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Skelton-Cline lambasts RDA for building more 'igloos'

- Says VI is long past temporary housing solutions two years after Irma
Pastor and ZBVI 'Honestly Speaking' radio show presenter, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has lambasted the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development (RDA) agency for seeking to construct more temporary buildings even as the territory is long past the hurricane and other disasters of 2017. Photo: RDA/File
Claude O. Skelton-Cline said was at the time speaking on the Tuesday, November 5, 2019, edition of his 'Honestly Speaking' radio show on ZBVI 780 FM. Photo: Facebook
Claude O. Skelton-Cline said was at the time speaking on the Tuesday, November 5, 2019, edition of his 'Honestly Speaking' radio show on ZBVI 780 FM. Photo: Facebook
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI - Social commentator Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has lambasted the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) for constructing more temporary housing units even as the territory is long past the hurricanes and other disasters of 2017.

Calling the structures 'igloos' he said, "What I am challenged by is that here we are, more than two years now outside of the hurricanes of 2017, and the rains of August of the same year... I can't understand why are we still building temporary housing of this nature two years removed from the tragedies," Skelton-Cline told his listening audience on the Tuesday, November 5, 2019, edition of his 'Honestly Speaking' radio show.

'We want locals to get contracts'- Skelton-Cline 

However, while he has signalled his disapproval for the project, the man of the cloth said he is in favour and celebrate local contractors being the recipients of such contracts, "and their businesses are growing and persons are working, so I applaud that."

Over on the facebook page of the Virgin Islands RDA, it is noted that the contract was signed for the installation and upgrades of temporary housing solutions on Jost van Dyke. 

The contract was inked with Rajah A. Smith of No Limit Construction on October 28, 2019, and valued at $171,679.70. Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone (AL) and Second District Representative Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) were also present at the contract signing.

"As we continue on the road to recovery, the RDA is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Health and Social Development for the installation and upgrades to temporary housing units on Jost van Dyke. The works include the installation of two new temporary shelters and essential connections for electrical, plumbing and sewerage systems across a total of seven sites," the release said. 

This project is funded jointly by Unite BVI, a private donor and the Government of the Virgin Islands and, according to the RDA, this is the second contract to be signed under the initiative.

"The first was signed on September 30, 2019, with Mr. Roy L. Garraway of Quality Construction for the construction of temporary housing units on Tortola and Anegada. The scope of works for that project included the installation of two new units, one on Tortola and the other on Anegada with two further recipients receiving utility connections to existing structures.

Buildings changing landscape & character of VI 

"It just seems like to me... I am challenged why we are not further along in doing more meaningful and substantial things other than assembling these igloos," Skelton-Cline said.

Calling for more permanent and sustainable buildings, he said the VI is not the Abaco Islands which was just ravaged by Hurricane Dorian of 2019 to be littered with such buildings.

“When I see these things [temporary buildings], yes there are persons in need... but even these things being in Anegada or Jost van Dyke, I see some in West End... It begins to change the character of this country in terms of building and I am baffled and dumbfounded by some of this stuff',” Skeleton Cline said in noting his displeasure.

"These things that are supposed to be temporary have a way of becoming permanent and it concerns me on both fronts," he said.

24 Responses to “Skelton-Cline lambasts RDA for building more 'igloos'”

  • Peaches (07/11/2019, 14:48) Like (25) Dislike (17) Reply
    It's a disgrace to see that is what the government is putting up for those poor homeless vagrants. If they couldn't build something decent, they should not have wasted the funds. These igloos that they put up are just fit for me to put my dogs into. Look at that, the bathroom is on the outside. How can a bathroom be on the outside? Does it even have a shower? My God! You all could have built a 3-room house; bedroom, bath and kitchen out of some blocks.

    This is shameful to say the least!

    Thank you Claude for your honest speaking!
    • Online Now (07/11/2019, 17:01) Like (24) Dislike (7) Reply

      B**hing, moaning and complaining whilst watching organised groups of volunteers from outside come in and help. Where is all the local help for these people? They get these igloos because no one has helped them and they are desperate.

      Get off your arse and help!

