Letter of the day

Government far from open in its conduct

SO IT’S OK in the eyes of the States of Guernsey to effectively put Immuno Biotech out of business by freezing their accounts and banning their products, and to deny people freedom of health choice (and, some contend, die as a result) because there is an investigation going on into so far unsubstantiated claims against the company. (It seems that all medical charges have been dropped and replaced by money-laundering accusations, while the crime whose proceeds were allegedly disguised has not been made known.) This nonsense has been going on for two years or more.

Charges for emergency care a form of stealth tax

PEEWEE’S excellent cartoon (Guernsey Press, 6 March) highlighted the temerity, and some would say hypocrisy, of the new charges being levied by the department of health for emergency care at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. The private company that used to run the service (PCCL) was paid a retainer to ensure the Emergency Department was staffed around the clock, but their doctors were not paid by the States for the work they did and as a result patients were expected to pay those fees privately. Patients didn’t have to pay for the nurses or for things like blood tests and bandages because those costs were already covered by general taxation and they didn’t have to pay for specialist care because that was already covered by social insurance contributions.

Focus on island issues, not Trump

OVER the last month I understand that there was a small demonstration in the Candie Gardens about the new American president, Donald Trump. What followed was a bit of airtime for these protesters followed by quite a few published letters in the Guernsey Press from many contributors each airing their own views and opinions. I intended to write a letter about the protest and my opinions but then these letters started to appear and I thought I would bide my time.

Guest workers are people not commodities

REGARDING essential workers: all workers are essential to those who seek to employ them. (‘Population regime names crucial jobs’, 6 March and 10 March) The States pen-pushers are out of touch with employers’ needs. They rate permits on salaries alone – must be essential if they earn a lot. Special permits for white-collar workers – ‘come and stay’. Guest workers should not be discriminated against on the basis of the jobs they do or the country they come from. These are people, not commodities to be used and thrown away like a washing machine when its five-year guarantee expires.

Do what’s good for Guernsey – ignore the rest

WHERE are we going with rules and regulations in Guernsey? Why does it seem to be so hard for our deputies to do what seems to be necessary and obvious to the electors – who suggest what should/could be done when talking to candidates on the doorstep and who these politicians agree with, only to conveniently forget about them once in office. I mean, look, we know more than half of the vehicles on our roads are oversized. We know there are people who could work but don’t and are kept by the States. We know overseas workers are exploited – among the many other things that are not sorted properly. I have a small car, but I don’t see where or why anyone with a big vehicle should be discriminated against by not having spaces large enough to park in. If the States are willing to let oversized vehicles to be sold on the island, then drivers should be free to park anywhere.

Occupation truths need protecting

THE Channel Islands have been the subject of books and articles on the German Occupation, many written by authors and journalists who have never dug deep enough to discover the reasons for why, for instance, the Guernsey States Controlling Committee responded to requests by the enemy in such a manner as to suggest collaboration. From the very first day of the Germans landing in Guernsey, they issued a warning that if islanders misbehaved the town of St Peter Port would be bombed. The enemy held the gun and a decision was taken to protect the civilian population by obeyance. For instance, when the enemy requested the States to supply 100 cycles for their troops, such were found and delivered.

Businesses could help fund airport fog navigation systems

LAST Tuesday my fellow passengers and I got on a flight from London for Guernsey, less than an hour’s run. We arrived by ship on Friday, nearly three days later. While Aurigny did their best to get us here earlier, Guernsey-bound planes just can’t land in fog. The frustration and lost time resulting from this round of fog was suffered by thousands of us who live and work in Guernsey. There was also a human cost, with ruined vacations and missed family contact when it was most needed. Students and seniors were hurt. I was more fortunate as my travel was for business – essentially to encourage more of it to come to Guernsey. Yet that is less likely to happen when clients rightly feel uncertain of their access to the island, or whether they can rely on us to turn up for meetings. Any shortcoming in the airport’s navigation system, preventing planes from landing in fog, is costing Guernsey business.

Same-sex marriage is not hurting anyone

A REPLY to the letter on 6 March 2017: ‘Most islanders have not accepted same-sex marriage.’ In my view, each to their own, and whatever makes you happy. The person who is name and address withheld thinks, in their opinion, most islanders have not accepted same-sex marriage. I tell you to get with the 21st century and don’t act or speak disgracefully about two people sharing happiness and being in love. Two men or two women being in a relationship is the same as a woman and a man being together. They are allowed and are not hurting anybody.

