Souter to step down “as soon as possible”

Colin Souter was about to escape the life in a goldfish bowl he had created for himself as grazing 'constable' at Upper Coll.

Colin Souter was about to escape the life in a goldfish bowl he had created for himself as grazing ‘constable’ at Upper Coll.

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.

He sought to impose the views of a minority on the majority. He liked to report his ‘findings’ on a regular basis to the press.

Whilst Mr Souter claimed he was independent from the Crofting Commission it was clear that they were working hand in hand and indeed, on the face of it, Mr Souter was simply a Commission puppet.

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.

Brian Inkster

Image Credit: Police Academy © Warner Bros


3 thoughts on “Souter to step down “as soon as possible”

  1. Linda Brackenbury

    Rubbing shoulders can hurt.. clearly in the case of the ex policeman… it hurts much.

    As an ex police he ought to know that once a reputation is tarnished, the future is bleak.

  2. K Maciver

    We have not had a constable illegal or otherwise. We have had an investigating officer masquerading as a constable working on our behalf but using documents obtained under duress and very questionable means to try and justify the unjustifiable.

    Recent FOI responses have shown that several issues will now need to be investigated.

    Why did he not reveal that his role was really an investigator in constant communication with the Commission?

    Why did he not tell us he had employed more auditors to extend the forensic search for wrongdoing back not 1 year, not 5 years as had been asked for but 9 years. Why did he not tell us and the world that these searches had revealed no wrongdoing, in spite of the public implication of “financial irregularities”.

    Who made the allegations in the first place??

    Why was the Upper Coll Grazings Committee dismissed?

    We still haven’t an answer. Why?

    What are they going to do about the financial loss to Upper Coll as a result of their illegal, dictatorial and now totally discredited actions?

    Why did the investigating officer seek acquiescence in avoiding FOI scrutiny in relation to how he was operating, notwithstanding he was doing that for a public body?

    How did he get hold of our bank accounts? What or whose authority did he call on when the FOI reveals he was refused at the first time of asking. Then silence. Then the revelation that he has managed to get the bank account and he is willing to tell them how to do it for future reference? What is being hidden here?

    Colin Kennedy is a huge issue as four of us pointed out when we lodged formal complaints which were partially accepted. He continued leading the attack on Upper Coll while under investigation regarding his behaviour in Upper Coll. Then the well rehearsed matters since then.

    The Commission has behaved disgracefully under the convener’s leadership. Had we not stood up to his regime all crofting villages would have been subject to the likelihood of similar actions.

    They have now been forced to apologise. They have done so in most ungracious manner, which leads us to believe they don’t actually think they have done anything wrong, which is sad.

    The Convener, who started all this has not apologised, in spite of being ordered to do so by Mr Ewing.

    Our constable has not apologised for his deceipt and conitinued search for wrongdoings while telling is he was working for us. He and Kennedy came here with a mission based on some agenda, which most us cannot fathom, and have been found wanting at the very highest level.

    And as far as we know neither convener nor investigating officer have resigned or been dismissed ……yet.

    They can do so but our serious questions still stand and will be pursued.

  3. Linda Brackenbury

    The questions which are perfectly valid may never be answered, now clear there was a very real agenda instigated by the convener and his cohorts,
    he has lived his life on the edge of the law, his associates are pals of old.. the constable sent in to cause as much disruption as is possible, causing upset and confusion …it matters not to the convener that there has been no wrongdoing..his action/s are to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of vulnerable crofters and in the commissioners,
    He makes unfounded allegations to every authority and they in turn are legally obliged to investigate, as one investigation closes so another complaint goes in and the whole process starts over.

    The Crofting commission, have thankfully caught up as has the Crofting Federation..and it will doubtless be of some relief to the crofters that they no longer have the convener hanging over them..
    I suspect and I may be wrong, but I suspect that Fergus Ewing MSP..may just find that he too is under the scrutiny of the convener, the convener believing that he is right and therefore, no need to resign..despite the direction of the minister.
    He said as much in the interview had with the media.


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