British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Sep 20, 2020

It's An Injustice- Bishop Roasts Gov't

It's An Injustice- Bishop Roasts Gov't

The controversial decision by the Hon. Andrew Fahie-led administration to ban all work permit and work permit exemption holders from reentering the Territory, continue to receive stark criticisms from sections of the public.
Bishop John Cline has described the move as injustice, immoral and unethical.

"Do we not see injustice here? If we allow this injustice in this area, I can almost guarantee you that we will see justice violated in certain areas. We cannot be silent on these matters as if they are okay, they are not," he said yesterday, Thursday, August 13.

Making reference to the Bible, Bishop Cline said when dealing with yourself, you use your head, but when dealing with others you use your heart.

"Do onto others as we would have them do on to us. These people are our neighbors, worked among us, help build our country, pay their social security, NHI, income tax, work in our businesses, attend our churches, and they have been apart of the fibre of BVI life," he expressed.

He further asked, "How can we treat people like this? If we continue to believe that this is okay, how can we expect it to be well with us, is this not unethical, immoral..."

Like others, Bishop Cline believes that the matter should be dealt with on a case by case basis, pointing out that the one size fit all cannot work.

"Not when we have persons who have been with us on work permit for 15 years plus. These persons have called BVI their home for a long time and at this time of difficulties, to say to them that you have to leave the life you have built in the BVI, or you cannot come back to that life in the BVI, I believe this is the wrong way, wrong approach to go about it in a blanket way," he said.

Bishop Cline said that some of these persons who find themselves outside of the BVI while the lockdown amidst COVID-19, only knows the BVI as their home.

"They have no place to call their home, this is their home for some of them. So, how do we ask them to start over their lives in an unfamiliar place, in an unfamiliar time and this time of difficulties, " he said.

The Church Leader added, "some of them have jobs and their employer want them to come back, but because of this work permit ban that has been communicated to the public they cannot come back and employers cannot get their employees back."

He said that the government needs to examine the situation and the categories of persons, noting that they are persons who can afford the $6,000 security for quarantine and are ready to return home, including business owners. He also mentioned that some of these property owners are worried about their properties being exposed as the hurricane season heightens.

"Where is the empirical data on which these decisions are being made to keep these categories (of persons) out of the BVI. Where is the exclusion and exemption for certain persons in these categories…," he asked.

He said the government needs to do a better job at communicating clearly and effectively to persons on the issue.

Bishop Cline also expressed that those who do not have jobs to return to, should be dealt with separately and not place an undue burden on taxpayers. But he said many understand the latter but are concerned over the general ban.

The government has provided multiple reasons for the decision.
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