Sarkees' delight as Panorama lifts lid

SARK residents have praised the BBC for ‘lifting the lid on what really is happening’ in the island after Panorama aired its investigation.

SARK residents have praised the BBC for ‘lifting the lid on what really is happening’ in the island after Panorama aired its investigation.

The half-hour documentary on Monday night focused on Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay’s tax arrangements but some residents were also interviewed by journalist John Sweeney.

General Purposes and Advisory Committee chairman Charles Maitland, pictured, felt the programme was well balanced and hoped there would be a second instalment.

‘It has pleased most of Sark’s population and it is about time things have been brought to light.

‘For once litigation hasn’t stopped the truth from coming out.’

  • Neither Sark Seigneur Michael Beaumont nor Sir David and Sir Frederick’s lawyer were available to comment.

Comments for: "Sarkees' delight as Panorama lifts lid"

Sarnian Donkey

Ha ha, "well balanced", of course it was Charlie boy!!

Any "second instalment" may perhaps focus on feudal powers, unqualified judges, and a political and legal framework utterly unfit for purpose in the 21st century.

Maybe when the Barclays close all their businesses down (and Sark with them) the locals may actually realise what a fine opportunity has passed them by.


Oh please... Sark managed just as Sark does for centuries before the Barclays wandered in with their chequebooks and opened their businesses.

If they went, the locals would survive as they have done in the past.

The man

Do you live on Sark? Maybe the barclays didn't just open businesses, maybe they opened peoples eyes. Finally people are told about how underhanded and deceptive chief pleas is. Finally people realise that they do not have to just be told 'this is the way we do it here. This is the way we'll always do it here. If you dont like it then leave'. Maybe, with a considerable amount of diplomacy and tact, this whole situation could have been the best thing to ever happen to Sark. But because of the lack of tact and diplomacy. Because of self serving politicians using their powers to block things they dont want. Because of the whole ' its ours' attitude. Because of all these things the situation is a mess, the island is a mess, the politicians continue to vote each other in to continue preserving their idyll. It makes me sad that my island has come to this. And it makes me angry that the people who want the barclays out are the wealthy and retired who dont need a regular job and source of income. So whenever this all comes to a head, on matter what the outcome, just remember that the Sark that they want to preserve is Feudal Sark. Lords and Peasants.


The man: as ever you describe one of many alternative destinations where you would be able better air your apparent sense of grievance and social injustice.

In case you had not noticed, Sark's one and only advantage was in it uniqueness as a collection of individuals and their timewarp society. Not its weather, not its hotels, not its vineyards, not its subjugation to Big money.

Maybe you should watch and learn from Island Parish, not the Island Pariah.

the man

@DB - do you , in fact, live on sark? if you do and you disagree then i must assume that you are one of the few. probably financially comfortable. probably nearing or passed, retirement. probably unconcerned with what other people think. Well let me educate you. Sark is a beautiful island run by ugly people. The island is a unique place and always has been, i couldn't have asked for a finer place to grow up. but with age comes realisation and that is the realisation that the island will never be anything other than an oddity. a quirky place with a nice summer and a poor winter. there was never year round work, there has never been a proper infrastructure. the island continues to do as it always has done, failing to realise that a lot of what it has always done is wrong. the treatment of sewage, the burning of rubbish at the harbours, the incredibly poor state of the roads, the lack of investment in itself, the ridiculous cost of living, gas prices, oil, food.... the list is probably quite long indeed! half of the avenue, the main street of the island, was essentially derelict before the barclays invested in sark. the hotels they have bought have been refurbished, admittedly not to everyone's taste and nowhere near everyone's budget,but they look better - that is undeniable. my point about this whole sorry mess is that if chief pleas had talked with Delaney and planned and thought things through they could have had the opportunity of a lifetime. but they pretty much stamped their collective foot and said no. yes Delaney has been, and continues to be, a prat but can anyone say that the members of our parliament have been better? rushing through legislation to stop projects? writing threatening letters for minor building works? doing anything they can to slow and disrupt the progress of SEM without a thought for the working man that their actions will affect?

when the money started rolling in it benefited the whole island every business did well because there was more money, people could afford to go out, eat better food, worry less about bills etc...

lastly, in this increasingly lengthy diatribe, nobody ever mentions the good that the barclays have done. the times their hated helicopter has been used in search and rescue, the times their boats have helped yachts and other craft in distress.Even in the fatal carriage accident.

double standards everywhere.. sark could have had it so good.......

