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Bishop Cline claims he is a ‘casualty’ of NDP feud

Bishop John Cline

Bishop John Cline

Bishop John Cline said comments he made on radio last week Friday have been given as the reason he was asked to resign as Chairman of the state-owned BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA).

But he strongly believes he was a mere casualty of an ongoing ‘war’ within the governing National Democratic Party (NDP).

“Whatever is going on within the NDP, I became a casualty of war because there is obviously a war going on. I hope and I pray that, whatever the infighting is, they (members of the NDP) sort it out for the good of the country. Sort out your problems and do what you were elected to do, and lead this country to greater prosperity, peace, and safety,” he said in an interview today with BVI News Online.

Asked to state the reason for the alleged NDP infighting, the clergyman responded: “That I don’t know because I am not on the inside; I am not that type of party supporter. I don’t keep track of what is going on in Caucus, Cabinet and all of that. I was simply asked to chair the hospital board and do my best to help improve it, and that’s what I do.”

A ‘fatal’ radio interview

Bishop Cline, who made it clear that he is still an NDP supporter, became the premier’s target last week Friday when he made certain comments during an interview with radio host Paul ‘Gadeithz’ Peart.

He told the radio host that – among other things – he supports a call made by another NDP member Eileen Parsons for Premier Smith to surrender the finance ministry to Minister of Health Ronnie Skelton.

Premier Smith subsequently declared publicly that he has no intention to give up the finance ministry.

The premier – hours after Bishop Cline’s radio interview – asked the clergyman to resign from the BVIHSA by Sunday, January 8.

Bishop Cline today told BVI News Online that he did not fight the request.

“I was asked to resign; that’s not a secret. There was too much going on and too much to accomplish, and too many important issues on the table [regarding the BVIHSA] for me to volunteer to resign. And that is the reason why I accepted [the recent renewal of my contract at BVIHSA],” he explained.

Premier Orlando Smith. File photo

Premier Orlando Smith. File photo

Bishop Cline further stated that, prior to tendering his resignation letter, he spoke with Premier Smith.

“I did have an opportunity to speak to the premier to say to him, ‘I don’t mind going; I just don’t want to leave with an impression – based on an interview after all the years I’ve supported your government – that I am against your government, because that is not true’. I wished him success,” Bishop Cline said, adding that the premier’s decision has not reduced his level of support for the NDP government.

“It hasn’t been reduced,” he told BVI News Online.

Pressed to state if the latest developments may influence him to switch political allegiance to the Opposition Virgin Islands Party, the former BVHSA chairman chuckled. “I will stay with the BVI,” he said.

I did not disrespect the premier

Bishop Cline, in the meantime, has brushed aside claims that the action taken against him was justifiable because he was – in effect – undermining Premier Smith on public radio.

He reasoned that his agreement with Parsons’ opinion that the premier should give up leadership of the finance ministry was not a criticism of the premier.

“I wasn’t offering any criticism against the government; I was just in support of what ‘Ms Parsons had written. She wrote a letter respectfully in a private way. Once it became public, all of us can comment on it. But me disagreeing with you doesn’t mean I am criticizing you,” Bishop Cline said while stating why he still thinks Skelton should be the finance minister.

Health Minister Ronnie Skelton

Health Minister Ronnie Skelton

“I don’t agree with everything any government does. There are some disagreements that I have… I was in agreement with Ms Parsons that maybe they should consider giving back Finance to Ronnie. I said Ronnie Skelton has been an astute businessman and financier [who] built his family business to a profitable and thriving business, and someone who understands the numbers; I can speak to his business acumen. But my support for this administration, I think, hands down, has been undeniably so. I wasn’t criticizing my employer in public,” Bishop Cline said.

Premier Smith thought otherwise.

