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Posted November 19, 2017

Seeking Trust Transformation

Imagine where we would be now if a fraction of the human and material resources wasted over the five years of the Referendum saga had been devoted to reforming the Trust ... But they were not, because the Trustees sought to add Mayor-o-cracy to the layers of Government we bear on our shoulders.

In the aftermath of the September 9 Incorporation Referendum a consensus emerged that the Trust was in need of serious transformation.  The Hon. Selina Robinson, the new BC Minister in charge of Local Governance, came out loud and clear on the side of Trust Reform, as did we, the people of SSI.

The instigators of that referendum, being the two Local Trustees and the CRD Director, the “3EOs” as they call themselves collectively, showed neither remorse nor expressed apologies  for the five year ordeal and the waste of resources they caused us. Instead, quick as a wink  flipped over and jumped on the bandwagon of “Trustnformation”, seeking to maintain their grip on the shaping of the  future of our Society.

Having fought for Trust Reform for a long time I was elated, energized and ready to help change the Trust.  After years of observation, I know that the Trust conducts itself arbitrarily and does it surreptitiously.  And I recognized that they do it because they have developed the dismal skills and the system that lets them move about in hiding. When they push concepts the people loathe, they disguise the nature of the objective and misrepresent their motive for pursuing them. This is much like the wolf in sheep’s clothing of the classic myth.

But they cannot fool all the people all the time – the effect of their misconduct is felt and people trace it to the Trust.  While some attribute it to ineptitude, others discern the  deliberate effort of the Trust to prevail against the public will. The realization that misconduct is facilitated by the ability to hide, is tightly related to “power corrupts” and  has  been recognized since the dawn of Democracy. Dictators make control of information their prime concern.

Sadly, the Trust runs on “Secrecy” – they Govern from the dungeon, if you will. The antidote to Secrecy is Openness and in this instance the cure is in forcing the Trust to do Open Governance.  Admittedly, forcing transparency is not as good as it would be if  it was innate, nevertheless, forcing the Trust to operate in the open will go a long way towards making the Trust at least tolerable, if not lovable.

To keep moving with the momentum generated by the Referendum, I addressed the chair and the members of the SSI Local Trust Committee suggesting they make the Ideas Bank the locomotive to take us to true Trust Reform.

That is to say,  unless they know a better way to force Open Governance.  But they do not know nor do they wish to learn, and that is not all – the worse part of it is that they do not want “change”. They have themselves contributed substantially to the building up of the Trust secrecy apparatus and want to protect it, they like it and because they have personal interest in it.

Their reaction to my suggestion, did not deviate from the malaise of the Trust we want to change. They moved to suppress the Ideas Bank concept and to prevent word about it from spreading. This manifests the Trust intransigence and challenged us to harness the Trust to the Public Will, even if they are pulling in the opposite direction – for we have to Democratize our governance.

The Original Submission

On October 8, 2017, I addressed the  Chairman Peter Luckham and Trustees Peter Grove and George Grams, as follows:

“Dear Peter, Peter and George

Re: Trustnformation

In the September 9, 2017 SSI incorporation Referendum campaign I took the position that the goals sought though Mayor-o-cracy were, virtually all, achievable through changing the Trust. This does not mean that I deem all of the goals of the YESS group who fought the battle for Party-o-cracy, desirable or adequate to answer  the grievances brought up for resolution by that referendum.

On or about 2010 I was advocating reconsideration of the Trust with the Zero basis method, Starting from Scratch, if you will.  After studying the Trust in the interim, I still believe that the Zero basis procedure is superior to its alternatives in this instance.  In the aftermath of the Referendum, a consensus emerged that the Trust is in need of a serious transformation to a form compatible with our modern times.

Elated as I am at the consensus we now have to change the Trust, I am mindful that we are not uniformly minded on the need for a Zero-basis re-design. Many of us believe that the Trust is “patch-curable”, “heal-able”, if you will, and, methinks they may be right –  judiciously chosen and adroitly done repairs may prevent reconstruction and this may be good, on balance.  In any event, it is imperative that the voice of the people be given an outlet.  It is my considered suggestion that for this we need the “Ideas Bank”. Doing it will energize  Democracy and enable the evolution of the best possible solution to the problem of Trustnformation we face.

