BVI News

COI quizzes Skelton Cline on gov’t contracts and qualifications

Claude Skelton Cline

Government consultant and talk show host, Claude Skelton Cline has been questioned by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) about his various contracts and consultancies with successive BVI governments over the years.

The clergyman was also grilled about the qualifications that allowed him to surpass others in being selected for the post of Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority, which he held from 2012 to 2015 under the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration.

In a recently-released transcript of the hearing with the government consultant, Cline told the COI that his competencies resulted in him being selected to the post as head of the Ports, adding that he could not speak to whether any due diligence was conducted in his being selected for the position.

Questioned by COI counsel, Bilal Rawat, about how he came to be in government’s employ after his party at the time (NDP) had succeeded at the polls, Cline responded: “Well, I’d like to think that I got a post in government because of my competencies. And so, the fact that the party that I supported was in charge, I suspect, as is the case, would have been helpful in that area.”

His education history and experience

Skelton Cline’s tertiary education has been centred around religion, having studied ‘Theology’ and ‘Divinity’ for which he holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Since then, he served as a pastor for 20 years in Detroit, Michigan in the United States and has led community development projects in housing for low-to-moderate-income persons.

Another notable experience of his professional career in the US was when he served as Director of Faith-Based Affairs. In this role, he was an “executive assistant” to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who, according to the CNN, was convicted for “racketeering conspiracy, extortion and the filing of false tax returns — in a case that accused him of using the mayor’s office to enrich himself and associates”. Kilpatrick resigned from his mayoral position back in 2008 when criminal proceedings were first brought against him.

The return and the contracts

As for Skelton Cline, the clergyman told the COI his reason for “transitioning” to the BVI in 2010 after living and working for decades in the United States, was primarily because of the birth of his son.

Cline was further questioned about work he reportedly did under the banner of the Neighbourhood Partnership Project, which was found to have yielded virtually no results, despite the government paying more than half-million in fees to his consultancy firm, Claude Ottley Consulting.

Cline was selected to execute the project under a previous incarnation of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration, then headed by former Premier, Ralph O’Neal, who is now deceased.

The project, however, was executed under the auspices of current Premier, Andrew Fahie, who had been Education Minister at the time. By the end of the programme, which ran from 2009 to 2010, an Auditor General’s report claimed the ministry paid Cline the princely sum of $571,800 over several instalments without any real work being done.

Pastor Cline told the COI that it is doubtful that he still had any documents related to the project.

The bible school highlight of Grace Consulting

Meanwhile, under the current VIP administration, Cline was awarded two separate no-bid contracts amounting to $242,000 – an amount which represents his first contract of six months, in addition to a further extension.

When asked by Rawat to give an outline of the businesses and companies he had been involved in, Cline did not reveal any specifics. Instead, he only mentioned that there is a “bible school component” to the company through which he has currently engaged the government.

“Currently, Grace Consultant–Grace Consulting and Counselling, which is a marital/counselling coaching. It also has a Bible school component. As a matter of fact that we’re getting ready to start back,” the clergyman said.

Pastor Cline further disclosed that he was the owner of Grand Savings, an import-export entity that reportedly does work in the area of procurement.

In an interview in September 2020, Cline said of two projects his Grace Consultancy company had undertaken: “Though I cannot report with any specificity on what we are working on, I can say that there are two major projects that’s in tow right now and so it’s not to pre-empt the government’s position and they being able to come to the public, which will be their rightful position.”

“It’s going well. I am enjoying the journey. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” the clergyman said at the time.

Asked whether he was a shareholder or investor in any other businesses, Cline said he was a shareholder in the BVI Investment Club, but has not receive any dividends for years.

He added: “… those are what come to mind. Here, in the Virgin Islands, you can take out 10 trade license in hopes of doing something and nothing ever happens, so that’s why if I–if I pause, that’s the only reason why I would pause.”

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47 Comments

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  1. Fugi.... says:

    Reason for returning to the BVI? Birth of son my foot….he run…but he run from the heat and jump in the fire…..cant wait for this COI to further expose some people.

    Like 85
    Dislike 1
    • Yup says:

      The Africans are corrupt everywhere on the planet where they hold power. Whites corrupt also but not to the magnitude of the Africans.

      Like 9
      Dislike 29
      • @yup says:

        Nice troll but all a bit obvious. Nobody knows your race and none of us care.

        Like 22
        Dislike 2
      • @yup says:

        You must be white to pass such shi* remark . STFU with your undertone racist comment . 😡

        Like 2
        Dislike 8
      • TheRabbit says:

        Africans may be corrupt, but Caucasians beat out the Africans by 250% as being the most deceitful, evil and racist people on the planet. 666 shall get you. Remember King Leopold of Belgium? No one could beat him. Keep you M**knt off the Africans, see.

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
    • Defamation/Libel says:

      If I was Mr. Skelton Cline I would have responded to the question saying that I returned because I wanted to, and that I do not need to have a reason for coming back to my home. Regarding the allegation that he “ran” from the US, some ppl should be very careful about libel/defamation because I certainly know that I have taken at least one flight to the USA which he was on. One would think that if he “ran” he would not be back and forth at will. I’m just saying.

      Like 6
      Dislike 17
    • Norris Turnbull says:

      @fugi…. you have proof that Claude Ottley Skelton-Cline “run” from the US to the BVI? If not you need to shut up.

  2. Lock Him Up...... says:

    And throw away the key salt island.

    Like 31
  3. doubtful says:

    Pastor Cline told the COI that it is doubtful that he still had any documents related to the project.

    REALLY REALLY !! Sunday School?

    Like 68
  4. lol says:

    This is what you call bull$h^+. You can’t make this type of foolishness up.

    Like 60
    Dislike 2
  5. Stewww says:

    This man like to be center of attention
    Sick and ti of the *** *** minded man
    And he call himself a pastor

    Like 34
  6. Future says:

    God speed to your next job as the 25 to life live in pastor of ***. Perhaps some of your congregation will be joining you there as well.

  7. Good questions says:

    whats the difference between Claude and the current port MD? He might have been better suited for the position.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  8. BVI Future says:

    Do some research on Kwame Kilpatrick.
    Did I read correctly that he received a contract for a “bible school” in which he tried to engage the government? So, the BVI government has engaged in organized religion?
    The question is why he received exorbitant dollars for contracts without showing results in the work purposely performed? He got those contracts under the NDP and the VIP.
    People of the BVI, this has to do with what is best for this country. Who cannot say that the monies would have been better spend on education and medical care in Tortola!

    Like 46
    Dislike 1
    • BVI FUTURE says:

      AND YOU ARE SO CORRECT. REMEMBER WHEN JESSIE JACKSON SON AND HIS SONS WIFE HAD TO SERVE TIME IN PRISON FOR SOME OF THE SAME THINGS THESE BUSHMAN POLITICIANS IS DOING HERE AND GETTING AWAY WITH. THE ABOVE MENTION WAS BLACK LISTED FROM THE POLITICAL CIRCUIT.

      Like 12
  9. Mel chez Idek says:

    I need to study theology and get a bachelors in it so I could come back and run the country like CSC.

    Like 35
  10. Rubber Duck says:

    Skelton Clines testimony available to read today. Interesting that this “ man of the cloth “ did not swear on the Bible to tell the truth but merely affirmed, makes you wonder as to the truth in his testimony. IF you are a so called “man of the cloth” why wouldn’t you take the oath on the very same bible you are preaching from?

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  11. Billy Kimba says:

    This man is a A** HAT that you all give a half million and counting to because he born here!? This one hurt bad dread.

    Like 22
    Dislike 1
  12. heckler says:

    What a character!

    Like 15
  13. hmm says:

    The BVI is not a real place. Did he run from the U.S. to avoid the feds? But he comes here and we accept him with open arms. Then we wonder why the UK is here? Because of him?

    Like 24
    Dislike 4
  14. Even if.... says:

    Even if the COI amounts to nothing and nobody gets charged. Can we PLEASE as a people … DEMAND that anyone appointed to these boards is COMPETENT. Meaning they must have the capability of keeping clear accounts and records at a bare minimum! They are taking us all for fools. This nonsense in their testimonies makes it CLEAR AS DAY that what they have been doing was not above board…. One further request…. Can we DEMAND that anyone appointed to ANY of the government boards OR anyone contracted to working with the government PERIOD are given a thorough background check to ensure they are up to date with ALL their SS, NHI and TAX payments for ALL employees for ALL their trade licenses…..

    Like 25
  15. Well says:

    I read Claude’s transcript. I feel that a lot of the transcript was left out. It’s not as deep as the others

    Like 13
    • To Well says:

      I felt the same way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep very disappointing. I thought it would have opened a can of worms but nothing new was uncovered. His history with Kilpatrick was common knowledge and was subject in a few campaign rallies. I thought they would have the details of the contracts and got specific information about what exactly did he do to fulfill the contracts and what were the results.

