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‘Gov’t borrowing to pay recurrent bills; Not a good place to be’- Skelton-Cline

- The social commentator said this has only happened in the 1970s
Left: Financial Secretary Mr Glenroy A. Forbes did not immediately respond to our question on the matter of the Government borrowing money to pay recurrent expenses. Right: Minister of Finance and Premier Dr The Honorable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has stubbornly said he is not giving up the portfolio of Finance. Photo: GIS/VINO/File
According to commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline, the Government of the Virgin Islands is now borrowing money to pay its recurrent expenses, which he termed as ‘not a good place to be.’ Photo: Facebook/File
According to commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline, the Government of the Virgin Islands is now borrowing money to pay its recurrent expenses, which he termed as ‘not a good place to be.’ Photo: Facebook/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Two days before the 2018 Budget debate there was a bombshell dropped on the talk show Honestly Speaking hosted by Claude O. Skelton-Cline on Tuesday April 24, 2018 on ZBVI 780 AM.

Mr Skelton-Cline told the public that the Government of the Virgin Islands is “now borrowing money to pay its recurrent expenses” and that is serious and “not a good place to be.”

Recurrent expenses are the day to day operations, like salaries to civil servants, paying for water and electricity and other items that keep the government functioning daily.

The former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority said “the last time something like this happened was in the 1970s.”

No one to speak

It means that Government is now out of cash to fund its operations and could result in sacking of civil servants. However, Deputy Governor David D. Archer Jr, had previously said he was “not been given a mandate to lay off civil servants, but to make the service more efficient.”

Government’s Chief Information Officer Desiree Smith, when contacted and the question put to her about government having to borrow to pay recurrent bills, promised to get back to us within fifteen minutes; however, up to publication time she had not.

The Financial Secretary Glenroy A. Forbes did not immediately respond to our question on the matter.  

NDP left county broke; We need new Finance Minister

It has been established by questions asked in the House of Assembly after the 2015 elections that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has left the country broke.

Many persons within the NDP have called both publicly and privately for a new Minister of Finance. They include NDP Spokeswoman and former Legislator Ms Eileene L. Parsons OBE, and Second District Representative Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, who said the Deputy Premier Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering (R7) and other elected members agree with him.

Their choice is the former Finance Minister and current Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), who served in the post from 2003 to 2007. However, current Minister of Finance and Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has said he is not giving up the portfolio.

40 Responses to “‘Gov’t borrowing to pay recurrent bills; Not a good place to be’- Skelton-Cline”

  • Lawd-O (25/04/2018, 14:37) Like (17) Dislike (4) Reply
    NDP, please tell us that we have not come to this? Is our country really that broke? Lawd, we have suffered and more to come under this government.
  • ccc (25/04/2018, 14:39) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Now it done smh
  • WE NEED A NEW/DIFFERENT PARTY (25/04/2018, 14:51) Like (20) Dislike (6) Reply
  • Political Observer (PO) (25/04/2018, 15:34) Like (21) Dislike (4) Reply
    If true, this is really a bombshell; this is akin to a family dipping into savings to cover day-to-day needs. Governments typically set aside 3-4 revenue intake in a reserve fund to cover emergencies. Revenues were down after the 2017 Cat 5 hurricanes. Are revenues still down? Are 2018 budget projections not materializing? Has the 3-4 month reserve fund deleted? How is government going to make up the $50M+ 2018 budget deficit? Are dark cumulus clouds gathering over the BVI?
  • Yes (25/04/2018, 15:35) Like (21) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is so funny. These are the same people who wanted to government to spend willy nilly on the 'small man' and now we don't have money they are surprised.
    • @LOL (26/04/2018, 09:59) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      This really is not a laughing matter, but I have to applaud you for your post. Mr. Skelton Cline as well as the VIP and many others coined this ugly phrase "small man" and "lil man" everyday when describing our people and that begun or downward spiral into the abyss. Not only did they call them "lil men", but they start treating them like lil men by paying their bills, putting raw cash in their hands and encouraging them to come and beg for more. That turned this country into something akin to a welfare state.

      We are descendants of proud BVIslanders who built this country with their bare hands. Fishermen and farmers, got together and built their homes using donkeys and mules to carry supplies up slippery slopes. No heavy equipment to cut roads and carry sand and gravel. It was done one load at a time. And guess what? Nobody could call us "little men and women".

      Now, we have excavators, trucks, jobs, money in the bank. We can bring building supplies from China now and get the best of everything, but VIP and others calls us "lil men".

      I guess as I reflect on my humble beginnings and where God has brought us, I wonder if the naysayers who coined that phrase, understand that you get where you are going by hard work and pureness and love for each other. We work; we pay our mortgages; we thank God. We are not interested in handouts.
      We are not interested in bogus, un-needed projects just to put money in my hands, like adding additional block height to the weak walls of the Recreation Ground, and bush cutting contracts.

      The moral of my little story is, when we sit down and come up with excuses to beg Government for yet another favour, or overcharge them for goods and services, the pot will eventually run empty. What pot? That pot of gold called Government funds that we thought sprang eternal.

