"A society emerging from a regime marked by grave and serious violations of human rights faces the complex challenge of how best to deal with the past."
Whilst this might, to some, seem a rather grandiose observation to make with reference to Somerton, it does have significant resonances with the situation that Somerton faces in the light of the election of a new Town Council.
There is little disagreement that the end of the Keenan/Canvin administration is something that is welcomed by everyone who embraces democratic and ethical principles. But to simply brush their activities under their carpet is a mistake.
The community of Somerton has been denied access to the democratic process and, along the way, has been denied the opportunity to decide how the community's funds might be distributed. At the same time, others have benefited from the opportunity to undertake work for the Town Council without appropriate tendering, competition or specification. The community has been denied the opportunity to establish if it received anything like 'best value' under the previous regime.
Some members of the community have suggested that the time is right to put the Keenan/Canvin regime behind us and focus on the future. However, the wrong-doing of the Keenan/Canvin regime casts a long shadow, no more so than regarding the matter of Unit 8 Cary Court.
My own enquiries (established at the Land Registry) show that the title of Unit 8 Cary Court is flawed, something that cannot have escaped the notice of the Town Council, the Town Clerk and their advisors. The consequence is that the value of Unit 8 Cary Court is uncertain in the event of a sale.
These are serious matters whose consequences do not cease simply with the election of a new Council. These are serious matters whose consequences the Town Council will have to grapple with until a satisfactory resolution is found and such a resolution may never be found.
So there is the very need need to understand what happened to Somerton Town Council over the last 5 or more years. There is a very real need to quantify the damage that has been done and, if possible, rectify it. There is also a very real need to establish who was responsible.
So there is need for truth leading to reconciliation. Only then will Somerton truly be able to put the past behind it.
Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly