British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Oct 17, 2021

‘We will resist you taking over’ VI- Bishop Cline reiterates to UK

‘We will resist you taking over’ VI- Bishop Cline reiterates to UK

Influential clergyman and Virgin Islander Bishop John I. Cline has expressed that the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) is leading towards direct rule over the Virgin Islands or its finances but will not succeed without a strong fight from the people of this territory, a movement he is ready and capable of promoting.

Mr Cline was at the time a guest on JTV’s The Big Story last night September 21, 2021, with host Cathy O. Richards when he was asked for his take on the CoI based on what has transpired so far.

Prejudicial CoI

The outspoken preacher said that after watching some of the inquires it is obvious that some of it are prejudiced “in terms of some of the counsels, and maybe the whole commission, came in with some preconceived judgements and what they want to do is verify or solidify or validate their preconceived judgement.”

Bishop Cline continued: “If you are doing an inquiry to find the facts then find the facts and let the facts speak for themselves. It’s not saying that you cannot ask questions, but when those questions are very leading and suggestive and if you are not a person who can think on your feet and say I don’t know, I don’t agree, then you can get trapped.”

He also said he doesn’t think the commission “is squeaky clean in terms of their motives.”

Can any good come out of CoI?

Mr Cline; however, noted that he is of the opinion some good will come out of the CoL.

“I think that a lot of good will come out of it," adding that he heard the former legislator Myron V. Walwyn saying on Monday, September 20, 2021, that he has learnt so much about governance “and some of the things we were not doing since, since this CoI, and I heard some of the other Ministers saying the same.

“So they are some good that will come out to strengthen governance, to put some procedures and practices in place that would guard against corruption, not saying that there was, but it would safeguard and strengthen our governance, especially when we are talking about greater autonomy or independence.”

‘A leopard does not change its spots’

Mr Cline said that what is coming out of the CoI has put the territory in a very bad place, “And we have to determine how we are going to deal with the results.

According to Cline, there are four likely results.

“A leopard does not change its spots we know how the UK behaved in the past.”

Mr Cline referenced the Turks and Caicos Islands where the UK suspended the constitution and took over the country. “That’s a likely issue.”

“Anguilla, after the Commission of Inquiry, they took over the Ministry of Finance. They started to run the financial arm of the country, likely result.

“Third likely result, we’ll have a greatly assisted government structure. In other words, we are going to come alongside you, to ensure that you fix what needs to be fixed.

“We are going to bring in some people, put them alongside you, we are going to supervise the transition from what we see as the weakness in your governance structure and we are going to come alongside you and make sure your people are trained, you are trained and everyone knows that we should be on this same page.”

The other likely result, in Mr Cline’s view, is the UK saying to this present government, “We have seen what you have done, we believe it did not lend itself to good governance, but we do not believe that it arises to the point to remove you from office or declare that you are not fit for governance. So here is the timeframe in which you need to do xyz. And if we don’t see you getting it done by xzy we are going to take over.”

‘I will get people to fight with me’

In the final analysis, the Bishop says is of the view that the UK, based on what is likely to be in the report, will throw on the Virgin Islands one of two first observations, the TCI scenario or the Anguilla one.

“I think from what I have seen, they have enough, whether or not they go there that is what we have to make clear to our governor, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that the extremes, at least the first extreme is not something that you would not meet resistance about. We will.

“We will resist you taking over our territory and that resistance will be strong.”

Asked if the people of the territory are in that fighting mode, Mr Cline responded, “I could fight and I will get people to fight with me. I could start a fight.”

The United Kingdom-sponsored Commission of Inquiry (CoI), according to Bishop John I. Cline, appears prejudiced and set on validating some preconceived judgement.


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