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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Why me? Skelton Cline questions being ‘targeted’ by COI

Why me? Skelton Cline questions being ‘targeted’ by COI

Political commentator Pastor Claude Skelton Cline has attempted to set the record straight about his various government contracts that formed part of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry (COI), insisting that he’s done nothing wrong.

“Any contracts I’ve had under the National Democratic Party government or under the Virgin Islands Party government, I have fulfilled accordingly,“ the clergyman stated on his Honestly Speaking radio show this week.

He continued: “So, I have no quiver, no doubt, no equivocation as to my skill set, my ability and my fulfilment per contract.”

Caught in the line of fire

Meanwhile, Skelton Cline questioned why he may have been singled out by the COI as a ‘target’.

“What I find more curious – and I want to put it in the interrogative as a question – why then as a private citizen, in a private capacity for whom both governments identified particular skill sets and engaged in services of my company, why then as a private citizen I’m the only one caught in the line of fire of the United Kingdom?” he asked.

The clergyman also questioned whether it was because of his association with the former and current government or whether it was because of his work as a social and political commentator that prompted the COI to invite him to give evidence during its proceedings.

The commentator said when he first appeared before the COI, he took the time to ask Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom at the onset whether he was being considered as a target in the inquiry and Sir Gary reportedly replied firmly in the negative.

Skelton Cline argued that he had set up a business to make money and earn an honest living just like any other person.

“I was the only private citizen in a private capacity called as a witness before the Commission of Inquiry. All other persons went there in their official capacity as a public officer and or some fiduciary on a board with some instrument that was given to them by the government of the day,” Skelton Cline said.

False contracts

In the just-released COI report, it was determined that serious dishonesty took place with several of Skelton Cline’s contracts with the current Virgin Islands Party (VIP) government in office.

“Even compared with other projects upon which the COI focused, these contracts had strands of governance that were not only very poor but quite astonishing. On the evidence, there can be little if any doubt that these contracts were, on their face, false,” the report stated.

In the circumstances, Sir Gary said, factors other than those of the legitimate public interest may have been in play when the contracts were awarded and in his view and on the evidence, it was impossible to find otherwise.


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