British Virgin Islands

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021

Put aside partisan views, push back against UK’s colonial apparatus

Put aside partisan views, push back against UK’s colonial apparatus

Speaking on the subject of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI), government consultant Claude Skelton-Cline has called for residents and elected leaders to put aside partisan views and unite against what he calls the “UK colonial apparatus that is in full operation”.

“Those of you who have your personal grievances — as legitimate as they may be — I don’t want you to get rid of your ‘disgruntledness’. I’m just saying there will be a time and place for that. On this matter of the UK though, it’s an assault against the whole citizenship, an assault against our country, and there must be some national consciousness where we are able to close ranks and hold one head in pushing back against the empire that is trying to emerge,” said Skelton Cline on Tuesday’s airing of his Honestly Speaking radio show.

He added: “My brothers and sisters, I need you to come awake and to ‘stay woke’ about what’s taking place here. I need all of these leaders of the various parties to not become inebriated (drunk) on the pursuit of power. Do not think for a moment that the fall of one government will mean the rise of yours. It’s a misnomer, it’s delusional,” Skelton Cline argued.

Could Skelton-Cline face COI?


Many are wondering if Skelton Cline will be brought before the COI, as he was a former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority — the entity that was responsible for managing the construction of the Cruise Pier Project when a major scandal broke. The scandal surrounds the final cost which came in at $82.9 million — exceeding the estimated budget by $30 million.

Residents have also questioned whether the COI will investigate present government contracts Skelton Cline has with the current VIP administration as the public is yet to know the scope of work Skelton Cline’s company is doing for the government.

There are further questions relating to whether investigations will look into his involvement in the Virgin Islands Neighbourhood Partnership Project (VINPP) designed and introduced by then-Education Minister, Andrew Fahie.

A leaked report from the Office of the Auditor General said the programme yielded virtually no results, despite government paying more than half-million in fees to Skelton Cline’s consultancy firm, Claude Ottley Consulting Limited.

COI outcome already made

Skelton Cline has, however, made strong suggestions UK authorities have already determined the end result of the COI and are only “going through the formalities”.

“I see that the judge, [Inquiry Commissioner Gary Hickenbottom] was supposed to be on Anegada and Jost Van Dyke yesterday (Monday) with some office hours for people to come in. I see that before the then-Governor (Augustus Jaspert) left here, he put some direct e-mail … So what are they doing? It appears to me to be this fishing expedition and witch hunt. Either one because they have already come to their conclusion and is just going through the formalities,” Skelton-Cline posited.

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