On the heels of the announcement by outgoing Governor Augustus Jaspert that there would soon be a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into cases of alleged corruption and victimization in the territory, Government Consultant Claude Skelton Cline is now questioning whether it is all a ploy by the United Kingdom to regain control of the British Virgin Islands.
“I believe that this COI coming five minutes to midnight from Governor Jaspert, who is on his way out by the way could not be done on his own. He must have had the blessing of the Minister of State, the Foreign Secretary Minister, and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom. So he is not operating in isolation here. Somehow he must have been able to convince them that this is the right course of action for the Virgin Islands,” Skelton Cline remarked during his hour-long show on Tuesday, January 19.
He added, “If that is the case, and clearly it must be the case then what is this? What might it be then the United Kingdom is up to? Is this a prelude or a pre-step to the UK coming in and taking over? Is the UK through this COI laying the groundwork for whatever this six-month period is to give justification, to find whatever it is they could find that justifies their moving in and taking control of these Virgin Islands?”
Skelton Cline then pointed out the haste with which the UK based news organizations had the story, further questioning whether the whole thing was a coordinated effort to draw global attention to the territory.
“Is it possible that one of the reasons why this effort is so coordinated and has been placed in the international press, is it that the UK wants to send a message to the rest of the world including in the UK, “listen the folks in the Virgin Islands are corrupt or corruptible and therefore when you see us get ready to make this next move, don’t wonder about what it is?” Is it intentional? Is it organized on behalf of the UK to feed a steady diet to the international press that then gives justification for whatever they may come up with six months from now that allows them to take the next step from the pre-step which means coming in and taking over this country?” Skelton Cline stated.
While stating that it is not “ultimately important” he said, only the Premier and the Governor can speak to the nature of their relationship “that would then spill over into the public sphere in part or in parcel or the whole as to why we are here now.”
The two leaders have been at constant loggerheads since the Andrew Fahie administration took office in February 2019, particularly towards the ending of the Governor's tenure where he reported to the press that persons spoke to him of cases of alleged corruption and victimization in the territory.
At that time, Governor Jaspert vowed to probe the allegations weeks before the bombshell announcement of the COI.