Beautiful Virgin Islands

Sunday, Jul 03, 2022

Bishop: Gov gravely mistaken that ‘wider public’ supports UK takeover

Bishop: Gov gravely mistaken that ‘wider public’ supports UK takeover

Local clergyman Bishop John Cline has said Governor John Rankin is gravely mistaken in his assertion that the turnout at the recent anti-UK-rule protests is an indication that the wider community supports suspending the BVI constitution for Britain to temporarily takeover.

In an exclusive interview with BVI News yesterday, the clergyman said UK Overseas Territories Minister, Amanda Milling met with a wide cross-section of the BVI community – including the Christian Council – when she visited territory recently and no one gave any indication they were in favour of suspending the constitution.

Bishop Cline, who organised the aforesaid protests last month, further argued that Governor Rankin is playing into a narrative that he wants to believe is true.

“The Governor goes on to say that all of us or most people in the BVI agree with the recommendations. He is partially correct on that. We have identified areas where governance can be strengthened and where there can be more parameters put in place to ensure accountability and transparency in governance,” Cline said. “But I will go on further to state that the civil servants’ processes and a lot of the errors that were identified in the system were under the Governor’s purview in the first place. The Governor is responsible for civil servants through the Deputy Governor’s Office. Why is it not that the Governor takes some responsibility — and past governors as well — for their lack of proper oversight of BVI civil servants and the deficiency that were identified,” the clergyman questioned.

Cline maintained that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) was not necessary. But since it has already happened, the clergyman contends that the COI should not be used as an opportunity to recolonise the Virgin Islands.

Message to the BVI people

The bishop also addressed the locals; highlighting that the Governor’s statements are what happens when they do not take and stand for their own rights and use their own voices.

“Somebody will voice what they believe you are saying by your silence and by your absence and right now what the Governor is doing is trying to make an attempt to speak for the people of the Virgin Islands because he did not see them in great numbers at the march and I want to say to BVI persons, we may disagree on a lot of things but I am almost 99 per cent sure that the majority of us in the Virgin Islands agree that we do not want a direct rule,” Cline said.

“We do not want one man deciding the fate of 30,000 people. We do not want our House of Assembly dissolved. It is a fundamental human right to have self-determination and a democratically elected government and not have one man you do not elect but appointed by the UK to rule over us. And if they do not stand up, then somebody will speak for them,” he added.

Message to the UK

Meanwhile, Cline said if the UK is genuinely interested the BVI people’s opinion, as the Governor claims, then they would hear loudly that the people do not want direct rule.

“If you are really listening to the people and not to your own narrative, you will hear the people of the Virgin Islands saying ‘all of us can do better in terms of good governance’ but it is not different from what the UK can do. The other day we see six or seven persons who were security people in the UK arrested for money laundering and drug trafficking,” Cline said.

“Everywhere you go in the world, you have this possibility of corruption. It is not ok for the UK to think they can use what they found in the COI to take over a country and we want them to cease and desist from that position. If you want a modern partnership and you want to help – help. But help does not look like direct rule. Not for us. We will resist it with every fibre of our body,” the clergyman contended.


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