Knowing the procurement rules was not part of my cruise advice
Pastor Claude Skelton Cline insisted he didn’t need to know anything about government procurement procedures while serving as a consultant during the cruise dock project.
As a consultant, he evaluated the proposal of developers, Tortola Port Partners (TPP), who initially valued the development at $ 57 million and was ultimately selected to execute the project. The controversial project ultimately cost the government $ 82.9 million.
During his hearing on Monday, Cline told the Commission of Inquiry (COI) that the experience he had that allowed him to assess bids for the project was that of “leadership.”
Cline then drew the attention of IOC attendees through a nearby window overlooking the pier and said her leadership was what ultimately brought the project to fruition.
When asked by the IOC if he (Skelton Cline) would have been guided by some of the government’s policies in evaluating the submitted proposals, Cline said that was largely the job of the permanent secretary of the ministry.
Needs assessment, cost benefit analysis not included in my job description
He rejected any suggestion that he could have advised the then portfolio minister on the public finance regulations that were to come into force, arguing instead that this was outside the mandate of his consultants.
When told that this was relevant to how a tendering process should play out, Cline replied, âAs a private consultant, I wouldn’t have any insight into what the job is. functions, processes or systems of government, so I wish I had no reason to notify the Minister of any kind – if I understand your message correctly – [procedures] that comes in streaming. â
Skelton Cline insisted that topics such as needs assessment, cost-benefit analysis, cost estimation and scope development were also completely outside the scope of his board.
Conflict of interest?
After the acceptance of TPP’s proposal, Skelton Cline was subsequently appointed Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority, the entity responsible for overseeing the execution of the project.
He told IOC that there was no conflict of interest in accepting the position and performing the duties that came with it, even though he had helped find the successful bidder.
The project has been heavily criticized for its huge cost overruns. Former public works minister at the time, Mark Vanterpool, denied that there were any cost overruns.
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