The British Virgin Islands is joining the ranks of protesters involved in the Black Lives Matter movement happening globally.
Radio talkshow host Claude Skelton Cline has issued a clarion call to BVI residents from all ethnic backgrounds to participate in a solidarity march this Saturday, June 20.
The march will begin at 3 pm from the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park in Road Town and will culminate at the Queen Elizabeth Park.
“The march is a simple march of our showing, in a demonstrable way, our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in America and indeed across the world against racism, against bigotry, against intolerance. It’s about showing our solidarity with the sufferers of the world,” Skelton Cline said on his Honestly Speaking radio programme on Tuesday.
We are vulnerable too!
Skelton Cline told residents that they are vulnerable to racism too, as they also travel around the world, and many of their children attend school abroad.
“We are just as susceptible. If these things do not change institutionally, if these things do not change systematically, we and our children, and our grandchildren can become victims. This is the time for all people to join with a singular voice in solidarity of what has happened to persons of African descent throughout this world. We must move from protest to policy changes; we must move from demonstration to legislation,” he added.
The Black Lives Matter movement was revived after the May 25 killing of an African American man, George Floyd. Floyd died after an on-duty caucasian police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The cop, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder.
Addressing controversial cartoon
In the meantime, Skelton Cline’s call for local support of the Black Lives Matter movement comes at a time when he and local news website Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) have come under heavy criticism for a cartoon of Governor Augustus Jaspert kneeling on his neck. The cartoon is directly related to statements he made on his radio talk show on June 9.
Responding to the backlash via the same medium, Skelton Cline said he did not take the cartoon personally.
He explained: “It’s not about me. I’m a representation, as a citizen with a point of view of what I see and what we are experiencing as Virgin Islanders. The depiction of the Governor is a … reflection that represents the United Kingdom in our geopolitical construct. That’s the way I see it, that’s the way I took it.”
The cartoon has been deemed as being in poor taste and calls were made for its removal and even for advertisers to boycott the Julian Willock-owned news website.
At least one advertiser, CCT, has since suspended future advertising with VINO until the cartoon is removed.
Skelton Cline, however, has called for persons to redirect their energies towards identifying and boycotting companies across the US, UK and the wider world that still practise slave labour and racism.