Keith House, Eastleigh’s Lib Dem Council Leader, has visited the Turks and Caicos Islands in order to advise its’ politicians and public servants on how to hold democratic elections.
Cllr House – who is used to steamrollering policy through the council with the benefit of a 90% majority – was part of a four man group of politicos representing the tax payer funded ‘Westminster Foundation for Democracy’.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a Caribbean British Overseas Territory trying to re-adjust to democracy after a short period of direct rule.
Looking every inch the colonial civil servant (circa 1952) in his trade mark white suit – a look also described as being akin to ‘the Man from Del Monte’ or ‘Boss Hogg’ by Eastleigh News readers – Cllr House posed for a photo with colleagues under palm trees for the local Weekly News whom he told:
“When people can sit down and have consultations they usually come out of it finding the best way forward.”
A Borough wide consultation held last year on whether to hold a referendum for a directly elected Mayor drew just 13 responses from Eastleigh ‘s population of 120,000 – all them in favour of a referendum.
Mr House told the Echo at the time that the low response was an endorsement of the existing executive arrangements and had decided to stay on as Council Leader unopposed.
In addition to advising Turk and Caicos islanders on how to be democratic, Cllr House has, according to the paper, also assisted in:
“The development of political parties in Eastern Europe and as an international election observer in seven republics of the former Soviet Union from Belarus to Tajikistan.
He has also trained political parties and assisted in developing democracy projects in Kosovo, South Africa and DR Congo.”
Cllr House travelled to the Turks and Caicos in early April. The trip was also reported in the Liberal Democrat News’ (back page) who trilled about Cllr House enjoying :
“Rum punches on the palm fringed beaches”