How long are the people of the Virgin Islands going to allow the elected officials of the territory keep them in the dark ages for want of a few votes at election time? With just a month before the Mandatory Auto Insurance law takes effect, a law which by the way was passed by the legislature, the body which is supposed to be the "voice of the people," is Senator Alicia "Chucky" Hansen making a move to place a road block in the path of its implementation?
In a letter to the Lieutenant Governor she reportedly cites "reliable sources" in the local insurance industry that there is not sufficient insurance capacity in the territory to accommodate the mandatory requirement of the act. Is that the real reason? Or is this move being prompted by a statement attributed to the Senator that she is basing her opposition to the act on calls from constituents who can't afford mandatory insurance premiums?
Either way, the arguments being put forth at this late stage of the game should have been taken into consideration prior to the vote on the legislation.
If the basis for coming up with the necessary premium(s) to pay for this insurance is being hung on the assumption that people have not received their tax refunds or negotiated pay increases, then the people of the Virgin Islands should ask the senator to put her priorities in place. Her efforts to block the auto insurance legislation should be channeled into working on the tax return and labor negotiation issues she cites as her reasons for taking the action she espouses.
If the senator is so concerned with protecting the financial well being of her constituents, then how can she be so dead set against mandatory auto insurance? God forbid one of her constituents should have the unfortunate experience of being involved in an auto accident with someone who is uninsured. What recourse will they have to be compensated for property damage and possible medical expenses? The operation of a motor vehicle on the roads of the Virgin Islands is a privilege not a right. A privilege which carries with it certain responsibilities.
The truth of the matter is, mandatory auto insurance already exists in the territory. Whenever someone buys a motor vehicle and finances it through a bank or finance company that institution requires that auto insurance is carried on that vehicle for the life of the loan in order to protect its interest. What is so wrong with protecting the interests of the driving public, which includes the senator's constituents.
The time has come to level the playing field so that all can drive on the roads and highways of the territory secure in the knowledge that in the event of an accident their financial security is protected. They should not be at the mercy of a game of "Russian Roulette" which could have a devastating, long term impact on their lives.
Henry W. de Lagarde


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