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‘We cannot have a de facto premier’ – Skelton-Cline

- said old guards need to give the young people a chance
First Lady Lorna G. Smith OBE, left, previously refuted reports that she tells her husband, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), right, how to run the country. Photo: VINO/File
Commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has insinuated that Mrs Lorna G. Smith OBE, the wife of the Premier, is exercising power not vested in her. Photo: Facebook
Commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has insinuated that Mrs Lorna G. Smith OBE, the wife of the Premier, is exercising power not vested in her. Photo: Facebook
On July 20, 2017 BVI Finance announced the appointment of Elise Donovan as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Donovan, who was expected to leave the position as head of the BVI House Asia, was scheduled to take office until October 1, 2017 but has reportedly not taken up the post as yet. Photo: VINO/File
On July 20, 2017 BVI Finance announced the appointment of Elise Donovan as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Donovan, who was expected to leave the position as head of the BVI House Asia, was scheduled to take office until October 1, 2017 but has reportedly not taken up the post as yet. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It seems like Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) is not really the man at the steering wheel as Premier of the Virgin Islands, at least in the opinion of commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline, who has insinuated that the Territory is in fact run by the First Lady, Lorna G. Smith OBE.

Speaking on his show Honestly Speaking on ZBVI 780 AM on March 13, 2018, Mr Skelton-Cline was raising concerns about the “old guards” continuing to hold different important positions in the Territory and not allowing young and capable persons to play their part in nation building.

One such example, according to the commentator, exists at BVI Finance, the marketing arm of Financial Services Commission (FSC). Elise Donovan, he said, is the one who has been assigned to that post; however, he alleged that Mrs Smith in her capacity as Interim Executive Director continues to hold that post.

“I am not sure why that is the case but again, another young person, this one is a young lady, who needs to be back home in the post that was assigned to her.”

We cannot have a de facto premier

Mr Skelton-Cline then asserted that Mrs Smith, the wife of the Premier, is exercising power not vested in her.

“I want to state about Mrs Smith, not just someone who happens to be the wife of the Premier, but her role as a public servant. She continues, in my opinion, to usurp authority that is not vested in her. It seems like to me that anyone else who wants to have power in the BVI on any political order should run for office,” Mr Skelton-Cline said, but did not elaborate further on where Mrs Smith has allegedly been “usurping authority not vested in her.”

“We cannot have a de facto premier, we cannot have a de facto leadership in our country.”

According to the former Managing Director of BVI Ports Authority, Ms Donovan needs to be home in the post that was assigned to her.

Donovan appointed CEO since July 2017

It was in May of 2016 that retired civil servant Mrs Smith was named as the “interim” Director of BVI Finance, as it was claimed by some at the time that there were “no one else qualified to run the body”.

However, on July 20, 2017 in a press statement, the organisation announced the appointment of Elise Donovan as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Donovan, who was expected to leave the position as head of the BVI House Asia, was scheduled to take office until October 1, 2017.

It is unclear if that has happened as efforts to get a comment from BVI Finance were futile up to time of publication.

They have done their work

“Yes, persons like Mrs Smith have done their work, they have labored over the years, they have made their contribution, but how is it when we come to committees, when we come to boards, when we come to agencies, that we keep recycling the same people. Where are the young people who we sent off to college, invested money in and can’t come back home because the same people are hogging the show? The same people are taking the space. That is why I applauded when I see that David Archer was appointed Deputy Governor.”

Mr Skelton-Cline added that such a shift must continue in the Territory, and the old guards must allow the young people to make their contribution to the Territory.

“The persons who have the capacity, the aptitude, the wherewithal, need to be given a fair and honest opportunity to help build and advance their country.”

‘Rubbish’- Mrs Smith

This is not the first time persons have accused Mrs Smith of “running the show”; however, it was on the television show Real Talk with Karia J. Christopher on January 3, 2017 on CBN Channel 51 that the question was put to her.

