Said persons tried to tarnish Mr Carnel D. Clyne’s name to score political points
“Mr Speaker, it saddens me sometimes when I see Virgin Islanders tearing each other down. Sometimes we maximise our faults and minimise our strengths. Mr Speaker, sometimes we choose not to see the best in each other. We become suspicious of each other, and we, at times, tarnish each other’s good name.”
These were the words of Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) while delivering a statement on the sudden resignation of the Chairman of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee Mr Carnel D. Clyne at the Ninth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Mr Clyne, according to Dr Wheatley, had made mention of unforeseen personal responsibilities which would impact his performance as Chairman, hence his decision to resign from the post.
Thanking Mr Clyne for his service, Dr Wheatley also suggested that Mr Clyne’s name was deliberately tarnished by persons to score political points.
He also noted that Mr Clyne would have made some mistakes as VIF&FC Chairman as he was not “perfect’ but had nevertheless done a tremendous job at the helm.
“Mr Speaker, some of these persons are members of Carnel Clyne’s community. Some of these persons are Carnel Clyne’s family. Some of these persons even profess Christianity. Mr Speaker, the Bible tells us, 'he who is without sin cast the first stone.' Mr Speaker, I pray as Virgin Islanders that we stop throwing stones at each other."
Let’s have a conversation rather than a witch hunt- Dr Wheatley
Dr Wheatley then turned to the Opposition, saying it seems to believe the 2019 Festival is their way to bring down the government.
“Mr Speaker, after being a part of a [National Democratic Party] NDP government that did not produce reports in the final three years of their administration, I would be embarrassed to criticise the lateness of this report, which will be laid in a few moments.”
Dr Wheatley said the records will show there was more money spent under the previous administration in some years than 2019 and that records will show that the money spent in 2019 includes hundreds of thousands of old bills from the previous administration.
“Mr Speaker, as opposed to engaging on a witch hunt, let us have a conversation about how we improve our festival celebrations-how we teach more of our history, heritage, and culture, how we have more meaningful participation of our local artisans, how do we become more efficient and effective with our management of money.”
He added that the VIF&FC, under the leadership of Mr Clyne, developed financial protocols to guide the responsible use of taxpayers money. Other recommendations have been made about buying assets as opposed to renting and booking hotel rooms and flights at an earlier stage.
“Mr Speaker, while the Opposition harp on and on about the money spent on festival, they seem to ignore the economic stimulus that festival provides to the wider population to earn a living and to share in the wealth. It helps to build our tourism product, so we can attract more visitors who will fill hotel rooms, patronise restaurants and other establishments; it supports our rental car operators, supports our taxi drivers, supports our craft vendors, our food vendors, our clothing stores, our tailors, our bar owners, our barbers and hair salons, and much more.”
Meanwhile, Dr Wheatley said the VIF&FC will soon engage the public about plans for the 2020 Emancipation Festival.