Another occasional guest post from the man who may be the oldest blogger in Thanet? My colleague Cllr. John Watkins is a man who pays attention to detail. Pictured here in his Margate Central ward outside Margate Media Centre on the morning of the recent Thanet Pride he has put on a pink shirt in solidarity. He has some good news......
‘Our Maritime Museum is off the Rocks,
They’ve cut loose all the Anchors
A brand new plan is on the Stocks,
They are no longer run by …….
It is great news that Thanet District Council’s cabinet have been advised to sign a 99 year lease with the Steam Museum Trustees for the occupancy of the Clock House in the pier yard Ramsgate.
A fresh start can now be made for the Ramsgate Maritime Museum, under the stewardship of new trustees who could, actually, run a successful whelk stall.
Someone once wrote that ‘those who forget their history are doomed to re-live it’. With this in mind I would like to list some of the reasons which may have led to the East Kent Maritime Trust (EKMT), the former occupants, being effectively sacked by Thanet District Council.
One reason could be the thousands of pounds per annum of Thanet Council grant fund money that was paid to Mr. Jimmy Godden for a first floor suite of five offices overlooking the marina on Harbour Parade Ramsgate. Office space that would have been more appropriate for a profitable, large sized company.
Or perhaps it was the more than £40,000 spent on consultants in recent years, whilst paying their own local permanent staff poverty rates of pay. Then again there was the approx £75,000 in fees, plus £62,000 penalty, paid over to the legal profession, for the mediation concerning their hugely expensive and totally unnecessary squabble over the tug Cervia.
In addition to all this, the EKMT inexplicably failed to produce any annual reports and accounts for over three years, until November 2008, contrary to Charity Commission rules. This was whilst still continuing to receive, with no questions asked, their regular annual £80,000 grant from Thanet District Council, funded by the local rate payers.
At the start of 2008 the East Kent Maritime Trustees, who included three senior local Tory politicians among their number, were able to carry forward funds of almost £223,000. This sum included money from bequests, donations, grants and sales. However, in spite of this they still found it unavoidable to make every one of their loyal staff members redundant (I was one of them, and have carried on working on a voluntary basis), thus depriving seven local workers of their livelihoods and tipping them all out into a very uncertain future.
The EKMT 2008 Annual Report and Accounts for this charitable trust, which are due to be published soon, should make for some very interesting reading. With any luck, a sizable proportion of the £267,616.00 bequest that was given to the museum will soon be passed across to the Steam Museum Trust to spend on future projects at Ramsgate Maritime Museum."
For more on Thanet Conservatives having problems managing Ramsgate Harbour facilities click here for Bertie Biggles detailed dissection of the recent Ramsgate Port audit.