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VINO's Cartoon 'a representation of what I see'- Skelton-Cline

- Urges those outraged to channel energy into researching & boycotting companies employing slave labour
Commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has urged those individuals upset with the cartoon VINO published on June 15, 2020, to channel their passion and anger into identifying companies utilising slave labour and institutional racism. He also said he does not support a boycott of the local news entity. Photo: VINO/File
VINO's cartoon of June 15, 2020, that has sparked outrage in some quarters. The cartoon was birthed out of statements made by Mr Calude O. Skelton-Cline on how he perceives the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories. Photo: VINO
VINO's cartoon of June 15, 2020, that has sparked outrage in some quarters. The cartoon was birthed out of statements made by Mr Calude O. Skelton-Cline on how he perceives the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories. Photo: VINO
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert said it was grossly offensive and unacceptable to use George P. Floyd’s tragic death in political commentary, however, he did not address documented claims his office was part of the UK's ammunition of institutional racism. Photo: VINO/File
Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert said it was grossly offensive and unacceptable to use George P. Floyd’s tragic death in political commentary, however, he did not address documented claims his office was part of the UK's ammunition of institutional racism. Photo: VINO/File
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI - Man of the Cloth and ZBVI 'Honestly Speaking' radio moderator Claude O. Skelton-Cline has broken his silence regarding a Monday, June 15, 2020, cartoon published by Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) that ties directly into social commentary made by him on the Tuesday, June 9, 2020, edition of his popular radio show.

In that episode, Skelton-Cline had told his listening audience, "every time the United Kingdom uses its cohesive powers, that's a knee on our collective neck. Every time the United Kingdom threatens us or gives us an ultimatum, that's a knee on our collective necks." 

The proverbial knee

The 'knee on the neck' phrase was made popular after African American George P. Floyd Jr, 46, was killed on May 25, 2020, when a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for about 8 minutes and 46 seconds before he died, sparking racial injustice movements around the world.

Skelton-Cline also moved to use the Governor as a metaphor that represents the UK and its colonial heritage of enslaving people of colour and said the office of the Governor was a remnant of systematic and institutional racism against Virgin Islanders maintained by the British Empire.

"Every time in this recent history where this Governor overrides the Public Service Commission and their recommendations to honour the requests of the newly elected government for their own PS's," he said that is a knee on VI's collective neck.

It was in August 2019, when Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert usurped this function entirely upon himself when he rejected the recommendation of the Public Service Commission (PSC) with regard to the appointment of Permanent Secretaries and made his own appointments. This was seen as a slap in the face of the VI at a time when the Territory was celebrating Emancipation from slavery.

The man of the cloth, Mr Skelton-Cline, further said it is not just George Floyd who couldn't breathe, "we can't breathe, our Premier [Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] cannot breathe because we have a Governor with his knees on our necks."

"I did not take cartoon personally" - Skelton-Cline 

Skelton-Cline in the Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in breaking his silence on the cartoon controversy while on his show said, "I did not take the cartoon personal, because it's not about me... I'm a representation, as a citizen with a point of view of what I see and what we are experiencing as Virgin Islanders."

"The depiction of the governor, is a depiction, a reflection that represents the United Kingdom in our Geo-Political construct... that's the way I see it, that's the way I took it," he further explained.  

A small section of the VI community had reacted in outrage to the social commentary and the visual depiction. A few persons connected to political parties in the Opposition had also publicly vowed to shut down VINO and have called advertisers bullying them to discontinue advertising on our news site.

Mr Skelton-Cline; however, urged those individuals to channel their passion and anger into identifying companies utilising slave labour and institutional racism. 

"And so, what I want you to hear me say, I am not interested in a boycott against the local agency [VINO]. I'm in favour of looking at companies in our midst, across the Americas, across the UK and other countries in the earth who have systematically and institutionally deprive people of colour for promotions, for new hires, who support slave type labour."

He urged those who are upset by his comments to do the research, identify the systematically racist companies and boycott the goods they sell. 

