Letter of the day

Removing L’Ancresse wall is a backwards step

RE. REPAIRING L’Ancresse sea wall. Surely a better way to prevent the sea advancing to the lower populated land beyond the sand dunes can be found than destroying the historic wall that has stood up to the constant punishment from the sea for so many years and has provided the only form of wind shelter available there. The sea has to be prevented from sucking out the material below the wall by the most practical cost-effective means possible.

Would width tax hit drivers who keep bigger cars for off-island use?

IN PETER ROFFEY’S socialist world, is it the ‘purchase’ of a wider car that is wrong, or ‘using’ it in Guernsey? If it is the latter, how does he propose to treat people like me – and I am certainly not alone – who use a small car on the island and keep a large car in the garage ready to take off-island when I go on longer trips, say to France, Spain, Portugal or even parts of the UK? Do I get taxed by PR and Co because I have the temerity to actually buy a larger car, even if I do not use it here? Hmm, not sure that sounds very fair.

Building wind farm would use up non-renewable resources

ACCORDING to the article by Nick Mann in the Guernsey Press regarding the possibility of a floating offshore wind project, it would appear that the cost to install this type of development would be in the area of some £180m., at current prices, with five turbines having 30MW of power (‘Study findings float idea of viable offshore wind project’, 19 May).

Sark’s failing Chief Pleas ‘has dug its own grave’

HOW can one make a 600- (or 400-) person society work with a functioning government? Perhaps it just isn’t possible. Perhaps this is just too small a scale for a society to be able to be self-governing. Perhaps Sark will have to give up its independence and be absorbed into a larger entity. Maybe Guernsey. Maybe the UK. Perhaps 28 is just too many people to get to sit in a parliament in such a small jurisdiction. Perhaps we’ll just have to reduce the number of seats in Chief Pleas. Concentrate even more power in even fewer hands of those who crave it, with even fewer checks on that power. Perhaps we’ll then have to employ professional civil servants because the workload will be too much for these same ruling hands to do themselves – what with their ever-increasing desire to regulate and legislate. Perhaps we’ll just have to raise taxes yet more to pay for these civil servants.

Width tax already rejected

THERE is something to be said for persistence, but it’s now coming at a price, and that price appears to be tarring others with the same brush – I’ll clear that up later. I am speaking of our deputies once more, to be specific, Peter Roffey. Having enjoyed an outing with my family on Liberation Day, my enthusiasm was shot down by yet another article in the Press featuring yet another attack on the working people of the island, and the disappointment that Deputy Roffey wants a width tax as a ‘reward’ to smaller-car drivers.

States needs to admit its new labour laws just aren’t working

HAVE you noticed how some people in the States find it impossible to say sorry or even be wrong? The island has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on so-called experts to tell us how to run the island, yet will not listen to the free advice of on-island experts in the hotel catering trades. These people are at the sharp end of the new labour laws and they are saying these laws are not working. Still they sit at their desks insisting that they are right.

Width tax would actually benefit tradespeople

I WOULDN’T normally respond to an anonymous letter in the Press, but Monday 15 May’s about pavement surfing not being a problem gives me the opportunity to explode a few myths. The unknown correspondent bewails the fact that taxi drivers and white van men will be hit if my idea for an annual width tax is adopted. In fact, quite the opposite is true and they would be among the biggest gainers. Other net winners would include those with modest cars – often the moderately off. To be very clear, the proposal is not to tax the motoring public – in total – any more at all. Rather it is to replace the increasingly extortionate element of replacement motor tax in Guernsey’s fuel duty with a new motor tax based on width.

Former deputy talking sense on runway

AT LAST, someone talking sense about the airport runway. Well done Yvonne Burford. As an engineer I had the pleasure of attending a lecture organised by CIGPE and given by the Lagan project manager at the airport, where we were also given a tour of the works. It was quite clear that the upgrading of the runway meant that heavier planes could take off, but in addition it was also clear that there was absolutely no need for a runway extension, as the existing length was more than adequate for the type of planes ever likely to come here.

