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More evidence of corruption revealed in officers’ testimony- PAC report

Board Members, Acting Managing Director & Former Acting Permanent Secretary detailed how they were locked out of the Ports Development Project process
Some public officers including a member of the BVI Ports Authority Board Clyde Chalwell testified before the Public Accounts Committee in supporting the evidence of the usurpation of the role of the Authority. He told the PAC that the Board was just a rubber stamp for decisions already made elsewhere and they had no input in how the agenda was made. Photo: bvi.gov.vg
Former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mrs. Arlene Smith-Thompson (right) and former Acting Managing Director of the BVI Ports Board Gene E. Creque both confirmed how they were shut out of the process and confirmed the usurpation of the role of the Authority. Photo: VINO/File
Former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mrs. Arlene Smith-Thompson (right) and former Acting Managing Director of the BVI Ports Board Gene E. Creque both confirmed how they were shut out of the process and confirmed the usurpation of the role of the Authority. Photo: VINO/File
One thing that is consistent with all of the officers testifying before the Public Accounts Committee is that Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool and Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Claude O. Skelton-Cline are at the centre of the Cruise Pier Development Project scandal. Photo: VINO/File
One thing that is consistent with all of the officers testifying before the Public Accounts Committee is that Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool and Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Claude O. Skelton-Cline are at the centre of the Cruise Pier Development Project scandal. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - While the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool has sought to dismiss the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) damaging report about the corruption, lack of transparency, mismanagement of funds and breaking of the laws of the Virgin Islands, the testimonies from Public Officers close to the process tell a different story.

Board Member cried foul

Some three officers including a BVI Ports Authority Board Member Clyde Chalwell detailed under oath how the business over the controversial Cruise Pier Development Project was conducted.

Mr. Chalwell, who appeared before the House of Assembly select committee on February 26, 2014 told the PAC that he had received all the minutes of the previous meetings prior to his attendance before the Committee.

To this Second District Representative and PAC Member Hon J. Alvin Christopher placed on the record that the PAC had not received those minutes referred to by the Board Member Mr. Chalwell “not because they are unavailable but they are deliberately not sent.”

Mr. Chalwell also said many decisions surrounding the Ports Development Project were simply placed on the Board meeting agenda with no prior discussions with the Board Members and he did not even know how the agenda was formulated.

For example, one specific company PriceWaterHouseCoopers when asked by Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) who selected that company, Mr. Chalwell told the House Committee that it just appeared on the agenda.

The Board Member told the Committee that the minutes of the Ports meeting will show his early concerns over this matter because “there was a BDO issue presented ….then the next meeting PriceWaterHouseCoopers appeared and he asked the question where PriceWaterHouseCoopers came from and that was it.”

Mr. Chalwell told the PAC that he got the impression that the BVI Ports Authority Board of which he is a Member was only there  as a rubber stamp for decision already made some place else, and at times Resolutions will be sent to them for approval after the fact.

PriceWaterHouseCoopers raked in over $300,000 off the Ports Development project alone but under the National Democratic Party Administration over a $1millon total in fees for works done.

Other Public Officers backed up claims - Creque & Smith-Thompson

In the early stages of the project in late November 2011 until the appointment of the former Ports Consultant Claude O. Skelton-Cline, Mr Gene E. Creque was the Acting Managing Director of the Ports Authority. He also detailed in the PAC report how he was shut out of the project and had to learn about it through media reports.

He told the Committee that for the most part the Board also was shut out of the process and it was the Minister for Communications and Works and the present Managing Director, Claude Skelton-Cline who were was the major decision makers.

In his testimony Mr. Creque confirmed that it was not the BVI Ports Authority Board doing the negotiations or in charge of the tending process, but he was told that the Ministry of Finance was responsible for the project negotiations. 

Never happened like this before - Creque

When Hon. J. Alvin Christopher (R2) asked Mr. Creque – who is the longest serving employee of the Ports Authority with almost 40 years of service – whether he had ever seen a situation where another agency i.e. the Ministry of Finance was doing the work of the Ports Authority Board, Mr. Creque stated “no, never.” He told the Committee when the Board did the first pier expansion it was the BVI Ports Board that controlled the process and he had never seen the Ministry of Finance involved in the tendering process.

The BVI Ports Act and by-laws give the Ports Authority Board the power to conduct the business of the Ports including managing and executing all projects.

Mr. Creque also stated that for the most part even as the Acting Managing Director he was kept out of the process in terms of the Cruise Ship project expansion negotiations after the general elections of 2011 and it was the Ports Consultant Skelton-Cline who was heavily involved.

