GP Opinion - page 2

Salerie lessons must be learned

AT LEAST Environment & Infrastructure are well prepared for one aspect of the Salerie Corner project. ‘We are more than happy with any level of criticism we receive from Scrutiny and the public over the expenditure,’ committee president Barry Brehaut told reporters as he prepared islanders for news of a huge overspend. That criticism is sure to come and is justified. The days of States projects going massively over budget are supposed to be in the past, consigned to history with memories of the airport terminal and the harbour jetty disasters.

Making new friends after EU break-up

IF THE precise meaning of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is proving hard to pin down in the UK it is no surprise to learn that the Bailiwick of Guernsey is having to be nimble on its feet to keep up. It appears, however, from an excellent briefing to the States by the Minister for External Affairs that at least the islands are not short of partners in this dizzying political dance. Ireland, Jersey, the Isle of Man and even France and Estonia have taken Guernsey’s hand in friendship as each strives to understand the implications of June’s referendum vote.

Government steers away the gunboat

TUCKED away in Room 14 of the Palace of Westminster a debate of much interest for the islands took place. Ostensibly, the MPs were gathered in the committee room to discuss the Criminal Finances Bill, in particular an amendment moved by Labour’s shadow minister for the Home Office, Rupa Huq. It became instead a much wider examination of how much power Westminster should expect to wield over the Crown dependencies and the UK’s overseas territories.

Search is on for our next ambassador

THE search for the Guernsey Press Ambassador of the Year 2016 has begun. Celebrating the endeavours of those who have, through their individual or group efforts, helped take the name of our islands to a wider audience, the accolade is also viewed as ‘the Bailiwick’s Award’. An historic feature of the prestigious Awards for Achievement, the tribute has gone to some of the finest in our community over the years.

Selection: vote for hope not discord

THE islands stand at a crossroads with a simple choice: to select or not. That choice, however, encapsulates so much. It is a decision whether to settle for the current level of educational achievement or to take a leap into the unknown. It is a decision to remain safely rooted in the past or to look boldly to the future.

Deputies must look to the evidence

THERE is hope and expectation but also doubt surrounding Wednesday’s States debate on secondary education. The hope focuses on the prospect of certainty. After years of confusion, teachers, pupils and parents deserve to understand what system they will be operating under, potentially for decades to come. Deputies should be under no illusion that this is the moment, this the opportunity to draw a line under the education debate, set a course and stick to it.

Cruising towards the potential

GUERNSEY’S cruise industry is maligned and celebrated in equal measure. It is one of the few growth areas reported in the tourism visitor statistics, yet is a cause of complaint for those whose parking in Town gets disrupted or who can’t get on a round-island bus when a ship visits. So far, the island has failed to fully exploit the opportunities it presents.

Never mind The Plan – here’s how to get happy

The key to happiness may just lie in ignoring social media and news streams.

It may have turned him into an even grumpier old man but, paradoxically, a painful right hand also made Horace happier – eventually. Here he explains how true contentment can be attained by zoning some things out...

Islands must box clever to co-operate

IT WAS like a one-two punch. Leading with the left was Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier, followed with a quick right from Jersey’s Chief Minister Ian Gorst. When Deputy St Pier spoke about inter-island co-operation to the Jersey Institute of Directors last month the message could not have been clearer, the political will was there.

Condor try to draw support from States

THOSE looking for easy answers and quick fixes will be sorely disappointed by Condor’s service review. In exhaustive detail, the report tells anyone willing to wade through its 212 pages that while it recognises the demands of the public and politicians for a more reliable, flexible and resilient service that can only come at a cost. So while the ferry company is working hard on customer care, turnaround times and communication, more fundamental changes such as buying new ships or more convenient departure and arrival times are not going to happen without States backing.

Scrutiny must ask the right questions

AT LEAST two committees are under the microscope today. Policy & Resources may be giving the answers but the Scrutiny Committee is also under pressure to ask the right questions at the latest of its monthly hearings. It is not an easy task. The huge umbrella mandate of Policy & Resources heightens the danger of the two-hour question and answer session skipping lightly from one major topic to another.

Digital footing is crucial for the island

IN THE last few years, Guernsey has worked hard to position itself at the forefront of the emerging technical and digital sectors. As the world becomes more automated, having a foothold in this sometimes bewilderingly fast-moving sector is now absolutely crucial if the island is to keep pace with global technological developments and its economy is to continue to prosper. It is almost a year since the doors of the Digital Greenhouse opened, funded by a not insignificant amount of taxpayer money, with its three main aims of stimulating start-up and growth activity in the creative and digital sectors, improving the skills knowledge of the community and promoting Guernsey as a stand-out jurisdiction for entrepreneurship for new business.

Bailiff’s twin roles must be separated

BY A convincing margin, Jersey’s States this week rejected a proposal to separate the Bailiff from his dual roles as chief judge and Speaker of the House. The 31-13 vote should be an end to the matter. Except it won’t be.

Making it easier to engage

POLITICIANS know they need to engage better with their electorate. Brexit, the rise of extremist groups in Europe and the success of President-elect Trump in mobilising an anti-establishment movement under the slogan ‘drain the swamp’ has changed the political landscape and unnerved traditional parties. Guernsey may seem immune from such forces but, if there is a lesson to be learned from 2016, it is that complacency is folly and the desire for change universal.

States plan ambles to the starting line

IN SOME respects today feels like the first day of the new States. Seven months after the general election, deputies finally get to debate the Policy and Resource Plan, the keystone in the construction of a more focused States. As a vision for the island’s future it is intended to shape every decision and guide States committees towards a common goal.

Lest we forget their sacrifice

YESTERDAY more islanders than last year joined services across the Bailiwick to remember the sacrifice of those who died so we could be free. Following the last big Liberation Day celebrations to commemorate 70 years of freedom in 2015, it seems islanders are keen to ensure that while events might lessen in size, those who lost their lives in the pursuit of peace are not forgotten. And while debate continues over the poppy’s political significance, the island looks to its origins as a symbol of those lost to the fields of Flanders; its red petals a reminder of the lives cut short by conflicts old and new.