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The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pairc - heroes and villains

Yes, I was duly embarrassed by the wrong call I made at the beginning of the week when I claimed the buy-out was to be refused, much to the amusement of some commentators

If I were infallible, there is probably another calling that I would be encouraged to follow, but yes sometimes I get it spectacularly wrong.  The erroneous post haves been suspended (not deleted) and the mocking, abusive and humorous comments preserved for all posterity, or whenever I feel less red-faced about the whole episode.

However, as the process moves on, let's see what the landlord has to say.

There are some pretty serious allegations in the document that require to be - and must be -  properly investigated.

It is also important to examine the landlord/crofter share from the Pairc Windfarm and Pairc Trust’s urgency to obtain the interposed lease so that it can deny the landlord any value from it. Two of Pairc Trust’s directors were present at the original meeting on 04 March 2003 when Pairc Liaison Group declared the issue of crofter income share to be a matter, not for Pairc Estate but, for Pairc Liaison Group alone to consider. The result? Two director’s families are in line to receive one fifth of the windfarm benefits, whilst some two hundred crofters and the landlord are intended to receive nothing.
If it is true that directors of the Trust - and I have heard it repeated from a number of sources - were to receive 20% of the benefits, directly or indirectly, then this requires to be placed into the public domain.  As a publicly funded body, and one seeking huge public assistance, it is only right that any potential benefit to the directors/trustees or their immediate families should be made widely known.

If it is fairly, openly and correctly awarded to them, then that is fine.

If the landlord is lying, then his standing will be fatally undermined, and such libellous suggestions could prove very expensive.

If the situation is not investigated and resolved, and if it later proves to be true, then the community and the whole rational behind community land purchase schemes will be undermined, and previous land acquisitions will be tainted.

The claims have been made and the must be rigorously investigated to clear the air.  If they are not, then they will be raised in Court by the landlord, and any failings of the funders will be exposed to public ridicule.

Take note: there is only one course of action that must be followed, however difficult and embarrassing.


Anonymous said...

All I can say on Pairc is will the appointing of a Directors daughter to a job that was never properly advertised be examined and will the tie in with her and her family be investigated?

Anonymous said...

The wannabe powers that be who are pushing themselves as business saviours have a stunningly grim track record. ConCom, Aline Forest fiasco and bankrupt MacDowall contracting to name a few. Also why are business units in Pairc lying empty?

Anonymous said...

This is actually nothing new, Angus. High Noon at the Pairc Corral has been on for the past couple of years, with the Pairc Trust and the Pairc Estate trading half-truths, lies, slander and innuendo. What I read in Barry Lomas's letter is a continuation of the mud-slinging. In my perspective, Mr Lomas will do anything he can to thwart the forced buy-out of his estate. You are right: the boil must be lanced.

Anonymous said...

Now 10:43

That job is important it is the front for the massive public expenditure at Laxey - Lochs Show Ground. With her guidance the money flows in. Lo! her mother is the treasurer. Her father a director of Pairc Trust and she was choosen for the job by the vice chair of the Trust. Who by chance has just given the job of running Ravenspoint to his best mate! All at our expense.

Back to the show ground, the builder - member of the Show Committee and yes you have it a Director of the Pairc Trust.

Chair of the Aline forest public expenditure scam and its now well paid builder! Yes a Director of Pairc Trust. Point of Aline - to let the Eishken turbine project get better access. Community Trust set up by Oppenheim to manage supposed Community Benefit -Chair of Pairc Trust.

The Crofters share of the Pairc Windfarm loot:

Goes to those crofters whose common grazing is affected by turbines, in this case Kershader and Habost.

Yes, your following it now - home to the Chair and ex Chair of the Pairc Trust.

In Pairc they have a new expression other than the previous 'This is the way we have always done it' its now 'Follow the Money' - YOUR money.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand Lomas' point at all. As 9.04 says, the crofters' share of the windfarm income will be shared by the crofters who share in the grazings on which the turbines will be planted. That will be the case whether the land belongs to Pairc Estate or Pairc Trust (and irrespective of interposed leases etc.)

The leading lights of PT may well be prominent among the crofters concerned but PT becoming the landlord makes no difference to what they as crofters will receive from the windfarm. And PT are in no way empowered as new landlords (any more than Barry Lomas was) to deprive any crofters of their share.