The Trust is claiming for itself the facility to control the reform process, as if it their right to decide the government we, the people, are to be allowed.  I am used to Trust’s arrogance, I have been fighting it since 2009 and have the scars to show. This must be averted for the reasons encapsulated in the principle that a local government must be designed and decided by the “locals”. Indeed many of  the reasons compelling us to do the Trustnformation are traceable to the Trust having been imposed on us – it is this that has arguably resulted in the failure of the Trust to compensate for its “illegitimate” genesis, which, if it had happened,  would likely have averted the incorporation referendum.

Now, aware of the unavoidable Trustnformation, the Trust, seeks to do a self-reform job, or at least to take control of the process. Feeling their lack of public trust, but lacking what it would take to refrain from repeating what has resulted in the need for the referendum and the Trustnformation, they are making noises about soliciting public input to their self-reform event.  But this they have been pretending doing all along in the past, every time they were out to placate people to inaction.  My recent book, “RAR –  Czarism in SSI” contains heaps of irrefutable evidence of the Trust’s strong aversion to public input and its propensity to suppress information the spreading of which would impede conducting itself Czarismatically.

Doing the Ideas Bank now would benefit the Trust considerably for it would signal to us a Trust’s will to depart from arbitrary conduct and show us it understands the need for Change.

On that background I am asking you, the Chair and the members of the LTC,  to do an ad-hoc Ideas Bank, custom-designed to facilitate the Island’s  “Trustnsformation Fascination”.

The Ideas Bank concept is well known to the Trust for I have been proposing it to them  since 2009. For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with it, I will outline it succinctly:

The Ideas Bank is a society-wide Forum for the people to communicate with their fellow citizens and with their government. Through it, citizens showcase their ideas by right, meaning without need for licence from anyone, as free people do, bound only by provisions enacted into the Laws of the Land by the Parliament and the Legislature.

In a sense, the Ideas Bank enables and popularizes the “Right to Publish” and secures for the society a “Free Press”, the importance of which is gauged by the Mass Media moniker “Fourth Estate”. Instituting the ideas Bank will curb, hopefully eliminate, the surreptitious suppression of Free Speech done by exclusion of people from the fora of society.  

Submissions to the Ideas Bank are to be in writing, accompanied by a 30 (or so) words  “Abstract”. It is the Abstract that will be showcased on the Ideas Bank’s window. This will be linked to the whole paper it appertains to and which will be stored in the vaults of the Ideas Bank to be readily produced by a Click on the Link. There are a host of other aspects to the concept, an important one being that it is self-evolving, and will self-destruct if it misbehaves or becomes redundant, all been in the nature of it – for it cannot prevent criticism and must welcome ideas affecting even its own fate.

I have been proposing to the Trust the Ideas Bank for several years by now. It did not materialize because the Trust could suppress my submissions about it, and this they did with a vengeance. But they could not have done this in the presence of the Ideas Bank. Hence the need for it.

My long standing offer to  help the Trust to institute the Ideas Bank continues intact.

I am asking you to embed the Ideas Bank in the Trust, even if only in the SSI part of the Trust website.  At least, institute an ad hoc “branch” of the Ideas Bank dedicated to ideas about reforming or restructuring the Trust, or even leaving it alone, for that matter.  

Ah!, I almost forgot! Doing the Ideas Bank, would make palatable the Trust leading the Trustnformation process and will help the Trust make its position on the change listened to and considered fairly by the people. I for one would not hold back trusting the Trust, if it institutes the Ideas Bank, which manifests my faith in the potency of the concept.

I will welcome your response at any time it may come, but if I do not get it before Sunday,  October 15 lapses, I will proceed as if you have answered my appeal in silence.