Bishop Cline explained: “The reason that was given [for asking me to resign] was that, based on he interview with Paul ‘Gadeithz’ Peart, it was concluded by the premier that I was no longer in support of his administration, and so he required my resignation forthwith, and I complied. The request came in Friday and it wanted the resignation by Sunday. Everything they asked for I did.”

Bishop Cline, in addition to agreeing that Premier Smith should give up the finance ministry, also told the radio host that he does not support a government contract being awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

Government announced last month that CCCC has been selected to undertake the runway extension project at Terrence B Lettsome International Airport at a cost of just over $153 million.

But Bishop Cline is contending that the airport project is not feasible, especially at this time when the territory is facing financial challenges.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

tola_radio_feb_10

30 Comments

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  1. ndp heckler says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Another cline bites the dust

  2. muslim says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  3. lol says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    ronnie’s soldiers at wuk

  4. lmao says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    I wonder whose side shaina is on?

  5. concern citizen of the B.V.I. says:

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 13

    I don’t know how come there cant send Gadeithz Peart back to Jamaica. He is causing a lot of problem here for the NDP.

    • ndp heckler says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Will he be the next victim?

    • LB says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      He is a problem for the country! Bishop nor any other upstanding BVIslander should ever go on or support that show. This gaddietz is a plague in our community.

    • Yup says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      Causing problems for the NDP alone? He causing alot of problems otherwise. He is a loud mouth, confuscous, impressionist individual who stirs up trouble.

      If his backside was in Jamaica he would either be hiding or __. There is no way that he could behave that way in Jamaica.

      Yet we allow him here to be free on the airwaves and to tear our islands and people down. He is disrespectful to our people and Ministers.

      All of you who listen and call in to his show encourage and condone him. I for one don’t listen to him. He is a nuisance and ought to be GONE!

      • Pretty Girl says:

        Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  6. Wise Owl says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

    Cline you right ain’t no job more important than our livelihood and ain’t no sense following a leader that is in denial and leading our country to economic decline, poverty, lawlessness, crime, cronism, victimization, disrespectful culture and it goes on.

    Is this modern day hell? We need action get rid of them all and take our vessel back. People are upset and unforgiving when it comes to their livelihood.

    The NDP doesn’t feel a thing because they pocket full and they are blinded by greed and hungry for power at whatever cost.

    The BVI HSA and everyone will benefit in the long run when we fix our country.

  7. mi says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    U lucky woieeee

  8. Rastamouse says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Birds tangling by their feet, Cline tangled by his tongue. Gadheitz your days here are numbered. Start packing your Georgie bundle.

  9. NEXT says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    When are they gonna ask Tourist Board Comptroller to resign? She should be next in line!

  10. Uzi says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    So I guess everybody that work in the Admin complex has to pledge their allegiance to NDP or there will be more job openings?

  11. THE ACCOUNTANT says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    If Cline thinks that his resignation is the end of this wish hunt he is in for a big surprise. He can kiss the lead lights and the computer bonanza good bye.

  12. blame says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Why are we fretting over this man? He is happy and enjoying life. Over the holiday days he have three meet up at the h**** fi**t**g for him. Lawyerhull, classgeorge and portwright. So why are we fussing over him. He’s happy, His time has come.

  13. Reply says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

    Bishop Cline is a casualty of hIs own mouth.

    He forgot when he waS making public statements suggesting he did not have confidence in the Premier’s handling of the country’s finances, and the airport expansion being a bad idea…. he forgot he was not preaching from his pulpit.

    He forgot he was working for the very same government.

    I have read the comments on this, and I see many people agreeing with the pastor, but if anyone of you do something similar on your jobs, rest assured you too will be shown the door.

    I recognize that perhaps those who support the bishop’s actions are probably anti this government, but by any objective measure, the pastor’s public statements were ill advised.

    So no, he is no casualty of some alleged NDP feud. He is a casualty if his own mouth.

    He is entitled to free speech, but when you are working for others, you have to think twice about expressing that free speech especially if it appears critical. Free speech has consequences.

