Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool rushed to the defence of former managing director of the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), Claude Skelton-Cline by announcing in the House of Assembly that Skelton-Cline’s name should not be caught up in the cruise pier rumors.
While speaking in the House of Assembly on 18 April Hon. Vanterpool commented: “Let me say something here that might shatter some people. I want to make it clear that as Minister responsible for the subject of Ports, people need to leave Claude Skelton-Cline alone,” Hon. Vanterpool said as he began his support for the former managing director of BVIPA .
“Stop blaming him and calling the man names that he shouldn’t be called. I agree with him that his name is important; it is wrong to be assuming things that you don’t know.”
The Minister’s staunch show of support comes days after Skelton-Cline informed the media that he intended to seek judicial recourse as a cure for his slight. However, Hon. Vanterpool informed the House that his comments had nothing to do with the fact that Skelton-Cline had legal intentions. “It has nothing to do with the court case,” he declared.
Hon. Vanterpool said: “People need to leave the gentleman alone. I am not afraid to say it here — it’s nothing about my relationship with him. I know his family well, I know his wife, his kid and I know his extended family, because I feel the same way when people talk about me being corrupt and write it on the online news.”
“And have it all over the place. My children are reading it and are upset and sad. My grandchildren will come to read it. It is wrong to be making assumptions about people that you don’t know about. It is wrong and I will defend the name of Pastor Claude Cline,” he added.
Opposition, Hon. Julian Fraser interjected and reminded that a court case was in the winds. Hon. Fraser said: “I don’t care in what context you use Mr. Skelton Cline’s name in this House, there is a standing case in court regarding this issue. I don’t think it is appropriate, no matter the context.”
The Opposition Leader’s view was supported by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe who indicated that the discussion should be confined and omit mention of Skelton-Cline.
However, Hon. Vanterpool was not swayed from his statements and said: “I understand the case, I know there is a fine line, so what I say will not have anything to do with that.”