Islands’ Man Wants End To Ring Fenced Council Seats

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

A St Mary’s man wants to end the system of having Councillor seats ring fenced for each island.

Barneslie Ward argues that the islands are not five separate units but should be one place with a common identity and says a community gets the Council it deserves, except in Scilly.

He wants all candidates to go before the entire electorate.

In the last election, the two people standing on each off-island were unopposed, meaning that they were automatically elected to serve.

The situation was different on St Mary’s, where there were more candidates than seats and there was a competitive election.

Barnselie has hit out at the Vice Chair of Council, Marian Bennett, for using her casting vote to break a deadlock in the Policy and Resources Committee that deals with Town Hall finances.

Councillor Bennett’s vote meant that a request to add £2100 to the budget of the Standards Committee, that investigates allegations of breaking rules and protocol, was approved.

Marian rejects Barnselie’s claim that she shouldn’t have used that power, as she has not been elected.

But the Bryher-based Councillor says she was.

She feels that off-island representation is important as there are special issues like inter-island transport and refuse collection, which need to be addressed by a local member.

However, Marian says all members should work for the islands as a whole and she feels that she does that.



3 Responses to Islands’ Man Wants End To Ring Fenced Council Seats

  1. Ken January 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I absolutely agree with Mr Ward an unelected councillor certainly shouldn’t be Vice Chair.

  2. Bertrand January 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Unfortunate that Councillor Bennett’s choose to highlight inter-island transport and refuse,the two most contentious subjects on Bryher,and still not sorted, these can only be solved by someone outside the community for obvious reasons.

  3. Simon January 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    If the off island councillors work for the islands as a whole, then where is the harm in letting the “Whole” electorate vote for them? If they do the job well, they will still get elected, just look at Fred Tisehurst. He llives on Bryher but has been ELECTED by the population of St Marys. If they thought he didn’t represent there views fairly, they would not have done it.