Stop whingeing about pavement surfers – most of us are considerate

Re: Guernsey Press articles on Tuesday 9 May 2017, news, page five. A whole page was given over to air the views of the police, a Mrs Nesta Crabb, Kath Leech, unnamed commentators and Deputy Peter Roffey – all of them emphasising the dangers of ‘pavement surfing’. Firstly, in my experience, all of the drivers that I join on Guernsey roads do the natural thing, ‘slow down’, mount the pavement to avoid ‘wide vehicles’ and, yes, there are times where I/we wait for a suitable ‘dip’ in the pavement to re-join the road, but consideration is given.

Murphy’s column hit below the belt

RE: MIDWEEK Murphy on 3 May 2017. Quote: ‘The grassroots form of the sport is the boxing dinner, in which boozed-up ghouls in dinner suits bay for blood while working-class children smack seven bells out of each other for their perverted pleasure.’ This is a slanderous and ignorant piece of trash writing, highly offensive to the local boxing cognoscenti.

Is there a hidden agenda behind office relocations?

SO, THE States of Guernsey have no money when it comes to helping people here, yet we can send thousands of pounds away to help overseas. Even if that bugs people, surely nothing can get people in need but refused help more irritable than watching our government throw away millions on moving departments from one building to another. Perhaps there is a hidden agenda behind these moves? Could it be that Housing are gearing up to hand over all their houses to the Housing Association? – something that was always questioned from the very first meeting with the association by the States House Tenants’ Action Group. Not only is the move costing a quoted £3m., but it just does not fit in anywhere at any level. Not only is it going to overpopulate a building, but the location and setting of the building is a huge problem and will create overbearing problems for people – and in the main disabled people.

RNLI should respect its brave crews

WE HAVE all heard of the dispute regarding the Jersey lifeboat crew, but it appears there is considerable dissatisfaction among lifeboat crews in many areas – Brighton was one I heard of recently. From what I hear, the Jersey crew responded to what their coxswain judged to be an emergency when Jersey Harbours wanted to send their tug out and charge a considerable commercial towing fee. He took the view that a vessel drifting without power towards rocks was a good reason to launch and I cannot see any sensible person disagreeing with that. It is interesting that someone from Jersey Harbours has since left for ‘family reasons’.

Civil service making the long journey towards more ‘enlightened’ government

DURING the Occupation order was kept by a brutal and extreme regime. However, any system that is so loathed and despised has a seething wall of resentment building against it by the hour. Any government that is run so blatantly against the will of the people is self-defeating and can only exist in the short term. So the jack boot is long departed but, perhaps, even as recently as the ’90s, I can remember isolated incidents where at times civil servants could be officious, rude and sarcastic in dealings with the public.

Planning has lost the plot with garage refusal

UNBELIEVABLE to read the Guernsey Press front page news about the planners turning down architect Andrew Ozanne’s proposed design for a garage on the former Esso site at Bulwer Avenue (‘Planners are accused of blocking garage build’, 28 April). As quoted, Planning Services stated that the architect’s design did not respect the road frontage of the site. But surely, from looking at the proposed design in the Press, it is in line with other buildings in the area – and is a much better proposal than what is at present there. Looking around at all the other buildings in the area shows that it is quite ‘acceptable to the eye’ in these surroundings. [Tribunal presiding member] Stuart Fell’s remarks as to why this proposal was turned down seem quite confusing.

Gay people want acceptance – not sympathy

WHILE I am fully accepting of everyone being entitled to an opinion on all matters in life, I was outraged to read the article published on Tuesday 2 May regarding churches not prepared to embrace same-sex marriage. ‘The church is very tolerant of people that find themselves in that situation.’ First of all, it is not a situation, it is a way of life, no different to a man and woman loving one another.

Same-sex marriage: What the new law will mean for moral objectors

IN RESPONSE to a letter published in the Opinion column of the Guernsey Press on Saturday 22 April 2017, titled ‘Protecting objectors in conscience to homosexual marriage’, the Committee for Employment & Social Security has coordinated a statement on behalf of the States of Guernsey. The letter requests separate public statements from the Law Officers of the Crown, the Committee for Home Affairs and the Committee for Economic Development. Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, president of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said that: ‘The Committee for Employment & Social Security has responsibility for both the Same-Sex Marriage legislation and the Employment Relations Service. As such, it was more appropriate for a joint statement to be released in consultation with the Law Officers of the Crown, the Greffe and the committees for Home Affairs and Economic Development.’

