Yesterday I was shocked and felt cheated when I found out that the selectmen had taken off and replaced the plastic free bylaw from the warrant at the last minute. I was so surprised because we had met at least four times in the last year about the bylaw and the selectmen had agreed to put it on the warrant. But when they decided to pull it off, they did not give us any notice. If we had known their plan, we could have defended keeping the bylaw or had the chance to put it on by citizens petition.

I couldn’t believe it and felt betrayed because the selectmen had agreed that they would put it on the warrant. Then they waited until after the deadline for us to use the alternative way to get it on the warrant, the citizens petition, and after that deadline had passed, then they told us they were actually not going to put it on like they said they would. And that left us no alternative. When I found out, during the selectmen’s meeting what they were doing, I left my house and went down to town hall to ask them how they could do that. There, one of the selectmen told us, that he liked the idea, and he wants to help us, he “made that commitment” to us. But I have now lost confidence in the selectmen, since they just went against their word right there at the meeting. And the only reason we even knew they were doing it was because we heard about it and went right away to the meeting that was still in session. It felt really unfair that they did it at the last minute and did not give us any notice beforehand and then took it off the warrant and gave us no notice, no time and no alternative.

They said the reason why is because they “need more time to research and talk to businesses” but they have had since June to set up a meeting. If they didn’t do that, that’s not our fault, why should we have to pay the price for that? And we have been doing lots of research including talking to businesses. Our group has been working on this for years and when we have spoken to businesses (for example Mott’s, Island Cove, Waterside and Cronig’s) we got a lot of positive feedback and we attempted to contact all of the rest of the businesses in town.

I think the voters of this town should get to decide if they want to support our bylaw or not. And the way the selectmen did it, they tricked us into not doing a citizens petition because they said they would put it on the warrant. When they decided to take it off, they were the only ones in the town who got a say about it. That’s not fair to us and that’s not fair to the townspeople.

Thank you for your time

Odin Robinson

Vineyard Haven

The writer is a member of the student-led initiative Plastic Free MV.