BVI News

The Opposition is lying about involvement in HOA insurance plan

Government legislator Sharie de Castro.

Stating there is evidence to support her claim, junior government minister Sharie de Castro has said the members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition are being dishonest about their involvement in the now-controversial group insurance plan being sought for House of Assembly (HOA) members.

The government recently released a Request For Proposal (RFP) for any licensed Virgin Islands insurance company to offer the plan. However, the Opposition said in a statement on Monday that they are concerned about the RFP since “there being no consensus by all members of HOA to issue such notice”.

Responding this morning, de Castro said the Opposition is lying and is only denying “their agreeable involvement in this process” because of the public backlash that has happened since news of the insurance plan surfaced.

Opposition legislator and Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull is head of the committee appointed to explore the feasibility of the initiative. And according to de Castro, Turnbull and Opposition Leader Marlon Penn have been actively involved in the process from the start.

“All preliminary meetings with local insurance providers were conducted by the Member for the Second District, who then reported to the Committee, following which presentations were made to the Committee by local insurance providers. Subsequently, the Ministry of Finance advised that a formal procurement process should be engaged. Consequently, all negotiations regarding the Request for Proposal (RFP) for supplemental health coverage was handled by the Member for the Second District, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance,” said de Castro who also sits on the aforesaid committee.

She continued: “Once negotiations regarding the RFP with representatives from the Ministry of Finance were concluded, the said representatives then met with the Members in an Informal Meeting of the HoA on April 27th, 2021 to report on the proposed agreement reached. To my recollection, it should also be noted that during the informal meeting, all elected members except one, who was absent, had the opportunity to participate in related discussions and we all unanimously agreed that the RFP should go forward as proposed.”

Contradictory

The junior minister then went on record to say “all members agreed with the proposal”.

This is contradictory to recent statements from Turnbull who said in a letter to HOA Speaker Julian Willock that he (Turnbull) has always been against the insurance plan in its current state and that, “before anything goes public” he would have to write a report based on his findings as an experienced professional in the insurance field.

De Castro said that statement from Turnbull is not true.

“It should be noted, that in actuality, at no point did the member express reservations regarding the publication of the tender document. In fact, the said member met with the Ministry of Finance to make additional recommendations to the tender document after the document was presented to members and prior to it being made public. Most importantly, the member was copied on and in some instances addressed directly in electronic correspondences at every stage during the process. As such, for the Member to assert that the document was finalized without his involvement and subsequently made public is grossly and maliciously mendacious,” de Castro said.

Opposition Leader ‘amplifying falsehoods’

She then accused Opposition Leader Penn of “publicly amplifying the false pronouncements” in his press statement released on Monday, June 7.

She said: “The Leader of the Opposition, in this instance, is being disingenuous, as he too was copied on correspondence regarding the RFP and could have indicated his opposition at any point during the process.”

“The press release (from Penn) also referenced a Terms of Reference (ToR) requiring the lead Member of the Steering Group to “provide a report to the HoA informing Members on whether a proposal to procure private health insurance was ready for tender, along with recommendations on how to proceed.” However, I can state unequivocally that there is no such requirement in any ToR. As such, this attempt to alter the facts can only be seen as a deliberate move by the Members of the Opposition to deny their agreeable involvement in this process and thereby deceive the public into believing that they had unheard concerns on the subject, all in an effort to score cheap political points,” de Castro added.

Process should be halted

She concluded by stating she believes the process should be “halted so that due consideration could be given to the concerns of the people”.

The first-term legislator said she would also support a decision for the matter to be “referred back to the HoA for a collective decision on the way forward”.

The controversial insurance plan seeks to circumvent the National Health Insurance scheme and offer legislators coverage for cosmetic surgery (in the event of an accident), alcoholism and substance abuse rehabilitation, among other things.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

82 Comments

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  1. Truth says:

    I believe they were all for it, government and opposition alike. If nhi is good for us, nhi is good for them.

    Like 104
    Dislike 3
    • Hmmm says:

      Does it matter whether or not they were for it? The point is to even conceptualize an idea like that speaks volume about the mindset of all the members.

      Like 48
      Dislike 2
      • Soothsayer says:

        Exactly! The whole barrel rotten, we dealing with a set of maggots!

        Like 24
        Dislike 1
        • @Soothsayer says:

          Every last one of them a*&es rotten. Note to Shari: We the public don’t give a flying f*@k, don’t give a rat’s a*ss who knew or agreed with this. All of you’ll backsides guilty and will pay dearly for this and the other bulls^*t that ayo been doing.

    • Ras says:

      If someone hire you for a job ,they give you the terms and condition of the job,how much will be offerd as payment and so on,we elect these mongrels to work for us (we the people)why cant we have a say in how much these people bei g paid and so on.i quess the next time i go looking for a job i tletting the boss know that i writeing my own check at the end of the week.And one more thing,nhi was shub down or throat weather we had like it or not ,we didnt had a say,that was dictator ship now them want this big time thing for them and them family,well let me tell you i want the same to if my tax money paying for them it could pay for me to.anyone want to join me link up,big insurance for everyone.

      Like 9
      Dislike 2
    • eye says:

      long time mpenny two tongue

  2. Wow says:

    The entire HOA, Government and Opposition are shameful opportunists! Every single one of them voted in favor of giving themselves excellent exit packages and insurance coverage. The Opposition came out swinging with technicalities trying to distance themselves when they saw the public backlash. All of this effort and focus on themselves while the entire Territory is in dire straits. Then we wonder why the COI is currently taking place?

    Like 95
    Dislike 2
    • Yesssss says:

      INEPT, OPPORTUNIST, LIARS, EMBARRASSING, FAILURES , SCOUNDRELS, THAT IS WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH. ThEY NEED TO GO HIDE THEIR FACES IN SHAME. HOW DARE THEY TRY TO DO THIS TO THE PEOPLE. PEOPLE IS OUT RAGED OVER THIS.

      Like 34
  3. Doh says:

    Waaaaah

    Let’s stomp our feet and pout and call each other names….

    Cannot wait for UK rule to kick in

    Like 54
    Dislike 11
    • UKmoomoo says:

      Who is here wishing for UK rule to kick in? That person wants slavery to return, man. Let me tell all yoh. Only so much black people can take you know. We shall roll a revolt on them in a hurry, horse chip, deh Rabbit, dem Makazeema, Daddy Friday’s tramping style.
      UK must stay in UK and rule up deh. Mine eh!

      Like 8
      Dislike 34
    • lo says:

      You can do what u want.just don’t step on me.I’ll bite u back.

  4. Hmm says:

    Mouth open, story jump out!

    I believe this quite honestly.. let’s see the tit for that now!

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • Reader says:

      I believe Hon. Sharie deCastro. This is clearly showing who are really trying to paint the Government in a negative light. The truth shall set us free.

      Like 3
      Dislike 9
  5. ??? says:

    Does it really matter who did or did not agree to or know about this?

    The fact of the matter is that during the time of national hardship, our elected representatives took steps to use public money to provide themselves and their families with a superior level of healthcare than the general public who are forced to pay for and use NHI. This is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.

    If they want better healthcare, they should either improve NHI or pay for private health insurance out of their own pockets.

    Like 93
    Dislike 4
  6. WEW says:

    HOA is certainty putting on a good show for the COI. This shows how incompetent they really are while London looks on.

    Like 49
    Dislike 2
  7. Whoa says:

    Too much say-say. He say, she say. The truth has gone out of the window (or out of the House?)

    Shameful that who should be looking out for we the people only appear to be looking out for themselves.

    Can it get any worse? Hope not.

    Like 29
    Dislike 1
  8. Truth Be Told says:

    We the people of the British Virgin Islands don’t care who lying about insurance plan…We do not give permission for you guys to squander more money and there are people out there brokes and hungry. The insurance money for five years I sure can go towards salary increases and increments for public servants. Plus you guys want to pay yourselves two years salary…I wonder if you guys are not getting paid now for the work you pretend to be doing. We tired of the years of dishonesty and thieving. Some of us public servant work really hard. I would never forget the Premier say we either Choose our salary or increments. Well you all better choose NHI or no NHI. Too much double standards in this place.

    Like 36
  9. UK Own says:

    All 13 must leave office immediately disgrace to the Poor people and Tax payers of the Country.Ronnie W Need to lead this Country when he was Finance Minister he was voted out because he wouldn’t spend tax payers money foolishly.If he was Still Finance Minister the Country would have been in Good Standing and Leading in the Caribbean now the Country is in the Pits of Hell with these Imature Ministers..We Want R W we want RW we want R W.C0i Approved this Message.

