By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Former Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) Bishop John Cline is refuting claims that he accepted financial bribes to turn a blind eye to continued reports of misgovernance in the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.
Residents began accusing the clergyman after noting that he has become less outspoken on national issues.
But, Bishop Cline released a statement this week to “clear the air”.
“There has been a rumour that I have been silent because I have accepted ‘hush money’. Let me be clear, Bishop Cline has not taken anyone’s hush money. I listen, I work in the background, I only speak when necessary. But know this, I am not fearful of anyone, nor am I intimidated by anyone. And I certainly cannot be bought by anyone,” he said.
Cline then went on level fresh criticism on the Premier Dr D Orlando Smith-led government.
NDP a set of ‘cannibalistic dictators’
The bishop said the future of the territory is ‘blurry’ under its current leadership. He then described the NDP government as a crop of anthropophagist dictators.
“The current leadership has become cannibalistic in its behaviour; destroying all those who have different opinions to theirs. They undermine and marginalize their supporters and turn a deaf ear to wise counsel. We need better from our leaders,” Cline said.
“Our present government needs to change their ways. And if they don’t change, we will change them … Right now we have this dictatorship-style leadership going on, and it is not acceptable. Every citizen and resident of the BVI, whether in the private or public sector, has a right to respectfully voice their opinion in a free and democratic society without fear,” he added.
The bishop himself was forced to resign as Chairman of the BVIHSA last year after criticizing the Premier Smith administration.
Road Town stinks, where is the vision?
While commenting on hurricane recovery for the territory, the Bishop said government needs to create a clear and long-term vision for the BVI.
“Good leadership not only has good vision, they have a plan. They have a plan for the next 10, 20, and 30 years —not just for the next four years. And because we have had no national development plan, we have wasted the country’s money, allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate, and allowed corruption to set in.”
“Our ocean has become polluted, and our beaches have become less desirable to residents and visitors alike. Sewage still runs in our streets like we are a third-world country. Our nation’s capital smells of raw sewage,” Bishop Cline lamented.
He continued: “These things are not acceptable. We deserve better. We have a budget of $300 million a year, which equates to $1.5 billion every four years. We can do better but leadership matters.”
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