Wishing you a nice Thanksgiving,

Tom Varzeliotis
Conscientious objector the Trust being imposed upon us”

I was  expecting  them to be mindful of the skeletons in their closet and to appreciate my solution to move forward without having to dwell on what we want to forget. I was expecting them to grab my suggestion  because it focuses  on the future and, hopefully, would minimize stirring up the sad history of the Trust. The perpetual optimist that I am, saw us all  coming together to do the Trustnformation without having to establish, again, the need for change. Either they did not get it, or they believe that they can fool us, the people, once again.

Their reaction to my generous gesture necessitates tapping into the history of the Trust as far back and as deep as it may be necessary to identify and expose the nature of the Trust and to defeat the resistance the Trust is amassing against progress. The remedy and the dosage must follow the diagnosis of the ills of the Trust, which diagnosis must be thorough and must include the issue of credibility of the defendants of the status quo.

The first from the LTC trio to answer my paper, was  Trustee Peter Grove who responded on October 10, 2017.  Here is his message:

“Hi Tom

Thanks for your e mail. You will be pleased to know that staff are already looking at what changes, if any, can be made in order to strengthen the Trust and better serve the islands. They will be reporting to the Executive and to Trust Council. Zero based planning is always a good idea and I will be interested to see what they come up with.

We have certainly considered the Ideas Bank. The difficulty is administration. Bare in mind that changes to the IT act will be difficult to realize so we must be focused on a narrow band of ideas to put before the Ministry


Let’s read it again. Note Peters’ downplaying the consensus on Trustnsformation, as he writes “what changes, if any, can be made ...

I reason out that the Trust cannot reform itself and that it cannot be trusted to do a self-reform job, especially so if not forced out of the dungeon. Peter asserts, entirely  peculiarly,  that I “will be pleased” to hear from him that the Trust Staff are already working on a do-it-yourself Reform, or rather on convincing the world that theren’t “any that can be made”.  It saddens me that Peter is patiently awaiting to be led by the Staff into a new Jerusalem – we elected him to do the reverse, namely to control the Staff on our behalf.

Peter goes on to  say the Staff will be reporting to the Executive Committee and to Trust Council.  It seems that  Peter suspects  the people will be irked by the Trust Staff transforming the Trust  and takes himself out of the loop of  who will receive the  Report the Trust’s “In-house Trustnformation Team”  is working on.

Then he attacks the Ideas Bank because, he authoritatively asserts, it poses  “The difficulty [of] administration”, implying that this is insurmountable disqualification, and proceeds to strike out  the Ideas Bank.

The “difficulty” they have is that the Trust cannot grab and control the Ideas Bank. This is true and measures the potence of the Ideas Bank. The fear it evokes will  hopefully restrain czarismatic predisposed people and force them to behave in ways they do not have to hide.  That is indeed the purpose of the Ideas Bank, just as it is the purpose to having the doors of the Courtrooms open to the public. Yes Peter, it is meant to scare  those who would do things they need to hide.

Finally, Peter Grove seeks to soften the target for what the Trust Staff is preparing to dish out to us, when he adds “if any”thing at all, which I discussed above. He goes further to warn us  to  “Bare in mind that changes to the IT act will be difficult to realize so we must be focused on a narrow band of ideas to put before the Ministry”.

Well, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I am saddened to hear Peter conditioning us to accept reform crumbs “if any” are ever thrown at us by the Trust Staff.

We need people who think “outside the box”,  people who think Big. Our Island is  brim with people who can think Big. We have the people who can do that, and to bring them out, and to pollinate and cross-pollinate their minds, that is why we need the Ideas Bank. Conversely, it is to prevent the creative minds from  leading the society, that the Trustistas vehemently oppose the Ideas Bank.

No,  Peter , we neither need to,  nor must we condition ourselves to pray for little mercies.  We must ourselves define what we need and want. And we must resume democracy, by taking control over the Trust. I do not believe that the Minister would unreasonably deny us what is ours.

Let’s not defeat ourselves, let’s shed that defeatist attitude. In a democracy Change is possible to the extent it is feasible and needed.

With the above in mind, I answered Trustee Grove as follows:

“Dear Peter, Good Day

I received your message and I have serious issues with it. In a nutshell it is deja vu – in effect your approach is to pursue the change of the Trust by the very same ways and means with which the Trust people generated the problems which pose the need for change we now face.

