READER’S OPINION: I want answers over First Fleet statue

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When I was Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, I received the statue of HMS Sirius commemorating the First Fleet sailing from Portsmouth to Australia on behalf of the citizens of Portsmouth.

The gift to us was from the city of Kurin Gai near where the First Fleeters landed. The statue therefore belongs to the citizens of our city.

Cascades allowed the statue to be placed in the entrance of its shopping mall. A suitable plaque explained all about the design and my name as the lord mayor receiving it was prominent.

Some time later the statue was hidden away and damaged during an upgrade to Cascades. It was retrieved and restored and relocated in Sirius Avenue at Gunwharf.

A new plaque was made eliminating my role in the acceptance of the gift.

The sculptor was upset and David Evans of Portsmouth City Council saved the day by adding a separate plaque.

Then Gunwharf decided to move the statue, again without any consultation even though it belonged to Portsmouth citizens.

It is now in a good position, but again the plaque correcting the previous omission was disposed of.

I wrote to my local councillor who contacted PPC’s chief executive to ask why they were doing this but I received no answer.

I am also the vice-president of the Portsmouth Sydney Sister Link Committee and the Britain Australian Society Portsmouth Branch so my enquiries should have at least an answer.

I find it high-handed for the Cascades to make all these decisions without consulting anyone regarding our statue.

Shame on them.

Syd Rapson

Washbrook Road, Paulsgrove