The si­lence pro­gram

Summerside res­i­dents de­serve an­swers from coun­cil on port de­vel­op­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY DAVID GRIF­FIN David Grif­fin is a for­mer deputy chief of po­lice in Summerside with 40 years of ser­vice with the force.

On Feb. 10, 2010, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment trans­ferred own­er­ship of the Port of Summerside to the Summerside Port Cor­po­ra­tion Inc. The pres­i­dent of this six-mem­ber board is Arnold Cro­ken, vi­cepres­i­dent is Bob Ash­ley, the city’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer.

The mis­sion state­ment of the cor­po­ra­tion is to de­velop new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the port. It’s been seven years since this change of own­er­ship took place.

Gail Shea, fed­eral Fish­eries min­is­ter at the time, al­lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately $30 mil­lion to this new own­er­ship, to be used over the next 25 years.

The tax­pay­ers have ev­ery right to know what has been done about de­vel­op­ment at our port since 2010. A com­plete de­scrip­tion of this project to date, in­clud­ing any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment, should be made public as per the agree­ment.

I re­quested dis­clo­sure of these facts a few weeks ago, and to date have not re­ceived a re­ply. Summerside Mayor Bill Martin and city coun­cil have in­tro­duced us, the tax­pay­ers, to the si­lence pro­gram they op­er­ate un­der. This mind­set of en­ti­tle­ment in gov­ern­ment usu­ally leads to dis­as­ter. One only has to look at the way our Lib­eral gov­ern­ment op­er­ates to un­der­stand they care very lit­tle for the hard work­ing Is­lan­der.

Tax­pay­ers in any mu­nic­i­pal­ity, when re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion as to how our tax dol­lars are be­ing spent, should be sup­plied with all their re­quests im­me­di­ately. This cat-and-mouse game with no com­ments is ex­tremely em­bar­rass­ing to our great city.

We will wait and see who steps up to de­liver. Just a vivid re­minder to all politi­cians: it’s hard-work­ing Is­lan­ders who pay your wages. I would sug­gest you do the job we elected you to do and get away from this se­crecy.

You will all be vis­i­ble come the next elec­tion with all kinds of prom­ises and ways we can all do bet­ter.

I do hope the peo­ple of Summerside have long mem­o­ries, stand tall and rid our coun­cil of these no-com­ment, silent re­sponses. Summerside tax­pay­ers de­serve a lot more than this.

GUARDIAN FILE PHOTO

In 2010, then-fed­eral Fish­eries min­is­ter Gail Shea al­lo­cated around $30 mil­lion to the Summerside Port Cor­po­ra­tion.

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