The Crofting Commission announced today that Colin Souter is to step down as Grazings ‘Constable’ at Upper Coll on the Isle of Lewis “as soon as possible”.
The official statement reads:-
The Crofting Commission confirmed today that it has written to shareholders of Upper Coll Common Grazings to advise that the grazings constable will be stepping down as soon as possible.
The move follows the submission of a report from the constable, which was considered at a special meeting yesterday. The report will also be circulated to shareholders.
In the letter, the Commission encourages shareholders to work together in appointing a new grazings committee in line with crofting legislation.
This follows on from the direction given to Commissioners by Fergus Ewing MSP last week. The decision was made by Commissioners at a Special Meeting in Brora yesterday in the absence of the Convener, Colin Kennedy, who had walked out on the earlier convened meeting that morning.
Mr Souter’s appointment was seen by me, and others as illegal. Ironically a report by the executive of the Crofting Commission to their board also considered this to be the case.
Mr Souter was also criticised for taking on an investigative role and seeking to find some sort of fault at Upper Coll rather than assuming the role of grazings clerk with the day to day management function that goes with that role.
The vast majority of shareholders at Upper Coll will be relieved by this latest news.
However, they may not be celebrating just yet. At least not until they see how long “as soon as possible” turns out to be.
A new committee has already been elected by the shareholders and the Crofting Commission would do well to simply accept that committee rather than insisting on further procedure, possibly involving Mr Souter, to achieve the very same end result.
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