GP Opinion - page 2

A line in the sandpit

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An EU directive on using ‘safe’ sand that doesn’t burn the bottoms of children is all well and good – but to make no provision for the colder countries where too-hot sandpits will never be an issue suggests a European body heading more towards the USSR than the US. And for this reason and many others, Horace Camp is all for Brexit

Memorial plan faces fight for acceptance

ANY proposals to move a war memorial need to be treated with utmost sensitivity. Tradition and tribute have a powerful pull in these circumstances. Which is why the latest scheme for the memorial at the top of Smith Street, to relocate it to a new piazza in the Sunken Gardens, has met with some resistance.

Delivering the end of an era

NEWS that posties on their bikes are set to become an ever more increasingly rare sight feels like the quiet signalling of the end of an era. It also marks the apparently unstoppable trend in our island’s buying habits, along with all the challenges that brings with it for our embattled retail industry. Time was, the image of the Guernsey postie in distinctive uniform on their bike, whatever the weather, in and around our island roads was practically an iconic one.

Games needs beds as much as funding

THE Guernsey Island Games Association will find out later this summer if its bid to host the event in 2021 is successful. And while the States has agreed to at least £750,000 of funding, it acknowledges further costs will likely be incurred improving sports facilities. What was only briefly covered in Education, Sport & Culture’s proposals, though, is the question of accommodation for the likely 3,500 competitors, spectators, officials and media the sporting spectacle will attract. Plus any other visitors staying during the Games.

Economic battle unites island states

FROM Tonga to Trinidad and Iceland to Fiji the islands of the world are drawn together in another illuminating report from Island Global Research. While it is hard at times to see the issues facing the Cook Islands off New Zealand as being as relevant to our Bailiwick as those in Jersey and the Isle of Man, the latest collation of facts and figures from 25 jurisdictions around the globe offers much food for thought. Not least of which are some radical ideas for dealing with debt and a weakening global economy and balancing direct and indirect taxes.

201’s historic bond could be reforged

NEWS that there could be a renewal of the union between 201 (Guernsey’s Own) Squadron and the island will please many. Decades of affiliation between the squadron and islanders forged a strong bond which gave a genuine sense of shared pride and reinforced the island’s links both to the UK and its defence forces. Five years after the squadron fell victim to ‘rationalisation’ following cuts to the defence budget it is still a disappointment not to see officers and crew from the squadron visiting to help with fundraising and honour parades.

An unhappy free-school partnership

FREE pre-school education has been a struggle from the start. Despite evidence that time in a quality pre-school gives young children a better start in life (to the point where they become less likely to be a burden in later life) and leaves them better educated and better integrated into society, it has been hard to find the money to fund it. That struggle was resolved in December when Education sidestepped Treasury’s objections and got the States to back a cut in family allowances to help pay the bills.

Only a debate and vote gives a mandate

IT IS little wonder sometimes that islanders fail to understand the States and get frustrated at its lack of clear direction. In March, after a gruelling four-day debate, the States agreed to end selection at 11 and close one of the four States schools. As a result, the new Education committee was directed to draw up plans to make that happen from September 2019.

Break down barriers to defy division

WHATEVER the warped motivation for yesterday’s horrific gun attack in Florida the intention was ultimately to divide. Whether that was to cause division on grounds of religion, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation the response should be the same: to unite in horror and condemnation. That can be the only rational reply to an act that defies sane analysis and the only response that will ultimately overcome the terror groups, ideologies and individuals who seek to profit from and glory in the disintegration of a peaceful, accepting society into one of fractured, bitter, hate-filled prejudice.

Bill is buried in sediment of accounts

TUCKED away on page 22 of the miscellaneous appendix to the States Accounts are 100 costly words. It is a brief but unhappy postscript to another big project which got away from the States at the expense of ordinary islanders. It was not supposed to be this way. It never is.

Needs versus wants

The States has agreed to put forward £750,000 to host the Island Games in 2021, but Horace wonders if this is the best way to spend that money. Pictured is the opening ceremony of the Guernsey 2003 NatWest Island Games. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 15158993)

With the island’s purse strings getting ever tighter, Horace Camp argues that there is a big difference between what Guernsey needs and wants and the costs they incur

Faulty system forces States into action

WHAT a difference eight months makes. As recently as September last year Treasury and Resources put its broken promise to balance the books down to cyclical rather than systemic failures. In other words, the shortfall in States income would right itself as soon as slowcoach revenues such as income tax caught up.

Islands move in different directions

THE holy grail of cost-cutting co-operation between Guernsey and Jersey has been pursued with limited vigour by the two Bailiwicks for decades. Successes have been few and far between and, in many respects, the two islands remain as far apart politically as they have ever been. One of those rare successes has been the formation of a joint competition regulator, Cicra, whose annual report is laid before the States today.

Grab the Games with both hands

FEW who took part either as a competitor, organiser, volunteer or spectator will forget the glorious week of sport that was the tenth Island Games. Thirteen years ago Guernsey saw for itself what a huge event the Games had become since its humble beginnings in 1985. Instead of 600 competitors from 15 islands competing in just seven sports, Guernsey 2003 played host to more than 2,000 competitors from 23 islands in twice as many disciplines.

A year of making policy

IN A YEAR’S time, and then each subsequent June, the new government system reaches an important landmark. In June 2017, deputies will gather to debate the policy plans of each of the principal committees before finally signing off on the first over-arching Policy & Resource Plan, which sets the high level objectives and directions of not just this Assembly but those that follow. With much of May lost to internal elections it gives deputies 12 months to get their house in order and is intended as the culmination of a series of actions which started even before April’s general election.

Smoke-free zones are just getting started

THOSE taken aback by the decision to stop people smoking anywhere on health and education premises should know that this is just the beginning. Schools and hospitals are the most obvious places to ban smoking but it is clear from the tobacco control strategy that the ambition is to extend that ban by 2020 to all States properties, which could include outside the Airport and harbour, Castle Cornet, Candie Museum and the car parks at Beau Sejour and North Beach. The strategy seeks to make Guernsey and Alderney ‘smoke-free’ within a decade, ie. where fewer than 5% of islanders smoke.