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Firm ‘independence’ stance needed for my support in next election

Firm ‘independence’ stance needed for my support in next election

Political commentator Pastor Claude Skelton Cline has placed a new litmus test on how candidates can earn his endorsement for the territory’s next general elections.

Over the years, Skelton Cline has publicly backed different political candidates and parties. And during the last general elections following his fall-out with the NDP, that support shifted to the now governing VIP for which he outrightly acted as a spokesperson.

But based on Skelton Cline’s most recent statements on his Honestly Speaking radio programme, it seems the Andrew Fahie-led VIP — which he has heavily criticised in recent times — is not guaranteed his support going into the next elections.

“Anybody who is running for office and is looking for my support is going to have to declare their position on the matter of independence,” Skelton Cline declared on public radio.

He added a caveat in stating that he won’t allow any potential candidate to get away with simply saying “of course, we’re going to become an independent nation”.

“I want to hear a vision crafted, communicated and cast to the wider population about [the candidate’s] position on the matter of these Virgin Islands, in short order, becoming the final arbiters of their fate and the complete work of decolonisation has ended,” Skelton Cline stated.

A former political candidate himself, Skelton Cline said there must also be structural changes made to prepare the BVI for a future he believes is already here.

“We’re going to have to decide how we’re going to go about choosing people to sit in the House of Assembly other than the way that we’ve been doing it,” he noted.

Where there is no vision…

According to Skelton Cline, every candidate or party needs to have a vision or plan that they would be able to clearly achieve as opposed to a “pie in the sky notion”.

He underscored as his second criterion that will determine how he would exercise his electoral franchise.

“You can’t lead people if you don’t have a vision and you can’t lead people you don’t love,” the outspoken clergyman said.

Warning to candidates who are only after power

Cline also sounded a warning for those seeking office to gain status or power; arguing that if they didn’t have these traits within them before, they wouldn’t have it after getting elected.

“All power does is reveal the crazy in us. It doesn’t make who you are, it reveals who you are,” he cautioned.

Skelton Cline said he felt the need to raise the issues at this time because “nothing beats planning and preparation”.

“My aim is to force and to forge you to begin to think and talk through this stuff,” he told listeners at the time.


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