Comment - page 2

Making new friends in high places

IF THERE is a silver lining to the constitutional upheaval the Crown Dependencies are undergoing following the UK’s decision to leave the EU it is that the bond between government and the islands has rarely been stronger.

Opportunity knocks for States reform

CHANGE does not come easily in the public sector. As the States chief executive essentially acknowledged on Monday, it is difficult to do things quickly. But change must happen. It is only by controlling staff costs that you keep a lid on the spending of the public’s money.

Reform along with justice needed

JUSTICE delayed is justice denied. With that basic legal principle in mind the three States members accused of breaching the code of conduct deserve as speedy an investigation as possible. Just as they are required by the code to co-operate ‘fully and promptly’ with the investigation, it must be incumbent on the conduct panel to come to as timely a conclusion as possible.

Population: why more is not the answer

Incentives for having children aren’t the way to tackle our ageing population problem, says Peter Roffey. (Picture by Shutterstock)

The island must adapt to its demographic challenges – but mass immigration and ‘incentives to breed’ will not help. Quite the opposite, says Peter Roffey

Guernsey's Finest Hour: A lasting tribute to the finest

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AS A tiny community on the global map, Guernsey often punches well above its weight on the international stage. Yet one moment in our history for which no one could deny us our national pride was a battle in 1917 in a corner of Northern France. While the bitter and bloody Great War raged throughout Europe, the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was playing its part in the conflict and defending the freedom we all enjoy today.

States must clear a path out of woods

IT HAS taken eight years but the States is Back in Black, earning more than it spends for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. Fans of Aussie rockers AC/DC might, however, want to wait a bit before reaching for their favourite album in celebration. As the president of Policy & Resources puts it, ‘We are not out of the woods yet’. For it’s not every year that the millions of pounds in reserves invested by the island will bring in returns of 14%. And piggy banks owned by committees such as Education and States Trading cannot be smashed and raided in this way every year.

We need some heroes

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Once, just like the SAS, Guernsey was a small unit that knew how to punch above its weight and stay independent. When did that change, wonders Horace Camp?

Consequence of indecision is unsatisfactory results

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An independent report ordered at the beginning of December into the Salerie Corner overspend is one example of the glacial pace at which work proceeds in the States as opportunities are lost and bills rack up, the waste strategy topping the problematical pile

Green-plated proposals will be a hard sell

AFTER countless reports and millions of pounds thrown away on failed proposals there is a sense that today’s States meeting marks if not the end of the waste saga, then the beginning of the end. More than two decades of aimless wandering has led deputies to the end of a long road and a three-point turn now looks both difficult and dangerous to execute. Given its grimy history, the tone of today’s States meeting will be interesting. Comments from the proposing committees suggest that they will try to tough it out and claim that the cost was only ever an estimate and the tens of millions extra is no real surprise.

June feast will give plenty to chew on

APART from a few notable exceptions left over from previous Assemblies such as the 11-plus, the Island Development Plan and, tomorrow, the waste strategy, this has been a slow start to the political term. A year after the election there has been a shortage of fresh ideas to generate political debate and little outward sign of a productive government. It is an inevitable consequence of the new political system where everything hinges on the development of the Policy and Resource Plan, a blueprint for change that will define this Assembly.

Other options remain in waste debate

IT’S a nervous time for those behind the latest incarnation of the waste strategy. It goes to the States on Wednesday with warnings that there is now no other option, but many will remember how other bids have been steaming forward only to come unstuck at the 11th hour. The costs remain enormous and the other impacts on islanders’ lives will only really become apparent as all the elements come into action.

New Joey plan makes ‘plane sense’

WHEN it comes to Bailiwick popularity contests, few could compete with the public’s adoration for an iconic local hero with a shiny red nose. Joey, the little yellow plane with the permanent grin, has long been a favourite with thousands of islanders young and old, whether they have travelled on the inter-island aircraft or not. Tears were, quite literally, shed at Aurigny’s announcement that its Trislander ‘G-JOEY’ would be grounded in 2015 after 40 years of loyal service.

Cramp sets in as health deal stalls

FOR months, there has been an expectation that the contract between the Medical Specialist Group and the States will be signed off. Both sides report that this vital step forward in secondary healthcare is imminent – yet the fountain pen has been hovering above the paper for so long that cramp must be setting in. Until the ink is dried there is an understandable nervousness about what system will be in operation from 1 January when the contract runs out.