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Six to stand in by-election

SIX LOCAL men are to contest the Shetland Central by-election which was called after Iris Hawkins stood down as councillor after 17 years in the post.

The by-election on 15 December comes just a few months before the Scottish local government election, in early May next year.

The names of the candidates were announced by Shetland Islands Council’s  deputy returning officer Anne Cogle, on Tuesday afternoon.

They are, in alphabetical order: Stephen Morgan, Clive Richardson, David Sandison, Ian Scott, Scotty Van der Tol and Robert Williamson.

Mr Morgan, the council’s former head of children’s service, said he stands for “common sense” politics.

“I feel I have got a lot to offer to the Shetland community. Shetland has given me a lot in life and I feel I have thriven on what Shetland has given me. I think I have skills and ability to give something back to the community.

“I am a decisive person, I can make decisions, whether they are easy or difficult ones, and I will stick to them. I also have a good working knowledge of how the council operates.

“We don’t have an endless pot of money, but we are not doomed either; so if we manage it properly we could continue to be the best place in the county to live, the 39 year old from Tingwall said.

Meanwhile, north mainland resident Clive Richardson brings party politics into the local government scene as he stands for the Conservative and Unionist party.

The 48 year old is employed at the power station at the Sullom Voe Terminal and has a keen interest in the local political and economical scene.

Born in Lerwick, he spent many years with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (RRF) before returning to Shetland in 1992.

He said that the RRF creed stating ‘I will never accept defeat’ and ‘I will place the mission and the team first’; were both particularly applicable for the local authority in the years ahead.

The chairman of the Scalloway community council, David Sandison, has also put his name forward.

The 51 year old, who has been the general manager for fish farming trades body Shetland Aquaculture for many years, said he has been representing many people over the years.

“I do an awful lot in the community, I have lots of different voluntary roles, and therefore I feel it is my duty to step up and take on the responsibility.

“My philosophy is that change takes time. You need to build strong and productive relationships with both fellow members and senior officials. Generally speaking I will be looking at how we can achieve efficiencies but still deliver the same services and cut the cost of delivering those services,” he said.

Scalloway resident Ian Scott, meanwhile, said he was against savage cuts but in favour of “taking an honest look at staff numbers”.

“After having been told for many years not to bring politics into local government, the current council can’t wait to install their own Tory policies.

“We should look at our reserve funds for the next two or three years, take out what is needed to maintain our services. If we find that a reduction in staff numbers is justified, then a long term strategy of, perhaps 10 years , should be used to get the number down,” the 57 year old lifelong socialist said.

Scotty Van der Tol, formerly known as Scotty Dyble, said that as a councillor he was keen to help and stand for the people in the community.

“Long-term I believe in autonomy for Shetland, but that will only happen once people are prepared to do something about it.

“The council needs to stop wasting money in all sorts of ways. For example the council needs to rationalise on all the buildings it has, and sell those off they don’t need.

“The council should aim to be as streamlined as possible; I don’t go along with the idea to give everybody a council job, the local authority should put more effort in helping the private sector,“ the qualified butcher said.

Trade union man Robert Williamson, from Tingwall, said he was closely involved in a lot of council business through his role as the president GMB’s Lerwick branch.

The maintenance technician at the local waste to energy plant said the council in its dealings often appeared to him like a Shetlander with a shed full of tools but not finding the right implement to do the job.

“We need a bit of stock taking, we need to get the resources and abilities utilised in a productive way for the benefit of our community here.

“The kind of opportunities our children will have are shaped by what we do now, we are talking about how Shetland sets itself up for the next 30 or so years,” the 49 year old said.

Ms Cogle said that residents of the Central Ward were reminded to make sure that they are on the electoral register to be able to vote.

The deadline for registrations, to apply for a new postal vote or amend an existing postal vote, is Tuesday 29 November.

For registration or an application for postal vote, contact the Electoral Registration Office at Charlotte House, Commercial Road, Lerwick, phone: 01595 745 700, email: ero@shetland.gov.uk

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