Comment - page 2

Town centre row is about governance

AS THE row over the salaried appointment of a new town centre manager smoulders on, there was a rather telling point made online yesterday. One of the organisers of the highly successful Harbour Carnival said that the new manager has no involvement with the carnival, which is organised by Guernsey Round Table.

No change is a missed opportunity

ONE of Guernsey’s less-well-known deputies certainly put his head above the parapet earlier this month when he suggested that the job of a deputy was to outwit senior civil servants and thereby obtain better value for money for taxpayers.

Norwegian trust case not handled well

WHEN someone goes through a protracted court process on complex trust issues and fails to obtain the result they want but then calls for political intervention, care clearly needs to be taken.

Care costs must be seen in the round

APPEARING to attack the island’s health system and the individuals who make it work is always fraught, especially for a newspaper that supports the free market.

A coded way of cutting health care

WHEN government departments start looking to reduce the amount they spend, it is always useful to remember that the words used will be in code. So when Health and Social Services says it plans to cut out ‘low-priority’ drugs, therapies and treatments, it actually means this: we are starting to ration your health care.

Conflicts are actually welcome if...

MANY will applaud the news that the States Assembly and Constitution Committee (Sacc) is to look at the whole issue of the compatibility of deputies’ business and other interests with their role as people’s representatives.

Focus does need to be on growth

ONE of the worrying figures used by the Treasury minister recently when he was separately talking to the Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors was the decline in the number of people working in the financial services sector. That fell by more than 130 last year alone and seems to suggest an industry that, if not actually in decline, is going through significant change.

Quote shows the lack of leadership

IF THERE is one quote that sums up the manifestly absurd position of the longevity of the States’ gold-plated final salary pension scheme, it is this: ‘Sadly it has become virtually unaffordable for any organisation which wishes to have a solvent future to maintain defined benefit [final salary] schemes which allow members to retire in their 60s with, on average, at least 20 years of retirement ahead of them.’

Wanted: a board for Guernsey plc

IN AN interview last week, a Republican Congress member lamented that his $174,000 salary (nearly £105,000) wasn’t enough to be able to live ‘decently’ in Washington, DC, even though it is nearly 100% more than the median household income in the area. Highlighting the level to which American politicians are underpaid, he said: ‘I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.’

Lack of oversight is a worry

ON FRIDAY, we argued that the time had come to separate the function of HM Procureur and the Law Officers from that of legal advisers to the States of Guernsey. Since then, it has become clear that a number of ministers also have concerns about the concentration of significant power in one area.

Time to split roles of HM Procureur

ONE of the topics on the chief minister’s wish-list of things to get done is exploring whether it is possible to give Guernsey greater autonomy in making its own laws. If primary legislation no longer needs to be approved by the Privy Council then the whole process is speeded up.

Reform is a matter of obligation

AS THE public sector pensions debacle rolls on, increasing numbers of people are contacting this newspaper to ask why the States superannuation fund appears to defy gravity and rolls on costing taxpayers dearly while raking up a half-billion pound deficit and more than halving the island’s declared balance of £995m. The short answer is that we do not know – and the lack of urgency in dealing with this is breathtaking.

Reform is there for the blocking

NOW that a new man has taken over as States chief executive, islanders have learned a few things about his agenda for the future, an agenda that is unashamedly reform-driven.

So much for joined-up government

A CHANGE of use application to redevelop the former Green Acres Hotel into a specialist care home lifted the lid on the extent of the dementia crisis facing the island.

It all makes sense to taxpayers

OUR disclosures on Thursday that four States departments could be shed under wide-ranging plans to streamline government and reduce the size of the public sector sent a frisson around the establishment.