COCKBURN TOWN: The Progressive National Party (PNP) has recently attempted to address the problems of the country in terms of health care and the economy.
Party leader Rufus Ewing, who has been accused by both the interim government and the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) of playing a central role in the creation of the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP), has taken issue with the failure of the system.
Currently, the 6 per cent tax paid by workers and their employers is only contributing 19 per cent of the cost of the plan, leaving 81 per cent to be covered by the government. This is currently costing the government over $42-million per year over and above the $20-million collected in taxes for the health plan.
The plan does not cover unemployed or retired people who are not yet receiving benefits from the National Insurance Board (NIB). Ewing said this must change and there must be an improvement in the primary health care system, which was also his responsibility during his recently ended term of office as director of medical services.
Ewing has also taken issue with the level of secondary care being delivered by Interhealth Canada. The NHIP and its contractor are bound by a series of contracts, agreements and other documents that are over 7,000 pages long. The USA’s new health plan known as Obamacare has 2,000 pages.
Ewing also said that taxes must be reduced and the value added tax (VAT) set aside. However, he has not announced how he will pay down the $260-million loan guaranteed by Britain to save the country from bankruptcy or meet the more than $60-million per year cost of the health plan, which are the reasons the VAT was introduced.
Meanwhile, another PNP candidate, Washington Misick, who ran the TCI Bank which collapsed after three years of operation, taking down 80 per cent of the savings of 4,000 depositors and most of a $23.5 million investment made by the NIB, has also spoken on the lack of development the country is experiencing.
According to Misick, the interim government does not have a reputation adequate to attract proper development.
However, during the last elected government under his party, numerous resort developments approved by his brother and then premier, Michael Misick, were started but subsequently failed. This list includes Nikki Beach, Ambergris Cay, Star Island, Dellis Cay, Middle Caicos West, St Charles Place, Lucaya Condos and Royal Reef.