      By the grace of God we go each day and we are special in God's sight. The negatives with regards to the NDP Government or any Government isn't going to make a difference until we understand that we chart our courses in life and we are in charge of our own destiny and the Government is not responsible for our daily needs. We are. Ask of God, work and pay your bills.
  • cromwell (25/04/2018, 15:50) Like (36) Dislike (9) Reply
    Firstly, Skelton Cline is the last person that should be rocking the boat about finances, the Pier Park was a financial disaster on his watch, and, his previous boss in the US is in jail for fraud amongst other offenses. Not a good resume.
    As for government having no money, well, the country did go through a catastrophic disaster and it's current income has all but dried up accordingly. If there are any geniuses out there that could have prevented this, they are wasting their time in the BVI as they could earn a fortune with that talent. Stop the stupid politics and direct your attention to the islands recovery.
    • concern (25/04/2018, 17:01) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      I agreed with you Cromwell people like themselves should never talk and be ashamed of them self. When the fox couldn't get the grape what he said
    • @cromwell (25/04/2018, 17:19) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
      If God had reported what Claude reported what would be your comments?
      • wow (25/04/2018, 21:55) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        You need to ask Claude what happened to the port and why there get rid of him from the port and what happened to him when he was living in the state.
    • Excuse Me Mr. Cromwell (25/04/2018, 17:24) Like (18) Dislike (26) Reply
      Being first or last to rock the boat does not take away or add to the fact that the National Democratic Party Government has mismanaged our finances horribly.


      The over spending, the thieving, and the peddling is obvious. Many of our government officials have a mouth piece for fine speeches but if we were in a better position with our finances we would not have been borrowing money even after storm.

      You talking petty bull crap to protect your interest so be real!!!
      • Stupidity is rampant! (25/04/2018, 20:27) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
        You really just typed that? Been through many storms? We had recorded gusts of near 300mph. WTF are you talking about!!!!! We never had a storm rip out windows, doors, flip cars etc. NEVER!!!!!! The most damage we got from our worst previous storms were lost roofs, damaged boats and losing power in certain areas. Hugo was a monster and was nothing compared to Irma, Maria and the floods prior.
        • Common sense or No cents (26/04/2018, 08:46) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
          Since common sense is no longer common and the NDP blogging machine is out in full blast after they left us with NO CENTS well let me put in my 2 cents.

          I agree with "Excuse me mr cromwell" since we all know that even before the storm we were bankrupt under this NDP regime. We are still looking for an over spend of some 40 plus million on Pier Park that a Jamaican took and peddle many of it to these political crooks in China and Asian Banks. Now they are hell bent on getting the same Chinese Companies to do the multimillion dollor airport to have more of our tax dollars to be peddled over there and back to wash it.

          A Primere and his side kick crew gone with 7 million for an airline that we can't find. Not to mention the unknown millions of unaccounted tourism dollars being spent to supposing promote the BVI but went into apartment home for the CEO in one of those islands close to Florida while some accountant in New York continue to funnel milliones on their behalf to companies for promotion with millions being peddle back. Imagine your main office is on Tortola but the accounting is done in New York, ARE WE SERIOUS ABOUT CATCHING THESE WINE AND DINING CROOKS OR NOT?

          A cat. 5 storm may have blown out our windows and turned over cars but it also blew out your brain to have many of you here trying to protect a set of white collar thieves like this NDP Administration.

          You all should know that after beating on strong infrastructure for a long time eventually it will become weak hence the results of our recent storm. Instead of the NDP Administration reinforcing our main infrastructure they busy masterminding how to thief more with the patch and go jobs we have received 7 plus years and counting.

          So for the NDP blogging machine who can only say no matter what Fahie isn't ready with his team and NDP will still win, keep saying it so you can convince yourself that they will win in your dreams but when reality hit many of you on election day, you will be $hitting your panties and boxers because come hell or high water the white collar crooks will be brought to justice.

          Now that is my 2 cents so try to thief that.
        • Stupidity is Rampant (26/04/2018, 08:56) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
          So the 7.2Million tell me it was before or after the hurricane Mr Skelton-Cline is right the man there he knows what he’s talking about please don’t kill the messager
        • lordie (26/04/2018, 09:05) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
          @stupidity is rampant. So are you using the storms to justify the steeling or as a few said mismanagement of public funds by this NDP and company group?


          Ayo better stop this blogging manipulation on a country's devastation and help rebuild this nation and rid us from these politician full of corruption.

      • cromwell (25/04/2018, 20:49) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        You sounded like an intelligent individual until your last sentence.
      • True (25/04/2018, 21:30) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Please enlighten me, when was the last time the BVI got hit with even just 1 Cat % hurricane and devastated? The over spending and peddling has been going on since the government began, they just got caught this time by the storm not Cline.
    • voiceofthevoiceless (26/04/2018, 08:50) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ cromwell
      How you sounding so defensive? Cromwell S....? I know Claude is no saint but don't blame the messenger to distract from the message. Also, who appointed him? He did not appoint himself now did he? So maybe you should blame the person who appointed him.