So before we get to whether there's any truth in it, can someone explain exactly what Lomas' accusation is?

Anonymous said...

Now 12:11

One element of the common grazing is not tenented - Stiemreway. No residents since the 1920s when they went back to Lemreway and Orinsay.

However just a very few, a very very few, crofters from Habost and Kershader - the very few, previously identified above have shares in the vacant common grazing at Stiemreway.

Those shares will include any turbine payment rights entitled to crofters using those grazings.

Now where are most of the turbines on Pairc going?

Is it all coming together for you?

Peter Paircer said...

There is a recurring suggestion that the directors of the Trust have skewed the siting of turbines and hence the income towards sites in which they have an exclusive (?) interest. Consequently they will benefit disproportionally.

If true, then this is very serious given that it is being hidden from the community, and would explain some of the eagerness of the "representatives" to push the case.

It'll be real fun if that all comes out in Court at the last minute. Can you imagine what the Minister will say?

Either way. Let's put these rumours to rest one way or another.

Anonymous said...

What Pairc Trust are guilty of!

Knowing that their own crofts and apportionments were in pole position for turbines, for which, they rapidly realised, they would receive significant annual sums, they did everything in their power to stifle any democratic debate about the SSE windfarm.

Instead they continually 'engaged' or whatever it was, with the 'community',purportedly 'keeping us informed'and claiming that the windfarm was 'unrelated', when clearly it was and is very related, and Pairc Trust Directors were in regular contact with SSE. They never ever asked the question, and refused to acknowledge any views other than those that secured their retirement holiday funds. At least Galson Trust eventually recognised the dissent in their community. The final knife in the back of the community was presenting one question for the final buy-out ballot, 'buy the estate and interposed lease' or nothing. This means that the community is legally bound to support the windfarm irrespective of what people actually think. This was never fully explained, and by voting the only way you could if you supported the buy-out you have now lost any voice in how the estate will be run because apart from arranging deck chairs around the edge of the windfarm, SSE ultimately run the estate. Nothing can be done without the agreement of SSE. Anyway the whole shenanigans is based on Pairc Trust gaining control of the community benefit, another initiative which has never been properly discussed.

Whether you are for or against the windfarm it is the the form of the current Pairc Trust Directors that is the issue.

Anonymous said...


surely it cant be as nepatistic as that - cant it?

Anonymous said...

If you look at the groups in which these Directors are involved and the public money that their groups have been able to access for various contracts, and then look at the companies that have aquired these contracts it is just unbelieveable.
Is it just coincidence that the successfull Contractors have such close links to the Directors.

If I was the Chair of a community group which ran a raffle with a very expensive first prize, would it be acceptable if my son or daughter won the first prize and I then went on to hide that fact by naming someone else as the prizewinner.

Anonymous said...

07:55 and 09:04 have got it spot on with regard to following the money.

A very contentious issue in Pairc is the Community Benefit should the SSE Wind-farm be built.

Pairc Trust are desperate to get control of this which would be an absolute disaster for the area.

Pairc Trust are happy to let the myth that Community Benefit and the purchase of the Estate are inextricably intertwined; Not The Case!

The remit Pairc Trust was given is to buy the land and negotiate the best possible Community Benefit from SSE. End of story.

Community Benefit will be available to the Community as a whole if the Wind-farm goes ahead; irrespective of who owns the land.

SSE's initial plan to place the Community Benefit with a Trust on the mainland (The Scottish Community Foundation)and ALL local Community Bodies would then apply to them for a share of the Community Benefit was a great idea; it allows for an openness, accountability and a fair means of accessing the funds for the WHOLE Community irrespective of any feelings towards the Pairc Trust.

Pairc Trust demanded at their public meeting on Friday that the whole of the Pairc Community now back them; conveniently forgetting that approximately a third of the Residents do not agree with Pairc Trust going down the Part 3 route and the majority of the Residents definitely do not agree with letting them anywhere near the Community Benefit.

If Pairc Trust are allowed to administer the Community Benefit (and use it as future guarantee to buy the Estate)this will be a total travesty and divide the Community even further.

Pairc Trust say they are working for the Community; I would challenge anyone to tell me of one fund raising event they have held to raise cash either for themselves or any of the excellent cash strapped Voluntary Organisations in the area.

Anonymous said...

I hope Crichton and Allan are reading this. So what do they have to say about these dodgy deals and schenanigans?

But of course we must remember that Crichtons neutrality is more than tainted as through his work cash (£20k) has been supplied to Aline Forest in the name of improved community health!

Anonymous said...

12:11 here again.

@ 1:54 – I’m having difficulty understanding the concept of a common grazing (Stiemreway) that is “not tenanted” and “vacant” but nonetheless still seems to have crofters sharing in it and in line for crofters’ payments from the windfarm. Be that as it may, it doesn’t change what I said before that the rights of tenants (of whatever status, crofters or otherwise) vis a vis the windfarm do not change depending on who the landlord is.

Or is the accusation simply that the PT directors are hot for the purchase because, as new landlords, they’ll be in a better position to lobby SSE to move the turbines on to land where they have grazing rights – is that it?

If so, then I find it very hard to believe that SSE would allow itself to be so influenced. I am no friend of community buy-outs but I don’t think the case against them is advanced by outlandish accusations against their protagonists.

@ 7:55 – PT as new landlord is legally obliged to support the w/f in the sense that it inherits the obligations of the landowner in the contracts with SSE entered into by Barry Lomas. That’s not the same as saying the community is obliged to support the windfarm! But equally, if a majority of the community were against the w/f, then PT are the body best able to spike the w/f by being able to go to its lawyers and say “Right – find a loophole to get us out of this unwanted contract entered into by our predecessors as landlords.” (There almost certainly will be a loophole somewhere.) But then I suppose the accusation is that the PT directors are too concerned with their own self interests to act in such a way at the behest of a majority of the community.

And finally, are you sure the community fund will be under the control of the PT? I’ve never encountered a c/f being under the control of the landlord of a w/f before – even public sector/not for profit landlords.

Anonymous said...


That £20k as you said went into the woods - along with a lot, lot more cash from a vagary of funders.

Interestingly Pairc Community have £20K worth of fitness equipment for community health and wanted to buy a ex council building in Gravir on the cheap to house it.

Excellent community scheme you would think, backed by the local medical practice and community council. Money available for Lochs in the NHS Community Health Grants so they applied for £20K.

Where did any grant for Pairc Community go?

Into the woods.


On the subject of buildings why are Pairc Trust housed now in a Council Owned and maintained building in Kershader but unused by the council - who picks up the bills?

Anonymous said...


" Pairc Trust demanded at their public meeting on Friday that the whole of the Pairc Community now back them; "

Welcome to the Peoples Republic Of Pairc - a one party state.

The 1st post on this very interesting observation by Angus refers to the appointment of the Lochs Community Development Group (LCDG) of a new funded Development Officer and her Pairc connections.

Let us look at the running of Pairc and remember: - all you now read is publically funded by you the tax payer.

Control in Pairc is exercised by:

Pairc Trust (PT), Erisort Trust(ET) & Co Chomunn na Pairc (Pairc Co Op at Ravenspoint)(RP).

They are affiliated to the LCDG.

PT - key players: Chair, Vice Chair & ex Chair. Directors includes wife of Chair ET

ET - key players: Chair, Chair of PT and Chair of LCDG

ET has a shadow business company - Aline Community Forest - run by Chair PT. Purpose under the guise of community development provide employment and income to developer who is......Secondly, it is rumoured, to facilitate turbine access to Eishken. As an aside here the Chair PT is of course a Trustee of the Eishken Community Benefit Trust (MWFT).

ET also control the 4 long term empty business units out side Habost. Built with public funding (what isn't) on the moor. As if a rural community needed 4 business units. So why? Rumour here is that when the Pairc Wind farm starts the developers will need office space -ah ha- ready built complex. So connect SSE not only with PT but now ET and its inter active directorship.

RP - Chair is Vice Chair PT, Chair ET. Operations Manager (salaried - newly appointed) cohort and friend of Chair. RP has received some £250K + to refurnish its property and employ a manager. Local jobs here? - builder is using Poles. Hell of a lot of cash to add two rooms and improve the toilets.

Now lets look further out into Lochs.

LCDG - Chair a director of ET. Members - Chair of RP and Vice Chair of PT, Director of RP, Chair of ET. Development Officer (salaried)appointed by Vice Chair PT is daughter of ex Chair PT.

Major cash co-ordination Projects of LCDG as listed at the First Page in their plans:

Loch Show Ground: Chair PT + numerous family memmbers, wives of Chair ET and ex Chair PT

Ravenspoint rebuild: Vice Chair PT, Chair ET.

Aline Community Forest: Chair ET, Chair PT, Chair LCDG

As the lyrics of the great soul song say "It's A Family Affair"

PT is now attempting to set up a shadow commercial company similar to ET's Aline Community Woodland Company. Charitable Trusts running business companies 'umm'.

Remember my observation: All you (have) now read is publically funded by you the tax payer.

Opposition is suppressed in Pairc many moan, many are worried, many are alarmed but few if any speak out. As the U Boat Commander said to Capt Mannering "Your name will go on the list". Some dissent is exercised by the Community Council; as followers of life in Pairc will have read, but the CC is dismissed by PT as a bunch of interferring incomers - which they mainly are and being unrelated to the PT faternity willing to speak.

Crompton MacKenzie would have just wished for a cast like this to write as good as yarn as Whisky Galore.

And our Scottish Government has given them permission to continue with out any reservation, audit or examination of what actually goes on in Pairc. Willingly supported with cash from CnES, HIE and other funders its a Milk Cow for the self appointed Lairds of South Lochs.

Auditors of any kind?

Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.

Jackie Benson said...

Speaking as an outsider with no connection to Lewis I have to say Angus Macdowall comes across as a very arrogant tone in his press release on the Pairc Trust website. "The Trust are in touch with funding bodies such as HIE, CnES, and the Big Lottery Fund, but we recognise that we must make a contribution ourselves." which sounds like he thinks its jolly unreasonable of the rotten old tax payer and lottery player not to pay for the whole thing. "Cheques should be made payable to ..." what a cheek! Won't be getting anything from me.

Anonymous said...

Never have I seen so much dirt dished in public. Long live the "Incredulious Eye"!

Anonymous said...

I am sure, Anon 1.43, that Crichton and Allan are far too busy right now to be paying close attention to postings on this blog, however scurrilous and entertaining they happen to be. I know for a fact that Crichton works for the Scottish Health Council, which does not award grants to anybody, even Aline Forest. How do I know this? Because some months ago I had to approach the Health Council on an issue to do with NHS Western Isles, which Crichton sorted for me. I think, Anon, if you check your facts, the grant to Aline came from NHS Western Isles.hamay have come from makeenterb

Anonymous said...

Reading this from the distance of South Uist, I think that we should apply to the lottery fund for a grant of (at least) several millions to allow us to twin up with you.

After reading the above posts it is very apparent that there is - an as yet undiscovered - rich seam for students of the psycholgy of Hebridean meglomania to mine.

The readiness by Storas to unleash lawyers against members of the community, and the ceasless toil in the rearing of a small herd of white elephants give you a rare glimpse of the 'community' future that awaits you.

The old landlord may have been ineffective, but at least they were benign and did not interfere in the community.

Be prepared for a very lonely struggle if there are any real issues which may affect you; there is no recourse anywhere. The politicians, council, and HIE have hung their hat on this one and will not countenance any dissent.

Outright lies, deceit, and manipulation of the press are something that will become the norm for you; all the while the public purse picks up the tab. At some point the cash may run out and the real fun may then begin.

An out of control community buyout such as we have in Uist is a slowly unfolding disaster.

Dr Evadne said...

Did you think of this one down in the Uists?

I will be raffling my entire collection of the teachings of Stanley Unwin in order to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Anonymous said...

Dr Evadne .. Uist Calling.

I just love the phrase "Masters of our own destiny" but have to confess some disappointment that there has been yet another tiresome slip in the print of Heb News. What Mr MacDowel actually said was 'Master of your destiny'

Very disappointing also that you have to go through the dreary business of raising money for a community buy out. Get a lift down here to Daliburgh with Grillburger to my new office (gracias WIE) - complete with resplendent sign - and we'll show you how we raised £4.2 million for our buyout without ...erm anyone locally actually putting any money into the buyout kitty.

You missed out on a very spiffing evening last Friday week when I had the honour of opening the new office to the great unwashed. The pipers circling the building clockwise was an absolue touch of genius, while the choir of young maidens gave the whole affair a rather upmarket touch. Once we got the plebs out of the building the serious business of the rest of the evening was attended to.

The only problem was that it was a black dark night and quite a few of us couldn't find our cars afterwards. Fortunately they were still there at the crack of mid-day on Saturday.

Once you get the Pairc office established you absolutely must come down and visit us to see exactly how we manage to keep a staff of 23 - plus myself on a modest £50k plus expenses - very busy.

Must dash, wee Brian is on the other line.

Anonymous said...

Pairc Trust,i think it's a case of who can you trust in Pairc!!

Anonymous said...


We are actually re-branding, now it is:

Erishite Trust
Pairc DisTrust

Directors being:

Large one: Martin Borman, short thin One: Sir Hiss and the fat one obviously: The Fat Controller.

Anonymous said...

What about the director that was pinhing stuff from the council and flogging it on ebay? Is he still there?

Anonymous said...

What a laugh! How can someone with a track record like these crooks ever get into a position of authority again. When someone goes bankrupt, they should not have any further involvement in any business ever again. No shame and no respect for the working class

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:21

I have never heard such pathetic poisonous paranoid rubbish. You did however do a good job of highlighting all the things that these directors are involved in. You really think that it is for personal gain? Nonsense. Why dont you put your name forward for one of these committees yourself?

Anonymous said...

How can Pairc Trust have asked for a vote on community benefit when no vote was noted in the invite to the meeting?

Anonymous said...

2.47 go check out who's names are on the plant that do the majority of work in the 'community projects' of Aline and Lochs show etc. Lots of good work is certainly done but lets not pretend that its all 'voluntary'.

Anonymous said...


You take exception to the report related by 11:21 who is clearly aware of recent events in South Lochs and was at the Pairc Trust's latest meeting to hear first hand what he/she reports.

Read at 3:10 a very good log of the web of personal interest that has been spun and how control really works throughout the Lochs Community.

Failing that I can hardly believe that you are really so naive,
or may you are a Director or relative of said Trusts' trying a very poor attempt at their defence.

Anonymous said...

Questions should be asked why the Operations Manager postion was given to someone outwith South Lochs. When the local candidates were so suitable. It really is a case of its not what you know its who you know. There have been two prime jobs within the community and who is given the posts a mate and a daughter ummm. This new manger with his connections to the island least we remember he left at the first given opportunity is now gracing us with his experience in his retirement!!! Is it just chance or planning that everyone involved in Ravenspoint is over the age of 50 who represents the younger people. What about the children of our community what do they have.

Anonymous said...

It would be good to note that not all voluntary groups in South Lochs are out for their own gain. Many give up their time for the community and don't even claim expenses. Lets hail the real hero's that try to safeguard the true meaning of community. Remember the carers who go out in the throws of winter when the roads are deadly, the people who give up their time to provide the children with something to do, the people who check on the elderly and sick, the emergency service volunteers who are on hand to provide assistance day or night, the neighbours who shop for those who can't, the people who are struggling to keep the nursery from closing so the little ones will not have to travel miles to attend pre-school education. These are our heros its such a shame that all that is talked about in regard to south lochs is the few who control and take everything. Their day will come and i hope to be there with my bucket of popcorn.

Anonymous said...

10.21 Well said!

Anonymous said...

12.20! That was not a PT director that was "pinching stuff off the comhairle". He is the treasurer of the community council, although I believe he was employed by PT to write their business plan.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the operations manager had the most relevant experience and most suitable CV? I am sure that was the case, anything else is just rumour, conjecture and libellous.

I am also sure the directors of PT will not personally profit from the buy out. Surely any money paid(if the windfarm goes ahead - and it may not) will go to the affected common grazings committee.

Anonymous said...

11.57 Money goes to individual crofters not the 'committee'. It is correct that PT directors will only benefit personally by virtue of being crofters, not as a result of being directors. But knowing that you are going to benefit personally certainly helps when it comes to stonewalling democratic opposition.

Anonymous said...

Thats rubbish everyone knows the new operations managers brother is on the book trust with J.R and he new J.R before he came for the job, hes already shown he can't manage with how hes spoke and treated staff! He talks a good game but his problem with the bottle will soon show him up. You seem to think everything is all done within the lines here its not people are out for themselves not this community