Calling for a 'safety net' to protect Virgin Islanders, ZBVI 780am 'Honestly Speaking' radio host, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline says the lack of competition in the financial and insurance industries is making the Virgin Islands an expensive place to live.
"Insurance is a challenge, continues to be a challenge... it's a sky-rocketing challenge and we must come up with an insurance construct that comes against the status quo, at least compete against the status quo that allows for a more affordable living in this country," he said.
Skelton-Cline was at the time speaking on the Tuesday, February 11, 2020, edition of his radio show where he noted that many Virgin Islanders are still reeling from the effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017, resulting in a high cost of living.
"We need to move beyond talking and put in an apparatus in place that is a safety net for so many hurting people out there... No matter how well off you and I thought we were, on the heels of those hurricanes we all saw exactly where we were. We were left naked," he said.
Systematic approach needed - Skelton-Cline
According to Mr Skelton-Cline, with rising local costs, more needs to be done to increase the quality of life in the VI through policies and initiatives implemented by financial institutions.
"It's an expensive place to live in this place we call home, and their needs to be a cohesive, systematic, a strategic effort in how we will increase the quality of life but deflate the cost of living in this territory," he said.
Skelton-Cline said banking restrictions continue to be a major additional issue plaguing the territory.
"You can't get loans, be it mortgage, be it otherwise... something needs to change. There needs to be a greater demand placed on these institutions who have reaped the benefits of this territory from its citizens but are not giving back in proportion," he said.