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Majority for elected trustees

Public listening exercise

JUST OVER half of those interviewed during a ‘public listening exercise’ are in favour of a fully elected Shetland Charitable Trust, campaigners have said.


Members of newly formed campaign group Democracy for Shetland’s Charitable Trust took to the streets of Lerwick on Saturday and interviewed 33 people.

Their actions follow Thursday’s vote by the trust to reduce the number of council trustees from seven to four and increase the number of appointed trustees to be in charge of the £230 million trust.

A proposal to refer the changes back to the trust’s own governance committee for re-consideration was heavily defeated.

And a compromise proposal, drafted by the trust vice-chair Jonathan Wills, to have eight trustees elected and seven appointed, was not allowed to be tabled.

Democracy for Shetland’s Charitable Trust wants to put control of the trust, which manages Shetland’s oil millions, in the hands of elected trustees.

The trust has said that it was not accountable to the general public but to its trust deed and the charities regulator OCSR.

Less than ten per cent of those questioned were in favour of the trust’s own reform proposals, the group said.

An unnamed spokesman said their initial findings indicated the trust’s position is unacceptable to the Shetland public.

“Like it or not, our research indicates the bulk of people in Shetland feel that Shetland Charitable Trust is their money, and think they should have as much as a right to say as any unelected trustee.

“Given that Dr Wills’ well argued compromise proposal was all but rejected out of hand by the No-Mandate trustees, we have no choice now but to assume his proposal is a dead duck and try to rally public opinion behind our proposal for a fully elected trust.

“We will do this by launching a petition via our website, which we expect to be ready shortly.

“However, we hope Dr. Wills will postpone rethinking his position until he can read through all the mixed method data gathered on Saturday, as many people had a great deal to say on that and other connected matters.”

“In the meantime the people of Shetland are very welcome to share their thoughts with us via our campaign email info@democracy4sct.com,” the spokesman said.