The Bishop was at the time speaking during a Monday, October 21, 2020, edition of the Umoja show with host Cromwell Smith aka ‘Edju Enka’ on ZBVI 780AM where he said the VI’s major economic pillars have weaknesses; however, those weaknesses present growth opportunities.
Outspoken clergyman and Pastor of the New Life Baptist Church, Bishop John I. Cline believes that a think tank void of politics is the best way forward for the VI to ultimately find success in an era of crisis where there are new opportunities to be explored.
“If you know how to take advantage and recognise the opportunities in crisis you have success,” Bishop Cline said, referencing China’s plan for economic development.
“Ours is moving and shifting because we have identified some weaknesses in our economic pillars, where the tourism product is subject to nature, now to disease and pandemics.”
He said in the case of the tourism industry, a pandemic now has the possibility to become commonplace which presents more weaknesses.
“We know that financial services always had some threats we should be able to survive, and it's proven itself resilient in spite of beneficial ownership register, economic substance, being blacklisted and whatever else… it has proven itself resistant or resilient,” Bishop Cline said.
“However, now is the time I believe for that think tank piece to come in, that economic advisory group that is void of politics, to [be] put together and look for the opportunities, foreign investments, internal local investments and development, how we can now look for opportunities that will help now to make us more resilient and diversified in our economic products,” he said.
According to Mr Cline, the realities of today, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are forcing economies like the Virgin Islands to not be comfortable with just two economic pillars.
“What else can we do as a people, as a growing nation, as we wrestle with this new reality? What can we pull out of our creative minds, our thinking minds, to ensure we leave a legacy of hope and prosperity behind for generations to come, provide meaningful employment and all the rest of that good stuff?” Bishop Cline asked.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.