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NDP meeting told: Governor takes $1.8 million

Governor John Duncan (left) and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Governor John Duncan (left) and Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

The National Democratic Party (NDP) government is being challenged to come public with information it disclosed during a private NDP meeting on Wednesday evening.

According to a former party candidate, Claude Skelton Cline, the government told NDP faithfuls at the private meeting that Governor John Duncan has requested $1.8 million from the Treasury.

The governor last week told journalists that he would have used his constitutional powers to force Government to allocate an additional $800,000 to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). He said his requests for additional funds had fallen on deaf ears.

According to Skelton Cline, it is incumbent on the government to publicly explain the difference in the figures stated above.

He questioned why the government raised the issue at a private political meeting and not in the public domain.

Skelton Cline was speaking on national radio with talk-show host Cromwell Smith when he blurted out what was discussed at the NDP meeting.

“By the way, you (Smith) were in the meeting last night (Wednesday) where you heard that the $800,000 is now $1.8 million. They (members of Government) should at least come to the public. What is that?”

“If the governor is telling us he is usurping his authority – his reserve power to take $800,000 and then less than a week later we hear from the same government in a private meeting that it’s really $1.8 million that they received a warrant for, somebody needs to explain that to the people. Was the governor misquoted? Did the governor lie?” added Skelton Cline.

He accused the NDP government of having a communication deficit; hence being unable to mobilize support around issues.

“I think you owe it to your people that elected you to serve, to tell them what’s happening in their territory so that they can make informed decisions,” Skelton Cline further said.

Smith, the radio host, agreed.

He explained: “More needs to be done in terms of communication. I think everybody who has come in the country has been saying it; that the government needs to communicate to people much much much more… There are a number of things that have to be explained – not just this one thing [about the governor].”

“There are a number of things that the government has to come forward and explain and let the public know why things happen the way they happen and what needs to be done to rectify certain things, so that the people could make decisions based on facts and exercise their cognitive judgment… So, hopefully in the days ahead we will see some action around getting the people to understand what’s really going on,” Smith further said.

Governor explains why he is seeking $1.8M

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