“One would almost get by implication that the Leader of the Opposition had read and reviewed the report,” Skelton Cline said on his Honestly Speaking radio show yesterday, April 12.
He continued: “Because it’s difficult, unless it’s just a poor use of the English language, that he is suggesting to the public that he welcomes [the report] and I trust that there will be some clarification around this matter.”
Penn issued a statement days ago stating that he welcomed both the report and its recommendations and hoped it would be the catalyst to achieving proper stewardship of the BVI’s national resources.
While pressed at an engagement with the media a short while before Skelton Cline’s show to expound on his reason for welcoming the report, Penn said he wanted to offer an optimistic tone.
“Whatever is in the report, we have to deal with it. As a country, as a people, we have to deal with it and we always have to look forward in terms of what is in the best interest of our country moving forward,“ Penn shared.
He continued: “If there are things that we need to challenge, we need to push back on, then we need to push back on those things, but we have always as leaders of this country have an optimistic tone in terms of the way forward for our people.”
Penn urged that the COI’s report be made public and said this should have already been done given that the hearings were largely done in the public domain.
He also said that he would support recommendations from the report that offered improvement to the way things were done in the territory but was adamant that he was against any suggestions of regression.
“If there are things that are going to challenge and retard our progress that we made as a country, of course, I’m not going to support those things,” he added.
While Penn’s position was supported by Opposition members Julian Fraser and Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, Skelton Cline showed little tolerance for the Opposition Leader’s optimistic framing of the matter.
“The Leader of the Opposition – whether poor use of language or whether or not these are in fact his thoughts — [they] are misguided,” he said.
“You don’t welcome these things – somebody told me [Penn] said that he’s giving a positive spin – this ain’t no time for no spin,” the clergyman insisted.
“This is time for us to confront reality sober-minded but together,” the commentator urged. “And sometimes when we’re not sure what to say, we shouldn’t say nothing.