Skye's Fiona Mandeville

 

Crisis point looks to have been reached in the on-going row surrounding the Crofting Commission.

For after weeks of claim and counter-claim the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) appeared to have had enough and have called for the head of the man they see as ultimately responsible for the common grazings row.

Now the SCF want the resignation of the Commission’s Convenor, Colin Kennedy and as an olive branch to the to the rest of the board have made it clear that with him gone they are happy to continue to work with the Crofting Commission in the future.

Skye based SCF Chair, Fiona Mandeville said: “It is clearly time for Kennedy to go,”

“We've asked many times for an explanation but to no avail. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information are unequivocal; the board of the Crofting Commission, headed by Colin Kennedy, chose to ignore policy and legal advice and proceeded to impose, what lawyers are saying are illegal, constables upon grazing shareholders whose committees the Commission had removed from office. So much anguish has been caused by this whole debacle and now, as suspected, we can clearly see that Kennedy led the Commission down this destructive route.

“The commissioners have behaved as a board would be expected to in closing ranks and taking joint responsibility. But it would do no good for crofting were all commissioners to resign. Kennedy was closely implicated in the sackings of the committees and, as convener, is accountable. He must do the honourable thing: leave.

Fiona concluded, “It is time to review not only what went wrong and how to put procedures in place to prevent this sort of thing happening again, but to also look at the wider purpose of the Crofting Commission. There have been a few calls for the disbanding of the Commission, a natural reaction to the grief it has caused. But our members are still supportive of having an independent body that oversees crofting.

“This convener got too inflated over legislation, spouting ‘the express will of Parliament’. But with him gone we can work with the Commission again, picking up on the excellent progress made with the five priorities for crofting.

“It is time to consider reinstating the responsibility for crofting development with the Commission; it was supposed to have been moved to HIE, though this transition never happened. If the Crofting Commission takes crofting development back with crofting regulation we would see a more rounded, holistic body representing Scottish Government working for crofting.