British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

CoI: UK won’t just walk away with ‘bloody nose’- Skelton-Cline

CoI: UK won’t just walk away with ‘bloody nose’- Skelton-Cline

Government Consultant and outspoken talk show host, Claude O. Skelton-Cline says he is now in a state of concern for the future of the Virgin Islands, when the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI) funded by the United Kingdom (UK) comes to a conclusion.

“We are already in a state, in a condition, where we are now learning that certain bills are not being assented to until some conclusion of a Commission of Inquiry,” he said on the Tuesday, April 28, 2021, edition of his ‘Honestly Speaking’ show.

Skelton-Cline’s concerns were in connection to House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Julian Willock announcing that (UK) Secretary of State Dominic R. Raab has indicated that bills, such as the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act and the Disaster Management Act, 2021, are being further delayed assent due to the ongoing CoI.


CoI impacting assented bills


Skelton-Cline’s concerns were in connection to House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Julian Willock announcing that (UK) Secretary of State Dominic R. Raab has indicated that bills, such as the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act and the Disaster Management Act, 2021, are being further delayed assent due to the ongoing CoI.

Hon Willock questioned whether the VI constitution was being suspended, and according to Skelton-Cline, “So in essence, the Speaker is asking based on my interpretation of his letter, are we already in a place where we are moving down the road for suspension of the constitution?” he asked.

Announcing on his show that it would be the worst-case scenario to have the VI’s constitution suspended, Skelton-Cline questioned, “are we going to simply sit back or are we going to put a demand on Government, on the Governor, on the UK to state clearly what is going on here?”

CoI outcome could negatively impact VI


He said currently Institutional UK is making ‘moves’ pointing to the outcome in the Turks and Caicos Islands when the constitution was suspended, and even the possibility of the UK government taking over the local Ministry of Finance as a target.

He said at the cost of the CoI, “When all this is said and done, they are going to spend millions of dollars here in regard to this Commission of inquiry... You think that the UK is going to walk away from here with a bloody nose, without looking for some intended desired result that they are now searching for?”

Rt Hon Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom is the sole commissioner for the VI CoI.


UK may find what they are looking for


The man of the cloth underscored that with this sole Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom already having the ‘broadest of stroke’ to go on a quest to find what can be inquired about in the VI Government, 'the UK will find whatever is it they are looking for."

While legislators, including Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1), had indicated that they had nothing to fear about the CoI, Skelton-Cline says he is now deeply concerned about the future of the country over what is taking place with the CoI.

The UK Government has fully backed the CoI in the VI in the height of the global coronavirus pandemic while UK Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson aka ‘Boris’ has himself refused a CoI into his spending and handling of the pandemic, saying that having a CoI in the pandemic is bad timing.

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