Governor fires back @ Skelton-Cline & VINO 

Governor Jaspert on Monday, June 15, 2020, released a statement regarding the comments and visual depiction, saying that he was "appalled and disturbed" by what was depicted and insinuated.

He said it was grossly offensive and unacceptable to use George Floyd’s tragic death in political commentary, however, Governor Jaspert did not address documented claims his office was part of the UK's ammunition of institutional racism.

The UK Government national archives in an article entitled "Britain and the Slave Trade" listed Portugal and Britain as two of the most ‘successful’ slave-trading countries accounting for about 70% of all Africans transported to the Americas.

According to the article, "Britain was the most dominant between 1640 and 1807... It is estimated that Britain transported 3.1 million Africans (of whom 2.7 million arrived) to the British colonies in the Caribbean, North and South America and to other countries."  

In essence, the British economy saw a major part of its wealth built on the backs of slave labour, from people like the enslaved African ancestors of Virgin Islanders who were forced to work the fields.

"The slave trade was carried out from many British ports, but the three most important ports were London (1660-1720s), Bristol (1720s-1740s) and Liverpool (1740s-1807), which became extremely wealthy," the article said. 

Colonialism built on racism 

British colonisation was built on racism and the VI, now classified an Overseas Territory, is still a colony of the UK, and overseeing that colony is the Governor's office with a Governor appointed by the British monarch to act as the de facto head of state.

As part of his role, the Governor also has certain powers to make and remove appointments in the VI while Britain maintains its political, economic, and social influences through neocolonialism in the OTs and around the world.

Mr Skelton-Cline said; however, that he does not believe the sitting VI Governor is a racist although he is empowered by the Crown, "I don't know him that well, I don't believe that, and that's why I took the cartoon as simply a representation," of the UK he said regarding his commentary.

At the same time, the man of the cloth said he believes Britain has other motives, "The United Kingdom continues to demonstrate to us in ways, where they do not intend to substantially, materially, factually, in any way, support these Virgin Islands or its OT territories in the forward motion and progress of self-determination."

Help or not?

After Hurricane Irma devastated the Virgin Islands in September 2017, instead of grants or loans, the United Kingdom only offered a loan guarantee to the Virgin Islands but at the same time refused to address the borrowing guidelines in the Protocols for Effective Financial Management, which limit the VI from accessing meaningful loans for its recovery without violating the protocols.

Additionally, as the Virgin Islands economy came to a grinding halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) requested a grant from the UK to assist persons made jobless or made to work reduced hours; however, the UK, through Governor Jaspert, told the VI to use its own monies from the reserves and Social Security Board (SSB).

47 Responses to “VINO's Cartoon 'a representation of what I see'- Skelton-Cline”

  • jack (17/06/2020, 09:54) Like (8) Dislike (29) Reply
    We agree with your csc a set of racist trying to bully people
    • CSC (17/06/2020, 10:30) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
      What VINO should have did first they doing last, I'm now really seeing this cartoon in a while new light. This article just makes a set of people look really stupid, that is why you have to read and read before you take action.

      We are outraged at a cartoon, why are we not outraged at what our people went through so the hands of these very same people ruling us??? If you use apple or these technology you should have the same passion.
    • shantel (17/06/2020, 10:34) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      I totally get what he was saying, but you cannot do things without an explanation, not many persons knew what the image meant. I did not get the same explanation we're getting here.
      • Read (17/06/2020, 13:31) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        People need to learn to read and stay up to date or shut up!
      • Hmmmmmmmm (17/06/2020, 14:34) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
        That’s because a picture speaks 1,000 words ...

