This afternoon both Easdale People and ForArgyll received word that Eilean Eisdeal directors had at last seen sense and produced their Public Liability Insurance, enabling them to hold the Stone Skimming contest. The insurance certificate has been passed on to Jonathan Feigenbaum’s solicitor, who is making sure it is legally watertight.
This whole stushie could have been avoided if the Chair of the charity, Keren Cafferty, had engaged in dialogue with Jonathan last April, when he first made his request to see the Public Liability Insurance - as any decent landowner would need to do when a large scale festival is to be held on their land. The facts in this matter are that Cafferty and the other directors chose not to respond to Mr Feigenbaum’s approaches until September 6th, saying that they had Public Liability Insurance but “declined” to show him a copy. He was then legally obliged to advise them that, without seeing the document, the event could not go ahead.
Also in April of this year Mr. Feigenbaum advised the Charity that he requested a small fee for staging the event, and that that money was to be spent in a way that would benefit all of the island residents. Again, he received no response. But to that end this afternoon he was in contact with the Residents’ Association with regard to engaging its members as to the best way that fee could be spent.
Since its inception in 1997 the charity Eilean Eisdeal [EE] has received more than £ 1.2 million of public money – an amount that equates to approximately £24,000 per adult full-time resident! This has come from, among other funders, the Big Lottery, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Land Fund. These funds have been spent on capital projects like the hall, the harbour and buying the museum - all well and good, should islanders actually have benefitted from them. But a great deal of EE’s money may have been used to pay, for example, John Campbell QC to fight against the wishes of the majority of the island residents in the Local Plan consultation; and architects to draw up plans for developments that islanders have said they don’t want; and a planning consultant to propose developments that islanders haven’t been asked whether they want or not.
We’ve been unable to find out exactly how much EE has spent in this way, as the charity is able to hide the full details because it is only legally required to submit ”abridged” accounts. So even its members are not told!
In the last two years EE’s directors could have spent thousands of pounds trying to obtain planning permission for a wind turbine on this tiny island, that – as you’ll remember – over half of the population formally objected too. A serious waste of community money; money which is supposed to be used for the benefit of the community and NOT to fight against its wishes.
This story has had great interest both in the national media and on this website. We’ve had thousands of extra views in the last 2 days so keep viewing and we’ll update you as to how the community spend the money.