GP Opinion - page 2

Tell us who makes us all proud

JUST two weeks into our Pride of Guernsey Awards search and entries are starting to roll in for those in our Bailiwick doing extraordinary things every day. We want to hear about islanders who rarely, until now, receive a mention, yet without them our home would not be the great place it is. This year’s nomination period has started later and is shorter than for our inaugural awards, so make sure you don’t miss the chance to put forward someone you think should be acknowledged.

Brakes still on despite good figures

SO the books have been balanced across the Channel Islands, the economies are growing and all is right with the world? Clearly it is not that simple. On the same day that Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier was giving a positive update on the States’ latest financial position – predicting it could record a £5m. surplus by the end of the year, his opposite number in Jersey announced that they have avoided a black hole that was expected to be £125m. by 2019. The messages almost mirrored each other.

What if there are no big ideas?

ANOTHER States meeting, another quiet day. A 90-minute jurat election, an upbeat financial statement, a few questions and a quick nod through on document duty and cheque imaging. Nothing really to stir the blood. It will be the same in three weeks’ time as the Royal Court Chamber again bears witness to one of the quietest political periods in recent history.

Jescc project loses control of staff costs

AS PLANS for a single control room for the four emergency services were put into place three years ago islanders were told that ‘the benefits cannot be underestimated’. It was either a misquote or a spokesman getting their negatives in a twist but, in hindsight, it might have been more accurate to say that it was the costs, not the benefits, that should not be underestimated. To be fair, it was not sold as a huge money saver. The benefits were all about response times, efficiency and operational effectiveness.

Festival goes from strength to strength

FOR sheer scale of ambition and slick delivery the Guernsey Literary Festival stands tall among island events. The fifth incarnation of the festival had everything from discourses by famous authors to a cricket match, a comic art masterclass and a junior writing challenge. Every genre was covered, with talks from BBC presenter Clare Balding and one-time hostage Terry Waite to Guernsey’s own explorer Huw Lewis-Jones, rapper-poet Akala and L.J. Flanders, a former prison inmate who developed a fitness regime in his cell.

Pressure is on to clear backlog

MORE than one month on and there are teething troubles with the population management regime. There also remain strong voices in hospitality concerned about the impact it will have on staff retention and recruitment. They, though, are likely to have to wait until a review in two years’ time to make a case for any serious change.

Island needs to overcome travel barrier

A BRIEF glance at the Daily Telegraph’s archive of tourism listicles, as the top 10 charts are known, is enough to warn anyone against taking the ranking of Britain’s 10 Greatest Islands too seriously. Granted, it is hard not to feel some pride at Guernsey’s place at the top of the pile but nobody should believe for a second that it is possible to judge empirically the merits of our beautiful island against the car-free delights of tiny Lundy in the Bristol Channel or the spectacular mountain scenery of Skye. For those with time on their hands – or a thirst to explore other islands – a few clicks away the Daily Telegraph also presents ‘Britain’s 10 Best Islands’. On this occasion, Guernsey fails to make the cut while the honour of the Channel Islands is upheld by Herm in seventh place.

A chance for community to get planning

IT IS easy to see why it might have been overlooked. When the Strategic Land Use Plan was approved by the States way back in November 2011 there was a lot to take in from this weighty masterplan that would help drive the future direction of our island. There was also a lot of noise surrounding many of its key themes, such as local centres, transport links and housing target areas.

‘We improvise, adapt and overcome’

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 18161754)

Is it right to hail the digital sector as a credible way of diversifying the economy should the worst happen and the island loses the finance industry? Horace Camp isn’t convinced

Celebrating our ‘most incredible’ Liberation

CONSIDERING 2017 was not a ‘big’ Liberation Day anniversary, islanders pulled out all the stops to ensure it was once again an occasion to remember. Guernsey’s national day is a very special event in everyone’s calendar for two reasons. It is first and foremost a commemoration of that wondrous occasion in 1945 when islanders, who had endured years of hardship during the Occupation, finally learned they were free once more.

A freedom close to our hearts

THAT the Liberation Day events had a strong Armed Forces theme at their heart is particularly poignant in the light of two key Guernsey military anniversaries this year. Liberation 2017 saw the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF represented on a day the island remembers finally being freed from our five long, dark years of Occupation. Among their itinerary for this important day of remembrance, reflection and celebration – 72 years on from 9 May 1945 – was the Liberation Church Parade. Led by the Band of The Queen’s Division, it performed a special anthem in memory of the Battle of Cambrai.

If transport were an election issue

WHEREVER you look election fever is running rife. Last week’s UK local government polls, whilst usually commanding only a stir of interest this side of the Channel, took on far more gravity this time –with many regarding them a sign of things to come at Westminster and ultimately its future approach to Brexit. Yet ahead of that general election on 8 June, we have also watched the race to win the French presidential contest, and considered how the head-to-head fight between a far-right populist and arch-centrist might affect our own future prospects.

Putting Pride on their faces

THE launch of ‘Pride of Guernsey 2017’ marks another key step in the newspaper’s bid to see the new tributes become a firm and established feature on the Bailiwick’s awards landscape. Last year’s inaugural campaign attracted hundreds of local nominations resulting in a staggering 20,000 public votes, far surpassing our early expectations for the fledgling scheme. The unique initiative is aimed at thanking those hundreds of community heroes in our midst doing extraordinary things every day, yet who rarely before now received a public thank-you.

States looks for reasons not to act

THE delivery just on deadline of a report into light industry storage sites again shows the difficulty of the States instructing reluctant committees. Forced to identify States-owned sites as potential alternatives to the Fontaine Vinery by an amendment from Deputy Laurie Queripel, the response reads like the homework of a grumpy teenager. So we learn the States does own several such sites but, rather than look positively at each one, the joint committees in charge of planning go out of their way to search for every reason not to do anything.

The thorny issue of pay for deputies

PAY for States members is the thorn that no tweezer can grasp. Despite several reviews and recent recommendations from an independent panel it is a subject which still sticks in the side of many States members. The situation as it stands is confused. Some States members take the full shilling, others have this week refused a 2.3% pay rise.

Odds stacked against future of racing

CRUEL luck seems to dog the L’Ancresse horse racing meeting. After weeks of good dry weather that was so settled the drought-hit course had to be watered, it was sadly predictable that the weather would break on this bank holiday weekend and ruin a day’s racing. As gales and driving rain yesterday lashed the golf course and shook the empty marquees it was impossible not to feel sorry for organisers who have seen all their hard work go to waste.