Government consultant, Claude Skelton Cline has accused the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) of tarnishing his character by mentioning his name in a bad light during its hearings.
In a broadcast of his Honestly Speaking radio show on Thursday, Skelton Cline alleged that COI attorney Bilal Rawat’s pattern of questions about his interactions with the government was meant to be malicious.
Skelton Cline said he felt it was ludicrous and outlandish of the COI attorney to suggest in his questions that he (Skelton Cline) and the former Communication & Works Minister, Mark Vanterpool were the ones unilaterally making decisions regarding the controversial Cruise Pier Project.
The Auditor General’s report on the project is heavily referenced in the COI and has been the basis of most of the questions. However, Skelton Cline said he believes the report was not based off the finished product of the project, and at best, could only be viewed as being “completely incomplete”.
“It (the COI’s questions derived from the report) is designed to besmirch, to tarnish your reputation and me as a private citizen, in particular, who served as a consultant with certain terms and conditions of which I’ve always fulfilled.”
“Here, Mr Rawat, wilfully and wickedly, using my name when I have no political responsibility, no political fiduciary responsibility, no other kind of fiduciary responsibility,” said Skelton Cline who further reasoned that the COI’s line of questions ought not to be made on the basis of an incomplete report.
Skelton Cline, a clergyman, argued that he had no role in the government’s caucus or Cabinet where decision-making about the cruise project was concerned.
His Neighbourhood Partnership Program
The government consultant also took aim at the COI’s line of questioning surrounding an audit report of the 2008/2009 Virgin Islands Neighbourhood Partnership Program, which he was hired to run, and which is reported to have yielded no result.
Skelton Cline claimed he was never allowed to complete that project.
The Clergyman said he felt the program, at the time, was used as a political football between members of the then Virgin Islands Party administration and former Second District Representative, J. Alvin Christopher. This, Skelton Cline said, was because persons believed he intended to run against Christopher in the 2011 general elections.
Skelton Cline ultimately contested that election as the National Democratic Party’s Second District candidate but lost to Christopher.
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