Claude Skelton Cline (left) and Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister for Communications and Works.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool says he is not prepared to take a resolution to increase the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) Managing Director's pay package to Cabinet for approval.
Minister Vanterpool, who has responsibility for the BVIPA, told reporters shortly after 1:30 pm today, March 15, that he learned of plans to increase the Managing Director's pay package through the media.
Mr. Claude Skelton Cline is the current Managing Director.
The Minister's announcement comes just two days after BVI Platinum News reported about the plan to increase the package by adding a special duty allowance.
"As Minister for Communications and Works, I wish to advise that I am not prepared to take a resolution to increase the remuneration package for the BVI Ports Authority Managing Director to Cabinet," he said.
In his announcement, which was made in the Premier's conference room, the Minister said Cabinet approved the appointment of the Managing Director to the post in December last year with the same remuneration package of the previous Managing Director, Mr. Vincent O'Neal.
"I was surprised to learn of a board resolution to adjust that package. Serving on the board is part of the manager's responsibility. I will recommend to the BVI Ports Authority Board that it reconsiders its resolution," he stated.
Minister Vanterpool told reporters that Government appreciates the contribution of citizens to statutory boards, which at times can be very time consuming and entails a tremendous amount of responsibility.
"This is the case with the BVI Ports Authority Board. Therefore, as Minister, I will recommend board allowances from time to time which are usually considered by Cabinet in comparison to similar boards allowances. The BVI Ports Authority falls under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Works and we want to thank them for the good work they have been doing so far," the Minister stated.
In response to questions by the media, Minister Vanterpool said the board passed the resolution with the hope of taking it to Cabinet, but, "As I said, I am not prepared to take the resolution to Cabinet. It stops there...It goes to Cabinet at the discretion of the Minister...I am asking the board to reconsider their resolution."
When asked when and how he was made aware of the resolution, the Minister said it was brought to his attention through the press.
"I think I said in my statement I was surprised, therefore I was not aware...I don't know the specific date, but recently. In fact, I learnt of it through the press to be very honest," he stressed.
The Minister said he has already spoken to the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Edward deCastro on the matter and he will be attending a meeting with the board soon.
"I know I have a visiting with the board at its next meeting to discuss a number matters; that's all I would say...The Chairman understood what I said..."
When asked if he was disappointed in the move, the Minister said, "I am not a person who is disappointed in anything. I am here as the Minister to carry out my functions and the board is there to carry out its function, and the board has done a very good job so far..."
Article Published March 13, 2013 - Attempts Made To Top-Up Ports Director's Pay Package
Some two months after Cabinet approved a pay package and the appointment of Mr. Claude Skelton Cline as Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), an attempt has been made to increase that package without first seeking Cabinet's approval.
BVI Platinum News understands that the BVIPA Board met last month and passed a resolution from its six-member finance sub-committee to implement a special duty allowance of $12,000 per annum for the Director.
Information suggests that Mr. Skelton Cline sits on the finance sub-committee of the board.
The attempt to introduce the special duty allowance comes on the heels of Cabinet's approval of a $105,000 pay package for Mr. Skelton Cline, which includes allowances for housing, entertainment and telephone.
Mr. Skelton Cline's appointment became effective in December, 2012.
At last month's meeting, the nine-member board also agreed to increase the stipend for board members. It was agreed that the Chairman of the Board would receive a $500 increase, while the other board members would receive an additional $300.
This means that the Chairman would now stand to receive $2000 and ordinary board members would receive $1,000 per month.
Additionally, BVI Platinum News understands that the board was of the opinion that Cabinet's approval was not necessary and had set about making arrangements to implement the increases without going through Cabinet.
However, since BVI Platinum News started probing the decision by the board, sources confirmed that fresh attempts are being made by high-ranking Government officials to clean up the situation by having the board's decision brought to Cabinet for approval.
BVI Platinum News has learnt that the board is yet to meet for this month to discuss the recent move to have the resolution brought before Cabinet.
When contacted, Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool had no comment on the situation, while Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority Board, Mr. Edward deCastro assured that the increases will be taken to Cabinet.
The additional increase comes just weeks after the board clashed with retirees who were released from duty. The board subsequently met with the workers on January 22, 2012 and arrived at an amicable decision to offer the workers a three-month pay out.
The workers were peeved when they received their letters following a decision taken by Mr. Skelton Cline to issue the letters.
As previously reported by BVI Platinum News, some members of the board were unhappy with the Managing Director's decision to release the workers with three-weeks notice. Some board members were in favor of a three-month notice and were also not pleased since they were not notified by the Managing Director prior to the letters being distributed.
When contacted on January 15, Mr. Skelton Cline refused to disclose the circumstances surrounding the release of the retirees without proper notification. However, following the publication of the BVI Platinum News article, Mr. Skelton Cline came public with details.
He told ZBVI that the issue of release is always a sensitive issue and anytime someone receives a release notice, it is never going to be good. He revealed that some eight retirees were immediately affected and not 15 as sources were saying.