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Pier Project was NDP's ticket to return to power - Court told

- Help contributed to 2015 snap elections called by National Democratic Party despite it's over $35M overruns
Former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority, Claude O. Skelton-Cline is suing the Government over non-renewal of his contract. Photo: VINO/File
The Ports Development Project was the National Democratic Party's ticket to be re-elected in 2015, the Court was told. Photo: VINO/File
The Ports Development Project was the National Democratic Party's ticket to be re-elected in 2015, the Court was told. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr. The Hon. D Orlando Smith (left) advised Governor John S. Duncan, OBE to dissolve the House of Assembly and set elections for June 8, 2015 a week after the Ports project was opened. Minister of Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool (right) allegedly promised Mr. Skelton-Cline that his contract will be renewed.Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr. The Hon. D Orlando Smith (left) advised Governor John S. Duncan, OBE to dissolve the House of Assembly and set elections for June 8, 2015 a week after the Ports project was opened. Minister of Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool (right) allegedly promised Mr. Skelton-Cline that his contract will be renewed.Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Former Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority Claude O. Skelton-Cline was back in the High Court last week Thursday, May, 18 2017 before Justice Vicki A. Ellis, as he continues to battle the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration over not renewing his contract as the Ports Boss.

It was unearthed in Court that the controversial  Ports Development  Project was treated,  as the NDP ticket for their re-election efforts according to information revealed by Skelton-Cline's Attorney  Tana'ania Small-Davis of Jamaica.

In January of 2015, the BVI Ports Authority Board passed a resolution recommending that Mr. Skelton-Cline contract be renewed and it was then advanced to the Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) for Cabinet blessings.

The former Managing Director was already promised by two government Ministers, one allegedly being Hon. Vanterpool, that his contract will be renewed.  

NDP election ticket the Ports Project

Mr. Skelton-Cline was one of the driving forces behind the ports project now referred to as the Tortola Pier Project.   However, in 2015 according to information in open court, ministers of the NDP regime wanted to know whether the cruise pier project had progress enough where they could call for general elections.

Attorney Small-Davis also added that the NDP  "wanted to know the delivery date of the project in the context of them wishing to call general elections".

Once the Cabinet was satisfied after assurance from the Managing Director, the Project had an extravagant opening ceremony on April 29, 2015, with much fanfare costing taxpayers some $110,000 plus dollars, notwithstanding the true costs of the opening ceremony remains unclear.

Within a week of the ceremony, Premier and President of the NDP, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) advised  Governor John S. Duncan, OBE to dissolve the House of Assembly and set elections for June 8, 2015.

The snap election caught the Opposition Virgin Islands Party off guard and the NDP won in a landslide with 11 out of 13 seats.  According to Skelton-Cline's Attorney, this victory was because of the good works her client had done in delivering the ports facility.  She told the court "it was communicated to him that in fact, it was the cruise pier park project that won the elections".

Skelton-Cline left in the cold

Ms. Small-Davis told the court that her client "even though not under contract continued to show up to work until December 7, 2015."

The Court also heard that after the back and forth over the contract and having learnt the request for the renewal  was pulled from the Cabinet agenda by Premier Smith , Mr. Skelton -Cline received  a phone call from a "Minister" who told him the contract could not be renewed because it wasn't in "the Territory's interest".

In Court, the State did not dispute any of the facts presented by Ms. Small-Davis, however,  those facts do not mean that Mr. Skelton-Cline has a valid legal claim against the Government, according to senior Crown Counsel Giselle Jackman-Lumy.

The Crown Speaks

She said that the claimant is no different from any "other applicant seeking the post and it mattered not if he held the post previously".

The Senior Crown Counsel indicated that the arguments might have been stronger if there was no Ports Authority and if Cabinet was the employer.

Jackman-Lumy was up to page 3 of her 13-page argument, and the trial will continue on July 4, 2017.

While this did not form part of the court's record,  on April 12, 2016, Governor Duncan told reporter Zan Lewis of ZBVI 780 AM Radio Station that Cabinet had “taken a decision not to renew the contract of Mr. Skelton-Cline.”


