Sunday , October 1 2023

Troubled Island Council Meeting

SABA–The postponed Island Council meeting of October 4 took place on Wednesday, October 24, with some obvious challenges and lasted for more than four hours of heated discussions. The stakes were high after Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) Island Council Members Carl Buncamper and Eviton Heyliger notified Chairman Governor Johnson that they would not be attending the meeting. This meant that the decision of the Saba Labour Party (SLP) opposition leader, Councilman Ishmael Levenstone to attend or not the meeting was essential in garnering quorum.

Councilman Levenstone refused to vote for the controversial dismissal of former Island Council Registrar Els Boers whom he praised for her efforts. Levenstone was only persuaded to join WIPM council members Rolando Wilson and Amelia Nicholson, pressured by the argument that his vote was
required to install as new Island Council Registrar, the former SLP council member Akilah Levenstone.

Council member Ishmael Levenstone scolding Central
Committee chairman Rolando Wilson for lacking personality
on the matter of the release of former registrar Els
(Photo by Teodor Stan)

Levenstone addressed the commissioners, telling them to learn to “respect his seat” and assess the situation they created as “bull-headed children.” He was referring to the executive council’s pressure to remove Boers from her position. Governor Johnson interrupted Levenstone’s remarks, making it a point
to have him sign as being present. In a theatrical gesture, Levenstone twice asked Akilah if he should sign attendance, giving majority and validity to the
meeting. The compromised reached was to have the agenda points shifted, so as to allow Levenstone to leave the meeting and therefore avoid being in any way associated with the dismissal of Els Boers.

Governor Johnson proceeded to move the “Release island Registrar” proposal to the end of the meeting after an intermission. As a result, at the end of the extensive meeting and after the intermission, the proposal to release Boers of her responsibilities was voted within seconds only by Rolando Wilson and Amelia Nicholson.

The questionable procedure of having only two votes in the absence of three of the Island Council members rests on the delicate argument that the two represented the majority out of three people signed into the meeting. The divisive method to pass this proposal overshadows what otherwise were very positive developments. The Island Council and Executive Council members debated in multiple rounds and voted through some very important pieces
on the agenda, such as the budget amendments 2012 and multi-year budget for 2013 and after.

At the last moment the council, together with the executive’s advice, withheld voting on the division of the shares of NV GEBE. The issue was explained by Commissioner Chris Johnson, who warned the council that passing it would remove Saba’s leverage on negotiated aspects still challenged. The executive’s request for an interest-free loan also passed through the council without a hitch.

Source The Daily Herald October 26, 2012

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