Bishop Cline, the keynote speaker at the 1949 Great March and Restoration Day commemorative event yesterday, zeroed in on the monies announced in BVI’s annual budget and the amount of wealth at the territory’s disposal.
“We spend [$400 million] every year. That means every administration; we give them $1.6 billion [for each term they serve in office]. We should look better, we should feel better, the standard of living for this territory should be better and the quality of life for all Virgin Islanders should be better,“ the Bishop said.
“[Roughly] $1.6 billion every four years, and this is what we get. We ought to move forward with greater determination and courage and we the people must hold any elected government responsible for how they spend our money. This is not a joke.“
“There was no allegiance to political parties, and the party bond that now seeks to divide us,” the clergyman said of the 1949 era.
The bishop reasoned that, along with self-interest, this ‘party bond’ has stunted the growth of the BVI and retarded its progress.
Bishop Cline further questioned what progress has actually been made by residents since the BVI freed itself from the hand of its colonial masters.
“We have become materially wealthy in these Virgin Islands but it seems like 72 late years later, we seem to be mentally bound to our colonial past,” said the bishop, who rallied hundreds of residents for the Decision March — another historic protest against the UK that happened back in May 2018.
In honour of those that marched over seven decades ago, the Bishop said that today’s residents must commit to following the path of greater autonomy and independence.
Leaders must lead or get out of the way, he insisted.