Ninth District Representative and former Labour minister Vincent Wheatley has questioned whether the territory’s water and sewerage problems were not more important than the government’s contracts with Claude Skelton Cline.
“Somehow I feel that we have kind of cherry-picked a little case here to make a point, and I will have absolutely no part in crucifying somebody who is already severely damaged in the public eye right now,” Wheatley said in the House of Assembly.
Skelton Cline was paid in excess of $365,000 for contracts which he reportedly never delivered on, but Wheatley suggested these pale in comparison to the annual loss of some $20 million by the Water and Sewerage Department which he suggested was not being given sufficient attention.
“We saw in Standing Finance [Committee deliberations] where Water and Sewerage Department loses on average, about $20 million a year. Isn’t that more important for us to look at and report to the governor?” Wheatley asked.
He continued: “We have people’s lives being affected all over the BVI and we’re gonna come here and just single out one person. Are we saying that these other things aren’t important? What are we trying to prove here?”
Wheatley, who was part of the Andrew Fahie
administration’s Cabinet that approved the contracts, called the debate over the contracts ‘unusual’ and said persons reputations should not be played around with.
According to Wheatley, future generations will look back and question why lawmakers were wasting their time debating Skelton Cline’s contracts while serious issues needed to be addressed.
He suggested that politicians should instead be focused on addressing what he described as a broken system.
“We all know the system is broken. Let’s find some good solutions for addressing these kinds of things. We saw what happened before with our plane for $7.2 million,” he argued.