36 Responses to “Pier Project was NDP's ticket to return to power - Court told”

  • DON Q (26/05/2017, 16:05) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Oh boy the war goes on
    • yes don q (26/05/2017, 18:08) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      old men start them and young men finish them same situation here either way were paying for all their sh!t.
    • Lawd a Merci! (26/05/2017, 20:13) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
      Look like Clyne going to bring down the whole gang before the Brits get her! What is tis!
  • sad (26/05/2017, 16:05) Like (44) Dislike (14) Reply
    I am really tired of this now. Mr Clyne you are a very greedy man of the cloth. How much more of our taxpaying dollars do you want. You have attained 100 times more than I have worked my butt off for from the days of Andrew Fahie to NDP. Please stop your spoul child behaviour enough is enough...smh
    • Love for My Country (27/05/2017, 06:59) Like (18) Dislike (6) Reply
      Sad I am so in agreement with you. When life was good for him and whoever else, we did not hear a word. When things turned sour, now he is trying to tell us all kind of things. My questions to him are: What role did you play in all of this? Would we the public have heard anything from you if things did not go sour for you? I have no confidence in the words of a person who behaves like this. And for his attorney to say that the Pier Park was the cause of the NDP winning the election is a lot of bull! Such a statement belittles the intelligence of the BVI people.
    • l (29/05/2017, 11:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Let him talk. That might be the only way to confirm what we already suspected.
  • HMP (26/05/2017, 16:10) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    So that explains the 40 million over run?
  • wize up (26/05/2017, 16:33) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
    Next minster of finance !!!!!!!!
  • $2.99 (26/05/2017, 16:33) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    If no one goes to prison, I am going to tie a placard on my chest and parade up and down outside of the house of assembly.
    • Boo (26/05/2017, 22:21) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      These are the Virgin Islands. Please prepare your placard and parade.
    • wize up (27/05/2017, 05:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ 2.99: yea right!!!!(put up or shut up because talk is cheap !!!!)
  • RealTalk (26/05/2017, 16:49) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    When is the next election am ready to vote out this so call government call ndp .I help put them in and is just so I going help put the out
  • apple pie (26/05/2017, 16:55) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Yes csc keep at them crooks
  • another (26/05/2017, 16:55) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    And the other big project will be the airstrip, and will use the same strategy climbing up to election.
  • average citizen (26/05/2017, 17:45) Like (37) Dislike (1) Reply
    I dont rate this dude because if they had renewed his contract he wouldn't have had anything bad to say about the pier park project or the NDP's lack of leadership or anything that he duz be in the media talking now. He just salty cause he got played but he ain no better than them.
    • wize up (26/05/2017, 23:46) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ average citizen: on point (A+) that's is what you call a fair weather friend(with a contract in hand none of us will not heard one-word)
  • wize up (26/05/2017, 18:18) Like (19) Dislike (6) Reply
    same cruise project give some of us an oppertunty to build big hill-top home; 70 thousand dollars car among other things....the saying is really true(only your friend knows your secret so only he can reveal it): this thing call politics funny(back in 2011 a group shared the same campaign platform then suddenly pushed the one fellow under the bus)....
  • kia (26/05/2017, 18:36) Like (8) Dislike (8) Reply
    This is what i am talking about! Fight the ndp Claude they too bad minded
  • Horror Movie (26/05/2017, 20:49) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    And it's only going to get worse. This Government needs to be dissolved now and get new/above-the-board Election started.
  • tola (26/05/2017, 20:54) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    NDP can't trick me again I am waiting for them this coming election
  • wow (26/05/2017, 21:07) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Politics does make strange bed fellows!
  • Lord o (26/05/2017, 21:24) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Claude Lawyer is going to win, she knows that and the government knows that. Its all a show "a contract is a mutual agreement between two or more people Verbal or written" Mark and Cline the employer and the employee had a verbal agreement that give Clyne the assurance and cause to believe that his contract will be renewed.
    • LOL (27/05/2017, 12:20) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Really? SMH. Mark is the employer? Ports is the employer. Mark is one member of Cabinet. He can't speak for Cabinet. He can speak for Mark.
  • showtime (26/05/2017, 22:56) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    In years to come some of these politicians will be ashamed at what they did to their own people
  • Concerned (26/05/2017, 23:03) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sometimes we choose not to 'leave well enough alone"!
  • pat (26/05/2017, 23:04) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    think about it. after all this, would you really want to go work for these guys?
    The Pier Park is still a disaster no matter how you cut it. And Cline has been self-important and over-paid for
    years. He wasn't qualified then and he isn't qualified now. But his testimony will go a long way towards
    audit and investigation.
  • What matters... (26/05/2017, 23:11) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    things could and should have been handled differently using official channels without dragging Claude and Cabinet names through the mud.
  • NDP must go (27/05/2017, 00:16) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
    CLAUDE DONT MIND THE NOISE .stay close to that one person in your church who can campaign like no other
  • musa (27/05/2017, 06:10) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    d pastor running he mouth when d case done all a dem will b in one cell drinking soup
  • Eastbound (27/05/2017, 07:40) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    They jail the L.A.W (real F.S) from the east full speed but how come these taking so long to get jail
  • farmer brown (27/05/2017, 11:26) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    we the people staying far far far from this civil war what is uncle Ronnie's position?
    • Swoop (27/05/2017, 11:51) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
      Mind your business. If it is to be known, then it will be revealed what his position is.
  • some of the 98% (27/05/2017, 14:22) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    That what the NDP did with our money?
  • Cgal (27/05/2017, 18:49) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    Cline is just as bad as the NDP bunch of crooks, He only talking now because them take the gold spoon out of his mouth.

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