Election ruckus for civic association

2017-12-05 06:00

The Observatory Civic Association will hold another annual meeting to elect new board members after the results of this financial year’s meeting were nullified.

This decision was made at a special general meeting at the Observatory Civic Centre on Tuesday 28 November following reports that the annual meeting, which had been held on Tuesday 31 October, had irregularities. Residents have reported that local developers had “wormed” their way into board positions by mobilising people from outside Observatory to vote for them.?

More than 250 people voted against the newly elected committee members.

The special general meeting was held on the back of a petition signed by 302 people that had been circulated shortly after the annual meeting. The petition called for a special meeting to reverse the decisions made at the previous meeting.

It is alleged that developers wanted the committee positions to attempt to amend the constitution of the civic association “to suit their interests”, according to residents who attended both meetings. They insist one of the local developers was allegedly recently fined for illegal construction in the area. The developers who have been accused of this tactic allegedly tried to threaten those who proposed the petition, even involving lawyers, confirmed the association’s acting chairperson Tauriq Jenkins.

These lawyers apparently issued a letter to stop the special meeting from going ahead and contested the claim that there had been ineligible voters at the annual meeting, according residents.

One of the accused developers, Himmy Abadar, confirms that a letter had been sent to the former board members following their motion “to nullify our election”.

“There is no reason we cannot serve our community on the board. It is only because the old board committee members are not [in agreement] with the results; there were no irregularities,” Abadar says.

One resident, Steve Killick, says: “After concerns were raised, the former committee investigated and found that the details provided by some members who voted were not accurate. Some were contacted to verify their addresses and it was discovered that they were not living in Observatory. The matter was addressed with the new committee and the developers objected to the proposal of another meeting.”

Jenkins says : “With this surge of community participation, Observatory is reinstating itself as a centrifuge of civic activism. With members signing up in multitudes, our civic structure is emboldened with an invigorating sense of vitality and restoration. The interim committee of the association is tasked with cultivating this surge of interest by ensuring an effective annual meeting in an eight-week time frame. In the meantime, it is back to work with the various portfolios, including large developments and architecture and heritage and arts, culture and sports subcommittees.

“Our constitution will require some fortification and we will look within our community for assistance where we have a number of lawyers and legal experts in the field.”

Ward councillor Paddy Chapple says: “We will resolve this in eight weeks’ time with a duly constituted annual meeting. If anything, all civics need to examine the constitutions which were drawn up years ago.”

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