HEART Meeting Votes To Set Up Political Party

Meeting was held in the Town Hall

A group of islanders have voted overwhelmingly to set up a new political party in Scilly.

That’s the bold outcome of the second meeting of HEART, which was set up in response to concerns over the way the Islands’ Council is operating.

Around 160 people attended the first meeting on May 31st, following which working parties came up with a long list of proposals to help what they perceive as a climate of fear and lack of transparency in the Islands’ Council.

Yesterday’s meeting in the Town Hall, chaired by Dr Adrian Davis, attracted around half that number of attendees.

Those attending were asked to say which of four key aims they wanted to move forward with. These included encouraging positive interactions with Councillors, supporting members of the community to speak out without fear and raising awareness of how decisions are made in the Council.

But it was the proposal to form a party to support members of the community to stand in next May’s elections that received the support of the attendees.

A working group has already looked into the procedures required to form a party, said Adrian, such as registering as a ‘minor party’ with the electoral commission. He also confirmed during the meeting that they would set up a committee to select candidates.

The proposal was carried forward by 71 votes for with 6 votes against.

However, there was a vocal minority in the meeting who pushed for a vote of no-confidence in the chief officers. Adrian had told attendees earlier in the meeting that officially, only Councillors could take such a vote.

But several attendees argued that a vote of no confidence by the community, in the form of a petition, would at least make them “stop and think” about their actions.

Lisa Magill from HEART said it wasn’t the place of the organisation to take such a vote. Other attendees were also concerned about who such a vote was targeted at, with one saying they didn’t want the Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, included in that vote and another saying it should be aimed at the Chief Executive and his deputy.

Councillor Roy Duncan cautioned that the discussion was “verging on a public hanging,” He said he had “heard rumours and whispers” but there was no evidence of any alleged wrongdoing by Chief Officers.

Adrian said that one of the aims of the HEART party would be to gather such evidence in the form of written testimonials and Louise Graham said she had made information on support for whistleblowers available on the HEART website. She said if anyone wanted to talk about alleged bullying within the Council she could provide contact numbers.


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