Categorized | National News

Minnis: PLP Failing To Keep Most Important Promises

As the Christie administration approaches its mid-way point to its 100 days of governance, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is blasting the government saying that it has failed to deliver on its “most important” promises to Bahamians.

Some of those promises, Dr. Minnis said, are the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan and the preservation of jobs.

Last week, Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez admitted that the government does not have a set date for the commencement of NHI.

Instead, he stressed that the economy would have to improve first before the scheme, which was crafted under the first Christie administration, could begin.

Dr. Gomez maintained that the unemployment rate, which remains 15.9 per cent, must decrease first because “it is a paying scheme that requires everyone participating.”

During a press conference on Sunday, Dr. Minnis said the Opposition shuns the fact that the government would act as if the unemployment rate hinders the introduction of NHI.

“The FNM does not accept that the PLP can blame the level of unemployment for the delay in the introduction of the NHI programme promised by them during the election campaign,” he said.

“They knew what the unemployment level was during the campaign. With that knowledge and information they made a promise to introduce NHI within one year. They cannot now in good conscience claim that our unemployment level will prevent them from keeping their promise to the Bahamian people.”

NHI is a form of social health insurance, which uses the principles of fund pooling and risk sharing to provide equity in access to care.

Government officials say individuals will pay an “affordable” amount on a consistent basis and in return will be able to have their healthcare needs provided for, regardless of cost.

It is envisioned that this ‘cradle to the grave’ national healthcare coverage will cover persons who are currently excluded from private insurance plans such as individuals with pre-existing illnesses, newborn babies and those over 65.

Dr. Minnis also said when the plan was first introduced under the previous Christie administration, the FNM was not in support of it.

He said this remains the case now.

“When that plan was first introduced, we pointed out that it was too comprehensive and we were advised by the World Health Organisation, Health Canada and others who also pointed out the problem,” Dr. Minnis said.

“Mr. Christie himself explained in the House of Parliament that the plan Bahamians bought into was not the plan that they were going to bring. What he meant was that he was going to bring this plan in stages. That was not what was sold to us. The plan that they are selling again is the previous plan was the comprehensive one that he was advised against and he knows that that cannot be done. And that is why they are using the excuse of unemployment as to why it can’t be done.”

The Opposition leader also chastised the government of the potential firing of 80 workers of the Urban Renewal programme.

“The PLP promised jobs for Bahamians, but they have chosen to discontinue the employment of 80 hard working Bahamians from the Urban Renewal programme, the same programme they claimed was no longer functioning, a programme they claimed the FNM stopped,” Dr. Minnis said.

“Still they were able to identify some 80 persons in that non-existent programme to advise that their employment will not be continued past the end of this month June, 2012. Are these people not Bahamians? Are these not the people the PLP promised to believe in and to invest in?”

Dr. Minnis said the PLP government needs to be reminded that they are the government of all The Bahamas and of all Bahamians notwithstanding that they are a PLP-led Government.

“They are already failing to keep their most important promises to the Bahamian people – promises of not creating more unemployment but of preserving jobs; promises of introducing NHI within one year of return to office – not of advising that the promise is now being placed on a sliding date schedule; and promising of Urban Renewal 2.0 – not of discontinuing the employment of Bahamians and reassigning trained policemen to perform social assistance tasks – buying and delivering food – instead of fighting crime in on our streets,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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