Monday 8 October was the start of the constituency meetings. Two were held on the night, one at Jamestown Community Centre and the other at Half Tree Hollow Community Centre, both commencing at 7.30pm. Councillors Brian Isaac, Cyril Gunnell, Bernice Olssen and Rodney Buckley were ready to hear the concerns of the public and answer questions at Jamestown, however not one member of the public attended.
Gunnell commented on the lack of interest from the public, “I am rather disappointed because some people have been asking when the next round of meetings would take place.” The last series of constituency meetings were held in April this year. “We are all geared up to present some information to the public tonight and of course to hear any concerns that they would have had but no one showed up so we can’t do anything more than that.”
Buckley, who had prepared to chair the meeting stated, “we had lots of issues to talk about. I mean there is an awful lot of stuff happening. People keep asking questions and this is the place where it all comes out. There is so much happening and from my point of view in particular we need to hear what the people want to say. Not what I want to hear, I know what is going on. We just need to know what the people want to know.”
Chairman of Health and Social Welfare committee, Gunnell was expecting key issues to be raised from the public, “I was ready with answers and we were going to report back on the meetings...but not able to do it unfortunately.”
After the same lack of interest from the public at an education meeting held in Levelwood last week, (reported in Sentinel issue 28), Buckley feels that the approach of meetings on the island needs to be reviewed, “we need to have a second look on how we do things I suppose. Why people don’t show up to meetings, I went all the way to Levelwood, and nobody showed up. So we have to do something to try and motivate the people somewhat.” Gunnell added, “we have to try to see what the problems are with regard to people not turning up at the meetings and I’m pretty certain it was well advertised.”
Although there was a poor turnout at the meeting on Monday, in contrast on the same premises 17 people were gathered in the skittles alley ready to play a game of skittles.