Your Best Hope

The Man December 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm

You were doing quite well until you began to parrot the SNL chants.

The whole world changed hugely just as the Barclays were taking over. The opportunities for Sark to create an online economy did not exist until around 1995. Alderney rushed at gambling - but could have done so much better if it had been properly advised from the outset. But the quite amazingly erratic and abusive behaviour of SNL has stopped many people from wanting to set up a (legitimate!) business on the Island.

A very simplistic analysis of the tactics suggests a determined divide and rule strategy, designed to install their own version of dependant feudal economy as the old irritants have been neutralised.

But crucially - there never was an opportunity of a lifetime. The SEM strategy was/is unsustainable without Sark willing to adopt the 2008 prospectus based on creating Sark as a "Prisoner-cum-Maplins" holiday village format. And then the climate is so perverse that do you really imagine people would book long in advance and pay the prices asked? Sark is only ever going to be a fair weather weekend away for most "high end" punters.

The wise democratic choice was to reject the "BarclayLand" vision. My heart goes out to all those who fell for the propaganda and hype, but there never was a glimmer of a sustainable proposition that did not involve trading-in the only unique features of Sark. And even after the sacrifice of the soul of Traditional Sark, still only a glimmer.

Assuming you are not the SEM payroll, you have to try hard and get over the fact that a few wealthy retirees live on Sark and they are willing to give time to running the island. They stand between the "Island Parish" that most Sarkees want preserved, and assimilation into the hive.

Colin Kniveton has a challenging task on his hands, and he is obliged to start by acknowledging the wishes of the democratically elected CP - and not be bullied by the SEM and its "client workforce".

But if you can extend the community with 100 resident employees working in maybe 5-10 sustainable online businesses earning and spending say £2.5m pa, that could be the start of very a different ballgame.



Thanks for admitting that the Barclays have achieved economic dominance over Sark to the extent that they ARE the economy.

It is clearly time for the MoJ to step in and confiscate these vital assets for Island management, in the democratic interests of good government.

Paging Colin Kniveton!

Sark Resident


What an idiotic comment. Whilst the MoJ are going about that they can also state anybody who makes future investments may as well forget about doing so because it could ultimately prove to be a worthless liability if they don't fit into the place in question.

It has already been made clear sensible offers would be considered for some of the businesses.

It is time for some residents to dig deep and see if they can purchase their way around this issue if they want an end to it once and for all.

What has been achieved so far has been for the greater good of future generations to prosper since the Barclays made their investments. It does nothing for the feudal vultures but they have their own self-serving agendas to preserve.


Of course the MoJ should warn tax-shy behemoths that investments in treasured CDs (and WHY is Sark not on some UN protected list by now?) need to be in keeping with the character, wishes and needs of the community.

Delaney himself has warned his employers that they had wasted their money if the Sark government wasn't going to roll over and allow them to complete the process of "assimilation" by defacing the island and changing its nature completely.

As for "idiotic", I wish you Very Merry Christmas, too.

glass houses

The second installment might also focus on other questionable behaviour by member or members of Chief Pleas. Such as paying a large retainer for "legal services" to Paul Arditti, a member of the States of Alderney who is also a representative in the States of Guernsey and chairman, of all things, of the Scrutiny Committee.

Link to Sark Newsletter article :

frank bath

As someone who has worked all his life alongside BBC journalists I take exception to your unthinking slur. No other journalist, inside or out, has made criticism of Panorama or John Sweeney, and believe me they would if they could, it's their sport, so what you say doesn't stand up to rational enquiry.

As to the Barclays the sooner they clear off to some other tax haven and take their bullion with them the better. Sark worked before they looked upon it and will work after. The Sarkese will see to that and Her Majesty will see they win through.


Sarnia Donkey,

It was certainly a much better, happier place before the Barclays showed up.


Just like Guernsey before the finance industry


I was totally unconvinced by Kevin Delaney's claim that his inflamatory 'Newsletter' is not influenced by his employment.

