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Skelton-Cline suspects ulterior motives behind press conference by Governor & CoP

Skelton-Cline suspects ulterior motives behind press conference by Governor & CoP

‘Honestly Speaking’ radio show moderator, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline says he suspects ulterior motives are surrounding the press conference hosted by Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert and Commissioner of Police, Michael B. Matthews, over the record-breaking $250M drug bust in Balsam Ghut, Tortola, on Friday, November 6, 2020.

A total of 2,353 kilos of cocaine was found in a container unit, a three-yard truck and a Ford Explorer jeep, all situated on the Balsam Ghut, property, according to police.

“I found it curious that Governor Jaspert and Police Commissioner Matthews came to us… to tell us in essence, that there is corruption in their ranks,” Skelton-Cline said in an interview with Cathy O. Richards on the Wednesday, November 11, 2020 edition of JTV’s The Big Story.

RVIPF Corruption


At the November 10, 2020, press conference, it was announced by the Commissioner that a serving officer of the RVIPF, Mr Darren Davis, 41, was implicated in the bust and, according to the man of the cloth, with both UK reps being ultimately responsible for law enforcement, he said there is now a major breach of public trust.

“This was not a customs officer, this was not immigration, this is the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force for which they are both responsible and so the magnitude and the scope of it, given that context, is not at all surprising,” Skelton-Cline said.

“To move that kind of product, the way those things what they look like and how their package looks like, it's a drop, it isn’t no quick fast boat that's going to pick up those things… so this is a major vessel of some sort that will be able to move that product,” he said.

Ultimately, he said, the word on the street is that you cannot move the product without law enforcement being involved. This he says highlights major corruption that needs to be investigated.

UK media coverage


Skelton-Cline called suspicious, the zealousness of UK media reports on the Press Conference, including access to photos by the RVIPF to 'The Sun', that was not immediately provided to the local media in the Virgin Islands.

“The second thing I found curious about [the] press conference [is that] not only did they come to tell us that there's corruption in their ranks, but then immediately we saw it being headlined in the newspapers in the United Kingdom, which in and of itself also raises a red flag in my spirit,” he said.


Skelton-Cline also called suspicious, the zealousness of UK media reports on the Press Conference, including access to photos by the RVIPF to 'The Sun', that was not immediately provided to the local media in the Virgin Islands.

An opportunity for UK to step in?


Skelton-Cline said the article sought to put pressure on the UK Ministers to tackle the drug trade in the region, which has a connection to border control in the VI and further opens a door for the UK to step in.

The UK stepping in to manage the borders of the territory would be seen by some as an insult to the VI as it seeks to push an agenda of self-determination.

The Virgin Islands has previously said it wishes to purchase and implement its own border surveillance system, with technical assistance from the UK and believes that the VI must be able to effectively manage its own affairs into the future with minimum assistance from the UK.



Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1), in a leaked letter to Baroness Elizabeth G. Sugg, CBE, the Minister for Sustainable Development and the Overseas Territories, in September 2020, said while the VI had requested assistance from the UK in the form of maritime surveillance support for a 3-month-period to complement the existing sea border protection strategy while a permanent border surveillance system is procured and installed by the VI, Governor Jaspert had proceeded to present a paper in a National Security Council meeting "which exaggerated the needs of the VI to paint a fabricated, inaccurate and misleading picture of the state of affairs and capabilities of the Territory to justify UK interventions, including military involvement, beyond the scope of what was requested by the Territorial Government."

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