Mrs Smith, who said she doesn’t read the online blogs and comments criticising her unless persons bring them to her attention, said contrary to what people say she does not tell her husband how to run the territory.

“It is nonsense, it is rubbish, [and] it is the furthest from the truth.”

She did say, however, that she has influence over her husband but at the end of the day it is his decision to make as no one elected her.

On the same show, Mrs Smith had raised eyebrows when she disagreed with the common notion, especially among Christians and Muslims, that the husband is the head of the household.

“No, absolutely not. The head of the house?” Mrs Smith responded when Mrs Christopher told her she had a woman previously on her show that told her that her husband is the head of the household and “he leads and I will follow.”

“But I know that is not you,” Mrs Christopher said, adding that it is, nevertheless, what the Bible says.

“You don’t have to take the bible literally…nobody should take the bible that literally,” Mrs Smith had responded.

26 Responses to “‘We cannot have a de facto premier’ – Skelton-Cline”

  • @ @ @ @ (14/03/2018, 10:50) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well sah look melee
  • trouble (14/03/2018, 10:53) Like (22) Dislike (17) Reply

    Cant get though in politics so they stirring up trouble from the sidelines. Regardless of what went on with him and the NDP. He had his chance and he blew it by overdoing it.

  • LOL (14/03/2018, 10:59) Like (48) Dislike (16) Reply

    Anguilla a&$ been trying run the country since Lavity days

  • Diplomat (14/03/2018, 12:06) Like (7) Dislike (7) Reply
    True, Lorna Smith, spouse of Dr. Hon Premier D. Orlando Smith, Al and MoF, is not an elected member. But does anyone think or believe that at the Smith’s kitchen table or bedroom that national issues are not discussed. When voters go to the polls, they not only vote for a member but also for the family. It is not a unique situation. Past Chief Ministers/Premier's spouses also had influence on their husbands. Similarly, the Governor’s wife also has influence over him. Further, Michel had influence over Barack, Laura over Bush, Philip over Theresa, Melania over Trump.......etc. How do you stop spouses and other familiy members from influencing leaders. Family members may influence but should let leaders be leaders and not publicly flaunt their influence. Conflict of interest or the perception of conflict of interest should be avoided. Family members having influence over leaders is not the province only of leaders in the public sector but also in the private sector. It is the cost and reality of electing or appointing leaders. Leaders are influenced by familiy, friends, organizations, political donors and supporters........etc. The Premier is the de jure leader but how do we stop Lorna or any other spouse from being the de facto leader? Well, it is like pushing a string; it is impractical. Let’s hold the de jure leader accountable for his action(s).
  • first lady (14/03/2018, 12:20) Like (20) Dislike (3) Reply
    Have to say this is a flattering picture of the First lady. Not a fan of hers but her face looks full and wel rested. Very nice for a change
  • Just woke. (14/03/2018, 12:45) Like (3) Dislike (27) Reply
    The first lady is a pleasant professional lady young people should be glad yo immulate and learn from.. Education is not all. Been Polite. Been professional, been approachable is more important . The first lady is rounded and grounded. Advicing her husband is a good thing. Keep off her back...
    • To Just woke (14/03/2018, 13:11) Like (18) Dislike (3) Reply

      You should have stayed asleep. The woman is intelligent to a certain extent but no more intelligent than anyone else. 

