Peter Roffey

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...and it’s goodbye from him

Seven years after taking up his pen, Peter Roffey has decided to hang it up. When asked to become a political commentator for this newspaper, he accepted with some trepidation. Would he run out of things to say? Never. As he admits in his sign-off column, if anything there has been too much to comment on...

Cause to cry over spilt milk

Peter Roffey at a Guernsey farm in 2000, when he was president of the Agriculture and Countryside Board, which was responsible for Guernsey Dairy. (12499522)

Milk prices are a cause close to Peter Roffey’s heart, and as the former president of the Agriculture and Countryside Board he has plenty to say about price hikes, loss of contract payments and the potential problems facing farmers, fields and the Guernsey cow

Low-cost cost would be way too high

Bringing easyJet flights into Guernsey might boost the tourist economy, but Peter Roffey fears the impact of an open-skies policy on the existing carriers. (Picture by Tony Pike, 12392672)

We really must maintain a significant tourist industry or our air and sea links will suffer. But an open skies policy isn’t the right way forward, says Peter Roffey, who believes the probable impact of a low-cost carrier coming to Guernsey doesn’t bear thinking about...

Sark’s future – a few ideas...

Is there any way Sark could work with Herm to offer two-centre holidays? (Picture by Adrian MIller, 12372857)

Stop talking-down Sark, says Peter Roffey. Yes, it has problems, but as a friend of the island he has a few, tentatively-offered suggestions that might help solve some. And a fresh look at tourism seems a good place to start...

Time to face up to population issues

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If stabilising Guernsey’s population at roughly its current level is firmly in the States’ ‘too difficult’ tray then it will be equally unachievable when the numbers living here increase, says Peter Roffey. Rather than flood the island with young people who will inevitably grow old, wouldn’t it be more useful to work with our ageing demographic and tap into people’s skills whatever their vintage?

Island-wide voting a very real addiction for States

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Far from seeing an island-wide voting requete as imperative for here and now, Nick Mann believes the perennial voting debate that will be investigated again in the next Assembly should be put on the shelf until then so the States can get to grips with more pressing matters in the run-up to next year’s election

Sark must sort out its own problems

Sark has difficulties that need to be resolved, but it’s shameful that when the island has implemented democratic reform, outsiders should try to undermine its autonomy, says Peter Roffey I’VE been giving a lot of thought to the call from 22 individual Channel Islanders for a Royal Commission-type inquiry into the future of Sark.

Refugees wouldn’t stay for long

A woman looks at floral tributes and candles at the Place de la Republique in Paris, after the terror attacks in the city last Friday.

The suggestion is that 40 homes might take in Syrian refugees but with limited support systems, few Arabic speakers and no ex-pat community why would they want to stay here? Peter Roffey offers his views on the latest Isis atrocities and their impact

How can we be fair and all-square?

No diversified tax system can be created without some form of sales tax.

The States needs to reach a consensus on its tax philosophy and shouldn’t continue to peddle the myth that it can steadily reduce the island’s dependence on income tax without making Guernsey’s system less fair. That’s simply dishonest, says Peter Roffey

All about engagement

Instead of imposing an arbitrary limit on speech lengths within the House, Peter Roffey believes that increased self-discipline is the best way to avoid overly-long debates.

Peter Roffey is all in favour of slimming down the rule book for States members. But when it comes to an edict on speech lengths he’s more reticent, suggesting that one deputy’s monotonous two minutes versus another’s scintillating half-hour makes it difficult to rule on the length of engagement

Treasury’s word is not its bond

Treasury and Resources Minister Gavin St Pier, who has indicated that some of the cash raised through the bond could be used to finance new Guernsey Housing Association developments. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 11540556)

He was highly sceptical about creating £330m. of debt by bond and Peter Roffey is less than impressed that the cash has no definite purpose. In a very short space of time the States has racked up a level of debt per capita similar to that of the UK, pre-crash. We – and our children – should be furious, he suggests...

MSG negotiations more complex than we think

If the MSG did push it too far and the States decided to swap to providing their service in-house, then the folk up at Alexander House would lose out big time, says Peter Roffey.

Who should provide the island’s secondary healthcare? As negotiations for the renewal of the MSG’s contract continue, Peter Roffey, who was Health president during the last round, goes through the options

Pre-school debate raises many questions

Peter Roffey believes in funding free pre-school hours, but takes issue with the way the States have gone about debating it. (Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock)

Whether – and how – to fund free pre-school places has raised questions for Peter Roffey about the way the States examines and debates potential policies. And while he believes there is merit in finding the money for this, he suggests several other proposals where the same principles apply

Take it from us*

Peter Roffey suggests gifting the parish rectories to the Church (*but with conditions). (Picture by Steve Sarre, 11237033)

Giving the Church the chance to take on ownership of parish rectories seems like the best solution to a problem that has dragged on for far longer than Peter Roffey thinks necessary. And why wouldn’t it want responsibility for its rectors’ abodes? Surely it’s not just a matter of maintenance…

Waste: our time and money

The Public Services Department has found glass kerbside recycling to be too expensive. So what now? (Picture by Tom Tardif, 11167190)

The strategy for waste and recycling has taken aeons to arrive and the projected costs of every element are steadily rising. Picking his way through the masterplan is causing Peter Roffey a lot of head-scratching – and there are still more questions than answers

Building up to a grand finale

The March 2016 States debate will be a bumper sitting as the Assembly continues to stack up issues to be debated. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 11144980)

With two major issues slated for debate in March next year, this Assembly’s final sitting is going to be an epic one. Peter Roffey looks at the agenda for 2016 as well as a few other issues highlighted by last week’s meeting

Why this Budget is a real stinker

Take shelter: if 2016’s Budget proposals are passed by the States, tax hikes will rain down on us.

We were told that the island’s finances were heading firmly in the right direction, thanks to expenditure restraint. Now the States has changed its tune and 2016’s draft Budget makes shocking reading, says Peter Roffey. Were those claims spin or a gross miscalculation? He’s not sure which is worse...

Late for the bell

The education debate is badly timed, Peter Roffey believes, but vital nonetheless. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 10958250)

As islanders offer their views to the States on the future of Guernsey’s education system, Peter Roffey examines the problems with the timing and suggests it could prove divisive come election time

Scrutinising scrutiny

Deputy Heidi Soulsby has called into question the project to replace the Leopardess, which Peter Roffey argues is a prime case for a ‘one-off, subject-specific PAC review’. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 10832728)

Peter Roffey takes a closer look at the States scrutinising committees and considers the projects that got the treatment, those that didn’t and those that still could

In danger of mis-selling

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This year’s uprating report is guaranteed to spark public debate, as it leaves behind the realms of familiarity and heads firmly into the controversial. Peter Roffey considers the options and comes down in favour of the poor and the people who’ve already paid up