15 March 2010

Right to reply revisited

You may remember some time ago, mid 2009 I believe, that the Keenan/Canvin administration organised a public abuse session for me which (ex-Cllr) Keenan described as the then Town Council's 'right to reply'. It was an interesting experience with the highlight being (ex-Cllr) Martyn Smith's world famous 'bugger off' comment. I was reminded of that particular sad chapter when looking through more of the Town Council's records, recovered from the completely shambolic 'filing system'.

In August of 2008 and in a reaction to the news that the Keenan/Canvin regime was going to swap the land at Etsome Terrace for the unlovely 'Tin Dunny', I wrote to the Council asking a number of questions. These related to the asset swap and, specifically, how the sale of Etsome Terrace was arranged. Substantial public assets are generally sold by 'Public Tender' where they are advertised and bids received by a given deadline. I was unaware of any such process being followed by Somerton Town Council and I was anxious to know how the Council had 'solicited' the bids. (It has been suggested to me that certain members of the Council possessed little known telepathic powers but I long ago discounted this theory.)

As most people now know, under the Keenan/Canvin regime, awkward questions never received a response but, in my own case, there was an internal reaction to my enquiries, an officially instructed letter to Messers Porter Dodson, which is reproduced below.

This letter makes it quite clear that the Keenan/Canvin regime were entirely committed to maintaining a veil of secrecy across their activities, even to the extent of seeking lawyers to respond to awkward questions, and all at public expense.

My questions failed to receive an answer at that time but I now have some of the documentary evidence describing how the Keenan/Canvin administration conducted its business. I am informed that Messers Keenan & Canvin, in their official positions as Chair and Vice-Chair, ultimately instructed the Town Clerk not to reply to my enquiries. Obviously they felt that theirs was the only 'right to reply'.

Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly