Owner of Grace Consultants and Chairman of the Cruise Tourism Committee, Claude Skelton Cline.
While speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) this week, Dr Wheatley indicated that Skelton Cline has a “pattern” of hopping from party to party based on which political organisation would benefit him financially.
The Premier further offered his beliefs as to why Skelton Cline has been endorsing a female Premier in recent times.
“I believe his biggest motivation for saying a woman will be elected [as Premier] is because I’m a man. And it has become very clear that Claude Skelton Cline does not support me in my political endeavours and he doesn’t support the Virgin Islands Party, which I lead. And I’ll just give you my theory as to why that is,” Dr Wheatley stated.
“First, he was talking about ‘woman’, then he started talking about his uncle Ronnie [Skelton], and I wonder if the public understands what’s taking place. First, he started with the Virgin Islands Party, then he went to the National Democratic Party, then he went back to the Virgin Islands Party. And the current leader of the Virgin Islands Party doesn’t seem like I’m going to get through with him. It seems like the ‘gravy train’ might be over there — [so] let’s jump on to the next host. So, you just might see him on a platform somewhere… getting ready for the next payday,” Dr Wheatley said of Skelton Cline.
The Premier’s statements follow the release of the Auditor General’s damning report on the examination of the three public contracts issued to Skelton Cline under the Virgin Islands Party administration.
Auditor General Sonia Webster said in her report that the government — led at the time by the now disgraced former premier, Andrew Fahie — failed to receive value for money on any of the Skelton Cline contracts, whose combined value is a little more than $365,000.
The Auditor General said the primary purpose of the consultancy services Skelton Cline provided to the government over the period in question “was not to add value to the government but rather to provide employment for the consultant (Skelton Cline)”.
“The audit confirmation exercises performed indicate that much of the work reported or claimed by the consultant was undertaken by persons and programmes independent of the consultancy. In a number of cases, his association with the programmes was either fleeting or non-existent. The information in the consultant’s periodic reports was largely duplicated without demonstrating any advancement or effort to achieve progress. As a result, very little was gained from this arrangement and the government failed to receive value for money on these contracts,” Webster wrote in her report.