Obviously we would prefer that these sorts of meetings [Otterpool Working Group] are held in public whenever possible but as the opposition we are not in a position to make that happen. After much discussion within our group we have decided that we should take the opportunity to attend working group meetings so that we are better informed about what the council is doing.
However, SGP forgot to inform the public of the terms of reference and rules for a working party; which among other things state:
“Formal votes should therefore be rare with decision of the Working Group taken by general consent.”
“Those present will keep the discussions of the Working Group confidential unless the Working Group decides otherwise.”
As we understand from those present at the Otterpool Park Working Group, there was no vote or general consent to decide to disclose the discussions of the working group, therefore the discussions remain confidential through choice.
When the previous Council ( 2015-2019) set up the Princes Parade working group, Cllr Whybrow in her capacity as a member of Save Princes Parade made public statements about that working group not being democratic, not open, not transparent. Now members of the Green group she leads are behaving in exactly the same manner. Her Green Party group are guilty of the very thing of which they accused the previous council of.
The Shepway Green Party who espoused more democracy, more openness and more transparency in their election campaign which is made clear by Cllr Whybrow in the short video above, wish to conceal information from the public about the discussions of the Climate & Ecological Change Working Party. What is so secret about climate change that our Cllrs need to discuss it behind closed doors?
On Wednesday the 24th July our Council voted to recognises that we are in a climate emergency. It was agreed that a Climate & Ecological Change Working Party (pages 10,11 and 12) be set up.
Cllr Georgina Treloar (Green) efforts should not be hidden behind closed doors.
Are our Cllrs going to be on the wrong side of history by becoming the first Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group to keep discussions confidential? If so wouldn’t this be hypocritical and a betrayal of our children?
Will SPG Cllrs and their opposition bedfellows force a vote or find a general consensus to disclose the discussions of the Climate & Ecological working group, or keep them confidential? With the evidence we have they’ll discuss these important issues behind closed doors. It is NOT necessary.
We expect closed doors and secrecy from the Tories, but from those who campaigned on a platform of more democracy, more openness and more transparency, Greens, Labour & Lib Dems, we do not.
Open the doors, open the discussions and set the information from the Otterpool Park Working Group and the Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group free, as these issues affect us all.
The Shepwayvox Team
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