In his recent Shetland News opinion column (Latest reforms part of a long journey; SN, 13/05/16), my friend and colleague Keith Massey says he wants “fairer and more comprehensive representation of the people of Shetland” on the charitable trust. This is a laudable aim.
However, if councillors should not be trustees any more (and they shouldn’t, because the council is a beneficiary of the trust) then the only method I know of achieving “representation” is by the public having a direct vote for the majority of trusteeships. Anything else is surely either co-option or consultation.
Don’t tell me we could have voluntary organisations making up the “democratic deficit”, because most of them also benefit, directly or indirectly, from trust funding. That won’t work.
The bizarre thing is that, by writing this letter, I risk being thrown off the trust for breaching corporate confidentiality.
There are some amongst us who find abhorrent the idea of trustees publicly debating issues in the media. They think it “brings the trust into disrepute”. On the contrary, the current debate is necessary and beneficial for the Shetland people’s trust.
Unlike some people, I have a mandate to do this. In 2012 I was re-elected as a councillor on a manifesto to “campaign for a directly elected, democratic majority on the Shetland Charitable Trust”.
So I intend to continue making public comment on the future of the trust and I defy anyone who tries to stop me.
Councillor Jonathan Wills
Lerwick South ward