    Like 34
    Dislike 7
  10. District 3 says:

    I KNOW FRASER WAS ALSO INVOLVED, SEE HOW QUIET HE IS? THEY ALL WERE IN AGREEMENT WITH IT UNTILL THEIR CARDS GOT PEEPED. NOT MY TAXPAYING DOLLARS THAT I HAVE BEEN PAYING INTO THE SYSTEM FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS. IF NHI IS GOOD FOR US, THEN IT IS DAMN WELL GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM. IF THEY WANT BIG TIME INSURANCE FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILY, PAY IT OUT YOUR OWN DAMN POCKETS. SOME PEOPLE IS ONLY MAKING $6.00 PER HOUR AND THESE BLOOD SUCKERS IS DRAINING THE LIFE OUT OF PEOPLE SO THEM AND THEIR FUGLY FAMILIES CAN LIVE HIGH ON THE HOG.THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO HANDLE ALL OF YOU SOON.

    Like 45
    Dislike 2
  11. Bien Hecho!! says:

    Now Honorable De Decastro if we could just point out the malicious lies on your side as well we can be off to a good start.

    Like 43
    Dislike 2
  12. JUAN PING says:

    So Mitch is the leader of this initiative but crying foul on the government?

    Mitch, I believe Satan and you is the best of friends because you really know how to deceive people mah boy!

    Preach Satan Preach! LOL LOL

    Like 18
    Dislike 7
  13. SHE SAID HE SAID says:

    Can the Rep. for the 2nd District please make his
    LETTER PUBLIC that he gave to the speaker. No more of HE SAID – SHE SAID . Scrap this whole IDEA.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
  14. Common sense says:

    If ever there was evidence to support the need for the UK to come in and take control, this is it. Can you imagine the UK government purchasing a healthcare policy from the private sector, more enhanced than the standard National Health coverage, then paying for it with public funds. That’s tantamount to dictatorship, not democracy.

    Like 23
    Dislike 4
  15. L**rs says:

    All current politicians elected right now are l**rs and trying to put their sweaty grabby hands in the cookie jar…you are our representation but instead you represent your own interests over and over again lead by the biggest cookie grabber of them all – ‘not so honorable’ Fahie!

    Like 13
  16. Law abiding Citizen says:

    My Dear, you don’t have to explain anything to us. We already knew everyone sat in HOA in agreement. We are not as stupid and dumb as you guys think we are. EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU IS GOING DOWN NEXT ELECTION, SO START LOOKING FOR OTHER EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES. YOU’RE FIRED.

    Like 40
    Dislike 1
  17. Long Chupppessssssssssss says:

    Oh Sharie, That’s you! You resurrect. We don’t want to hear that the Opposition is lying or involved in it. We want to hear why the hell on earth you guys feel you deserve private insurance and we must use NHI?
    #gobackinhibernation

    Like 51
    Dislike 1
  18. Shhh says:

    Only now sharie the puppet talking? You lose all credibility from you been so quiet in office yet chatting everyday before u get in.

    Like 44
    Dislike 2
  19. Well Well says:

    The highest vote getter finally awakes from her slumber. CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!

    Like 42
    Dislike 3
  20. Money suckers says:

    They are all cookie monsters and the fact they are spending money on this when so many are going homeless and the number in poverty is rising is sickning. They don’t care about the people at all.

    Like 21
  21. smh says:

    Mitch is a deceitful person who calls himself a pastor. Sharie is his close cousin so if she felt compelled to call him out for his deceitfulness then I believe her. He should be ashamed but something he would not be.

    Like 13
    Dislike 10
  22. TBH says:

    Really tho I dont care whos idea it was just get rid of it; If NHI will continue to be forced on everyone I don’t think members of HOA deserve nothing better; Pay for it ayo self man.

    Like 18
  23. Yawn says:

    Is this really a surprise? All the opposition do is oppose so when they get caught agreeing to stuff that benefits them as well, they start telling lies. Mitch was going to make the switch when he got exposed he denied it and say the Premier lied. The BVI need to stop looking for heroes in politics. Accept the good, expect the bad and move on.

    Like 14
  24. Shameful says:

    She has the time to put out an entire release about the self-serving insurance that they all agreed to, but not one word about Tourism for which she is Jr. Minister? What is really going on in this place? What is the Tourism plan? When will we re-open properly for cruise, yachting, overnight tourists? 3 months? 6 months? Next year? How can businesses plan if we are in the cold? We do not give a f**k about insurance for HOA members, we want to know how we will eat for the next few months!

    Like 37
    Dislike 5
    • Anonymous says:

      Ayo need to stop making these blanket statements like everybody starving or hungry. If you get off BVI news and do some actual work you will earn an income to eat for the next few months. Stop looking handouts.

      Like 5
      Dislike 20
      • @Anon says:

        I am the commentor and I do not work for anyone, I own multiple businesses and YES I am a local. Keep fooling yourself that people are not having a hard time living in the BVI if you want but I said what I said.

        Like 9
        Dislike 1
        • Don't mind Anonymous says:

          He/She is probably one of those farmers or fisherman, so they are not feeling the pinch. Also better yet, I believe that they are one who is actually receiving hand outs because when people judge, they are usually judging from their position or standards, PERIOD!

      • @anonymous says:

        You working for a salary, hush.

    • Concerned says:

      Tourists are already booking other destinations because they are not willing to jump through the hoops to come here. It is already June people are considering and planning next season, another season lost for us. And all we hear about it HOA giving themselves and their previous members higher pensions and benefits.

  25. Sick says:

    Sick, aren’t more important things to make news. A bunch of confused children

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
    • Ras says:

      If someone hire you for a job ,they give you the terms and condition of the job,how much will be offerd as payment and so on,we elect these mongrels to work for us (we the people)why cant we have a say in how much these people bei g paid and so on.i quess the next time i go looking for a job i tletting the boss know that i writeing my own check at the end of the week.And one more thing,nhi was shub down or throat weather we had like it or not ,we didnt had a say,that was dictator ship now them want this big time thing for them and them family,well let me tell you i want the same to if my tax money paying for them it could pay for me to.anyone want to join me link up,big insurance for everyone.

  26. JJ says:

    I do not care who was involved. It was never supposed to be drafted. Private Insurance for yourselves, what happen to the people that voted for you all? We not good enough to get private insurance? No private insurance for you all. We already paying your salary. Use that and pay for your own private insurance.

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
  27. i told you says:

    If it is good for us, it is good for them.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  28. new says:

    If it is good for us, it is good for them.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  29. Need I say says:

    I am pleading with you BVI people do not allow the opposition leader to con you into believing anything he says. Don’t forget he was quiet when he party divert the sewage money to pier park. When will the public learn?

    Like 5
    Dislike 12
    • Political Intelligence says:

      He was not quiet. He did oppose it, he could not have stopped it because he was not an executive decision maker in the NDP.

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
      • Anonymous says:

        Stupid excuse!!! Why didn’t he quit NDP after they took from his constituents ? Why did he endorse NDP for another term?

        Like 3
        Dislike 3
        • Political Intelligence says:

          It was under the NDP that the East End sewage problem was finally rectified anyways. VIP is nothing better than NDP, NDP was the superior choice, so stop making stupid points

          Like 5
          Dislike 3
          • Anonymous says:

            @Political intelligence, That’s your best response? You should change your name immediately.

    • Chalk says:

      If you people waiting on a better character on display of the opposition leader then I’m afraid your in for a treat. Pigs will have to fly first. We still waiting on the plane. I don’t see any difference between a criminal and an enabler. Do you?

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
  30. WELL SAH says:

    SO YOU FOUND YOUR VOICE / IF YOU FINALLY DECIDE TO BE HONEST / PLEASE DON JUST STOP THERE YOUR HOLINESS

    Like 13
  31. Shameful! says:

    Lady, I am so not impressed by you and what you have to say. The fact is you are a part of the government that agreed to prioritize comprehensive private health insurance for yourself and your family at a time when the BVI economy is being slammed by the effects of a global pandemic causing many people in the islands to be unable to get the basics for themselves. You all should be hanging your heads in shame! You were put there to serve the people and to further a national agenda and all you are doing is looking out for your own needs. Whether or not Mitch or Marlon are lying or being disingenuous is besides the point. Collectively you all have failed the people of this Territory.

    Like 28
    Dislike 3
  32. 13 + 1 says:

    Remember the speeker is a member of the assembly house too

  33. LILLIAN says:

    YEAP! THESE LOCAL PEOPLE ALL THEY WANT IS MONEY FOR THEM OWN PACK! WICKED PEOPLE THEY ARE FOR REAL! DONT TRUST THEM LIERS SPECIALLY NDP !! FROM HEAD TO DOWN AND OUTSIDERS CAUTIONS WITH THEM PLEASE !

    Like 2
    Dislike 7
    • Gohumme says:

      More divide and conquer mentality here. If you don’t like the BVI, go to your home. No one is forcing you to be here. Stop calling down local people. We worked hard for what we have. The wypopple left us here to eat grass, but look at us 185 years later. We are good-too otherwise you wouldn’t want to be among us.
      Stay in your own yard from calling down local people, please. We does get bazzardee and flip on moo-moos.

  34. BVI Future says:

    The information is out, and you all are now turning on each other. But you would have accepted the superior insurance on the backs of people who do not have money to buy food or to pay their rent.