Please read again my message. I am trying to affect change painlessly to your side, to do what must be done without compromising my principles and the rights of all of us to fair governance.  As you know, I have accumulated heaps of irrefutable evidence, mostly documentary evidence, proving the Trust relentlessly pursuing maximum secrecy  to cover up conduct that democracy exists to prevent.

I suggest doing the Ideas Bank to affect the badly needed change of the Trust and do it without delving into how the Staff prevailed upon you and together you did that stupid “placespeak” (I think it was called) back in 2012, so as to pull the carpet from under my feet; and so on, ad infinitum.

Doing the Ideas Bank will funnel attention to the future. This may leave  ugly things like Bylaw 473 etc, to wane unnoticeably, and spare us public battles for their elimination.

I invite you to meet me on the level field of reason. If you stubbornly insist on resolving issues in the arena of power, I would have to use  what you have made available to me so as to maintain my position. It is the party with the power advantage who chooses the level and the type of confrontation.

My time-frame stands. I will await until October the 15th,  12:00pm to decide either,

a) to  get together with me and do the Ideas Bank; or

b) to reason out why you would not do it, including a better solution,                  if you have any; or

c) fall silent and let us, the people fight for our future.

I suggest you elect “a)” from the above.


Peter Grove elected to answer and did so on October 13, 2017 10:00 AM, with the following message:

“You may be  aware there is a group on the island which has met once and is planning future meetings aimed at brainstorming ways we can improve our local governance. The "SSI Community Forum". Might be a good place to share your ideas


There was no point  in persisting pursuing the point with Peter.

Peter Grove was not the only Peter to respond – Peter Luckham joined in too – was he ever  fierce!  On  October 14,  2017 he came on with the following epistle to me:

2017 October 14, from Luckham to Varzeliotis

1.  “Good Morning Dr. Varzeliotis, I am writing in response to your email to Trustee Grove this morning. I think it important to make clear that no individual trustee including myself speaks for the other Trustee's nor the Local Trust Committee or Islands Trust Council.

2.  Any and all statements or positions of a Local Trust Committee are made in open  public meetings and made by a motion that is carried by the majority.

3. In this context I have to tell you that we can not meet what I consider your unreasonable demands by the arbitrary date of October the 15th if we chose to.

4.  I am not going to second guess what decisions the Local Trust Committee may make on any proposal brought to it recently or in the future.

5.  I can say however that it will be difficult for me personally to consider favorably any proposal brought to us in veiled threats and founded in false allegations and misinformation.

6. With all of the above said, I will tell you that years ago, I am sorry I do not recall the date, I did speak favorably with respect to your idea of the "Ideas Bank".

7. At the time we were updating the Islands Trust Website and although some thought was put into how we might implement such an Idea it was evident that we did not have the resources neither financial or manpower to implement and manage such a data base.

8.  I bring your attention to this Island Trust Webpage:

9.  Although this certainly does not embrace your idea nor uses your name for such a place to share idea's it is our implementation of what we  were able to do at the time.

10. I consider your idea still very valid it is still however something that I am sure we do not have the resources to implement for the same reasons mentioned earlier.

I as Peter Grove has suggested recommend that you work with local groups to implement your idea who would be best suited to this task and of which the fruits we could all enjoy.

11.  Finally I beg you to find a less confrontational approach to communicating with myself and the local trust committee your idea's.

12.   As I have said before these are exciting times, the opportunity to improve the Islands Trust and governance on all the islands is before us.

13.  We must carry this work out in a spirit of respect, trust and co-operation with all idea's being given equal opportunity to be heard and debated by all respectfully in an appropriate forum. We govern as best we can within the jurisdiction and mandate given to us  in the context of Land use Management our abilities are limited by the Local Government Act and the Islands Trust Act.

14. Finally I must say in case you misunderstand my intentions this email is not an invitation to debate the merits of any idea nor the opinion of my colleagues, the Local Trust Committee or Islands Trust Council.

