GP Opinion - page 2

A workforce resource of the future

IT IS a huge, largely untapped pool of talent on our doorstep yet the potential of our older workforce has been relatively overlooked. Now it is being increasingly viewed as part of the solution to our Bailiwick’s future economic and social needs. In the years ahead we will have more older people in Guernsey and Alderney than younger, a dependency ratio already one of the highest among advanced economies.

An own goal on our doorstep

IT was hardly the finest hour – or hours – for our tourism industry. Cruise ship passengers, long hailed as one of the island’s most valuable visiting assets, were forced to wait in long, hot queues for up to an hour on Saturday for a bus-trip tour of the island. They had been looking forward to seeing what Guernsey has told them it has to offer. Yet those we spoke to complained that, while it had ‘a wonderful atmosphere’, there was little to do in Town.

Powering our future needs

FROM early next year, Guernsey can expect a major boost to its electricity capacity when the new Normandie 1 cable finally goes live. It will mark a new era in energy for the island and for the security of our supply. As revealed last week, work on the massive £40m civil engineering project is now under way.

IDP needs rigorous examination

As opening political salvos go it was delivered with panache. The Economic Development president Peter Ferbrache has made it plain that planning is currently not doing enough to help Guernsey grow. He remains sceptical about pledges of flexibility when the new Island Development Plan is finally delivered and has urged everyone to take a good hard look at what is being proposed.

Cafe move a sign of things to come

IN JUNE the States was given a stark warning about its finances. Without action, the deficit would be up to £15m. this year. Included within the measures to combat that was tighter control on staffing, overtime and considering other ways of delivering services. Which is just what Health & Social Care, Guernsey’s biggest-spending committee, has announced with the cafes at the extra care housing facilities at La Nouvelle Maraitaine and Le Grand Courtil.

Turning the tide for passengers

THERE was a distinct, salty whiff of Murphy’s Law in the air yesterday when Condor suffered yet another day of complaints and disruption. It came just hours after an upbeat interview in this newspaper marking its CEO’s first 100 days in the job, in which he announced that reliability was its number one priority. Improving customer service was up there too, as well as moving ferry services off the political agenda.

An election test for new States

IT is still at least just over two months away but already speculation about this Assembly’s first by-election is beginning to mount. Left vacant following the death last month due to ill-health of its popular former incumbent, the Vale seat is poised to be vigorously contested. As one of the liveliest political hotbeds in the island, interest in this latest vote, which will cost between £30,000 and £40,000 to hold, is not unexpected.

How far will the States go to help?

THERE is confidence within the States that there will be enough sites to relocate the 11 businesses now on notice to leave the Fontaine Vinery. That confidence is, though, understandably not shared by many of the businesses themselves who are familiar with the conundrum. All the investigations, including as part of the new Island Development Plan, show that there is enough land available for industry – but crucially that often requires the private owners to want to release their sites for what may well not be the most profitable option, or the most popular with the neighbours.

States’ firms need to be a real asset

THE States has been put firmly on notice that serious action is required to balance the books. There will be no magic bullet solution to overcome a deficit that was stubbornly heading for £15m. earlier this year. Instead, a range of measures are needed – among them are a cultural shift in how the States treats the billions of pounds-worth of assets it already has.

Key stage in treatment of A&E

THIS week’s announcement that the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department will shortly be run in-house by the States marks the latest in a long line of recent changes for the service. Yet whilst it is clear that from September Health and Social Care will be in charge, what is less so is just exactly how the new arrangement will work. Currently contracted out to the Primary Care Company Ltd – which was set up by the island’s GPs to provide doctors for A&E – it appears more thought is still needed over the finer details.

Leaping into the unknown

15743232_900

Watching a parachute-less skydive on YouTube set Horace Camp thinking. With his destination set and plans to reach it safely in place, the diver discovered a little too late that the goalpost had changed. Does that remind anyone of a certain long-running States strategy?

Taking the controls of Aurigny

A FORTHCOMING wide-ranging review of Aurigny is all about attempting to control the controllables. As the 100% shareholder of the airline, the States should be able help set a clear route for its future. For too long talk of what Aurigny could be, and what it should deliver, has been largely just that, talk. But the Bailiwick community is rightly getting restless with air travel. Whether it is price, reliability or the variety of routes on offer, Aurigny clearly has a part to play in settling that discontent.

Get our travel back on track

KEEPING Guernsey moving both at home and abroad is vital to our economy, prosperity and way of life. But, to adapt a well-known phrase, a week is a long time in island transport. Even the briefest of glances at headlines over the past few days reveals all is not running smoothly for either our internal or external services. Early on, it appeared we might have turned a corner. New bus service numbers, despite some concerns over methods used, saw June figures rise by 4.81% on the same month last year – up to 165,453 passengers, and the first six months of this year recorded an overall jump of 7.23%.

IDP must help not hinder

The prelude to today’s release of the Island Development Plan was a typical States spat over the sharing of information. Somewhat petty, easily resolvable, Economic Development scored a few points when it publicly questioned why it could not see the planning inspectors’ report on the plan. This left the Development and Planning Authority, which has had it for months, looking like it was tying itself up in unnecessary procedural knots by taking a stance of ‘that was just how things were always done’.

Can waste strategy still deliver?

GUERNSEY’S waste strategy jumped one hurdle this week with the infrastructure to be built at Longue Hougue given approval at an open planning meeting. Its real test, though, is yet to come. Before October the States Trading Assets board will present its business case to the Policy & Resources Committee. The question they will have to satisfy is whether it still meets the objectives the States approved way back in 2012. Many have already made up their minds that with all the changes since 2012 it is too far removed, while those behind the plans argue they have not changed the strategy, just the way some elements of it are delivered.

Market abuse probe needs answers now

TIME continues to tick by with no resolution about whether to give the green light to what what would be a major regulatory investigation into a States contract. Although the contract itself has never been identified, the change of government has given fresh impetus to the issue of whether to fund the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority’s review of what has been termed a potential ‘significant market abuse’ – something that could have breached Guernsey’s competition law.