Comment - page 2

Flybe must show it is listening

PASSENGERS flying to and from Jersey do not really care who is operating the service. Whether it is Flybe or Blue Islands is not the issue. The quality of service is. Business travellers with meetings to go to want to arrive on time, relaxed and ready to work. Sports teams want to make it for kick-off and holiday makers want to start enjoying themselves.

Waste strategy may end up being dumped – again

15678970_900

When will the waste strategy be signed, sealed and delivered? That has been the perennial question on many islanders’ minds, including Nick Mann’s. The latest preferred option of shipping waste to Sweden still draws scepticism from certain quarters and may well lead to the whole argument being opened up again by the new States Assembly

Finding faces who do us proud

IT’S the ‘face’ that launched thousands of clicks and today voting for the Pride of Guernsey Awards, both online and in the paper, finally begins. The striking campaign branding, of a female face and the Guernsey flag, has featured across all our media platforms since the start in March of our search for islanders who deserve a very special public thank you. And, as the huge response from readers who have answered our call for nominations has shown, along with the thousands who have visited our websites, it is an idea that people throughout the islands have totally taken to their hearts.

Crunch time for waste strategy

GUERNSEY’S waste strategy is entering a make or break phase. Amid recycling figures having fallen, albeit largely because of a downturn in green waste, decisions are set to be made about the future funding of kerbside and the planning application for export and sorting facilities at Longue Hougue. Then in a few months’ time, the business case to get funding to start the building work will go to the States’ most senior committee. It has been a long road, yet there is a political air of uncertainty still about whether the right decision was made last term and whether value for money is being met. Supporters of this strategy, and kerbside, will be cautious after early warnings about the state of Guernsey’s public finances.

‘Making it so’

15666048_900

Whether he believes it is possible or practical is beside the point – Peter Roffey’s job is to minimise the problems of island-wide voting ahead of a referendum and fulfil the will of the people. But that doesn’t mean he thinks all the options are good ones

A packed summer of spectacle

THIS month’s all-too-brief burst of summer is a welcome reminder that, amid all the uncertainty of Brexit and a lukewarm economy, the islands remain a special place in which to live. At the end of days which topped 30C, many workers had only one thing on their mind as they left offices and building sites: a cool swim at the beach. And within minutes they joined their families on Guernsey’s west coast to watch the sun go down.

Access all areas

Share nicely... in a small jurisdiction like ours, we should learn to do so. (Shutterstock picture)

A spat between Development & Planning and Economic Development over the sharing of an independent report got Horace Camp thinking. Should information be freely shared within the States of Guernsey and, where possible, with us? And having given it his best, balanced Libran shot, he could come to only one conclusion...

The calm before the storm

THERE was a frantic air to the end of the last States term. For one meeting alone there were 1,000 pages of Billet d’Etat for deputies to wade through. Important subjects came thick and fast as departments and ministers struggled to get policies through the Assembly before it was too late. Contrast that with the seemingly becalmed waters of government since April’s general election.

Cutting the cost not the quality

THE size and cost of the public sector has long been a bugbear of States critics, including this newspaper. Despite assurances by government that it runs a tight ship compared to other jurisdictions the FTP savings process left staff costs, the States’ biggest expenditure, unscathed. Even in the last five years, as ministers repeatedly warned islanders that belts needed to be come in by several notches, States pay swelled from 51.7% of total revenue spend to the latest figure of 53.3%. In 2015, that amounted to £213.7m., up by £10.6m. or 5.2% year on year.

Now is the time for the island to make itself heard

Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street to meet new Prime Minister Theresa May, who has appointed her Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. This has led to the island’s ‘man in Westminster’, Lord Faulks, resigning in protest. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

As the aftershocks of Brexit and the change at 10 Downing Street rumble on, Guernsey needs to make sure that it forges good relationships with Theresa May’s new government. But at the same time as making new political connections with political departments, it will also want to add its voice to those of other ‘microstates’ in similar situations

Gathering for more musical success

LAUNCHING a music festival of any type in Guernsey is fraught with difficulties, not least the massive financial outlay that private individuals have to put on the line. Some large events have come and quickly gone again when the numbers simply did not add up. But when the organisers of The Gathering reflect on this weekend they can look back on a successful event and hopefully look forward to growing it in the future.

A drawer full of unloved policies

SOMEWHERE in Frossard House there is a dusty filing cabinet where unwanted policies go to die. It has a drawer marked ‘too difficult to handle’ which the appointed civil servants must at times struggle to shut. The latest to get lost in the policy waste bin is a scheme to crack down on cars being sold in coastal car parks.

No time for ‘delusions of Grande Havre’

More traditional times: In 2004 politicians were expected to talk to the media directly, including the newly-appointed Policy Council – back row, from left, Peter Roffey, Lyndon Trott, Bill Bell, Bernard Flouquet, Stuart Falla and Peter Sirett, and front, from left, Martin Ozanne, Mary Lowe, Laurie Morgan, Mike Torode and Dave Jones. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 15567716)

There have been many changes in the States since Peter Roffey was last a member, and some of them rankle – especially when it comes to spending. Can such a tiny jurisdiction really afford or justify the ‘nice to haves’ of in-house PR people when frontline services are being cut? He thinks not…

Plan needs time to be scrutinised

THE impatience of the president of Economic Development to get sight of the inspectors’ report into the Island Development Plan is understandable. The plan is a hugely important document will determine how the island develops over the next decade and more. It will affect not only construction but every island business from light industry through to finance. In difficult and uncertain economic times, the man charged, along with his committee, with creating an environment where businesses flourish, income is generated and jobs secured knows that the IDP will have a major bearing on how successful Economic Development can be in that.

Confidence knocked by cancer delay

FOR a service that everyone agrees is needed to save both lives and money, bowel cancer screening has had a torrid time. The last health department had to be pushed via a requete in the States to move things forward amid claims it was underspending money given to it for the service to help with budget savings. All the time it gave the impression it was fully supportive of the service and was just working on the details.

‘Taxpayers will not be fooled’ over States cuts

Pic by Adrian Miller 28-10-15Royal CourtsStates meetingdeputiesMary Lowe

In light of Home Affairs president Deputy Mary Lowe’s claim that her department has already ‘cut to the bone’ its spending, Nick Mann argues that if the public are to accept such claims and reach further into their pockets there will need to be clear evidence that real change is occurring within the public sector – including an end to the culture of automatic rises through the pay grades