Beautiful Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Bishop Cline organises protest against UK direct rule

Bishop Cline organises protest against UK direct rule

Following news that the Commission of Inquiry recommended that the United Kingdom (through the governor) assume direct rule over the territory for at least two years, prominent local clergyman Bishop John Cline organised a protest against any such action.

The protest is scheduled for 8 am on Monday, May 2 at Government House where Governor John Rankin resides.

In an online broadcast Saturday night, Bishop Cline called on residents to join the protest.

“We as Virgin Islanders come to say to the United Kingdom that you should not suspend our constitution in an attempt to establish direct rule over us,” Bishop Cline stated.

“I have to speak for the good people of this nation. I have to speak for the honest Virgin Islander … I have to speak up for the incorruptible Virgin Islander, for there many of them here still and I am one of them,” the Bishop said on Saturday; just two days after the world was stunned by news that Premier Andrew Fahie and BVI Ports Authority boss Oleanvine Maynard were arrested in the United States on drug and money laundering charges.

UK accused of organising media campaign against BVI

The bishop went on to accuse the UK or organising a global media campaign to “show the dark side of the BVI”. But he said residents are not daunted because they know they are “a better people than that”.

“We will not allow the UK to let the bad behaviour of the minority represent the moral standing of the majority. I personally have met with the governor and we have submitted a white paper to him in anticipation of these very outcomes and provide possible solutions for them,” Bishop Cline stated.

“We indicated that we have people willing and able in this country with the ability to lead, should it be necessary … To insist that the UK must rule over us is to say that you believe that there are not 13 capable, honest, morally sound persons in this country to provide quality leadership and to run this country. I say that there are 13 and more,” added Bishop Cline who managed to rally hundreds — perhaps thousands — of residents to march against the UK back in 2018.

Gov’t backs protest

Acting Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley and his government have shared similar sentiments to that of the bishop. And while noting the upcoming protest, Dr Wheatley said in a separate broadcast last night that residents have the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration.

But not all residents support the bishop’s position or his protest. One such person is, outspoken public servant, Kishma Penn.

“I am not marching,” Penn emphatically said in a live Facebook broadcast on Sunday. “I would advise anybody; don’t waste your time to go in the march.”

“This kind of blind obedience that we giving the government, that is what put us here in the first place. That blind obedience,” Penn further said.

Don’t march!

She continued: “For the people contemplating going to the march, let me tell y’all the number-one reason why all you should not go to this march. Andrew Fahie was arrested on Thursday … That is three days [ago] and up to now not one member of the Virgin Islands Party has stepped forward to say. ‘we renounce the [alleged] actions of the leader of our party, he is no longer a member of our party, we do not support his actions, we are not affiliated with this fellow’.”

“The time to march has come and gone,” Penn argued.

The allegations against Premier Fahie are yet to be tried and proven before the US courts.


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