‘Drain the swamp’... our own ‘career politicians’ are making costly decisions

I CANNOT but comment and express my complete disgust and dissatisfaction with our career politicians and their costly decisions which are to burden the local taxpayer while lining the pockets of business. With their latest decision, our employees (deputies) have in my opinion scored an amazing ‘own goal’ – that being the idiotic waste strategy and the resulting costs the public are to incur as a result. However, the ‘own goal’ to which I refer is the decision not to impose restrictions on burning garden waste on one’s property.

Trump’s real challenge? Addressing the influence of the Federal Reserve

WHILE I am not clear as to Donald Trump’s true motives in political terms, or whether, like the Berlin Wall, his new wall will serve to keep people in more than out, I agree with him that a nation without borders is not a nation. Some people quite wrongly associate nationalism with elitism, and to view Ukip, for example, as ‘right wing’ is incorrect. A group of people in Guernsey, along with similar thinking individuals in other countries, saw fit to demonstrate against Donald Trump’s policies in February 2017. Other than in London, where the protests were against the UK government’s decision to allow a state visit by the new president, these protests were ill-timed. I imagine that DT will provide plenty of ammunition for people to protest as time goes on, but for now he has only done, or attempted to do, what he said he would on the election trail. So the demonstrations now, whilst they may be against DT’s policies, are simultaneously demonstrations against democracy.

Resisting Salerie Corner ‘expert’ advice laudable

PETER GILLSON is incorrect to state that ‘…the only people seeking cyclist priority [at the Salerie car park entrance/exit] were the Guernsey Bicycle Group’. I am a motorist and habitual user, and observer, of said entrance/exit. I wanted cyclists and pedestrians to be given priority at the rearranged junction. Indeed, like most drivers, well aware that, as a car driver, I was the one with the lethal weapon in my hands, I always gave way to pedestrians and cyclists at the previous incarnation of the junction. If motorists were to be given priority it would hardly have cost £50,000 to repaint the white lines at the junction to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to follow a more north easterly course through the junction, as indeed sensible cyclists and pedestrians already did.

A limit to how far we can go with cost-cutting

I REFER to the letter in the Guernsey Press on 4 March 2017, penned by Deputy Richard Graham, entitled ‘Budget should be considered in light of new figures on economic health’. How refreshing it was to read some common sense views from one of our politicians. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the BBC Guernsey phone-in on 26 February, in which he made his original comments, but reading his letter it seems to me that he is absolutely correct in what he is saying.

‘Most islanders’ have NOT accepted same-sex marriage

DURING the debates regarding the legalisation of abortion in the 1990s, the Guernsey Press was accused of bias towards a pro-abortion position, despite the fact that the editor of the time claimed that it was not taking sides on the issue due to its controversiality. To anyone with a knack for picking up on the biased use of language, it was clear that the paper itself as an organisation was neutral on the matter, but that some of the journalistic staff who wrote news articles on the subject definitely were not. One of the contributors at the time of whom this could not be said was Mark Ogier, whose sensitivity to language was such that it was impossible to tell what his views were on the matter. For many years both before and after the abortion debate he has covered other difficult issues with the same professionalism – a mark that distinguishes a journalist from being a mere ‘hack’. It has been a great loss – perhaps even a disservice – to the public that Mark has largely withdrawn (or been withdrawn) from reporting in favour of taking up a more technical role behind the scenes.

Questions about proposed food caddie scheme

I read Nick Mann’s excellent article, ‘Hug a Food Caddie’ (21 February), about how there is still a major need to reduce the amount of waste produced by this island, and the long-term problems which could arise with the constant dragging of feet by the people who are placed in office to deal with this matter. This article raised the subject of the collection and recycling of food waste, possibly by the introduction of food caddies. While this on the face of it seems like a good idea, I have some qualms about the exact working of this type of recycling scheme. Firstly, how many times a week will this form of waste be collected? The current system with the collection of paper and plastics – every other week – will not work with food waste, given the issues of decay and the likelihood the waste will attract rodents.

