade, lead organiser for the protest, Cindy Rosan-Jones said the proposed insurance plan needed to be done away with completely.
Organisers, therefore, revise the agenda for their protest by deciding to include additional grouses to the list of perceived governmental excesses they felt needed to be addressed.
“Our position is that the government has halted. We do not want a halt; we want this insurance issue totally off the table. Tossed in the bin. It must not happen. Bring NHI on the table for reform. Make it work for everyone,” Rosan-Jones stated.
According to the outspoken political talk show host, the additional issues that protesters wanted to highlight include exit packages for legislators; schools and education; COVID vaccine and human rights; the tourism sector and the economy; the return of cruise ships; the Commission of Inquiry; port fees and the alleged mistreatment of port staff and Immigration policies; as well as allegations of corruption, victimisation, and poor governance.
The proposed insurance plan effectively offers legislators health coverage in a number of areas including for cosmetic surgery (in the event of an accident), alcoholism, and substance abuse rehabilitation.