Comment - page 2

Government cannot be one man’s vision

A READER rang the Press offices the other day to complain about Deputy Gavin St Pier. Not that she had anything particularly against the president of Policy & Resources, just that she was tired of seeing his picture in the newspaper. ‘He must be imprinted on our very souls by now,’ the caller grumbled.

Marking Guernsey’s ‘finest hour’

IT HAS been hailed ‘Guernsey’s finest hour’, yet visit the scene of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry’s most historic battle and there is neither a reminder nor memorial. The local infantry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1916, would a year later fight in the now notorious Battle of Cambrai, defending the small French town of Les Rues Vertes against German counter-attacks. Fated to become a place name ingrained on the island’s memory forever it was the scene of appalling losses, with 40% of the regiment either killed, wounded or missing.

Shining light on an unloved industry

NOISY, grubby and old-school – parts of the light industry sector of Guernsey’s economy lack the shiny new appeal of, say, the digital sector. All angle grinders, blow torches and portable buildings it is an industry that people think they know and understand well, but only value when it goes missing. It is also a sector that, according to the new president of the Committee for Economic Development, has not received enough care in recent years.

What’s the real buzz about P&R’s vision of the future?


The Future Guernsey vision is seeking to make the island ‘the happiest place to live’. But at the same time as promoting this dream, P&R is saying there is no money to help the island’s poorest. The apparent contradiction between the goal of reducing poverty while bringing in tax rises and increased charges shows the tensions inherent in this bold plan

Scrutiny is in need of more focus

IT DID not take long for Deputy Paul Le Pelley to remind the Scrutiny committee that he did not want to appear at its public hearing just yet. That came during the first topic for discussion, Education Sport & Culture’s 2017 budget and what it would mean for frontline services. But it is doubtful if Scrutiny had waited until after the Budget debate that it would have extracted any more enlightening answer than was given – broadly Education will try its hardest to meet it, but it will be tough and it does not know where the savings are going to come from. Scrutiny is planning on holding monthly hearings with the committee presidents. At the moment it is still finding its feet. These work best when there is a focused topic to be analysed, as with the waste issue last month. Too often yesterday answers drifted away from the question being asked.

Time to forge ahead on education

FOLLOWERS of the wranglings between the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture and Policy & Resources will be watching with interest today as Education meets the Scrutiny Management Committee. Given the well-publicised in-fighting among deputies and civil servants at Education, the ambiguously worded correspondence which led to the confusion as to whether or not the president of Education was told by the Policy & Resources president and States chief executive to stay away from today’s meeting, and if he would actually appear at the meeting, it is fair to say that the lead-up has been less than illustrious. Whatever the minutiae and the bumpy road that has led to this point, today’s meeting will provide Scrutiny with the chance to demonstrate the value it can add to the political process. As ordinary islanders, we can only sit back and hope Scrutiny does not drop the ball.

So, what do you think...?

So many questions – but are we really listened to?

What are your views on the burning issues of the day? Increasingly, the States is asking that question – but do they really listen to the answers? Peter Roffey has some questions...

Population plans need addressing

IN SIX months’ time every resident of this island will be categorised under the new population regime. It will be a momentous change, discarding a system that has operated, albeit badly, for decades. From my-ancestors-built-the-dolmens locals to guest workers everyone will be assessed according to both their background and, if need be, that of their parents and grandparents.

Vision on

The man with the plan: Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 16353261)

‘Great Today, Better Tomorrow.’ It’s a promising start to the document Horace Camp has dubbed The Gavin Plan, but what about the rest of the vision?

Why family deserve to see justice

ANYONE who has met Kate or Vic Groves, the couple whose only daughter was murdered in Kashmir more than three years ago, cannot fail to be moved by their quiet dignity. Just how they have continued to retain that focus and composure, despite such overwhelming pain and injustice, is impressive and humbling. Faced with the worst news any parent can ever receive, and the shocking, public nature in which it was delivered, it is hard to imagine how any parent could cope.

IDP tests how well the States is engaging

COMMUNITY engagement is one of the big challenges facing this, and indeed any, government. Ensuring that as many people as possible know what is happening, and why, means trust and understanding builds between the States and islanders. The Island Development Plan, debate on which begins today, is going to be a test of that. In the early stages of the process the States was rightly criticised for over-reliance on the internet to publicise the representations that people were making about the plan. The usual momentum that builds behind the public having their say during the planning inquiry was lacking and so the shape of the plan is more reliant on professional, political and civil servant input than its predecessors.

A good time to look at reform of the Ecclesiastical Court

Photo By Steve Sarre 04-08-16Weather Page Scenic Town Church

The French scrapped theirs during the Revolution in 1789, the UK in the 1850s and Jersey in 1951, but in Guernsey the Ecclesiastical Court remains and continues to play its finances close to its chest. The Guernsey Press has pushed for the court’s accounts to be released and in Nick Mann’s opinion, publication would enable an open discussion about its operation. Nobody should fear this – although of course islanders may not like what they see...

Scrutiny’s role must be respected

ONE of the areas of government most in need of reform before April’s general election was scrutiny. The system used by the last three Assemblies was toothless and pointless and, aside from a brief spark provided by Alderney representative Paul Arditti, was not held in high regard. A report by UK consultant Belinda Crowe concluded that the scrutiny system adopted since 2004 was designed for a different form of government and it was ‘difficult, if not impossible, to have effective scrutiny in Guernsey under the current system’.

A proud moment for all

THERE were tears and there was joy but the enduring emotion was, quite simply, one of overwhelming pride. No one was quite prepared for just how moving the inaugural Guernsey Press Pride of Guernsey Awards on Saturday evening would turn out to be. But by the time the 12th winner had been announced at a transformed Guernsey Press headquarters, there was hardly a dry eye left in the house.

Age Concern can help pensioners this winter

ON FRIDAY 30 September, there was an article in the Guernsey Press headed ‘I would like to see States live off our pension’. In the article, two local pensioners expressed their concerns that the proposals to increase the old age pension by £1.64 a week was simply not enough, as many of our pensioners already struggle to survive financially as it is.

P&R wants to show them the money

FOR all the original intentions of last term’s move to borrow, the path that the States has ended up stumbling down has been very different.