In an astonishing show of contempt for democracy and the safety of Island residents, at the full council meeting held on Wednesday 15th June, the Island’s conservative group succeeded in blocking a debate from taking place that could have seen the decision to transfer the IOW Fire Control to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service reversed and the vital service remain on the Island.
Labour Councillor, Geoff Lumley moved a motion that would have seen the jobs of 12 island firefighters saved and prevented Island council tax and business rate payers being forced to pay for emergency 999 calls being answered and managed 80 miles from the Island. None of which would come with any guarantees of an improved or even equal service to Island residents, businesses and visitors.
Conservative leader Cllr. David Pugh led the opposition to the suspension of ‘procedural rule 11’ which prevented a debate on the motion to retain Fire Control on the Island happening.
Conservative Cllr. Barry Abraham, who single handedly made the delegated decision to transfer the Island’s emergency control room from Newport, IW to Reigate, Surrey called for an immediate vote to prevent any debate taking place, leaving Island residents in the dark over how their elected councillors represent their views in the council chamber.
The Fire Brigades Union has deeply held professional concerns about this transfer and the flawed business case that it is based on. Cllr. Abraham was unable to give satisfactory answers to public questions concerning the procurement and consultation processes around the delegated decision and was forced into responding in writing.
FBU Control Rep Paul Watts said Cllr. Lumley has done Island residents a great service by jumping through hoops to get this motion to the council and should be commended. It’s just a shame that the conservative group choose to ignore the views of their constituents and put a perceived financial saving before Islanders safety and ultimately their lives. There are obviously serious concerns about this transfer for them to go to such lengths to stifle debate and prevent their constituents knowing the full implications of this decision’.