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‘We do not believe UK direct rule is necessary!’- Bishop John I. Cline

‘We do not believe UK direct rule is necessary!’- Bishop John I. Cline

Local clergyman and community activist in the Virgin Islands, Bishop John I. Cline says he will stand firm against any attempts of direct rule by the UK, which will result in it taking control of the Virgin Islands away from Virgin Islanders.

This comes after Governor John J. Rankin CMG, yesterday morning April 29, 2022, announced that the Commission of Inquiry Report has concluded there may have been instances of corruption by successive governments.

The Governor also said the report recommended a suspension of the House of Assembly and the Constitution and an imposition of direct rule by the United Kingdom (UK).

No direct rule - Bishop Cline

Bishop Cline who has been an outspoken activist against the idea of UK rule told Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) on Friday, Afternoon, April 29, 2022, that there must be other options on the way forward.

‘My position stands, we do not believe that direct rule is necessary, we don’t believe its advantageous to the country as a whole, we believe that it contradicts the UN Charter and Convection for Decolonization, we believe that it takes us back to 1949 where we had to march and fight for our own autonomy,” Bishop Cline said.

According to him, there are ways to achieve the recommendations in the ‘document’ (CoI report), which do not result in the suspension of the local constitution.

“It is our firm belief, mine and others that we can work hand-in-hand with the United Kingdom to achieve the best possible outcomes for the BVI.”

He said the collaboration could “Strengthen our governance structure, create a political framework that lends itself to transparency and accountability, review the constitution in the process but it does not necessitate suspending our constitution.”

Bishop Cline who represents a civil society group for the advancement of the BVI, said going against UK rule has been a position then and it remains a position now despite the CoI recommendation.

Modern democracy the way forward - Bishop Cline

The Bishop said that the recommendations of the report are just that, recommendations and discussions would have to be had on the way forward, including with VI’s elected officials.

“We want due process to take place before any action of that nature… we believe in due process and we want to ensure that our case us heard by the UK and that they are able to hear us, we are able to hear them and we can come to some meaningful agreement,” he added.

The Bishop added that agreement, however, the UK must also help the VI to achieve self-determination and work towards a modern democracy which the CoI spoke about.

The CoI report was expeditiously published today, April 29, 2022, following a revelation that Virgin Islands Premier and Managing Director of its Ports have both been arrested in the US on charges related to conspiracy to import a controlled substance & money laundering.


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