      Now truth be told we have been hit with a trifecta of unprecedented catastrophic disasters in the space of two months. Unbelievable. Unprecedented. Unforeseen? Well Granny always told me save for a rainy day, well guess what it began to rain and it never stopped. We were ill prepared for these disasters hence the slowness of our rebound and why? Years of gross over expenditures on capital projects and even petty contracts. Let me help you... 50 Million and counting overrun on the Hospital, $ 32 million and counting on the Pier, 5 million for Green houses we never used, Couple million wasted on Brandywine Beach, 8 million on Beef Island Bridge, 1.2 million on a school wall, that is nearly 100 million there and I am far from finished. Should I mention Purcell Ghut, Biwater, Purcell Comm Center?Now had we kept most of that money in the bank we would be in better stead in dealing with the recovery. Also, the lack of wisdom and foresight to not insure all Government Property and not be a part of the Caribbean Risk Management insurance is mind blowing. Dominica got 20 million in 2 weeks from the latter.

      Now cuss Claude all you want as some of it is warranted but don't get the message mixed up IRMARIA/Floods are not alone to blame for this problematic situation. Another Hurricane did...Hurricane Miss Management...Not only the NDP to be blamed for that but one would argue that they did more damage due to the enormity of the overruns under their watch.
    • Off the wall (26/04/2018, 09:26) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      So what does his boss character have to do with him?
    • Lorna (26/04/2018, 21:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are so full of manure.
  • cay (25/04/2018, 16:11) Like (11) Dislike (10) Reply
    But they will still vote for the ndp
    • Me (25/04/2018, 19:32) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ cay
      We are and have been begging “these” POLITRICKSTERS come out snd declare yourselves to the people so WE can make informed decisions about the next election
      Watch out for the SNAP
  • UK Mother (25/04/2018, 16:29) Like (9) Dislike (7) Reply
    Help us - we are being robbed by our own..
  • ta ta (25/04/2018, 16:36) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wait for the spin from ndp
  • Outsider (25/04/2018, 16:37) Like (19) Dislike (6) Reply
    Cromwell, I agree with you 100%.
  • Gitano Jr. (25/04/2018, 18:47) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    The boat need rocking a long time now. Crocked Cromwell. U got some nerves. What a former boss being in jail have to do with this opinion? Hater monger you. Time will tell. Long run for meager whore .
    • cromwell (26/04/2018, 07:35) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Perhaps when you have gained enough education to put two words together, you might have a chance. As it is, you are clearly part of the problem, big mouth, small brain
  • shark (25/04/2018, 19:18) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    No one wants to talk about the financial disaster with the pier park project of which Mr Cline was affiliated to say that the B.V.I. Ports Authority which was managed by him is in a Financial crisis as could a statuary body like the B.V.I. Ports Authority could be broke explain.
    • To Shark (26/04/2018, 10:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      He couldn't do it without the NDP so six of one and a half dozen of the other is the same thing.
  • ... (25/04/2018, 21:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
  • qc (25/04/2018, 21:52) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The pain that we lived through under this gang will be felt for generations.
  • Socrates (26/04/2018, 07:11) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    How much can residents of the BVI endure? How much can the BVI bear? The BVI was decimated by 2 two powerful, catastrophic, Cat 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, within 2 weeks in September 2017. Additionally, it was inundated by a historic flood in August 2017. Now it appears as if it is being lambasted by a financial storm. How much more? Where is the braking point? Is this ordeal retribution for some bad behaviour or misdeed? Is it karma? Are there more to come? Is fire and brimstone on the horizon? Is this a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah? Did the BVI go from a small religious enclave to a Sodom and Gomorrah? Are the storms, bad behaviour......etc signs of the time? What can the people of the BVI? Can they do anything to save themselves? Are they at a point of no return? Do they need to heed the warnings?

    My brothers, greetings from Athens! It is burning and Evade and take cover.
  • b ghut (26/04/2018, 08:31) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    What about the 45 million over run on the ports project?
  • ??? (26/04/2018, 08:43) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a serious accusation that has not been met by any sort of opposition. Makes me really start to wonder. But if revenue is down and you are paying staff as normal, you really have to wonder where the money is coming from.
  • Count Chocula (26/04/2018, 12:41) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    @voiceof...correct in your summation; however estimates for Brandywine Bay to date (including professional fees) over $7,000,000 and counting. Of course this is pre-IrMaria and the subsequent damages. But I concur with you.
  • Newsflash (26/04/2018, 15:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    In normal countries the first order of business would be to shed the Government fat, i.e. lay offs and retire some people who are no longer providing value for money. After that you tighten the belt on government vehicles, allowances etc. across the board. That would be a true test to see who really love the BVI.
    • Partly (26/04/2018, 17:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Newsflash. Other normal countries work with some form of short and long-term contingency for their people. Private and Public operations are two different type of animals; although balancing revenues and expenditures have to be taken into account, gov’t is also beholding to the overall well-state of the country. Must be implemented though a contingency plan or else the trade-offs (increase crime, porverty, etc.) could be worse than the corrections. The situation was not created overnight.
  • Truth (26/04/2018, 20:19) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    It is quite clear that you do not live here, as it is plain as day that neither party has what it takes to move the country forward consistently.

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