Candidates’ views on trust future (Jonathan Wills)

Last week I wrote to all four candidates for the Shetland seat in the Scottish Parliament, asking them if they agreed with the principle that the majority of trustees on the Shetland Charitable Trust should be elected.

I have had replies from Danus Skene (SNP), Cameron Smith (Conservative) and Robina Barton (Labour). All of them agree with the democratic principle being applied to the trust. Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat candidate, told me he did not wish to comment at this stage.

Next Thursday, 12th May, the trust is scheduled to discuss a proposal to reduce the number of councillors on the £200 million-plus trust from seven to four, perpetuating an unelected majority on the board.

It is deplorable that there is apparently no intention to consult the public before the undemocratic option for change is voted on.

have been informed that trustees at their meeting will not be allowed to vote on my alternative proposal, that the number of councillors be zero and in their place the public should directly elect eight nominees for seats on the trust. These eight would have a majority of the 15 seats on the board.

It is deplorable that there is apparently no intention to consult the public before the undemocratic option for change is voted on. There was an extensive public consultation last time the trust changed its constitution. No-one has explained to me why this time is different.

Jonathan Wills
Independent councillor,
Lerwick South ward
Lerwick Town Hall.


Add Your Comment
  • Johan Adamson

    • May 3rd, 2016 14:55

    Why are Trustees not allowed to vote on the alternative proposal? Are Trustee/ councillors not allowed to change the agenda?

  • John Tulloch

    • May 3rd, 2016 16:42

    The Trust was established for the benefit of Shetland residents and it must be democratically accountable to them. There is no other acceptable way.

    Any undemocratic solution approved or imposed by OSCR will demonstrate the need for Shetland to have control of its own affairs i.e. self-governing autonomy.

  • iantinkler

    • May 4th, 2016 8:44

    Dr Wills states, “It is deplorable that there is apparently no intention to consult the public before the undemocratic option for change is voted on.” Well maybe the centralizing powers that are, the SNP/SG of Dannus Skene, that Johnathon so supports and the SNP appointed Charities Regulator (OSCR), are taking a lesson from the Wills/Ratter and SIC VE Trustees. That cabal of the self-serving, happily got into bed with Viking Energy and the SNP wind turbine fantasy. No meaningful or democratic consultation there with Shetland folk!. Strange how Dr Wills seems to point both ways when it comes to democratic choice.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 8th, 2016 22:11

    The timing of the trust’s announcement is cynical in the extreme.

    This contemptible power grab by the ‘Undemocrats’ must be thwarted.

    Wake up, Shetland!

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 9th, 2016 19:15

    Listening to Radio Shetland tonight where the charitable trust was a topic of the news and words like political coup were used, which got me wondering. My curiosity got the better of me and I found to my amazement that there are an unnatural amount of trustees who are members of the SNP. Not really being up on the running or workings of a charitable trusts, I thought as most of the noise being made about changes to the trusts membership was by someone who is SNP orientated that there could in fact be a connection. Not only that, it has been muted that the present Scottish government would like us to spend our trust fund on thing like Shetland’s NHS and public services, I presume to make more tax payers cash available for the favored central belt. There would be no better way to do this than to infiltrate the trust with SNP trustees. Maybe someone with a better knowledge of how the trust works could tell me if this would be possible and why if this is what is feared why does someone not say it outright.

  • Heather Butler

    • May 30th, 2016 0:31

    I consider that the make up of the Trust should remain as it is.


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