    Like 14
  35. JIM says:

    SHARI HUSH HER AS**, WHAT SHE SUPPOSE TO GET UP AND SPEAK ABOUT SHE SILENT ON. NOT ONE OF YALL DESERVE IT. I EVEN FORGOT SHE WAS STILL AN ELECTED OFFICIAL. THE WHOLE BUNCH OF YALL GONE IN THERE FOR WHAT YALL CAN GET AND GET OUT BECAUSE THERE IS NOT A CHANCE IN H**L YOU WILL GET A SECOND TERM. IT GONE FROM STILL GETTIN PAID AFTER OFFICE TO YOUR D**N INSURANCE. SET OF GREEEDY LOW LIFE DAWWG

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  36. UK Own says:

    This is Good Governance Meh Boy. JESUS take the Wheel please only you can Bring back this ship.

    Like 13
  37. Concern says:

    What is the big deal, many of you who have NHI have private insurance as well -so why members of the house can’t do the same…People just want something to complain about.

    Dislike 26
  38. Contradicting your own team... says:

    So…. Vincent Wheatley has said publicly he was shocked to see the tender because there was only an informal meeting (the article is still on the headlines)…. now Sharie comes and says it was all formal and meetings were had multiple times and everyone knew about it…. NOBODY IS TELLING THE TRUTH!

    Like 25
    • Really? says:

      The difference is that we have to pay for ours and they want us to pay for theirs. No way. If NHI i good for us – NHI is good for them!

      Like 10
  39. The worst Govt ever says:

    I say it.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  40. Fools says:

    Why do we need a Junior Minister of Tourism if the tourism industry is in shambles? Why not cut her salary or re-assigned her to another position such as being a teacher? What has she done in the past 12 months?

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
  41. The Nation speaks says:

    To be honest…I can side with Cindy and Kishma on this…if NHI is good for us…NHI is good for them…many people including myself lost comprehensive insurance because of NHI…yes it was not under this VIP administration…but guess what…if NHI is good for us…if have to be good for you all too….and if it not…you need to fix it so that it could be good for all of us…or give us back our private comprehensive insurance that the government make us lose.

    Like 12
  42. The Nation speaks...again says:

    And if this is how Government and Opposition members behaving…Lord have mercy on us…it is deplorable.

  43. Election has consequences! says:

    The voting public needs to think before they vote next time or be prepared to deal with the fallout or consequences of voting for people ill-equipped to govern.

  44. Citizen says:

    Everybody pointing finger and casting. This is very sad because it means as citizens we do not understand how govt works. What Vincent said important because it means that it did not go to cabinet. ONLY a member of Cabinet can create an expense on the public purse, not the House of Assembly. How did it get going! Cabinet had to approve it.

  45. Belonger says:

    It is now clear as day that this government is not only corrupt but has no respect for the people who elected them.
    How could they even conceive of something like this.
    Why should we pay for supplemental insurance for the government while the rest of us have to make do with the same insurance put in place by government?
    This is bare-face disrespect.
    No wonder England looking at what is going on in this place.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  46. Hmmm says:

    I think we need to hire a consultant or 10 to look into this. Claude available?

  47. Westman says:

    welcome to Lagos.

  48. LB says:

    Vincent Wheatley’s story is the key to this. He too agreed that he was shocked when the RFP went public as it was not finalized. This supports what the Opposition is saying.

    Yes this should never have even been a discussion, not when the public doesn’t have that same option and most are stuck with nhi because they can’t afford private insurance.

    I have no problem with elected officials having certain perks that the rest of the public doesn’t have. Their salaries are garbage as it is. We like to act like somehow they raking in big money but they are not. Several permanent secretaries and. Heads of departments make more money than elected officials. We need to stop trying to minimize their compensation package. They have the highest roles in the land and deserve to be compensated accordingly.

    I personally feel their salaries need to be increased. This will be unpopular with our crab in bucket mentality but so be it.

    But this issue is unconscionable as it relates to securing special insurance for themselves. Their health is no more valuable than any citizen’s. Fix nhi, give the public better options and then maybe we can consider special insurance for you all. But do your jobs first.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  49. Reason says:

    A bunch of crooks pastors wolves dress in sheep clothing deceiving the poor people fire for them all

  50. PT9 says:

    @Concern, You are just as bad as the government, the big deal is no one is telling them they can’t get private insurance if they want it what we the people are saying if you want it to pay for it yourselves just like anyone else who has it. Can you understand that?

  51. PT9 says:

    @Citizen, We can see you are one of them or you think like them for them to even have talked about doing something like this is disgraceful bottom line. So your big talk on how things run is all crap.

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