British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 16, 2021

Skelton-Cline urges Gov’t to pre-engage incoming Governor Rankin

Skelton-Cline urges Gov’t to pre-engage incoming Governor Rankin

Commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has thrown down the gauntlet for the Andrew A. Fahie administration to start making moves to engage incoming Governor, John J. Rankin, CMG, ahead of him taking up the post in the Virgin Islands.
Building an early relationship

“When these Governors make the transition, a dossier, a book, a document is handed off… the thoughts, the views the position of the sitting Governor,” he said, would be detailed in the book.

Mr Skelton-Cline was at the time speaking on his 'Honestly Speaking' radio show on ZBVI 780 AM on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

“I think it’s just not prudent for Governor Jaspert to hand off his book on us as the country and elected officers to the incoming Governor. I think it is incumbent upon this sitting Government to tell their own story in writing and handoff also a dossier, a book,” he said.

Skelton-Cline said the Governor dossier should paint a vivid picture about the VI, the Government, and its agency as well as the people, their culture and concerns.

“You should not let other people tell your story because they will tell their story according to them,” he said.

Pointing the preamble of the VI Constitution Order 2007 Claude O. Skelton-Cline said a modern partnership and mutual respect is key to a good relationship with the new Governor and the UK.

Reset relations between Gov’t & Governor

The man of the cloth said the new Governor will therefore come to the VI with a certain predisposition based on what was communicated, hence early government engagement is key.

Further, Skelton-Cline called for a reset between the relations of the incoming Governor and the VI Government, while pointing to the preamble of the VI Constitution Order 2007.

He said any future relationship should be based on mutual respect as key to the relationship with the new governor and the UK. “I do believe in moving forward in a more protective and healthier relationship, the reset button has to be pressed,” he said.

Mr John J. Rankin, CMG, right, who is currently serving as Governor of Bermuda, will replace Mr Augustus J. U. Jaspert, left, who exits the Virgin Islands this year-end.

Embattled Governor

The outgoing Governor, Mr Jaspert, has been accused of trying to upstage the elected government, seeking to cause a strain in the relationship between the elected government and the VI people as well as the VI Government and the Government of the United Kingdom over public remarks he has frequently made.

He was under fire recently for what was regarded as insensitive comments regarding reparations for descendants of slaves and preserving the names of landmarks in the VI named in honour of persons who were involved in the slave trade and who committed cruel acts against humanity.

The UK appointed Governor was also accused of interfering with the legislative branch earlier this year when he tried to dictate to the House of Assembly (HoA) to meet so he would not miss the deadline for the laying of the BVI Airways Report in the HoA.

Veteran legislator Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) subsequently brought a motion to the HoA seeking to have the Governor reprimanded for the delay of the report; however, the motion was defeated.

In September, the United Kingdom Government announced that Mr John J. Rankin, CMG, who is currently serving as Governor of Bermuda, will replace Mr Jaspert, who exits the VI this year-end.


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