Update: Cline Says He Was Forced To Resign

BVI Platinum News | 12 Opinions
Published: January 09, 2017 9:33 pm AST
Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr Orlando Smith, Bishop John Cline, and Hon. Ronnie Skelton, Health Minister
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Bishop John Cline has broken his silence, declaring that he was forced to resign as Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) after he spoke out on several matters, including the financial situation of the Territory and the controversial T.B. Lettsome International Airport project.

He told BVI Platinum News that he tendered his resignation yesterday, January 9.

Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith reportedly requested that Cline tender his resignation; however, Health Minister, Ronnie Skelton has been in support of Cline.

The strong backer of the National Democratic Party (NDP), who received a two-year extension to the post in April of last year, said his resignation takes effect immediately.

"I did tender my resignation yesterday…The short of it is that I was asked to resign and I did that," he said.

When asked if this was as a result of his recent outspoken position on several government matters, including the financial troubles, Cline said, "Yes".

I Will Continue To Speak Out

Cline, who is known for his stance against the BiWater agreement under the former Virgin Islands Party (VIP), vowed that he will continue to speak out on issues. He said that he hopes that the people of the BVI are not deterred by this recent development, from speaking out on pertinent issues.

"Well I would hope that we live in a democratic society and where everyone is entitled to an opinion and voice, and I hope that continues to be that way," he said.

When further pressed he said, "Well, they shouldn’t be afraid."

Cline continued, "Yes, absolutely. I will continue to speak out."

Asked if he will continue to support the NDP, Cline said, "I still believe right now the NDP is the one that’s in power and I will support the party in power."

Cline also had a message for the staff at the BVIHSA.

"I would say to them, please continue to commit yourselves to excellence, knowing that you can for the persons that access care at Peebles and at our clinics. And I would say to them make great strides and continue to do so; work with the next Chairman and accomplish much," he said.

Previous Article Published Monday, January 9 - Bishop Cline Cloaked By Resignation Claims

Bishop John Cline's recent outspoken support for the National Democratic Party (NDP) shifting the Ministry of Finance portfolio from party leader, Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith appears to have ruffled a few feathers and new reports suggest that Cline's position as Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) may have been threatened.

According to information which has been circulated in political circles, Premier Smith has asked Cline to tender his resignation.

Further details on the nature of the discussions were not disclosed, but when contacted earlier today by BVI Platinum News, Bishop Cline briefly commented.

“Here is what I will do; tomorrow I will give a statement concerning it,” Cline told BVI Platinum News.

Efforts to contact Premier Smith were unsuccessful.

Cline, who is an avid NDP supporter, was backed by the NDP Ministers back in April last year when Health Minister, Hon. Ronnie Skelton took a motion to the House of Assembly to extend his tenure as Chairman of the BVIHSA Board for two years.

Cline has been very vocal recently over the current situation of the Territory’s finances and the decision to move ahead at this moment with the controversial T.B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project.

The Bishop and businessman has also backed calls for Hon. Skelton to be handed the Ministry of Finance, taking it away from Premier Smith. He stated that this move would help get the Territory back on track.

Premier Smith has since made it clear that he will not be giving up the finance portfolio, but hinted that other changes may be coming.

More details when Cline disseminates his statement to the media tomorrow, Tuesday, January 10.
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