GP Opinion

Half-hearted apology won’t make amends

SEARCH for ‘Guernsey Islamophobia’ in Google and you will get a horrifying 80,000 hits. Page after page after page indelibly links the island with racism and intolerance.

Rocky road – destination unknown

Delays. Uncertainty. Cost rises. Guernsey’s waste strategy has had more changes of direction than the San Bernardino pass but its destination is nowhere near as clear.

Do not hide behind Pfos legal advice

SORRY is the hardest word to say sometimes. While the chief minister was forced into a meek apology of sorts this weekend as the harsh light of the global media was on him, those at the heart of the Pfos case cannot yet get themselves past disappointment.

No objections to planning transparency

IN THE long history of Town how many people have said ‘I’ll see you outside Weighbridge House’? Apart from a few developers, architects and planners, probably no one.

When three into one does not go

NEWS that the three biggest hitters in our States had talked about forming an alliance at this year’s election shows just how far the local political scene has come this term. It is almost disappointing that, after thinking about standing on a joint manifesto, the heavyweight trinity of the chief, treasury and commerce and employment ministers ultimately decided against the move. Voter response and ensuing developments would have been fascinating.

Pick and mix consultation loses its way

FOR ambition, fresh-thinking and diversity Education must be congratulated for its consultation on the future of secondary schools. Not content with getting 4,000 islanders to fill in an online survey the department set up 28 focus groups of everyone from business leaders to charity workers and used technology to create a ‘closed crowd’ where teachers could debate freely and without fear of repercussions.

Ramsar eco status a boon for all islands

WITH Herm, Jethou and The Humps all gaining Ramsar status, the Channel Islands’ USP has been given a boost. The combined clutch of designated wetlands sites puts the islands in an unsurpassed situation – all isles now have at least one area of international importance. How many other archipelagos can say the same? Only the Azores come close, putting the CI in a distinctly niche market. A great place to start for tourism promotion.

End the humiliating pay ritual

STATES members endured their four-year exercise in self-flagellation this week as they decided how much the job should be paid. It was a disappointingly familiar debate. An independent panel comes up with a set of proposals which the majority of members want to nod through without comment, visibly squirming in their seats at how this all plays out with the voters on the eve of an election. But they can’t, because there is always a strong rump that wants to tweak things for all sorts of seemingly laudable reasons – and because it is a debating chamber.

States cannot engage with an empty hall

ALMOST a year ago, on another chill winter’s night, the Grammar School echoed to the sound of politicians explaining the personal taxation and benefits review. A largely empty hall was told how important the review was and how the burden of taxation had to be shifted away from income and onto more dependable means such as property.

Helping the show to go on

IT IS one of our greatest summer institutions, yet once again the North Show faces a perilous future. Rooted deep in Guernsey’s traditional growing industries, the show – first staged at The Track in the early 1900s by the Northern Agricultural and Horticultural Society – has long been a highlight in the island’s calendar, featuring as it does the historic Battle of Flowers.

Age-old issue needs quick solution

IT IS tempting to think of the ageing population crisis as being tomorrow’s problem. Like global warming, it is all too easy to look at the graphs and predictions showing incremental rises mounting up over decades and put it aside as something future generations will have to worry about.

BlueFly deal leaves room to cut capacity

STRONG words from Blue Islands over the weekend helped fill some of the information vacuum created by the end of the Aurigny codeshare. Commerce and Employment’s low-key decision in November to relax the rules and allow Flybe to compete without restriction on the inter-island route is branded naïve, ill-informed and disruptive by Blue Islands.

Education is the answer to obesity

WITH the evils of tobacco on the ropes, health professionals are keen to go toe to toe with society’s next big opponent, obesity. It won’t be long before being overweight overtakes smoking as the number one cause of premature ill health and death.

Buying-in to consumer protection

LYING at the heart of that great old retail motto ‘the customer is always right’ is the view that consumer satisfaction must be king. Popularised by pioneering traders, such as the iconic Harry Gordon Selfridge, it regarded giving the shopper what they wanted as the highest priority, at a time when caveat emptor [let the buyer beware] reigned on the high street.

Grass is fake but results must be real

THE doors are open today. The ‘funky’ chalkboard paint job on the stairs gave the chief officer of the Commerce and Employment Department kittens as he thought it was unfinished. And you might be unsure if you step on the ‘grass’ carpet. But beyond the industrial chic aesthetics, will the Digital Greenhouse make a meaningful contribution to the Guernsey economy?

What next for Aurigny if not inter-island?

JUST what is Aurigny for? And how much is the island willing to pay for it? Those are the key questions – the Treasury minister calls it a grown-up conversation – that need to be settled once and for all about the islanders’ airline.

Domestic abuse a blight on our society

Every islander has the right to feel free from the threat of violence, and nowhere more so than in their own home. But sadly that is not the case for many. Nearly 700 domestic abuse incidents were reported in 2013 with 200 children a year present in households where incidents are reported to police. As domestic violence is a seriously under-reported crime, this figure is surely much higher.

Ambulance service on a long journey

THERE is much to welcome in the States report into the future of the island’s ambulance service. Giving operational oversight to Home, the same body which oversees the two other blue light services, makes perfect sense.

Giving the toothless tiger bite

STATES members will effectively be asked a simple question – what is the price of accountability? The Scrutiny and Public Accounts Committees have produced a report on how to strengthen the work their successor will do in the next Assembly.

Islanders are policing drink-driving

PROSPEROUS, exciting, colourful, wild... The 70s as depicted by Rob Batiste in the first of our revamped Lookback series last week sounded racy and fun. The island was changing rapidly, becoming more outward looking and much of it was for the better.

Keeping history on tap

THE imminent reopening of the Red Lion, one of Guernsey’s best-known surviving pubs, is a welcome sign of business tapping into the regeneration of the northern end of the island’s waterfront. Closed for almost two years, the revamped site has long served as a local landmark – its Les Banques surroundings even colloquially taking on its name, as the Red Lion area.

Information overload is dangerous

A THOUSAND pages of States reports thumped onto the desks of deputies this week. Like a lazy student rushing to beat deadline, the States is undergoing its traditional end-of-term blitz as departments and ministers demand something to show for four years’ work.