“Islands 2050": Elixir for a Derelict Islands Trust
They are hard at it seeking to fool as many people as it may take to make society endure the Trust for another 30 years. Determined they go for it, knowingly and willingly misleading the people, this episode by itself inviting a Zero Basis Reconsideration of the Trust.
The episode is documented in the Agenda, in the Agenda Package and in the Minutes of the May 8, 2019, ExCom (Executive Committee) meeting. These documents reveal the Trust having retained the “You be the Change” consultant to tell them how to suppress the public pursuit of the review of the Trust consented to universally subsequent to the 2017 SSI Urbanization Referendum.
This is what we have come to expect from the Trust. It appears to be a reaction to our exposure (Marketplace January 2019 and other) of the Trust moving surreptitiously to control the review of the Trust, so as to continue doing more of the same that caused the need for the review.
Secrecy has become second nature to the Trust. Its genesis and imposition upon us in 1974 was done ostensibly to protect the Southern archipelago against the proliferation of the Magic Lake Estates that happened on Pender Island. It was a draconian measure against something that ought to have been easily addressed civilly. True to its genesis, the Trust has become a super-paternalistic layer of government with all the particulars of a “True Believer” pursuing salvation of us, the hoi polloi, whom the “saviour” deems in need of paternalising.
From its start, the Trust caused public disdain and citizens moved to make things right. The Trust reacted by creating fake optics of a democratically elected local government by introducing “elections”. It divided the Archipelago into 13 constituencies each to elect pairs of “local peoples’ representatives”. They formed LTCs, each controlled (“chaired”) by a trusted overseers parachuted into the constituencies by the Management sitting in Victoria. The 13 pairs of “Local Trustees” were also to assemble in a micro-parliament called “Trust Council”, thereby creating more optics of legitimacy.
The Archipelago is now “governed” by the Trust Council; which, in turn, is controlled by the ExCom comprising 4 Trustees and controlled by the Trust Staff. Since everything an LTC may do is subject to approval by the ExCom, the whole breadth of this uncalled for “system” remains firmly controlled by the Staff; the Staff is headquartered outside the Archipelago, in Victoria, safely distanced from its “subjects”.
The Council meets quarterly, peripatetically, alternating through the 13 colonies. The ExCom meet mostly in Victoria and rarely in other places, chosen to exclude public attendance. Reputedly, no member of the public has ever attended or spoken to the ExCom. Once I tried to appear before the ExCom but they spared no means to prevent it happening, lest I disturb the ExCom’s serenity of public-free intercourse.
Around 2010, a grassroot movement happened seeking a review of the Trust. This ruffled the feathers of the Trust Brass and they descended to the Colonies armed with Consultants’ advise, infographics and Province-wide polls with which to pacify the agitated Islanders. Especially fierce was the then CAO Linda Adams who claimed that the Trust is self reforming. Incidentally, in retirement, after the 2017 Urbanization SSI Referendum, she joined a self-made group meant to accelerate Trust reform. This group has fallen silent, but it is not known if this is due to Adam’s activity or laxity.
The need for podcasting governance meetings (LTC, Council and ExCom) is acutely ardent because of the archipelago geography of the Trust Area a.k.a. “Trust Republic”. In 2011, the SSI trustees were elected with an explicit mandate to institute podcasting of the SSI LTC meetings. The Trust, fronted by then CAO Malcolmson and RPM Hartley, fought hard against it until they prevailed.
The May 8, 2019, ExCom meeting illuminates the Trust aversion to public involvement. Listed in the Agenda is a Staff “Request for a Decision”. It is authored by PRofessional Trust Communication Specialist Andrew Templeton, consented to by Clare Frater, Director Area Services, and is introduced by Russ Hotsenpiller, Trust CAO. It is a 5-page document containing no mention of the Be the Change Consultants. But the body of the Staff Request is “plagiarized” from the Consultant’s “Website Discovery” report.
The Be the Change Report is snuck into the Agenda package degraded to a mere “attachment” to the “Staff Request”, the arrangement resembling a caboose pulling the locomotive.
The Agenda Package is 375 pages thick. The Staff “Request for Decision” makes up pages 69 to 74. The Be the Change Report titled “Website Discovery” is 182 pages long spanning pages 75 to 257 of the Package. Its positioning midway through the Package diminishes the chance of it being noticed by the few “ordinary” Islanders who may leaf though the Package. There is no mention of the “Be the Change - Website Discovery Report” in the Minutes of that ExCom Meeting. Nor yet in the Package Index.
It is thus that the Trust ushered onto us the Trojan Wooden Horse grandiosely named: “Islands 2050: You are invited, have your say!” I find the invite irresistible, but for now I will only say: “I shall return”, echoing the renowned line of General Doug MacArthur who became famous by the eyeglasses style carrying his name.