Political commentator Claude Skelton Cline has blasted USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr’s weekend endorsement of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) to form the next government, calling it an unethical and unwise move.
Governor Bryan told residents at a political rally in District 5 last Saturday that the VIP team had, among other things, ‘been through the wringer’ and was tried and tested enough to move the territory forward after the elections slated for next month.
But Skelton Cline, who has been no stranger to accusations of unethical behaviour himself, described the USVI governor’s injection into the BVI’s local politics as unprecedented.
“Why would he inject himself in the local campaign politics of the [British] Virgin Islands?” Skelton Cline questioned on his Honestly Speaking show.
He also slammed the governor’s camp for not pointing out the indiscretion. “Didn’t you all see anything wrong with this; anything unethical about this; anything unwise about this?” Skelton Cline asked. “[Anyone] offered any advice to the governor that, though you may have a personal choice, that you do not, you cannot break faith and a tradition with another territory?”
What happens when gov’t changes?
And while indicating the intervention broke with faith and tradition, Skelton Cline lambasted the governor’s endorsement as being ‘not right’ from any quarter. He further suggested that someone in the VIP should have seen that, despite any value the endorsement may have added. This was not the road the party should go down.
“That is uncalled for, that is wrong, that is unethical, that should never have happened,” Skelton Cline said of the endorsement. “And now, what happens when there’s a change of government and you still have to relate as [USVI] governor to whoever the premier is?” Come on. I mean, we got to be wiser. We got to be wiser than that.”
VIP defends decision
In the meantime, Deputy Premier Kye Rymer and Territorial At-Large Representative, Carvin Malone both defended the governor’s endorsement when they appeared on the VIP Let’s Talk show.
Rymer said Governor Bryan’s endorsement signifies a confidence instilled by the VIP over the past four years and pointed to the governor’s deep ties with the territory. He also explained that USVI-based voters come to the territory in boatloads and busloads during general elections — a provision he suggested is specifically catered for in the territory’s constitution.
Malone commented that, while the endorsement may have been ‘troubling for some’, the party’s record of achievement speaks for itself.