Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, is wondering why there are no policy papers on the newly-introduced National Health Insurance (NHI) Pilot Program.
The pilot, designed to assist single mothers, 35 and under, and their children up to age three, was launched by the government on Monday, April 1.
Linton said any assistance that can be made available to help “in these depressed economic circumstances,” is welcomed. However, he said there are many questions which cannot be answered because of a lack of policy papers on a parliamentary level on the matter.
“This matter is foreign to the parliament of Dominica because we know nothing about it. We know absolutely nothing about it in the Parliament of Dominica,” he stated on Q95 on Tuesday morning.
He said such a scheme has been spoken about by the United Workers Party (UWP) for a number of years and he is wondering why after 17 years in power, the Dominica Labour Party is introducing just a pilot program.
“There are number of questions that has to be raised in terms of on how we do things and how we seek to do things for the benefit of all because it may well be that, and you will not be surprised at this that there are married mothers who are in worst circumstances than some single mothers and yet you have a program, introduced 17 years after the Labour Party gets into office, that focuses on single mothers and their children of up to three years,” he stated.
Linton stated that questions must be asked on how that group was selected.
“And having selected that group, are there are other people in the same category who need the assistance equally or probably even more,” he noted.
However, he said, such questions cannot be answered.
“So again, I don’t know what is going down with the program because as the Leader of the Opposition, as a member of the parliament we have not seen a paper, we have not seen a policy paper that indicates what exactly is going down with this program,” Linton said. “So effectively we don’t know.”
He noted that parliament has passed legislation for things less important and although the program is a pilot one, he wondered what is the way forward.
“So what is the forward plan, what is it the time frame of the pilot, when will the pilot lead to the bigger thing and the more more inclusive scheme for the nation?” he questioned. “So these are questions we need answers for and it is very difficult, commenting on something as important as this for which there is no policy document available for discussion, for stakeholder input…”
Linton said he is wondering when the government will seek to do things in an organized, structured manner which takes on board the interest of the public as opposed to “certain strategies that they are pursuing for the individual benefit of the Labour Party as opposed to the benefit of the nation as a whole.”