The man

I'd say that rather than being balanced, it was heavily weighted with an anti barclay stance. There were no interviews with any 'normal' locals. Just the same old nimbys, who also -coincidentally?- run sark via chief pleas. All the interviewed have a history of being a, fiercely anti barclay and b, wanting 'their' island to stay the way 'they' want it. I do not for one minute condone the recent behaviour of SEM's, regards vineyards etc, and i feel that tearing up the fields behind the mill is just too much. However, as a balanced fair programme, Panorama failed. It did come across as if a personal issue was being explored. For those of us that know, the impeccable politeness of the 'head through the office door' bit was laughable. Also the fact that it is well known that mr sweeney and crew were noted using the street as a toilet and the man himself was spotted rather worse for wear, in charge of a bicycle. An expose on Sark and its government could easily be edited to make monsters of chief pleas. Very easily. But that wont happen. Before i sign of, to the inevitable calls of ' sem troll etc' , a big hand to the unwitting star of the programme. Kevin Delaneys bush stalker number one, Mr. Samuel Steenson! Take a bow sir :-)

Sugared Brazil Nut

Perhaps if the Chuckle Brothers and/or their SN propogandist had agreed to the BBC's requests to be interviewed there may have been some "balance"?

BTW - don't think the good, now departed, Doctor who was interviewed ever ran Sark via Chief Please or indeed any other means.


The continuing and predictable divisions are apparent in the postings here from the usual suspects.

One of the most vital scene setters was the reminder that the Barclays went ahead and tried to sue the Trustees of the Hall out of their houses and homes.

Although that vexatious bit of work got hoofed out of court as they knew it would, it was typically crude tactic and an obvious warning shot to all those who wanted to defy their will. You defend these folks at Sark's peril.

the man

and the programme conveniently failed to mention that the school and the licensed premises were under the same roof. 'Too close to the school' is what he said. implication - the barclays were being petty. fact - the school is under the same roof as licensed premises. Would this be permissible in the uk?


Sark is not the UK. The people can generally be trusted to act with common sense.

It seems absurd that an Island social centre would be expected to be dry. And it's not as if the vine-mad Bs religious views are tee-total, either.

Just Saying

oh come off it, it's a bloney cafe that serves alcohol. The public bar is only usually open at sporting events, it's hardly the 'local' where you'll get drunkards spilling out into the playground during afternoon break.


One sided was how I saw it, however the interesting bit for me was Paul Arditti admitting that people come to him for legal advice, errrm, does he actually hold the bar for in Channel Islands, he does in the UK but he he doesnt as far as I know hold one for the Channel Islesl!! Surely some regulator will point that out to him, Oh Hold on, he is the regulator!! OK! Who's regulating the regulator???

Just Saying

You don't need to hold the bar to give legal advice, plenty of lawyers in the islands who haven't done their bar exams in either jurisdiction.


Here, here, Billythefish!

A Resident

The Sweeney programme was a clearly biased piece of PR for Rosanne Guille, Charles Maitland, and, principally, John Sweeney himself, all people with well-known axes to grind against the Barclays.

Sweeney boasts in the programme that he was sued for criminal libel by the Barclays, lost, and had to apologize, that he trespassed, and that he has been called a liar and a bully. And he probably is a liar — after all, truth is a defence against libel, and one who does not lie does not usually have to apologize for libel. Having watched the infamous video clip of him yelling like a deranged lunatic I am of the opinion that he is, indeed, a bully, too.

I'm not sure why Sweeney feels these are things to boast about. We've all had our less-than-glorious moments, but a serious, dignified, self-respecting journalist would feel embarrassed about them, not boast about them. Perhaps Mr Sweeney thinks that being a liar, a bully and having been found guilty of serious wrongdoing by a court are badges of honour. He certainly comes across as though he does. If this is the case, he has shown himself (again?) to be something of a clown, and Sark politicians (Maitland, Guille and co.) have shown a poor sense of judgement in whom they associate with and who they choose as their mouthpiece. Perhaps they would have been wise to watch Sweeney's other work and the sorts of witnesses he usually interviews to back up his stories — petty criminals, drug addicts, people who are clearly not credible — before associating with him. The fact that they could not find a better mouthpiece is telling.

So far, however, that is all fair dos. Everyone is entitled to behave as they wish, off camera or on it, to promote their point of view, and to be judged by their audience. Sweeney is a reporter (having seen his other reporting, I choose my word carefully and refrain from using the word journalist), and it is his prerogative to use his media outlet to promote his personal point of view and his agenda. However it is arguably questionable whether pursuing his own private vendetta (and consequently engaging in clearly biased reporting) at the British taxpayers' expense is appropriate and compatible with the BBC's charter. But neither phenomenon is all that surprising coming from today's BBC.

What is more questionable is for Charles Maitland to say that he felt the programme was “well balanced”. The programme clearly was not balanced. It was clearly one-sided. This surely was clear to everyone, whether sharing the programme's point of view or not. And Mr Maitland is bright enough to be able to tell that too, this we can be sure of. Had he said he was pleased with the programme, I would have believed him. But when he says he felt the programme was “well balanced“, I have to question his honesty.