    • @well says:

      It have something call patience. Remember he is not on trial and he is not being charged with anything (yet). They coming back to him. Remember too that all their summons valid until the end of the commission and they can be called back at any time. I love the questioning and how they are moving on intelligence and what scares the witnesses is that they have no clue what these people done know. Giving them room to hang themselves.

      Ain’t no joking around and hi how are you. Straight to the shooting range

      Like 12
      Dislike 3
      • True says:

        I agree. If you listen to the way the questions are asked, the are direct. These people have solid leads. Persons have truly gone forward and given up vital info.

  16. SMH says:

    Folow the trail… Their job is to put up smoke screens so that the funds can be distributed under legitimate contracts to persons who will kick back for all to share. Are we really surprised that the Airport fuel contract went to an Antigua based firm. Do the maths and see where Delta home office is currently based.

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  17. Cut and paste says:

    This man need go *** and pay the BVI people back there ***. Period

  18. Rastarite says:

    The COI is beginning to unearth some of the corruption and lack of accountability. Cline is a piece of work – shouting loud to criticize others while sheltering beneath his ‘pastor’ status. Throw the book at him!

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
    • GTFOH says:

      No corruption has been uncovered so far at least not by any indication from reading the transcripts. I have a feeling the outcome of this will just be giving the BVI recommendations or mandates on the selection process for board members etc. There seem to be no criteria for the selection process other than the ruling government can choose who they want. Background checks also seem to be a focus but the reps for the COI dont seem to understand that the BVI is a small place, it’s not like Bevis past jail time was a big secret especially since he was appointed to the Airport board by Government. His jail time had to do with his former job at government so it wasn’t like a background check wasn’t done, his conviction was blatantly ignored. Skelton Cline’s connection to Kwame Kilpatrick was also known not to say that he is guilty by association as the USA would have charged him if he was involved. It has been brought up by the media and his opponent during his previous election run as a member of NDP.

  19. lol says:

    There is a podcast about Detroit… Kirkpatrick.. the whole nine yards.He pulled the race card every time..till de pack ran out..so Pastor run home with his lovely wife and all was typically kept quite.. cause a pastor would never do no wrong.. till now.. there is a Jah…

  20. He smarter than all the politicians says:

    I would have done the same, dealing with fools giving away easy money..Good Job CSC. Congrats, ur the one with the brains, the politicians are idiots, fool. Brainless. U much smarter than they are

  21. 2030 says:

    “As for Skelton Cline, the clergyman told the COI his reason for “transitioning” to the BVI in 2010 after living and working for decades in the United States, was primarily because of the birth of his son.”

    The saying is true – book sense (Master’s degree) people more stupid than the common sense street man. The street man would have said that question is irrelevant to the matter at hand and none of your business but to give you an answer (to a stupid question)…I born here is enough to come back!!!

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
    • Yawn says:

      Not defending him but Detroit filed for bankruptcy and is one of the poorest cities in the US. There are city blocks filled with abandoned homes. Not somewhere you would want to raise a child if you had a better choice. It might have been hard to avoid those extra looks after your known associate gets convicted as well.

  22. BVI Future says:

    These situations will continue in the BVI. In the BVI, a few high established surnames rule this country, like it or not.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  23. The Big Brain.. says:

    Its obvious that CSC is the big brain and been out smarting and out thinking our foolish politicians…Cant blame him, he saw the Donkeys and he ride them to get to where he wants to go…The COI have him where they want him.. They didnt ask him alot of questions because they know he is very smart and they didnt want to make him wise, but he needs to be worried. Once they get the documents then they will call him back and it will get serious then..

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  24. Norris Turnbull says:

    It’s funny the COI question Cline’s qualification to hold the ports job. That’s not the only blatant action by the NDP government. Who was ruining immigration in 2017? When they had an experienced,trained and very qualified person in there. Yes I said ruining. We seem to get convenient amnesia depending on our interests.Sinking sand we all standing in.

  25. Jack says:

    “That would be an ecumenical matter”

  26. Hullabaloo says:

    Detroit K.K. and gang know’s who allegedly snitched on them to the US Authorities, to save his own skin. He made a deal and that is why Misster is able to still travel.
    Loin Cloth Man will throw his cohorts here under the bus as well. Keep one eye open!

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  27. The Nation speaks... says:

    So my dear BVI…if we fall from grace we will only have ourselves to blame…no amount of prayer and fasting will help us if we do not turn from our wicked ways. As Bishop Duncan from Trinidad would say “If you praying and not obeying, stop the praying and start obeying”. Does the Lord delight in sacrifice as in obedience? No it is better to obey. A word to the Leaders. Fear the Lord for He is the one who uproots and pulls down…not man…those as just His instruments.

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