    He should never had taking the bait and answered that interviewers question. He should have said no comment, and move on.

    It was inappropriate for him to make a public comment essentially questioning the Premier financial stewardship giving his position with the government. He blanked himself trying to follow Ms P.

  14. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Bishop John Cline, freedom of speech aside, is not a victim of internal NDP feud, but rather his poor judgement in joining Ms. P, a hardcore NDP supporter, to publicly challenge the Premier’s competency and stewardship of the Ministry of Finance.

    It is either that his action was boldly calculated or he was surprisingly naive in believing that he could challenge the effectiveness of Premier’s financial management of territorial finances and stay on as Chairperson of the BVIHSA.

    Did the Bishop grossly miscalculated how the game of politics is played? Or he wanted to put himself on the chopping block as a martyr?

    Having read that the Bishop had agreed with Ms. P in calling for the Hon Ronnie Skelton, currently MHSS, to relieve Dr. Hon Premier D. Orlando Smith as MoF, I thought to myself he was goner.

    The reality is whether one is a direct employee of government or serving on a board one cannot stay on the payroll(he did get a $1K monthly stipend) by embarrassing the Premier by challenging his competency.

    In neither the public nor private sector, one cannot talk bad about the boss and survive. One may survive for the moment but eventually one is a goner.

    Bishop Cline gone. Now enquiring minds are anxiously awaiting to see who is next to either jump over board on their own or get pushed over board. Is Ms. P at least in the Premier’s eyes personna non grata around the NDP?

    Will she resign from or asked to resign from any boards that she is on?

    Moreover, typically an essential function in one’s job description is managing and taking care of the boss.

    This storm has been raging publicly for about week but amazingly as of yet no other member of NDP caucus has moved with bud speed to publicly defend the Premier’s fitness to continue to serve as MoF.

    What does the silence say? Should the public read between lines that the silence is agreement with Ms. P and the Bishop?

    Get some well-buttered pop corn folks and enjoy the show. We have only seen Act 1 Scene 1 thus far.

  15. vip says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    This man marched against biwater so the ndp could win and now he was kicked out like a dog…Come unto the vip pastor because you will be welcomed with open arms

  16. `lol says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    the premier is a dictator…… u cant tell him that is ideas are useless for the country…. he will ignore it…. what he say goes and thats that…… if a man that forgets what he says….. squander the reserves on irrelevant stuff… i.e his jeep, airport runway, queen elizabeth park….. if he is our finance minister… we are in alot of trouble……. tortola isn’t a hub station….. the amount of trouble you would have to go through to travel from us to international….. is best u travel through st thomas…… so the amount of money they spend in this airline(that is still grounded and expensive to maintain) and airport(which they are only doing so they can “TRY” to get their plane to work on it properly)….. they wouldnt get it back in a lifetime….

  17. i say says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    He who knows better do better. There was now reason for Mr. cline to come on air and make such statements he could have done it differently. Dr. is head and respect should be given.

    Dr. continue to put your trust in GOD and he will guide you to make the right decision for this country. The people of this country put you there and keep hope alive.

  18. 2 grand says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    mr paul gadeithz peart is doing what we coward selfish badmind wicked and evil born here tolians should be doing standing up and defending against wrong doings and ills of the country.

    lets get up off our laurels and be counted as patriots get out of your comfort zone house money sex bile-car cause oneday it will all be gone.

    it takes a lot of b.lls to do what he is doing bringing awareness to the masses . afraid to lose house and vanity.

    yes we might not agree with all that is said but how much of us are willing to stand up and go to battle on the frontline.

    gadeithz is a strong fearless brave warrior I feel shame that I am not brave like that.

    if this country had 20 more brave warriors like that the vi would be a better virgin islands

    feel free to rip apart curse namecall throw me under the bus or worse tie me on the train track.

    we are a nation of cowards and until selfishness is repaced by unity and patriotic love we will eat crumbs while others take the pie

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