Members of the outspoken Decision March Committee have distanced themselves from recent comments by a fellow member, Bishop John Cline, who said he will be boycotting the Queen’s birthday parade slated for Saturday, June 9.
Since making those comments at the Decision March last month, Bishop Cline has welcomed others to join his boycotting campaign.
But Decision March Committee members last week said those were solely the sentiments of the bishop, who has been attracting a considerable amount of media attention in recent times.
“First of all, let me separate Bishop Cline’s comments from the committee because it was not the committee’s decision to say that,” said attorney-at-law and committee member, Ayana Hull.
Other members of the committee, namely Zoe Walcott-McMillan and Angelle Cameron both agreed.
According to the trio, they would not be attending the upcoming event. However, it will be because of ‘personal’ reasons.
Cline remains resolute on the boycott
However, Cline maintains he felt disrespected by the Crown in relation to the ongoing public registers controversy between the UK and British Overseas Territories such as the BVI.
“I just saw it as the disrespect to the highest level and my position is; until they are willing to hear us and have representation from us and have an input on these matters, then we need to take a stand and stay out of things like the birthday parade that we have so faithfully participated over the years,” Cline said last Friday.
“Whoever wants to join me, I welcome them to join me in sitting them (the UK) out.”
He said the boycott would not mean BVI residents no longer recognize the Crown as its sovereign.
“We are an Overseas Territory, we still honour our relationship with the Crown. But at this point, I believed we are taking a stand,” he said.
“The Queen had to assent to this decision (the public registers policy). It went to the Queen on the exact day of the march for her to sign off on. It is hard for me at this point to show honour to someone who is disrespecting us.”
Dr Pickering only supporting parade as gov’t official
Meanwhile, in a separate public radio appearance, pro-independence legislator Dr Kedrick Pickering impliedly said he will attend the Queen’s parade only because of his official obligations as Acting Premier on that day.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith will be abroad on official business.
“My view and my position as a government minister are not one and the same. Let me also hasten to add that the Premier will be travelling and I will be Acting Premier on that day, so I will have an official position to play. So I will attend the Queen’s birthday celebrations … If you asked me personally if I had a choice then that would be something completely different,” he said during a previous airing of the weekly Honestly Speaking radio programme.
In the meantime, a government advisory said the official ceremony for Her Majesty the Queen will now be held at the AO Shirley Recreation Grounds in Road Town.
It was previously held at the Road Town festival grounds.
The route for the parade of paramilitary organisations, uniformed bodies, youth organisations, schools and service clubs will be announced shortly, it said further.
Persons who have been honoured with medals are asked to wear their decorations, and “all are invited to attend”.
The public registers controversy
The BVI has been at odds with the UK since the British parliament passed a Bill that is forcing the BVI and other Overseas Territories to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership.
Effectively, beneficial ownership is a legal term where specific property rights belong to a person even though the legal title of the property is in another person’s name.
Public registers mean the BVI is required to publicise the names of beneficial owners of offshore companies registered in the territory.
Publicising the names of these beneficial owners could discourage them from doing business with the BVI as it relates to financial services.
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