British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

Is CoI a prelude to UK taking control of VI? - Skelton-Cline asks

Is CoI a prelude to UK taking control of VI? - Skelton-Cline asks

Honestly Speaking radio host Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has brought into question the true motives of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) ordered by outgoing Governor, Augustus J.U. Jaspert aka 'Gus' into the affairs Government of the Virgin Islands, pointing to previous CoI’s in other Overseas Territories (OTs) as an example of what could come.

He said the case is often that OT Leaders are either forced out of office or in some cases, the local constitution is suspended, paving way for the UK to step in for a takeover.

“I believe that this Commission of inquiry coming 5 minutes to midnight from Governor Jaspert, who is on his way out… could not be done on his own,” Skelton-Cline said on the Tuesday, January 19, 2020, edition of his radio show.

According to Claude O. Skelton-Cline, the outgoing Governor Mr Augustus J.U. Jaspert could not have been acting alone regarding his decision to call a CoI in the Virgin Islands.

'Gus' not working alone - Skelton-Cline alleges

“He must have had the blessing of the Minister of State, the Foreign Secretary Minister, the Secretary of State and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom. So he is not operating in isolation here. Somehow, he must have been able to convince them that this is the right course of action for the Virgin Islands.”

Skelton-Cline underscored that while only the Governor and VI Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) can divulge the nature of their relationship, several questions remain unanswered over the upcoming inquiry.

“What might it be that the United Kingdom is up to? Is this a prelude on a pre-step to the United Kingdom coming in and taking over?"

“Is the United Kingdom through this Commission of Inquiry laying the groundwork for whatever this six month period is, to give justification, find whatever it is they could find, that then justifies their moving in and taking control of these Virgin Islands?” he questioned.

UK laying groundwork for takeover of VI? - Skelton-Cline questions

Mr Skelton-Cline then called on citizens to examine the current state of affairs in world politics and the presence of the Coronavirus pandemic, only for attention to be given to the VI at this time.

“And did you notice that after the Governor gave his statement... almost immediately every paper in the United Kingdom had a story, a lead story on the Virgin Islands?"

The Man of the Cloth moved to question the coordinated approach taken by the UK press around the announcement, with international press seemingly having advance information about the CoI ahead of its local announcement.

“Should we not pay attention to what was seemingly, apparently, is a coordinated collaborative organised effort to put all eyes on the Virgin Islands in the international press?”

Skelton-Clone said while only the Governor and Premier Andrew A. Fahie  can divulge the nature of their relationship, several questions remain unanswered over the upcoming inquiry.

UK Press & Publicity

He said with articles even in an Australian newspaper, the publicity could signal that the UK is sending a message to the world, about the alleged VI corruption, which justifies a need to 'step in'.

While the theories of Mr Skelton-Cline, a Government consultant, are all speculative, he hinted that next 6 months the territory could be a turning point regarding its governance.

He also pointed out that in several of the international articles, no distinction was made between the Current Fahie Administration and the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) government, regarding the allegations of corruption.

The CoI comes as the current administration has been pushing an agenda of self-determination while preparing for constitutional review with the UK.

It is also no secret that the Administration and the Office of the Governor have not been seeing eye to eye on many issues, including on the VI's wishes for more self autonomy, which includes the need to reduce the power of the Governor.


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