What is even more alarming is that Mr. Creque the then Acting Managing Director told the PAC that during his tenure he had absolutely no discussions or any meetings with the Board discussing the Pier project.

Smith-Thompson - ‘I was shut out too’

In earlier reports the former Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Communications and Works Arlene Smith-Thompson, whom Ministry the Statutory body was transferred to after the 2011 General elections, had already detailed how she was shut out of the process and how her efforts to guide the Minister and his consultant Skelton-Cline on the correct procedure and rules were disregarded.

It remains suspicious how many of the companies were invited to tender including Tortola Pier Partners (TPP). The Managing Director Skelton-Cline told the PAC that the Ministry of Communications and Works invited them via an Email. However, Mrs. Smith-Thompson the acting PS threw cold water on that information saying clearly her Ministry did not do such a thing.

33 Responses to “More evidence of corruption revealed in officers’ testimony- PAC report ”

  • ccc (20/06/2014, 16:41) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Day five no one in jail
  • A Fahie (20/06/2014, 16:51) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Wow
  • ABC (20/06/2014, 17:27) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The banks, including Social Security which has approved some $15 million of our money in support of this project, should follow CDB in iits foot steps and not advance any funds until this matter is thoroughly investigated. Those ladies at the Port should remember Sodom and Gomorrah; flee for your life and do not look back. Its only a matter of time.
  • vv (20/06/2014, 17:29) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    So is mark calling public officers lieyers
    • one eye roaster (21/06/2014, 08:59) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      What is happening over this project and report is truly terrible but I do not see a way to reverse it unless the governor grow some balls
  • bvi (20/06/2014, 18:55) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    Where is the govermor?
    • Boo (21/06/2014, 10:13) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Balls have shriveled to the size of rice grains while these folks make a mockery of procedure and process
  • Shaun (20/06/2014, 19:58) Like (21) Dislike (14) Reply
    Claude Skelton will not be at the port after next election.
  • HELLO!! (20/06/2014, 21:52) Like (6) Dislike (19) Reply
    Struppsss, this story getting stale and blown out of context. Move on buddy...the port project will be done under NDP government..
  • ooooops (20/06/2014, 23:28) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    my god!
    • black boy (21/06/2014, 09:05) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Since the Dawn of Civilization every form of society has been based on the rich at the top seeing what they could get from thoes of us at the bottom!
  • shaw (20/06/2014, 23:37) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    the project should be put on hold to fully investigate. Someone needs to go to jail or at least lose their job.
    This is white collar crime and is every bit as deceitful as outright theft and organized crime.
  • mark v (21/06/2014, 00:18) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    Nothing there
  • George Jackson (21/06/2014, 06:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Seize the time fellas.
  • time (21/06/2014, 08:54) Like (2) Dislike (18) Reply
    Time will tell. Impossible for these guys to get off so easily.
  • tell the truth (21/06/2014, 09:18) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    The only glimmer of hope is in the BVI is an election amd a new government
  • voter (21/06/2014, 10:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like Deja Vu from the last NDP term. I predict the result of the next election will also be Deja Vu
  • on line now (21/06/2014, 11:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ndp vs vip next!
  • hotel (21/06/2014, 14:51) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    someone deserves to go to court for this waste of public funds AND i NOT CALLING ANY NAMES
  • drew p weiner (21/06/2014, 15:23) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    it's this kind of thing that made them lose power last time, when will they learn that what is done in darkness always comes to light
  • just asking..... (21/06/2014, 17:47) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    How can I get an eat off this project????
  • Forbidden Truth (21/06/2014, 20:45) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply

    M..k owe p..cy r..den and h....th money no wonder r...en get contract.. rdmember

  • look what we came too (22/06/2014, 12:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am sad for my BVI that faces simultaneous economic and security crises with the high crime, plus a limping economy, sluggish tourism, high unemployment and the spread of vitimization
  • Al Quda (22/06/2014, 12:27) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    seems like the BVI got some “terrorists” who may seek to destroy the country.
  • bbc (23/06/2014, 13:54) Like (0) Dislike (13) Reply
    don't worry go to vote next election -
  • me (24/06/2014, 11:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Two pea in a pod.
  • matt (26/06/2014, 12:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh and lest i forget, corruption is illegal yet it proliferates throughout all levels of society
  • faith (27/06/2014, 09:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No body really not going to jail after all this evidence of fraud and korruption?. HM Queen Elizabeth please rescue us. Send down Scotland Yard.


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