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Saturday, Oct 23, 2021

FS Frett says Skelton Cline put forward over $5M in initiatives

FS Frett says Skelton Cline put forward over $5M in initiatives

Financial Secretary (FS) Jeremiah Frett jumped to the aid of embattled clergyman and government consultant, Claude Skelton Cline, when Frett appeared before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) yesterday, October 5.

The FS said Skelton Cline had helped to move forward a raft of government initiatives that may have netted millions of dollars.

Skelton Cline was given an initial six-month government contract valued more than $100,000 after the Fahie Administration first entered office in 2019. He was subsequently issued another two contracts after the initial one.

Based on the contract he was given, Skelton Cline was, among other things, responsible for developing and delivering a minimum of three initiatives within 12 months which would generate $5 million.

During the COI hearing, Frett rattled off a list of initiatives that Skelton Cline was involved in, including several that never advanced beyond the discussion phase, for various reasons.

The FS, who served as Skelton Cline’s direct supervisor, listed FinTech, cruise development works, telecommunications, shore development, ‘1,000 jobs in 1,000 days’, and medicinal marijuana as some of the many projects the clergyman helped to advance.

“When I do look at the document in the document [detailing what Skelton Cline accomplished], can the document perhaps be more advanced, more detailed? Of course, more meat to them can help as well. But I would say if you look at that listing that was presented there, there is well over $5 million of potential initiatives for the government,” Frett concluded.

Skelton Cline more of a ‘facilitator’ that contractor

But according to Skelton Cline, many of the contract deliverables were essentially impossible to achieve since they required government authorisation for final and effective completion.

During his recent evidence before the commission, Skeleton Cline contended that he acted more like a facilitator than a contractor as part of his obligations in achieving those objectives.

Meanwhile, the FS suggested that Skeleton Cline should not be blamed for some of the onerous deliverables that were drafted in the contract.

“When we are drafting contracts, we have to be realistic of what powers or what constraints the consultant or person has, we have to be mindful of that,” Frett said.

He pointed to the example of a Brandywine Bay Project that went as far as public meetings but for various reasons was never advanced any further.

He agreed that while some of the deliverables may have been considered impossible, Skelton Cline was able to contribute usefully to the general policy goals of the government.


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