    • Gromyko (14/03/2018, 14:28) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Your silly A$$ need to learn how to writ English and get you some bidness..
    • Dislikes (14/03/2018, 19:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      dislikes say otherwise ..
    • I agree (15/03/2018, 09:06) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      I completely agree with you just woke. I admire Mrs Smith. Why are people so envious and jealous. She has so much merits under her belt. Young BVI Women should absolutely look up to Mrs Smith. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for us Mrs Smith. It has sad that some people only read blogs stories and fail to investigate the truth. Lorna Smith All the Way!!! #blackwomenarebeautiful
  • Hmmmm (14/03/2018, 12:51) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some people run things for power while others run things for money but this one does both and no investigations.
  • sooner or later (14/03/2018, 12:52) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    This needed to be said. The entire public service top brass is afraid of this persons.
  • Welsah (14/03/2018, 13:56) Like (29) Dislike (2) Reply
    Doc and his wife have become a liability to the present and future progress of our country and don’t know when to bow-out and pass the baton for what ever reasons. They are the last era of the status quo government and they don’t know when to quit. Our Virgin Islands is beyond them now, release the shackles of control and stop strangling the country and it’s people. Time to step aside and support from behind.
  • Concerned (14/03/2018, 14:02) Like (30) Dislike (25) Reply
    Lorna is a well respected woman who has done so much for this territory and to hear someone like Claude insinuate that this "Old Guard" is not competent is laughable!! At the very least, Lorna has been successful in getting things moving for this economy pre and post Irma, and continues to ensure investor confidence in our financial services. Claude started a church in Detroit - Failed (and when a church fails it means God had moved out...in my opinion), Claude became director for Ports - Failed, Claude started a TV program - Failed, Claude started a radio program and "honestly speaking" - Failing!! Ya'll get the point. Little boy, where where you when this woman was giving of her time, talent, education, and expertise through her stellar public service to this territory??? Now you come here after fleeing the US for whatever reason - to come challenge here worth, years of service and competence! Also how insulting to women to believe that she could be married to a Premier/Leader/CEO/Director and not have a voice...and to class a woman's role in her husband's life/decision as de facto is just downright chauvinistic and ignorant. Maybe if your wife had a voice she would've been able to tell you to shut your arrogant chops!!! RUDE!!!
    • @ Concerened (14/03/2018, 14:58) Like (8) Dislike (8) Reply
      I agree with you 100%! First he lashed out against Dancia, now Lorna. Why doesn't he show us his Resume? FAILURE as you said!!!
  • Spirit Filled (14/03/2018, 14:26) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    “The persons who have the capacity, the aptitude, the wherewithal, need to be given a fair and honest opportunity to help build and advance their country.”

    AARH. Ask the hill man who used to be in immigration bout this. Hmm. Time will tell. This illusion of transparency that is going on is going to be detrimental to the public service as some young persons in the BVI are not buying it.
  • Albion (14/03/2018, 14:52) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    BVI Finance is nothing to do with FSC. It is an industry body controlled by its shareholders - not Government. Claude needs to do better research.
  • Really (14/03/2018, 15:19) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    Concerned you hit the hammer right where it is suppose to this Johnny come lately don't even know if is a clyne or a skelton poor thing I wonder why?
  • Behind every man especially (14/03/2018, 15:21) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    a black man is not often a police but a good strong and reliable wife.Some wives ate very productable and helpful in the household. For instance in some countries most of the properties and businesses are not only controlled by the wives/womenbut financially owned and operated by most. Then it will be best fir Dr Smith to step down and Mrs Smith to run in her husband seat as it is time for a woman to run the country as it seems as if the men are failing us. Time for a woman to be Premier in the BVI
  • Interested (14/03/2018, 16:07) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply

    I am sick and tired of Claude Cline.Is this how he intends to be elected to office?
    Where was he when Lorna was making her contributions to this territory.? It might be better for us all if he returned to you know where and face his music instead of trying to assert himself foolishly into things he knows nothing about. Is this is all about revenge for them firing him from Port?

    • @ interested (14/03/2018, 18:04) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      hottest show in town
    • wize up (15/03/2018, 07:36) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ I treated: you to: this man had his own church and had to run come back hone(who does that) can you Americans Agreed...come back home just brewing up hate between our people: this man is a Pastor for God Sake......love love: when I was little boy run in and Down Road Town: we were also though we should not air our dirty laundry in public.....blah blah blah week
  • ndp (14/03/2018, 18:43) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The failure to mobilize the people in a national effort is another failure of Doc
  • wow (14/03/2018, 20:55) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    The problem with NDP they have to much Education and that why the country is the way is it
  • chups (14/03/2018, 22:03) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Claude go to rest...shame you shame!


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