British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Aug 01, 2021

Breaches of Register of Interest Act does not equate to corruption– Skelton-Cline

Breaches of Register of Interest Act does not equate to corruption– Skelton-Cline

Radio talk-show host Claude O. Skelton-Cline has called on those paying attention to the ongoing UK sponsored Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry (CoI), to not equate breaches of the Register of Interest Act, 2006, to corruption and deception on the part of Legislators.

“The worse I’ve seen here is that they have not registered their interest as they ought to, in the time span that they were supposed to,” Skelton-Cline said on the Tuesday, June 15, 2021, edition of his Honestly Speaking radio show.

Of the legislators who breached the Act, Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has so far been labelled ‘seriously delinquent’ with regards to late Declarations made to the Registrar of Interests for the periods 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.


Culture can be correct – Skelton-Cline


“It looks like in that part of the political culture, in that area, there is a culture that [has] developed where the matter of registering their interest has not been a high number on their priority list,” he remarked.

Skelton-Cline maintained, however, that the CoI should not have been established the way it was, which is through the then embattled ex-Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert turning to imperialist legislation to call an inquiry without consultation with the elected Government.

As such, he said the ‘undressing’ of the system by CoI council Bilal Rawat has only exposed flaws. These flaws he said will mean legislators must now have to strengthen the Register of Interest Act to make compliance better.

“But I don’t want you to equate that with therefore something must be wrong with these men and women we have elected… I am not talking about just the sitting government, I am talking about whoever has sat there before, particularly since this piece of legislation has been issued.”

Skelton-Cline maintained, however, that the CoI should not have been established the way it was, which is through the then embattled ex-Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert turning to imperialist legislation to call an inquiry without consultation with the elected Government.


Legislators must now fix the system


The man of the cloth said that while watching the inquiry is important, Virgin Islands should not lose confidence in the people they have elected as some systemic flaws are exposed.

‘I don’t want you to equate that with the corruption, I don’t want you to equate that with deception, that’s important,” he said to his listening audience.

Skelton-Cline maintained that the flaws in the system originate from a culture that can be corrected by strengthening existing legislation and Virgin Islands should use now the opportunity them come together and fix the system without UK supervision.

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