GP Opinion

Polling place is now an irrelevance

THERE was political chatter on general election night about the best-performing deputies having ‘the mandate’ for a top role in government. The implication was that by doing well in their district somehow the newly-elected deputy had a greater right to a senior position in the States.

States goes in search of leadership

FROM poll-toppers to past politicians, a single strong message came out of last night’s general election: a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of the 38 newly-elected deputies. This is no caretaker government, doing little other than keeping the island tidy. This is a States whose decisions will have real consequences for every islander of this generation and the next.

Thousands miss out on election day

MONTHS of effort and tens of thousands of pounds were poured into getting as many people as possible on the electoral roll. In the end, the campaign can be counted a success, if only because almost 600 more people signed up than four years ago. That took the total to 30,320 who can vote today (or already have through postal ballot).

Invisibility cloak taken off – for now

WHEN nobody is responsible, everyone is responsible. Sitting deputies up for re-election tomorrow have to hope that voters do not saddle them with all the ills of this States. For that is the temptation. With collective government the actions and decisions of individual departments and deputies are laid at the door of ‘the States’ without distinguishing between those directly responsible and the rest.

Government change on the horizon

IN A memorable phrase, States chief executive Paul Whitfield explained how his 10-year plan for public sector reform was a gradual process. ‘There won’t be a big bang in 2025 when it all slots into place, with fireworks at the Yacht Club and a 21-gun salute at Castle Cornet. There will be change, incremental change, over the next ten years.’

Search steps up for pride of islands

TODAY we launch our final category in the Guernsey Press Pride of Guernsey Awards. As the community’s newspaper, people are the lifeblood of our business. Over the years we have shared millions of your stories, including those of islanders who have faced and beaten some of the most challenging situations that life can present. With this in mind we were determined to include the Overcoming Adversity Award within the Pride of Guernsey.

The lessons of school hall hustings

IT HAS never been easier to engage in island politics. Information about the 80 candidates standing in next week’s general election is everywhere. With personal websites and hand-delivered manifestos, running a local election campaign might not quite be Trump v Clinton but it is more professional than ever before.

A chance for a true rebirth of the States

IT IS a time of major upheaval in how this island will be run. Changes in the political structure will see fewer deputies and fewer departments with different responsibilities. Underneath that will be a civil service that aims to be fleet-footed and nimble, not stuck in the rigid structures that caused the silos of the past.

Change long overdue for legal advisers

THE unsatisfactory relationship the island has with its legal advisers was summed up in one sentence of the Pfos report. ‘The Law Officers were not formally engaged, but their role in assisting the States in such matters is generally understood…’

Meeting was an insult to Alderney

ONE of the aspects of island life that impressed MEP Daniel Hannan, writing in the Daily Mail last week, was the accountability of its government. ‘People know they are in control’ he was apparently told.

Rubbish may never find its way to Sweden

MUCH has to be taken on trust when it comes to the announcement that Guernsey’s waste should be sent to Sweden. Public Services say that it is not only the cheapest of the options on the table, it is also the most environmentally friendly.

Braving challenge of change

IT is hard to decry the ‘brave new world’ message coming from the new president of the Association of Guernsey Civil Servants – yet just how much clout such rallying words will carry in the weeks and months ahead is another thing. While a commendable mission statement – to move away from the ‘them and us culture’ perceived to exist between civil servants and their employer –it is, nevertheless a big ask.

Don’t let the money tap run dry

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Do we want Guernsey’s new Assembly to be made up of parish councillors, naive crusaders, global statespersons or a mixture of all three? At a time when our economy is under increasing threat, Horace Camp argues that the focus should move away from leaky school roofs and a shortage of bicycle hoops – we must elect candidates who will keep the money tap open

Bad timing leaves a black mark

THE New York Times published an online article yesterday headed ‘What’s going on with Anguilla and Guernsey’. Aside from the missing question mark, the article presented several problems, especially from a Guernsey point of view. The first is the insinuation that something is ‘going on’. At a stroke it suggests some sort of impropriety or question about the island’s affairs.

What is the cost of open government?

ONE of the last jobs the chief minister will undertake before facing the electorate is to interview someone for a job which pays more than £1,000 a day. Given the talent pool that the island will be fishing in it is probably not such an extraordinary sum. Senior financial executives going through the wanted ads of the Sunday Times bend their knee only to Premiership footballers in terms of earnings per hour.

Government on brink of huge change

THERE is little doubt that the next few months will be one of huge change for the States. Given the cut in the number of deputies’ seats from 45 to 38 and the number of retirements there is already, for example, a certainty that at least a third of the May Assembly will be new faces (or, at least, a mix of first-timers and some familiar faces who have had a break).

Destination is clear – but by what route?

IF THIS is to be the last general election under the traditional parish/district system it is a watershed in island politics. With the States committed, at least for now, to a referendum on island-wide voting it is odds on that in four years’ time a system that has served for generations will be swept away.

Awards to help show pride of Guernsey

IT IS just one week on from the launch of our Pride of Guernsey Awards – a brand-new way for us to celebrate those who make Guernsey great – and the response has been fantastic. The accolades, allowing us finally to acknowledge those hundreds of islanders doing great things every day, yet who rarely get a public mention, have really hit the spot with readers.

When the pain of regulation pays dividends

WITH everyone from Vladimir Putin to Lionel Messi drawn into the Panama Papers revelations, the Channel Islands’ limited connection to the Mossack Fonseca leaks has grabbed some column inches but few headlines. The financial affairs of dozens of world leaders, politicians and public figures are suddenly public knowledge and, with 11 million documents to analyse, news on these first few days has inevitably focused on juicy gossip about prime ministers and pop stars.

Sales logjam is taking time to loosen

ATTEMPTING to make sense of Guernsey’s property market is fraught with danger. With such a small market it only takes a few out-of-the-ordinary sales to skew statistics and lead those looking for the green shoots of recovery up the wrong garden path.

No funding equals no scrutiny

THE outgoing States’ uneasy relationship with scrutiny has again been tested with news that a regulator is so starved of funds it cannot investigate ‘significant market abuse’. The stymieing of a legitimate inquiry would be bad enough if it related solely to private businesses but for one of the parties escaping investigation to be a States department is wholly unacceptable.

We’re so proud of our Pride of Guernsey

ARE you proud of Guernsey? So are we, which is why today we are launching a brand-new set of awards to celebrate those islanders who help make this part of the world so special.

Building on experience and ideas

SHORTLY after noon today scores of landlords, developers, architects, builders, estate agents and sundry representatives of Guernsey’s property industry will file into St James in a bid to do what deputies could not – or would not – do.