SIR, – Having been the focus of attack in the many recent press releases from the Scottish Crofting Federation, which should not be privy to details on Commission business, or indeed my role in such business; that is unless it is now in bed with the commission mole it was vigorously trying to identify in 2015 when seeking answers during the Susan Walker debacle and has now forgotten about.
I can assure the SCF that prior to my becoming convener, the mole was identified and the information was provided to the appropriate persons to take the matter forward.
I am confident that if the SCF was to actually speak with myself and establish the facts rather than be guessing or listening to persons with alternative agendas, it may well quite like a lot of what I have endeavoured to bring to the commission, with the full support of the majority of the board, which is fair and equitable treatment of all crofters by applying the law fairly and equitably from Shetland to Arran as enacted by parliament, and not by judging crofters as good or bad people.
They may like to know that the recently reported case in which the commission decision was overturned as “being so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could have come to such a decision" was taken against my guidance as convener.
I can say that prior to the case coming for decision, it was stated to myself “you cannot approve this one or it will open the flood gates”. Quite why the executive has such views when Parliament has provided for such situations is not something I can explain, nor is it something which I condone .
The SCF may agree with the fact action was taken when I established little or no correspondence received by the commission over a protracted period had been responded or acknowledged and that the core business of the commission, serving our customers, was not being delivered to a satisfactory standard.
Why was it not being delivered? I have received no satisfactory explanation but remain satisfied the new CIS system was the reason while other smoke screens were being put up to hide the real issue.
One may ask was the chief executive too busy dealing with grazing constables and lost focus on the delivery of service requirement?
Or is it simply down to the failure of the new computer system to deliver the goods? Why was the chief executive dealing with grazing constables and co-authoring documents now in the public domain when core business was suffering?
Susan Walker cannot be blamed some 18 months after she was made the scapegoat for the failings of others, so, who do we blame this time for the problems?
Oh no, we cannot name and shame the real problem, so, let's just again blame the convener and deflect focus from the real problem.
This time, the convener was not interfering with executive business or performing the dual role Susan Walker stood accused off, so, the convener is negligent of his duty, accused of taking decisions outwith the board and single handed doing all that was wrong, and must resign in order to alter the dynamic of the real problem . Damned if you do and damned if you don’t !
Why don’t we tell the world it was 'his view', 'he did it' shift the focus away from the real problem, but we will not reveal that the board decision was not implemented regarding legal advice; we will not reveal we had obtained the opinion of senior and junior counsel on related matters and simply did not even discuss the content as a board.
We will not reveal who authorised or extended the appointment of the constable for which no legal provision appears to exist. In fact, we will not even bother to bring the requested report as per the board minute to the board in month five regarding the constable prior to the executive executing an extension; we will not acknowledge the agreed board procedure for appointing grazing constables was ignored; nor will we acknowledge the fact that the agreed board members were not involved in the process of two of the appointments – in fact, just ignore the agreed panel of three constables and pick constables of the choice of the executive, then we will phone the convener at 6.50am crying about the failure and the mess pleading as to what can be done after a letter appeared in The Scottish Farmer in June 2016 and the advice requested by the board in September 2015 was actually discussed with the legal department.
The questions the federation should now be seeking answers to! Why and by whom were such decisions being taken and why were board decisions not being fully implemented? Is the meeting of September 28, 2016 intra virus ?
I trust it will now slip quietly down from the donkey saddle and act in the best interests of its members and crofting rather than wasting energy with a vendetta against myself, and should redirect resources in an effort to actually get to the truth.
It is the truth which counts, and with much more information that can go in this letter, I trust and remain confident the governance of the board was in good shape until the ultra vires 'special' meeting held in Brora on September 28, authorised by the chief executive, who was on sick leave, and had sent apologies, but was still conducting business behind the scenes with a commissioner close to the 2015 debacle, but all outwith the knowledge of the convener who was not contacted.
Who said lightning does not strike in the same place twice? It has in Great Glen House, only this time the convener has not resigned, just as he refused to step aside from the convener election in 2015 when requested to do so by a fellow commissioner, who was actively seeking election as convener in 2015 .
Colin N Kennedy
Isle Of Coll