The Daily Herald writes that the public Island Council (IC) meeting held on Thursday, chaired by Governor Jonathan Johnson, commenced with a colourful political scene. In the absence of Councilman Rolando Wilson, who is abroad, and Councilman Ishmael Levenstone, the chairman started the meeting with a quorum secured by Windward Island People’s Movement (WIPM) council members Carl Buncamper, Amelia Nicholson and Eviton Heyliger.
In several past sessions, opposition Saba Labour Party (SLP) Councilman Levenstone used the lack of WIPM quorum to delay commencement or even force postponements of the meetings. This backfired this time. While Levenstone was in the building by the time the Saba Song was played, he delayed his entrance.
The meeting started with the approval of the agenda, review of seven incoming correspondence items and the request of the Island Council to meet with Saba Comprehensive School Principal Hemmie van Xanten separately. During these proceedings,
Levenstone entered the hall. On seeing him approach his chair, Commissioner Johnson, who attended the meeting together with Bruce Zagers to provide any needed additional insights to the proposals, made a point to repeatedly ask the Chairman, if the meeting had already started. The chairman confirmed it and that Levenstone cannot participate in the meeting. Levenstone followed up with some colourful remarks, which could not be heard in the live radio stream of the public session, but the chairman reprimanded him for the remarks. Governor Johnson asked the councilman to leave the hall and deplored the councilman’s use of foul language in public proceedings. Chairman Johnson cited Article 15 of the rules of procedures in answering Levenstone why he cannot take his seat. “I’ll catch you one day, when you ain’t got quorum,” said Levenstone.
Governor Johnson proceeded with the approval of the minutes of previous meetings. He read the Island Council’s proposal for the appointment of Ernst and Young Dutch Caribbean as accountant for Saba for the fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The proposal was unanimously adopted. The 2013 Year Report, which had been made available for public viewing upon request, was adopted after much discussion in the Central Committee meeting of the Island Council. The first Budget Amendment for 2014 was also approved by the council.
At the close of the session, Governor Johnson said in the six years he has served the Island Government, he has had a good working relationship with the Island Council. “I have never had to, as they say ‘throw the gavel’ on anybody. On the island of Saba, we deal with each other respectfully.”