Comment - page 2

A tale of two islands filling black holes

TWO quite similar islands – two very different tales. Guernsey’s government, having run a deficit budget since the introduction of zero-10, is predicting a surplus of £3m. by 2017.

Coastguard move must be well grounded

THE pressure on Public Services to revisit its decision to route calls to the coastguard to an emergency call centre at the police station should not be underestimated. When people of the calibre of former harbourmasters and pilots with an experience level at sea unmatched in the islands are united in their belief that lives are at risk it would be foolhardy not to take stock and consider whether this is the right course.

A numbers issue

Do we have enough pupils to warrant four state senior schools? The debate over La Mare de Carteret School’s redevelopment continues. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 8200531)

Whether or not to rebuild La Mare de Carteret is almost a two-part question, according to Peter Roffey – are there enough pupils now and in the future for the current number of schools and should they be selected? Regardless of the emotional issues, he suggests the problem of changing demographics demands debate 

La Mare pays the price for lack of love

LIKE an unloved child, La Mare de Carteret has always been bottom of the States’ priority list. Fourteen years ago, when the Education Council presented its radical plans to end the 11-plus and close two secondary schools, La Mare and St Peter Port were the unlucky pair.

Transformation savings a tale of lost opportunities

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With the focus now on further cultural change in the States and with few savings made in the first years of the Financial Transformation Programme, the question of what options have been lost along the way – and why – rears its head

Treasury must present its evidence

EVIDENCE-BASED decision-making was the mantra meant to characterise this States. Gone, in theory, were the days when departments could present to the States flimsy, fact-free arguments with all the options uncosted.

Treasury up to their necks in education

ON THE eve of publication of a report that was originally meant to be about rebuilding La Mare, Treasury and Resources has set hares running that it will not be able to stop. In deciding to meet with the Grammar PTA last week it has created instability and left the public to wonder just who is in charge of the island’s education system.

Car crash proposals were almost designed to fail

Allister Langlois and Gavin St Pier: their tax and benefits package was bound to create a major outcry. (8079562)

The proposed tax and benefits package hammered the poor and elderly and was bound to create a major outcry, says Peter Roffey. Clearly half thought through, it didn’t provide States members with the information they’d need before stripping islanders of hard-won benefits. And where were the ordinary committee members of T&R and Social Security during this car crash, he wonders? Not doing their jobs properly...

‘Sarnian spring’ gets hit by fog

Emile cartoon April

The States are spending madly on ‘improvements’ we don’t want, inventing new taxes to pay for them and complaining about being £50m. short of funds they never had in the first place. No wonder people are leaving the island, says Neil Ross’ Emile

Smashing the silos is the next step

WHILE millions in annual cash savings achieved through the financial transformation programme are good to have, it will ultimately prove far more important whether the process has changed the States. If, as Policy Council says, it has transformed the way in which government views its finances and ‘embedded an improved culture of cost consciousness across the public service’ then the £5.5m. paid to consultants will have been tremendous value for money.

Bailiff Richard Collas is a member of the public sector pension scheme and there is apparently concern in some quarters that he might therefore have a vested interest in the forthcoming debate. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 8087897)

The debate on public sector pensions is hugely important and likely to be devilishly tricky. Thousands of people’s livelihoods may be affected by the outcome. So word that one of the deputies may take the chair instead of the Bailiff – perceived to have a vested interest – puzzles and horrifies Peter Roffey. Have those in the corridors of power taken leave of their senses, he wonders?

HSSD makes the case for change

A CONSISTENT message is coming out of Health and Social Services under its new regime – things need to change. Spending pressures continue, whether it is dealing with short-term crises such as the midwifery service, the day-to-day operations, or looking to the future where people will live longer but fewer will be working to help pay for their needs.

All aboard for a new tax and benefits destination

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In the wake of amendments to the Treasury and Social Security departments’ long-debated Personal tax, pensions and benefits review, the island is now heading in a very different direction to that planned. The ruling-out of GST has had a major impact on this but even though it may return at some point, at least Treasury won’t be heading down a money-wasting dead-end

Doctor’s best interests lie in full inquiry

WITHOUT knowing the details of the police investigation into an Alderney doctor and four deaths linked to his practice it is impossible to be conclusive about any observations. It may be weeks or longer before islanders in both Alderney and Guernsey know quite how serious the allegations are and how well founded or otherwise they will prove.

The mixed messages of the march

BROADENING the public sector pension march to include islanders who do not want to work until they are 70 seems at first a canny move by union leaders. It may dilute the message to deputies about the anger felt within the public sector about the Care pension deal but it will certainly swell the numbers.

Why telco tax fell at the first fence

IT is important to know when you’re ‘losing something’, according to our Commerce & Employment minister. Yet surely it would have been far better to back the right horse from the start?