        One picture can be viewed in a number of lights. Further, you can twist the meaning of the picture by adding and taking away words or by putting different words later to make it look like the first interpretation by the majority was not what the picture represented.
  • 1975 (17/06/2020, 09:57) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    grant in aid went out the door in the territory almost 50 years and our territory moved progressively forward with out funding from Her Majesty campground so i trying to find out what is the issue now. whatever the 2020 crisis is we brought it on ourselves. economic freedom from 1975 however come 2007 we were handed the protocols for effective financial management(now ask yourself why, and be up full to ourselves with the answer): we shall use our own money and God will see our people through, God saw our forepartents through back then & God will do it again. the people charged with political leadership must be more accountable financially and ethically while moving forward
  • Hypocrisy (17/06/2020, 09:59) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Pure alternative motive from the objection to the reality of the whole idea on the table.....why now George floyd issue is of so much of a concern to some all asunden...this the same thing of hypocrisy..there dont care about black people real concerns...but u see the offend a lie. But this whole thing heated from the fact that it about racism it have to be sooner or later ..get it done and get over it every other news media looking to capitalize over the situation to profit there ...hmmm....there not the people voice ...go VINO
    • True (17/06/2020, 10:43) Like (12) Dislike (5) Reply
      Cindy calling for advertisers to boycott vino and her show don't even have any, such a hypocrite. How can you hear Cline directly say what the cartoon means and then still go and say you don't understand it? Bunch of attention-hungry tin cans. This article makes a lot of people look really stupid right about now especially the companies who pull ads, we see you and we definitely will not be supporting your businesses anymore.
      • cgb (17/06/2020, 11:25) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
        Have to say these comments and the article is a real intelligent take at this issue than what we got before, this is what we needed a breakdown of the imagery. Those who see were work enough to understand what the man was talking about.

        This is how we need to approach issues with facts and not raw emotions on the part of the media and those who are calling for a boycott. On both sides we saw an 'attacking' spirit, it was really uncalled for.
    • Sharing (17/06/2020, 11:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Say this on another story. Just sharing because knowledge is power.

      Diaspora (17/06/2020, 07:01) Like (3) Dislike (0)ReplyThomas Gradgrind in Charles Dickens Hard Times stressed Facts over imagination and function over feelings. Raw facts my brother, real facts. Blacks in the US has an approx spending power of $1.2T but spend it recklessly and elsewhere outside the Black community. Their spending is a bonanza for White and other businesses that micro-target black consumers. Black consumers live for today and hell for tomorrow. Blacks are huge consumers of many brands that are not aligned with their interest but would readily take their money. It is estimated that every $1B that leaves the Black community approx 13,000 jobs goes with it. Unemployment in the Black community can be reduced with focus of $BB in the community. It is about self-help. If we don’t help ourselves, others will not and why should they. This pandemic proves that the UK dies not give a rat’s a...s about VI residents who are primarily Black. The Guv is up in arms, undies tied in knots, about a cartoon but has not lick a finger about the poor suffering residents whose jobs were impacted by Covid-19. But nothing new here.
  • sad day (17/06/2020, 10:05) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    My black brothers and sisters, you are fighting the wrong fight and you know it deep down inside. May you gather the strength and courage to see the cartoon for what it is and save your energy for the fight that will make sense. Love
    • @ sad day (17/06/2020, 10:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      yes I; and as black people some of we are too gullible and catching at every straw while the real matters and issues blow right pass us while we fast to sleep on the moving train: the mangoes might look very sweet on that tree but one cant forget the roots !!!!!
    • Martin (17/06/2020, 11:37) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      @Sad day: my brother you are absolutely right. Sadly, our people (black people) are afraid to speak up because they are afraid to offend white people living amongst us. We should not be afraid to speak our minds as black people. We have earned the right
  • House Slaves (17/06/2020, 10:11) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply

    I have to put some lashes on my African brothers here making noise and misleading some of the people. Why are you so offended by the cartoon? Why? Was slavery real or not? Is racism real or not? Is the poor treatment from the UK real or not? Again, why are you so offended by the cartoon to go after VINO who has always been real about issues? Seeing persons going on tv shows and posting stuff all over the place makes me weep because it tells me the house slave mentality seems to be alive and well. Break out of this my African brothers. Don't be a fool, that was not how you gained your freedom and it is not how racial injustice will ever end.

