A senior member of Shepway Green Party Cllr Martin Whybrow (pictured), a KCC and Hythe Town Councillor has suggested that our public face and the Shepwayvox Team “pipe down for the next four years“. It seems a bit strange that he and his local green party do not want to be scrutinised. It is strange they do not want us to scrutinise their actions, our Council’s, KCC’s or even Hythe Town Council, especially as this is what they have long been calling for prior to the election in May 2019.
We suspect their protestations about us “piping down” might be to do with the fact they do not know how to use a spade or shovel and dig into what the Councils are up to. Let’s give you two real examples.
P & R Installation Company Limited, a company responsible for overcharging all four East Kent councils (Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet) between £1m – £1.5 million for providing central heating, gas and hot water repairs to over 17,000 homes, needs to be thoroughly scrutinised. Their contract with the four councils will end on July 3rd as they elected to activate the termination clause, and as such, have given all councils the 13 weeks necessary to terminate the troublesome contract.
Each month our council – Folkestone & Hythe District Council publish their payment to suppliers. This informs the public who has been paid, for what, when and how much. According to the payment for suppliers for the whole of 2018/19, the council have paid P & R £615,996.01. Yet it was known overcharging was happening as early as April/May 2018, so how did it come to pass that our Council continued to pay?
Is Martin Whybrow, KCC Cllr and Hythe Town Councillor wanting our public face and the Shepwayvox Team to “pipe down” because we are asking awkward and uncomfortable questions? Questions he and his party should be asking but are not., we wonder why…
The leader of the Shepway Green Party in the district chamber, Cllr Lesley Whybrow has stated that the Council is “not at all transparent” and goes onto say “we need to make the council more open and reactive to what people want.”
We firmly support Cllr Lesley Whybrow’s statements. However, being told to “pipe down” by her husband, a KCC and Hythe Town Councillor, over a discrepancy of £390,129 is NOT something we are prepared to do. We would and should expect the Shepway Green Party to look into this matter urgently, along with the other opposition members – Labour & Lib Dems. It is we believe a considerable sum of money and warrants a thorough investigation by them all. But as we said, they have difficult with shovels and spades.
Our second example relates to Kent County Council. For two years our public face has been chasing the Auditor Grant Thornton to answer his objection made to KCC’s accounts in 2016/17. It was us, not the Green KCC Cllr who discovered the discrepancies in KCC accounts. It was us who discovered the Auditor had told porky pies to the committee and the public at large, not he. Yet it is he who demands our public face and the Shepwayvox Team “pipe down for the next four years.”. Has he been lent on by KCC?
There is little chance of us “piping down” until we have received an answer about whether or not the accounts can be signed off for 16/17. Cllr Martin Whybrow wants to know if KCC have a set of unlawful accounts. If not, we need to know why not. Should we “pipe down“? We believe NOT.
Transparency and openness matters. However, if Cllr Martin Whybrow and the local Shepway Green Party are afraid to do the hard work of looking into the discrepancy, of how and why we the taxpayer have come to be overcharged by P & R, then we will. If he and his party are afraid to look at KCC’s accounts, we are NOT. We unlike them are not afraid of hard work, or asking difficult, awkward and uncomfortable questions, which need to be asked of our councils and councillors. We also know how to use a shovel or spade to dig. We also know when to stop digging as well.
Journalism is essential for speaking truth to power. As elected Cllrs he and his party should welcome the scrutiny, if not, it is never too late to step down and have a by-election.
Finally, word has reached us that Cllr Doug Wade – Mayor of Hythe (pictured), has insisted that that the buffet after the Veterans Day in Hythe on Saturday 15th June, be vegan only. His reasoning for this is:
“I am sure you understand that we all need to cut down on our consumption of meat & fish if we are ever going to get anywhere in tackling the ecological crisis that our planet currently faces.”
Now Cllr Wade is entitled to his opinion, but one buffet where a choice is offered is not going to destroy the planet. Or is Cllr Wade, the Mayor, against choice? Such diktats handed down by a Green on the outside and a red in the middle Mayor is not what Hythe Residents expected we believe.
As always, we shall continue to speak Truth to Power regardless of Cllr Martin Whybrow’s and the Shepway Green Party’s protestations. We will not be “piping down” any time soon.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime