Ascension : Letter from Councillor Bendall
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 31.07.2014 (Article Archived on 14.08.2014)
It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you of my intention to resign from the Ascension Island Elected Council, effective 31st July 2014, pending my departure from the island.
28th July 2014
To the Residents of Ascension Island,
It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you of my intention to resign from the Ascension Island Elected Council, effective 31st July 2014, pending my departure from the island. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to contribute toward your representation for the past 4 years – it has been an honour and a privilege to do so.
Although challenging, serving on the Island Council has been incredibly rewarding. It is easy to underestimate the complexities which surround decision making on Ascension. For any of you considering running for Council I would say DO IT!! You will never know what difference you can make until you try. Why stand around complaining when you can actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?! The Island Council has the ability to make changes, to really make a difference to life on Ascension, and no matter who you are or what your background you will be able to contribute positively in some way.
As I resign I would like to ask that the Council continue to give thought and consideration to the following:
· The improvement and development of educational opportunities (post 16yrs) for young people on Ascension. The internet offers a wealth of academic opportunities for those unable to return to the UK or St Helena to continue their education beyond secondary school. Is there a way for us to make these opportunities more accessible to our young people? How can young people be encouraged to continue their professional development after school? What about adult education? What can we realistically offer?
· The implementation of legislation relating to the Fire Service and Fire Safety & Prevention. There are three Fire Departments on Ascension but no legal framework to support them, the Fire Services should be given the ability to ensure our safety through proper inspection procedures, access to information and security within the law to successfully mitigate incidents.
I would also like to add a note specifically for those living and working on the US Base. You account for the largest employment group on Ascension. You are as important to the workings of this island as everyone else, in some areas perhaps even more so. You pay tax just like everyone else. You have every RIGHT to be involved in the discussions and decisions which effect life on Ascension – so participate! When I first joined the Council I was employed on the US Base and I felt we were misunderstood and forgotten by the Government, I hope that has changed but the only way for you to be sure is to get involved so why not consider running for Council?
In closing I would like to repeat my thanks to you – it really has been a privilege. I look forward to continuing my association with Ascension through my new role in post 2016 access preparation – an exciting and challenging project. To all of you I wish the very best for the future, this is not good bye (I will definitely be back!) but see you next time!
Elected Island Councillor