    • Jaigon (07/11/2019, 20:38) Like (18) Dislike (3) Reply
      @peaches, sometimes we got to be thankful, at least they are better than nothing and the vagrants have somewhere comfortable to lay their heads. Nothing will ever please us in this place. What is your contribution to the vagrants?
    • school children (08/11/2019, 09:50) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
      It is a darm disgrace. There is one put up on Anegada for an Senior, who has his own home and the only thing that was needed for him was assistance in fixing his roof. That funds could have been used for that. How is this Senior going to be able to get the a restroom on the outside if this igloo? This is nothing but the waste of funds. Whoever suggested this for this Senior have not a grain of sense. He is an elderly man around the age of 80. Really?
    • NakedClothMan (09/11/2019, 09:11) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      This comment shows just how spoilt some BVIslanders are and how far some of us live from the real world, and so does the article/headline.
      Many know nothing about real struggle, true oppression and actual poverty (we forget that a grandparent telling us about it is NOT the same as living the experience ourselves), but we shout and scream from our SUVs, with our inherited land, super-fast speedboats and dual passports, like we're truly the suffering of the world!
      This attitude helps to shield us from God's obligation to be kind, thoughtful, caring and taking responsibility for ... anything ... except how we look and our selfish pursuit of material accumulation.
      A true man of the cloth would spread the positive, give context to our real world, and point us to God's grace instead of stirring up this ignorance.
      • Really? (11/11/2019, 10:19) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        Why couldn't the same funds have been spent building a small "normal" house for these homeless who are being helped by whomever, instead of igloos, since this is not an Eskimo country? That's all I am asking, perhaps you can answer the question seeing that you know so much.
        • NakedClothMan (12/11/2019, 14:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Well, first, beggars can't be choosers. When you get help, only those not in real need complain about the 'style'.
          Why is it an igloo? I have no idea. My guess is because it was cheaper and quicker than a normal structure, and possibly arrived here as part of some emergency housing aid scheme post-Irma.
          Either way, the point remains – complaining that the standard of help being given is not as perfect as you would like it to be is a sure sign that you are spoilt. Real needy people put up with all kinds for long periods and are grateful for any shape of shelter if that is what they need.
          Note: I am not saying the person housed in this igloo is complaining or spoilt! I'm saying we BVIslanders mostly have it so good these days that we sound like spoiled brats sometimes, even while using the language of the truly oppressed.
  • Street reporter (07/11/2019, 14:57) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Didn't know RDA started spending loan money.. To me I see nothing major going on. We still at a stand still..
    • learn to read (12/11/2019, 10:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What Loan? The story said where the funding came from. No loan. It's private donor money and Gov't funding. Plus only Gov't can apply for the loan.
  • Quiet Warrior (07/11/2019, 16:16) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Our fellow residents who have had their homes/residences destroyed/damaged by the September storms and who have not been able to repair their homes need a roof over their head. They need a place to call home, if only temporary. Our fellow residents who also had their homes destroyed/damaged and had means to repair them may have a different view. They may care more about aesthetics and appearance than the standard of living and quality of life of others. It is a bit elitist.

    However, the attitude may be grounded in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. For example, a person who is homeless and hungry can give a rat’s ass about a play at the Eileen Parson Auditorium at HLSCC. The elitist on the other hand may be giddy about belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

    Moreover, undoubtedly, as the territory rebuild from the damages, it cannot rebuild in like kind. It must and should focus on sustainability, resilience and mitigating potential risks. The rebuilding effort is not a binary decision; it can rebuild yet meet the temporary housing needs of residents.
  • Hmm (07/11/2019, 16:26) Like (21) Dislike (9) Reply
  • big question (07/11/2019, 17:03) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is this guy still on that 6 months contract after 9 months ???????????
  • detroit (07/11/2019, 17:12) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Haha "man of the cloth"
  • Hmm (07/11/2019, 18:26) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply

    Is **** willing to forgoe a portion of his $16,333.00 monthly salary to assist in building houses for displaced citizens?

    As a “man of the cloth” he should consider it.

    • Too true (08/11/2019, 09:39) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Quite the salary for a man of the cloth, and indeed, could not agree with you more. Charity begins at home.
  • Observer (07/11/2019, 19:13) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is what I don't get, what does he actually do to solve these issues other than talk?
  • anegada (07/11/2019, 21:58) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    Government and RDA should be ashame . WE are not in Alaska. Now you put a man 90yrs of age in one of those white huts with an outside bathroom, really ? Now this is what I call backwards ever and forward NEVER.
  • Road Town Rebel (08/11/2019, 00:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    6th Letter of the alphabet that project.
  • Yes (08/11/2019, 08:23) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    The same money rda spend on those can build s one bed room house and be comfortable and the reciprnts can add on their own latrr down the road future time to come .....lcsude may havehis way.....but people of the bvi let open our eyes to see what realy going on here .....the rda is saying we in charge here you take what we give or do........ when andrew saying how things are being done with bad spending behavoir under the ndp we cry foul play ...the rda is here you thing they care rat @ ss about we the ministry calvin malone under serious presure with out choice.... its we the people need to rise againts these kind a thing....i guite agree with claude if we the people dont stand up your aunt uncle grandmother brother will soon have it in our back your on blocks .......eng land and the rda pushing shit .......up our @$$...,build the house structure..... we are nt exkemore gone are the days we go back to outside toilet bath rooms. ...Clade i be hind you 100%
  • IAgreewithClaude (08/11/2019, 09:36) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
    They are very ugly structures. Soon this place will look like certain parts of Santo Domingo
  • lol (08/11/2019, 13:54) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    I didnt know we had eskimos living in tola?
  • Agree (08/11/2019, 15:19) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Those igloos look horrible! Period!! We need to construct proper housing for persons. I have no idea with respect to our thought process. But we need to gt our acts together.

  • Choices (09/11/2019, 07:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Which is better: tarp over your head or igloo? or, nothing at all?

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