Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Privatise hospital, airport and gaming commission - Skelton Cline

Privatise hospital, airport and gaming commission - Skelton Cline

Commentator and clergyman Claude Skelton Cline said he believes the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital, the Gaming Commission, and the and Terrance B Lettsome International Airport should all be privatised.

“These three entities, I believe will be better served in private industry hands,” Skelton Cline said on the Honestly Speaking radio show yesterday.

“Those three entities should be profit centres,” he reasoned.

According to Skelton Cline, the hospital is currently taking upwards of $50 million from the government’s coffers.

“That is unsustainable,” he insisted.

Private partners wouldn’t have unilateral control

Skelton Cline said while he is open to being convinced otherwise, private hospitals exist across the globe where there is proper regulation.

He further argued that the hospital’s privatised structure should not mean that it is unilaterally left up to private industry to take advantage of customers and the working poor but be established in a framework that lends itself to proficiency, efficiency, deliberate and exceptional services in the healthcare industry.

“I don’t got to wait for no COI report and I don’t got to wait for the UK or nobody to tell us nothing about what needs to be done. I am here to tell us that we, our fore-parents have always had their thinking caps on. I don’t know why we took ours off,” he stated.

According to Skelton Cline, the BVI needs to ‘get ahead of the curve’ on the issue.

Gaming industry not about faith and religion

Meanwhile, he also suggested that profits that derive from the Gaming Commission, if it were privatised, needed to be tied to the education sector’s development.

The Gaming & Betting Control Act was passed in 2020 and the government just last month issued a tender notice for consultancy services for the commission.

According to the government release, the objectives of the consultancy are to develop procedures applicable to the operations of the commission, develop regulations for governing the operations of gaming activities in the BVI, and provide general consulting services to assist the commission in complying with its duty to regulate and oversee the Virgin Islands’ gaming and betting industry.

“It’s not anything new, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen some of the best practices in the region and indeed the world and I would think that we should just extrapolate, extract and retrofit for that which fits our footprint to move this country, accelerate the progress of this country,” the clergyman contended.

Skelton Cline argued that the issue of faith being involved in the gaming commission was besides the point.

“Governance is about a country, not pastoring your church, or being an imam or your mosque – that ain’t what I’m here for, that ain’t what this is,” the clergyman argued.

“It needs to be in private hands, it needs to be one of the sources that underpin the funding for education,” he added.

The talk show host also said the BVI has been complaining about the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island and about lengthening its runway for years but he said “it’s time out for that”.


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