For those of you new to living in the South Mainland, or perhaps voting in a local election for the first time, I am a Shetlander and who has lived and worked for many years in my local community.
I have had the pleasure of representing the constituents of Ward 5 in the Shetland Islands Council for the past five years where my priorities have been the continued maintenance and improvement of care services for the elderly and those with more complex needs.
I am passionate about the provision of adequate and affordable housing within the isles, particularly for the younger generation who will be the lifeblood and future of our islands.
I have served on the Northern Joint Police and Fire Board on behalf of the Shetland Islands Council and am encouraged to see the progress being made in the fight against drugs in Shetland, and I shall continue to support police initiatives in this fight.
I have the enthusiasm to serve you for another five years if you are prepared to give me the opportunity and along with issues you may wish me to pursue in the Council Chamber my priorities for the forthcoming term of office are explained here:
With the support of my colleagues in the Council Chamber, the support of the staff of the Shetland Islands Council and the assistance of many outside agencies I feel I have helped to achieve the following for Shetland:
a £600,000 grant from the Scottish Government for Council house building;
the retention of the Job Centre Plus Offices in Shetland for the benefit of the Shetland Community;
- the new build and/or upgrade of six Fire Stations throughout the islands and the Training Facility at Sumburgh.
For my constituency Shetland South, I feel I have achieved with the aforementioned along with:
- Sandwick Fire Station
- Fair Isle Fire Station
- Fair Isle Bird Observatory
- Fair Isle Hall New Roof
- Fair Isle Surgery
- Speed restrictions at Sandwick School, Bigton, Scatness and Dunrossness Mid Central
- Fire Training Establishment at Wilsness
- Sumburgh Lighthouse Re-development (ongoing)
- Sandsayre Pier (ongoing)
My objectives for the next five years
- Reduce ferry service costs except for the remoter isles
- Closure of Tingwall Airport
- Moratorium of SIC staff recruitment
- Reduce Council Staff overtime
- Sale of Council assets surplus to requirements
- Shared services and partnership working with outside agencies e.g. N.H.S.
- Reduction in the number and use of Consultants
Education and families
- Continue with Primary School amalgamations to facilitate savings.
- Repeal Halls of Residence charges for Secondary 5 and 6 classes
- Rationalisation of Junior Secondary education throughout the isles
- Expedite the building of the new Anderson High School on the Staneyhill site
- Christmas Grant to continue to be funded from the Shetland Charitable Trust for Senior Citizens and people with special needs
- Tackle fuel poverty with continued dialogue with the Scottish Government to obtain additional funding for Shetland
- Freefield Centre to remain open
- Use and supply of locally fresh produce for Council made meals rather than the use of frozen foods.
- Negotiate for the writing off of Shetland’s £40 million housing debt as a matter of priority
- Provide new affordable housing for potential tenants with particular emphasis on developments in rural areas.
- Work closely and in partnership with the Hjaltland Housing Association
- Investigate the possibility of funding to insulate the SIC’s housing stock with priority being given to more vulnerable tenants.
- Expedite actions to provide fixed links to Bressay and the Northern Isles in the form of tunnels
- Continue to research and investigate sources of funding for fixed links, particularly funding availability from Europe.
Police and fire services
- Lerwick Police Station to remain open 24 hours a day
- Maintain current number of police officers in Shetland
- Put Shetland’s case at the forefront for local accountability for police and fire before a single board for both are implemented in 2013
- To safeguard and maintain as many sustainable fire stations in Shetland’s rural communities
- Encourage more volunteer fire-fighters in rural communities
- Share properties with other agencies to facilitate savings
Environment and transport
- Transport issues must be considered alongside planning, housing development and social needs throughout the islands not as separate issues
- Maintain affordable freight and travel links to the Mainland
Shetland Charitable Trust
- Election not selection
- Trust Board set at 15 members, 8 of those elected independently, 7 from elected Councillors (one from each Ward)
- The Chairperson is not an elected Councillor and has an independent casting vote
- At present this is an emotive and contentious issue among Shetlanders. At this stage I would give my support only if Shetland were to become self sufficient in wind power
- For future developments I retain an open mind for future exportation of power derived from wind, tide or wave.
Audit and standards
- With the history of Council “events” in Shetland recently, the continued role of this Council Committee is paramount to hold both Members and Officers to account, to ensure good governance and maintain policy and procedures within the Council.
- To work closely with both internal and external auditors and ensure best value for the SIC’s finances at all times
- To support and assist all local industries in times of financial hardship and in particular ensure that Sumburgh Airport remains Shetland’s main airport as it is the South Mainland’s biggest employer.
Priorities for 2012-2017 if I am re-elected:
- Social care for senior citizens and those with complex needs
- Continued high standards of education for our young people
- Fight for good housing and transport equally
- Proceed with a new build Eric Gray Centre at Seafield
If re-elected, I promise my constituents the following because I like helping and working with people:
Firstly, I shall pursue the interests of my constituents in particular, then Shetland’s in general.
I will listen and help everybody to the best of my ability where ever possible.
I am a very determined and tenacious person, sometimes dogmatic, as I have shown in the Council Chamber, but will not be afraid to stand up and argue my case.
I have certain values in life and will always campaign for fairness, truth, equality, justice and transparency.
I will carry out my duties faithfully at all times and ask tough questions when required.
I will make myself available to my constituents by telephone, home visits, emails and through community councils.
For these reasons and others, if you consider I am a suitable candidate to be your elected Councillor for South Shetland Ward 5 in the forthcoming election, I ask for your vote on 3 May 2012.
Finally, please judge me on my track record over the past five years
Thank you for your support over the past five years, if you elect me I promise to work tirelessly for the good of the community in particular and the whole of Shetland in general.
Phone 01950 460 821
Mobile 07833 316 627
Fax 01950 460 952: