British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 04, 2021

Don’t Equate Negligence by Legislators To Declare Interests On Time To Corruption – Gov't Consultant

Don’t Equate Negligence by Legislators To Declare Interests On Time To Corruption – Gov't Consultant

Government Consultant Claude Skelton-Cline has called on residents to avoid linking the negligence by legislators to declare their interests on time to corruption.
Skelton-Cline was addressing the matter that has been, to a great extent, the focus of the questioning of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on his Honestly Speaking show on Tuesday, June 15.

So far, all the Government legislators who have appeared before the Commission admitted to being in breach of the Register of Interest Act when they filed their declarations after the stipulated timeframe.

“The worse I see here is negligence on behalf of existing and former by and large politicians to register in the specified legal contractual terms that they’re supposed to, and it looks like in that part of the political culture, is that area, there is a culture that is developed where the matter of registering their interest has not been a high number on their priority list,” he remarked.

He added, “But what’s happening in terms of what you are seeing as you watch these hearings live-streamed – which I think is important, I think you ought to watch it and pay attention to it – but I don’t want you to equate that with therefore something must be wrong with these men and women we have elected. And I am not talking about just the sitting government; I am talking about whomever has sat there before, particularly since this piece of legislation has been issued. I don’t want you to equate that with corruption; I don’t want you to equate that with deception, that’s important.”

Skelton Cline said what could end up happening is residents could lose confidence in their elected representatives.

“It will cause doubts to be raised in your spirit as to the character and competencies of the people you elected. You cannot lose heart; you cannot lose confidence of the character of the people who you have elected no matter what side on the current aisle they are on,” the host stated.

He said he believes that this process will serve as a catalyst to unite the territory and called for amendments to the Register of Interest Act to strengthen the system following which legislators should then be mandated to comply.

“What we are watching is the process of Mr. [Bilal] Rawat [Counsel to the CoI] in his questioning is the undressing, the exposing of some of the flaws that is in a particular area of our system.”

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