Three cases about grazings committees have hit the headlines in the crofting world recently.
In each case, the Grazings Committee was removed from office by the Crofting Commission Convenor, Colin Kennedy, citing infractions of the grazings legislation, and was replaced by a ‘constable’, following disputes over aspects of financial management of common grazings.
The issues culminated late September when The Board of the Crofting Commission cut its meeting short, with the Convenor, Colin Kennedy, closing the meeting and leaving. Despite this, the remaining Commissioners continued with business under a special meeting, and a motion was accepted to request the resignation of the Convenor. Thus far, the Convenor has not acquiesced with this request.
The decisions to remove these committees have been criticised as having a substantial impact on the crofting communities involved, creating uncertainty not only in the three areas covered by the grazings committees, but throughout the crofting counties. These incidents have led to further pressure on the Convenor to step down.
Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary, called for a public apology to be made by the Crofting Commission on the back of these controversial decisions, and an apology was duly tendered. The Crofting Commission has attracted quite a lot of controversy in the recent months and incidents like this will do little to restore full confidence in the regulatory system.