Policy-based election system has benefits

I AGREE with Peter Roffey’s description of the weaknesses in our present political system, intriguingly referred to as ‘Consensus Government’ (Roffey Writes, 27 February). But he presents an exaggeratedly negative picture of what he claims to be the only alternative – full blown, old-fashioned UK party politics. He then makes the unsubstantiated claim that there is very little appetite for it in the island. There is, however, ample evidence of a preference for island-wide voting. The work currently being undertaken on this by the States Assembly & Constitution Committee presents an opportunity to move towards a system of election where policies are more important than personalities. It is important that this opportunity is seized because island-wide voting will make it impractical for the voter to process a significantly increased volume of manifestos. Indeed as Roffey correctly points out, the manifestos we are required to read under our present system are all but meaningless.

Having more Trumps in the world is not going to help global stability

I WOULD like to reply to your letter, [24 February] ‘Trump Protest’ from Fred Kilpatrick. Why do you presume that the Jersey deputy is ‘wasting Jersey taxpayers’ money’? Have you spoken to him to check your facts before you make assumptions? At 63 you flatter me by calling me a ‘young woman’. Nor was I just looking on as I was one of the speakers. I don’t know at which protest you were, but I saw as many young men as women (two of whom were speakers).

Vinery sites will be left to deteriorate as result of ‘investment’ criterion

I AM writing in response to an article that appeared in the Press on 14 February, regarding the search for suitable sites for relocating existing tenants of La Fontaine Vinery. One of the reasons stated for considering the two main alternative sites at Extension Vinery and Pulias Vinery, both currently classified as agricultural land, was that both sites would require ‘significant investment’ to restore them to working use. Since when has that been a criterion for granting planning permission? If a property of any description has been purchased within, say, the last five years, it is reasonable to assume that the purchase price would have reflected the condition of the property, be it a dwelling, agricultural field or vinery.

Thank you for your clarity, GFA

I THANK the GFA for at last (in these pages on 11 February) producing a clear statement as to what it thinks its responsibilities for local football are, stating that as the governing body for affiliated football in the Bailiwick, it has an extensive remit to oversee the development and administration of the game.

States need to take Flamanville seriously

I AM grateful that there was no nuclear fallout at the recent Flamanville explosion but I am concerned at the response of States officer, Kevin Murphy, who said there should be no concern as this was not a nuclear explosion. If there was a nuclear explosion and the wind was in the right direction then the islands could be covered by clouds of nuclear fallout in an hour or two.

GFA ruined women’s football fottball

SO THE Guernsey Football Association are saddened to have to announce the Ladies Muratti will not be taking place this year because of the lack of availability of suitable qualified players. The players have to be affiliated to the GFA and signed to play for a local club. The GFA have forgotten to mention the fact that it is because of their incompetence and wish to destroy ladies football in the first place that has led these people, who only wanted to enjoy and play the game, to walk away from them.

Don’t clutter our capital with truck-loads of expensive waste

IN THE Press in the past week one of our esteemed deputies was quoted as saying ‘any sensible person’, meaning that anyone not agreeing with the States is not sensible. Another deputy deplored the low attendance at a deputy and douzaine surgery [on the waste strategy]. And a third commented that douzaines do not want to lose their raison d’être – which would be the effect of handing over rubbish collections to the States. Three comments from men who are paid to do the will of the people, but who are hell-bent on spending millions on projects that, in many people’s opinion, are nonsensical. We are told that we have no alternative but to accept the plan devised piecemeal by the last States, which, let us remind them, was voted the worst in the history of Guernsey. Of course, this States is making a bid for the title – almost a year in and they have rubber-stamped decisions made that the electorate wanted reversed.

‘Myths’ of climate change

I WAS pleased to see that my recent letter regarding waste recycling, in which I mentioned the myth of human-made global warming, has received a response (from guernseyevi@gmail). (Open Lines, 26 January and 3 February).

Out of pocket thanks to GE’s not-so-smart meter

WITH reference to the leaflet produced by Guernsey Electricity. It states objectives ‘to continually strive for more efficient and effective ways of working to give our customers a better service’. Well, Guernsey Electricity, your objective is not being reached. The smart meter which you installed has never been read by yourselves as apparently you cannot get a signal.

Jersey unemployment figures no help to us

IN REFERENCE to the letter which was printed in the Guernsey Press from Graham Guille and Gloria Dudley-Owen. In this letter statistics were given in regards to the unemployment rate in the island of Jersey as a way of fulfilling a point of view about the overpopulation in Guernsey. However, if you look at these figures they give you nothing whatsoever to base any form of forward planning upon.