15. I wish you success in implementing the Idea's Bank.

Peter Luckham, Chair Trust Council
Trustee, Thetis Island”

The attitude of the Chairman, shared as it is with the “Local” Trustees, perplexes me. For years on end they have been defaming me and when I have challenged them to substantiate the accusations, only to see them lash out at me with more of the same to punish me because I dare talk back. Here is Luckham accusing me of making “false allegations and [uttering] misinformation” and he states he expects not to hear back from me, in effect telling me to like it or lump it. Of course, I would ignore him and his cohorts except for the fact that they are “government”.

Countless times I have challenged them to name a “false allegation” I ever made, they fall silent each and every time, only to return again with the same defamatory platitudes and complain that I am “disrespectful” because I challenge them.  The last aspect makes it imperative upon us, the citizens, to impress upon them that they are accountable to us, for that is much of what democracy is about. And because, if we don’t use it, we will lose it.

That is why I replied to his multi-tentacled message, on October 14, as follows:

“Dear Mr. Luckham

I will respond to statements you make in your letter and I  have numbered your paragraphs for reference.  “P–xx:” in my reply comments on your Paragraph “xx”.

Please recognize that I am adhering to established jurisprudence: Plaintiff raised issues > Defendant answers the Plaintiff > Plaintiff answers the Defendant.

P-1:  The meaning of this  is not clear to me.

P-2: Your assertion that “Any and all statements or positions of a Local Trust Committee are made in open  public meetings ...”, simply said,  is not true.

P-3:   You assert: “In this context I have to tell you that we can not meet what I consider your unreasonable demands by the arbitrary date of October the 15th if we chose to.”

Which “demands”? Which “unreasonable demands”? Which “demands” you could not meet “by the arbitrary date”? Why did you not contact me for clarification?  Why do you not suggest a non-“arbitrary date?

My mention of a timeframe for answer to my query on your position vis-a-vis the Ideas Bank was invited by your habit of stonewalling dialog either by falling silent or by promising a response in the future, a “future” which usually never arrives. Such conduct is in the hub of the Trust “deficiencies” those which lead to consensus that  the Trust needs “fixin’ ” or rather “Trustnformation”.

P-4:   You inform all and sundry that you are “not going to second guess what decisions the Local Trust Committee may make on any proposal brought to it recently or in the future.”

I did not ask you to “guess” nor did I cause a need for guessing. You and Peter Grove and George Grams, each, have the power to place the Ideas Bank on the SSI LTC Agenda, on the Council and on the ExCom agendas as well, if need be.  But,  each and all of you decided to exclude it from consideration in front of the public eye.  

P- 13:   “We must carry this work out in a spirit of respect, trust and co-operation with all idea's being given equal opportunity to be heard and debated by all respectfully in an appropriate forum.”  You say and I answer:

*  Yes indeed, so we must. But how can you say that and keep a straight face, while  in effect, you are excluding the Ideas Bank?

* What other ideas do you have about forcing the Trust to practice Open Governance”? Line all them up and let the people see you evaluating them.

* Any way, doing the Ideas Bank would satisfy your professing respect for the proposition that “all ideas are equal in the eyes of the Trust” – this because the Ideas Bank will facilitate the evaluation of all ideas, including ideas for the abolition of  itself and/or comparison of itself to other concepts. Ok?

* In a democracy respect is earned – it is despotism where “respect” is demanded  and “disobedience”  is punished.

* Your letter pretends to co-operation while in effect denying my offer of co-operation.

* The Trust  history of efforts to suppress the communication of ideas is legendary  – have you no remorse?

* The Ideas Bank will enable us, the people, to assess ourselves your claim that, you “govern as best we can within the jurisdiction” of the Trust; and whether the “best you can” is good enough for us. Conversely your continuation of suppressing the Ideas Bank, adds large dimensions to the need for Trusnformation.

P- 14: To your “Finally I must say in case you misunderstand my intentions this email is not an invitation to debate the merits of any idea nor the opinion of my colleagues, the Local Trust Committee or Islands Trust Council.”

I say:  Yavol Commandant!  And having said that I will explain the “disobedience” patent in the sarcasm.

