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Letters / Dubious claims and cost estimates

Last week we saw in the local media that a large donation was made to the scanner appeal by locally owned fishing companies (Pelagic fishermen to donate £100,000 to MRI scanner appeal; SN, 16 August 2019).

This donation is an example of how investment in one industry can touch the lives of many in the wider community.

It has often been quoted that ‘one job in the fishing industry provides seven ashore’, whether this is true or not, it is an undeniable fact that other local companies within the Shetland community can thrive and profit from the fishing companies’ investment in vessels to harvest the abundance of the sustainable resource of fish that annually migrate around our shores.

It would appear that those running the SIC are unaware of this, as all attempts to improve these vessels’ home port (which is owned by the SIC) to keep pace with the development of the fleet have been thwarted by council officials presenting reports to the councillors containing dubious information and figures with no calculations to back them up.

The attempt by the Nergard company to invest in building two new fish processing plants in the Whalsay harbour being a prime example, as the proposal was dismissed after a report was presented by a council official containing dubious claims and cost estimates, that were from 30 per cent to 150 per cent higher for the required harbour improvements than the estimated costs we had received a year or two earlier.

I have often wondered how there can be such a difference between the figures I have sourced for harbour and transport proposals over the past few years and the figures that are presented by SIC officials.

Perhaps the answer may lie in these two documents:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/code-conduct-councillors/pages/1/

https://www.shetland.gov.uk/about_how_we_work/documents/EmployeeCodeofConductSeptember2012.pdf

While this may have no bearing on the case, I am not aware of any reason why there should be a difference under the Honesty heading in the Key principles sections of the Code of Conduct for Councillors and the one for council staff.

I have not been able to source any SIC Code of Conduct document in force prior to 2012.

William Polson
North Park
Whalsay

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