  • blm (17/06/2020, 10:13) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Let me ask a question? Would Floyd be offended by this cartoon? Enough said.
    • short answer (17/06/2020, 11:30) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
      Not for a second he wouldn't because he would not have wanted his death be in vain.
      • @short answer (19/06/2020, 08:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        That's a big leap. Floyd's own family have spoken out about the protests relating to his murder. I believe that, yes, Floyd and his family want to see positive change, but you cannot conclude that anything inciting further racial tension is condoned by him or his kin.
    • Well (17/06/2020, 12:22) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Floyd can't be offended.. because Floyd is dead.
  • SMH (17/06/2020, 10:17) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Watched the first show last night. Last as well. Cindy is not quite sure herself what you “honestly” for. Also she’s to demanding for the guests to be all for what (she thinks) come on. It’s their opinion. Not yours. I love how Dr. Turnbull held his grounds what what’s the best positive move we should be on. If Cline didn’t get what you got didn’t mean he’s sleeping; but he’s just so wake he sees things differently. I doubt Cut deep will ever get so much views again. As for Miss Frazer! Love her energy and passion but it can cause wildfire is it’s lit without real sense. Rebel of a cause NOT rebel for social media.
  • Breathe (17/06/2020, 10:17) Like (10) Dislike (18) Reply
    People just don’t get it. That phone company just don’t understand what black people have gone through. I have no intention now or in the future to do business with that phone company. I will not do business with house slaves type of people. Governor offended by one cartoon when black people offended for 400 years. WTF? No sympathy here. Like slavery always have a few of your brothers and sisters ready to sell you out. It is a dirty world!!!!!
  • Chip in (17/06/2020, 10:29) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
    I took in my CCT chip yesterday.
  • Wow (17/06/2020, 10:34) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply

    heard some sh*dy people Ritter and Arron and Turnbull up and down trying to force advertisers off vino. The message maybe right but the messengers kill any hope..they are not good people trust me

  • facts (17/06/2020, 10:50) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Wow vino. I like to see the facts. Knowledge is power.
  • bvi (17/06/2020, 10:55) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
    I am returning my cct chip also.not a penny of my money or the money of my family members living under my roof. Cline was right then and still right now and vino is more than right. The cartoon did not go far enough. Imagine black people like that woman and man calling to boycott vino. These are sick people with a brain of a chicken. I am getting a sticker with that Same cartoon on my vehicle. The governor needs to shut his mouth and let we black people speak out in whatever shape or form.
  • facts (17/06/2020, 11:04) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    SMH as there is so much silly raw emotions over a cartoon…By the way I see nothing wrong with the cartoon, we as black folks pretends when deep down inside we know the truth.
    We are still under colonial rule with a white governor…NOTHING has changed.
  • Boycott CCT (17/06/2020, 11:28) Like (6) Dislike (12) Reply
    They quick to take action without doing research, your company should be ashamed and you can see your team lacks experience
  • question (17/06/2020, 11:31) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is there a reason there is never a 'Her Majesty's High School'? Just asking
  • Prophecy? (17/06/2020, 11:34) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    VINO is not flawless, I am not naive to think otherwise. However, this reminds me of the rejection of Christ by the Jews because they refused to understand what he was preaching. They said crucify him and he is not our king Caesar is! Weeping
  • rattie (17/06/2020, 12:16) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    Grossly Offensive!!!
    What is grossly offensive is the hijacking of the global conversation on racism, police brutality and the institutions that for centuries have perpetrated the oppression of Black people.

    The governor is the symbol of white oppression why do we need a governor?
    • Correct (17/06/2020, 12:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      And if we do need to have a Governor, why can it not be a BVIslander? After so many centuries after emancipation you mean the Queen and Boris Johnson does not think a single Virgin Islander across all these generations is good enough to be Governor? They still look down at us as sub-human.
  • Nickname (17/06/2020, 12:46) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Don't blame the slave masters. We are the problem! The BVI is NOT our land! It's the slave master's. We disobeyed God's laws and commandments and we got enslaved. Deuteronomy 28:48-68. Stop trying to get comfortable here, because it will NEVER happen!
    • To nickname (17/06/2020, 14:36) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Our Ancestors lived on these islands before the whites set sail to these lands. They do not belong to the slave master. It is clear you don't know no better. The whites taught you about an imaginary home in the sky, so you say don't get comfortable here, while they live comfortably on earth. Why is that?
      • To nickname (18/06/2020, 00:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        You have absolutely no clue what I am talking about. First of all, how can I take you serious if you don't know the distinction between "no" and "know"? Secondly, I wasn't talking about heaven. I was talking about AFRICA. We came from AFRICA, not BVI.
  • Truth (17/06/2020, 12:51) Like (5) Dislike (23) Reply
    What Mr Cline said is ABSOLUTELY correct. We can sugar coat the candy any way we see fit, but we are still under colonial rule.
  • enough (17/06/2020, 12:52) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is something to wonder if there was not a discussion with the paper and Mr. Cline before this cartoon was posted. Since VINO captured what he said.
  • Justice for Elton Leonard (17/06/2020, 13:09) Like (7) Dislike (11) Reply
    Blacks necks were being stepped on when Elton Leonard was arrested and Racism is alive and well here in the BVI. The cartoon depicts exactly what is happening in these beautiful Virgin Islands.
  • Starring (17/06/2020, 13:49) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Claude just enjoy playing the role of the victim.
  • down2earth (17/06/2020, 14:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is my heart in the right place? When some speak, they speak for war...when others speak, they bring peace.
  • Troll (17/06/2020, 14:48) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Cause and Effect!! It is sad that this entire thing started from "The man of the cloth" with his poor choice of words. Had him not express in that manner wouldn't had that cartoon in the first place. His statement is what provokes this whole thing. So there it is, Both Skelton-Cline & VINO was wrong for illustrating what has happened with the late George Floyd that they've portrayed. Please function like adults and do not allow emotions take over you for you to cause something like this to have an effect of what has happened for the past days! Learn from your mistakes...
  • Boycott CCT (17/06/2020, 14:48) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    Why Governor in arms about his PR? Didn’t care about mr Floyd murder. Only now speaking out like a cry baby. Grow a pair and get out of VI.

    Mr Floyd taxes paid for officer. That officer killed him.

    Our taxes paying for Gus and his family and his white staff to live in opulence here and choke us and our livelihoods.

    Why he only employ black servants?

    Why no office jobs advertised locally here? Why he only hire white foreigners living here?

    Please investigate this discrimination we are paying for.

    Keep up the excellent work VINO. Thank goodness for you.
  • Porno (17/06/2020, 16:14) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    Claude keep on the pressure we with you and the march will show our strength
  • one love (18/06/2020, 05:53) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    when you yes you put your foot on island people what did they do. so it's time to take your foot off island people neck now.......GOSH!!!!!

  • Choking us (18/06/2020, 22:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    Investigate how many black naturalisation applications the Governor's Office reject vs white ones.

    Investigate how many hoops we have to jump through to get answers from them compared to whites who call them.

    Why only hires black servants and white foreigners to do high paid work we belongers could easily do and better.

    Why hire Irish and white South African foreigners? No blacks? Why?

    Facts speak for themselves.

    George Floyd’s murder should not be in vain.

    I am returning my CCT chip too.

    • @choking us (19/06/2020, 12:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Preach. I have one slogan that I am going to use from now on whenever I hear our people talking about sending island people dem home. "Leave the island people dem alone, send the South Africans home. Leave the island people dem alone, send the Europeans dem home."
  • Knee on your own neck (20/06/2020, 18:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You have a knee on your own neck in your ignorance. Britain, while not making favorable legislation at times is still our mother country that has done nothing but support and look after the well-being of it, the Governor is just the Queen's representative... plain and simple.

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