This is a  thinly veiled attempt to prevent me from answering your polemic. It is reminiscent of your January 2016 request that the newspaper hides you who had unleashed that churlish defamation tirade against me. Incidentally in that instance you conduct was reaction for me exposing what you, the LTC, were hiding so as to do upon the people what you knew the people loathed. This time around it is no much different.

P- 15. You  “wish [me] success in implementing the Idea's Bank”!

I read it to mean: “We, the Trust, will not do the Ideas Bank and what are you going to do about it, eh?

Well, I wrote this analysis of your epistle to give you a sample of what I will do, and  which I tried to avoid doing but you would not appreciate the generous gesture. I am guided by that chap, Churchill, who recommended “Persistence”,  and advised that when one advances a good idea and is not listened to, to whack with  a “Pile Driver” if necessary to penetrate otherwise impermeable crania.

I will close by reminding of what I wrote in my original submission of  October 8:

‘I will welcome your response at any time it may come ...’  But ...

Tom V.”

On October 29, Peter Luckham responded, with a cryptic message, copied, as were all the messages in this string,  to Peter Grove and George Grams:

“Subject: Re: Trustnformation the best way all around

Thank you Dr. Varzeliotis I have forwarded your letter to staff for the public record.

Peter Luckham, Chair Trust Council”

On November 6, 2017, visited the Trust SSI Colonial Office anxious to see the outcome of Chairman Luckham’s threat or offer, whichever the above message is meant to be. They could not find the subject of the Chairman’s advisory.  Nor could they help me because they had neither seen the Chairman’s message, nor knew of anything relating to it.

It does not appear to be in the Public Domain!

It is conceivable that people who have neither the time or the inclination to follow the Trust, may not realize how fierce the aversion of the Trust is for the light of day. I often meet people with questions about it because the Trust covers up skillfully its secretive conduct. To provide a sample, specifically relating to the Chairman of everything-Trust, as well as because I need the information it refers to, I submitted entirely publically, the following letter to Chairman Luckham, through the Placard, at the November 2, 2017 LTC meeting. It explains the Chairman’s discomfort with me suggesting the Ideas Bank.

Tom’s TownHall Placard

November 2, 2017

A Supplementary RARe Question

by Tom Varzeliotis

Dear Chairman Luckham,

A year and two months ago, I addressed you in writing as follows:

“Re: Monitoring the Performance of the SSI RAR Bylaw #480

I would appreciate the answer to the following question:

How many applications that could conceivably be or not be RAR affected has the Trust received and how many of these has the Trust  accepted for processing bare of:  either a “Report by a QEP”; or an Applicant-sworn Affidavit of “RAR-Innocence”; or for procession conditional to Applicant producing a QEP Report or an Affidavit?

Please, identify the Applications, if any.”

Not without difficulty, I extracted the assertion that you had conveniently neglected to monitor the performance of that draconian RAR Bylaw with which the Trust chokes  the island like a Boa Constrictor hugs a Hare and your personal assurance that the Trust would forwards me the information, after doing the counting needed for the answer.

Now, 14 months later, and because your promise remains pending, I am asking:

Do you have an estimated time for delivery of the answer to my September 1, 2016 Question?

Would you spaRARe an answer?

Tom Varzeliotis,

PS. As it happens, the “Minutes” of the September, 1, 2016 LTC meeting are not accessible due to the Website link being broken – possibly accidentally ...”

In conclusion

There is an inflexible need for Trust Transparency and we must impose it,  for unless we do, nothing of what needs be done will ever be done.

This long array of emails would have been avoided if I could place my submission in the Ideas Bank which is what I would have done, if it existed.

But again, if the Ideas Bank was in place I would not have to make the submission because the Trust would not have done the things  that would necessitate the Trustnformation, thereby sparing me from making a submission.

All of which explain  the Trust fear for the Ideas Bank, which in turn manifest its effectiveness and underlines the need for it.

Hay Presto!

There is an inflexible need for Trust Transparency and we must impose it,  for unless we do, nothing of what needs be done will ever be done.

Tom Varzeliotis

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