Mug chairman’s positive influence

I READ an article on page 10 of Wednesday 26 April’s edition of the Guernsey Press about Trevor Kelham stepping down from his role as chairman of Male Uprising Guernsey (Mug). I think it is only fitting that I write a letter stating the positive impact that this man has had on my life and I hope that he reads this letter, or that one of his many friends directs him to this letter, as I think what Trevor has accomplished, especially regarding the phenomenal success of his charity, is simply fantastic. While I attended college I decided to participate in the Institute of Directors shadow managing programme and I was assigned to Standard Chartered to shadow manage Trevor Kelham and see what life was like as a director.

Big cars should come with a health warning

IT SEEMS some still think that owning a vehicle is some kind of social right and more so the larger it is. A gentleman recently wrote that he feared taxing larger cars would hit the working class. Maybe a little thinking outside the box might help. Some people need a large vehicle for making a living, and that’s fair enough, but many are just a way of making a statement.

Crown Dependencies naive to think they have a say on Brexit

I HAVE read the public and political comments from the Crown Dependencies on Brexit, which exhibit a strong degree of entitlement in their demands on what the UK should do. In summary, ‘they want to have their cake and eat it’. The Crown Dependencies, for better or worse, decided not to join the Common Market in 1973. That decision is now a matter for reflection and history. In consequence, the Crown Dependencies have not contributed to what has become the EU budget but have derived some benefits as associate members of the EU and through bilateral relationships with EU jurisdictions. The majority of their residents had no vote or any entitlement to vote in the UK EU referendum. Why should they?

Thank you to all GFC players and coaches

AS A supporter of Guernsey FC, and I have been since it started, I have to agree with Alex Murphy’s midweek story on the struggle of GFC this season. Like all new football clubs they had to start at a lower level and our talented GFC were hammering many UK teams as they climbed the leagues to where they are now. At this level they are now facing, as Alex described, UK teams much stronger and of course most of them in this league have an open cheque book to sign on various players whenever they like and quite often it’s ex-pros. We have to admire our local talented players for all the travelling they have to do, leaving their families etc, bad weather, good weather, whatever.

My proposal for island-wide voting

ONLY options A and B are fully island-wide voting. So I would like to suggest an alternative proposal, other than the daft idea that everyone should have up to 38 votes. It has been put to me that electronic voting would reduce the time taken over that many votes. This would come at some cost (at a time when we should spend less), and would still extend the time a voter spends at the booth (even if a voter selects less than the 38, there is still likely to be some dithering).

Brexit could provide fillip for agriculture

THE British Retail Consortium, the influential trade association representing UK retailers, recently released a research paper entitled ‘A Fair Brexit for Consumers’ which sets out a possible tariff roadmap for the next UK Government in the post-Brexit world. The report notes that 79% of the UK’s food imports come from the EU.

Yes/no referendum would be a pointless exercise

PETER GILLSON and I were colleagues in the States. In the last term I served on a committee which he led and he served on another committee which I led. I enjoyed working together and respect him still. However, for as long as he continues to assert that the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee is not adhering to the States’ resolution in relation to the island’s electoral system, as he did again in these pages on 13 April, I will continue to point out that he is wrong. The resolution is a matter of fact: from 2020 all deputies are to be elected on an island-wide basis in a single election on one day provided that method of election is first approved by the people of Guernsey in a referendum.

The facts of RGLI at Cambrai battle

THERE has been a lot of publicity recently about the story of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry in the Great War and particularly their participation in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. As the author of a book on the contribution made by Guernsey in the war, it seems to me that there is some misunderstanding about the number of casualties suffered by the Guernseymen in that battle. I thought therefore it might be valuable to set the record straight. On 20 November 1917, when the battle started, 1,311 soldiers were serving in France with the RGLI, although many of these men were not with the battalion but were at the depot in Rouen. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, the unit’s administrative records recorded the following figures:

Crack down on bad drivers, not large-car owners

I HAVE to say I personally do not agree with a tax on wider vehicles on Guernsey roads as it is only going to punish the people who are working class and have a large car. Let’s face it, when a tax like this is introduced people with money coming out of their ears will pay the extra and not even notice the difference in their bank balance as it will just be a few pounds out of their interest. The working person will be the total loser again because it will be more coming out of their hard-earned cash.