The IOTG ran its story today, as expected, about the un-becoming behaviour last year at The Winter Gardens of Sandy Ezekiel, Leader of Thanet District Council, who represents us as 'Our Leader'. The whole incident does no-one credit but him least of all. As others involved Cllrs Watkins, Clark and Hart feel that the Gazette has not reported the story correctly, they have issued a 'Statement' that I copy in entirity below. I have still no doubts, in my mind at least, that it is time for the fine younger talent in the Tory Group at TDC to replace some of the ' Tory old guard' who I have been reliably informed seem quite happy with their nickname 'The Mafia' and perhaps should start with its 'Godfather'. I fear the damage being done to the Conservative Party and its reputation by the unseemly conduct of its Thanet 'Leader'; for goodness sake replace him and fast!
Here is the statement by Cllrs Watkins, Clark and Hart.
For over a year now we have been forced to stay silent about the incident at the Mayor’s Retiring Ball at the Winter Gardens Margate in April 2007 due to ongoing investigations.
However, due to a wildly inaccurate story in a local newspaper today we feel we have to make the following response.
The full report is due to be published on the Standards Board for England website in the next few days.
Please pay particular attention to the IMPORTANT SUMMARY after the responses.
Response by Cllr. John Watkins to Cllr. Ezekiel’s Behaviour at the Mayor of Margate’s Retiring Ball on 14th April 2007.
‘My complaint concerned the disgraceful aggressive and abusive conduct by a senior elected member of the Thanet District Council. It took place in a public place at the end of a civic occasion and was witnessed by horrified members of the public, staff members of the Winter Gardens and local councillors and their wives (my wife included).
In addition to the actual shameful incident, was the sheer hypocrisy involved from a man who, at a public meeting earlier on the same day had been loudly complaining of the same kind of anti social drunken behaviour that is often displayed at the weekend outside bars and clubs on our main seafronts in Thanet’.
Cllr. John Watkins.
John Watkins is a Thanet District Councillor for Margate Central Ward,
and also a Margate Charter Trustee. He is a retired Margate Lifeboat Station Official and a former Royal Naval Auxiliary Officer.
Response by Cllr. Doug Clark to the appalling behaviour of & subsequent false allegations made by Cllr. Ezekiel.
‘I was absolutely appalled by the threatening behaviour of Cllr. Ezekiel towards myself as the Town Mayor of Margate during the last moments of my Retiring Ball.
I was also very concerned when Cllr. Ezekiel abused my Town Sergeant (who was protecting me) and also attempted to provoke another Margate Charter Trustee.
My many guests from voluntary and community organisations across Margate had enjoyed a wonderful evening, which was then spoilt by Cllr. Ezekiel’s yobbish behaviour just as we were preparing to leave.
What I find most incredible of all, is that Cllr. Ezekiel would then make totally false allegations against myself and another distinguished guest to the Police in an effort to cover up his own appalling behaviour’.
Cllr. Doug Clark
Doug Clark is a Thanet District Councillor for Cliftonville West Ward, and also a Margate Charter Trustee. He is a JP of 27 years standing, who is currently a senior East Kent Magistrates Court Chairman (adult & youth courts). He was formerly a member of the Lord Chancellors Advisory Committee, the Youth Justice Board for Southern England and the Town Mayor of Margate 2006 - 2007.
Response by Cllr. Clive Hart to the appalling behaviour of & subsequent false allegations made by Cllr. Ezekiel.
‘The actions of Cllr. Ezekiel at the end of the Mayor’s Retiring Ball were simply outrageous!
For Cllr. Ezekiel, an ex-boxer, to aggressively threaten and abuse the much older Town Mayor at the end of his own Civic Retiring Ball was both shocking and frightening. To subsequently turn his aggression onto other innocent guests was absolutely shameful.
To make matters far worse Cllr. Ezekiel then made a series of spurious and malicious allegations to the Police against decent law-abiding people in an effort to cover his own shortcomings and this simply compounded his original outrageous behaviour.
Cllr. Ezekiel should apologise to all concerned, especially to the female staff at the Winter Gardens and all the female guests who were forced to witness his unprovoked outburst of aggressive behaviour and loud yobbish ‘gutter’ language.
Cllr. Ezekiel should also apologise profusely to all the residents of Thanet, especially ratepayers and taxpayers, for wasting a whole year of time, energy and resources of our local Police and other agencies with his spurious and malicious allegations.
Cllr. Ezekiel knew only too well, that due to his senior position, his bogus allegations would have to be thoroughly and exhaustively investigated by senior officers whose valuable time would always be desperately needed elsewhere’.
Cllr. Clive Hart
Clive Hart is a Thanet District Councillor and a Kent County Councillor, a Margate Charter Trustee, the Chair of Governors at one local Special School and sits on the Management Committee of another. He has a long history of voluntary, community and welfare work with both youths and adults across Thanet.
These statements should not be used in any way to bring the role of councillors in general into disrepute. The vast majority of councillors do a hard job under difficult circumstances and usually for very little reward.
It should therefore be clearly noted that only ONE councillor behaved badly on the night of the Mayors Retiring Ball and then pointlessly wasted valuable public time & resources.
Cllr. John Watkins was simply a witness to the incident as he was preparing to leave the venue with his wife and had no involvement whatsoever in the incident.
Cllr. Doug Clark, then the Town Mayor, was also preparing to leave with his wife and though shocked and stunned by the unprovoked attack upon him, he turned and walked away.
Cllr. Clive Hart was leaving the venue with his wife and was some distance from the incident. Although berated and goaded by Cllr. Ezekiel, he too simply turned and walked away.
The Conservative Party must now decide what to do in response to Cllr. Ezekiel’s actions.
Published by Cllrs. Watkins, Clark & Hart – 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent. CT9 2RW
What do you think?