British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 04, 2021

Skelton-Cline’s contracts will be made public if it’s not- Premier Fahie

Skelton-Cline’s contracts will be made public if it’s not- Premier Fahie

Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has expressed surprise at the allegation from a reporter that the consultancy contracts penned between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline are not available to the public via the registry.

Government, in early 2019 had awarded a 6-month consultancy contract to Mr Skelton-Cline to the tune of $98,000 and on November 22, 2019, Cabinet approved a new contract between Grace Consulting and the Government of the Virgin Islands for twelve (12) months with effect from September 18, 2019 to August 17, 2020.

This second contract was for $144, 000 per annum.

The details of the contracts were not made public at the time.

At a press conference called by Government on May 20, 2021, a reporter from the BVI Beacon alleged that checks at the registry for a copy of the contracts were futile.

Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has expressed surprise at the allegation from a reporter that the second consultancy contract penned between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline is not available to the public via the registry.


‘No contract in Gov’t should be private’- Premier


When asked why this was so, Premier Fahie responded, “There is no contract in government [that] should be private so there’s no need to hide, whether it’s Claude Skelton Cline’s or whoever. Whatever contract they have, they must be able to produce for whatever they have and account for government money.

“And we make no bones about that, whether it be Claude Skelton Cline or whoever, so the answer is yes. I am surprised to hear they are not there but I will ask the technical persons what happened and make sure that it is there. There should be no excuse for that."

Mr Skelton-Cline was given the contract through the waiver of the tender process which, according to Cabinet, was done given past successful performance under his previous 6-month contract.

While critics of the government had frowned at the contract given to Claude O. Skelton-Cline, Opposition Member Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), speaking at an Opposition press conference on December 16, 2019, had said he had no issues with it.


No issues with contract- Hon Vanterpool


While critics of the government had frowned at the contract, Opposition Member Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), speaking at an Opposition press conference on December 16, 2019, had said he had no issues with it.

"Obviously time will tell on these matters, but I always say in terms of fairness, and in terms of our government's promises that a government, once they get to office, has the right and the discretion as they use it," he told the media in relation to a question on whether there was evidence that Skelton-Cline through Grace Consultants was deserving of a contract extension.

Hon Vanterpool continued, "I may not agree with it, or whoever, but they have the right and the discretion... to help them move forward their agenda... I am not going to make it an issue."

Hon Vanterpool said under the National Democratic Party (NDP) government they too made decisions to hire consultants, hence, it would be unfair for him to have objections to the practice, rather, the focus should remain on the aspect of accountability.

Following the contract extension, Premier had stated publicly that Mr Skelton-Cline would be fired if he doesn't deliver.

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