Bishop John Cline has tendered his resignation as Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) after coming under tremendous pressure for his outspokenness on a number of sensitive national issues.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith, who is accused of running one of the most secretive governments in the Caribbean, today confirmed Bishop Cline’s resignation.
“I have today received a letter of resignation from Mr John Cline as Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority,” the premier confirmed.
BVI News Online, all afternoon, has been receiving reports that Premier Smith has ordered his health minister Ronnie Skelton to fire Bishop Cline.
It is said that the health minister was reluctant to act on Premier Smith’s request, and there were attempts to have him sacked too.
When contacted earlier today, Bishop Cline, whose contract at the BVIHSA was renewed recently, promised to comment on the issue tomorrow.
He has been facing pressure especially since last week Friday when he publicly declared 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.
Bishop Cline is contending that the airport project is not feasible, especially at this time when the territory is facing financial challenges.
A few days earlier, Bishop Cline told BVI News Online that he is very concerned about the financial stability of the British Virgin Islands, especially at a time when international pressure is growing on the territory’s main revenue earner – financial services.
It is also said that Premier Smith wanted Bishop Cline fired after the clergyman publicly agreed with a call for him (Premier Smith) to hand over leadership of the finance ministry to the health minister.
The call for Premier Smith to quit as finance minister was made initially by Eileen Parsons, who is a member of the governing National Democratic Party.
The premier yesterday declared that he has no intention to give up the finance ministry, but he noted that there may be other Cabinet changes.
“Any government changes from time to time in portfolios of ministers for the good of the people. What I can say is that there may be changes but certainly not regarding the Ministry of Finance,” the premier said.
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