I am also not persuaded that the way Guernsey Press has reported this story has been balanced. Credit to you for having quoted a “Sark resident who declined to be named” who pointed out the obviously biased nature of Sweeney's reporting and presented a point of view contrary to the thrust of the GP article. But this point of view was presented too parenthetically, briefly, and tucked into a little corner at the end to balance the story out. The front page, the title, and the article's leader all make this article lopsided — if not quite fully one-sided as the Panorama story itself. I suppose that's probably the way you intended it to be. But by having done so, you have lent Sweeney a badge of credibility which in my opinion he does not deserve.

The man

Bloody well said indeed!

Sark Watcher

A lawyer writes?

It is hardly surprising that the two entrenched factions will read what they want into the programme, but the evidence of the election is that people STILL reject the SEM in favour of gentler traditions.

Just Saying

Hi Kevin...

A Guernsey Resident

as one sided as the sark newsletter too


I was quite happy that the islanders could talk about what was happening to them to such a large audience. I would like to see a second installment which would feature the vine planting as well. I'm suprised the hiring/firing of islanders was not looked into more either.

I enjoyed watching the spin on Mr Sweeneys visit to pick up a copy of the SNL as well as the appearance of the doctor. I also liked the reminder that the newsletter never asked the people it featured for their views for balance...

In regards to the offer of mortgages to locals I would like to take an excerpt of a letter delivered to Sark residents from the Barclay Brothers:

"we would be willing to assist in providing islanders with mortgages to enable their home ownership."

In my opinion that's an open offer to the public right there and the GFSC were right to be pro-active in contacting them if this is their intention should the law change. The concern was not disproportionate but relevant and timely. Anything else Delaney offered in response in the paper such as the GFSC had other things to deal with just seemed to attempt to divert from the actual issue in hand.

I would ask why would mortgages be offered to islanders by them? Was the timing of this just before an election? I would ask why is it of importance to that Sark get its own customs area? This is following the event of it being found that Brechqou is part of Sark and not seperate (despite legal avenues being followed to attempt to find it was not). It would mean they would then own vast amounts of land, business and then potentially the homes in Sark. Would people want to say anything critical about the person who owns their home? Just things I'm going to keep in mind.

I wondered where Richard Murphy got those private BVI trust minutes from. They would not be available to the public. How can we know they are even real? It is noted the Barclay Brothers are quite private and secretive.

I think Richard Murphy was incorrect saying that the Ritz had not paid a penny of tax to the UK government in the last 17 years. There would be PAYE, council tax, VAT. I may be wrong however (not an expert on BVI structutres by a long shot) but it was quite the statement to make when the Barclay Brothers are quite happy to sue for incorrect facts about them and their businesses.

I also - don't hang me for this - but don't have a problem with them suing for compound interest. It may not be good for the HMRC but if you look at the issue from the angle of a client they have had to wait for money owed to them. If you owe HMRC money in the UK you can become liable to penalties and interest. It seems fair for this to be applied the other way around. Especially if you need a refund for cash flow purposes. The outcome of the case could be positive for small struggling businesses for example that were owed money.

I also am not a fan about how the public were not informed of all the ways that the tax bill was reduced on the Ritz. I'd rather see an open honest discussion on it with all the facts on show for them to consider instead of using lack of industry knowledge to suggest it's ALL immoral. Capital allowances as example as a relief would have been used - everyone claims those. It was suggested all profits were re-invested (which gives rise to them) so that is one way the tax bill would have been reduced. Any accountant not claiming them would be doing a poor job.

To underline I just want the issue looked at in detail, with all aspects on display so an honest discussion can take place or morality of tax instead of people being manipulated to think one way or the other.

Sark Watcher

Dani: "I would ask why would mortgages be offered to islanders by them? "

Well, some islanders have already mortgaged rather more than their homes, so why not go the whole hog?

We have seen here how dependency on the SEM shilling causes the folks to shift their allegiance and opinions, so the more dependency the better. All “proper” Sarkese must remain perversely and fiercely independent - and it's now up to CP and Colin Kniveton - and ESPECIALLY the UK government who has allowed this situation to develop against all warnings - to provide a better and dependency-free way forward.


Sark Watcher

I couldn't agree more in that I want the people of Sark to be able to keep their independence. If mortgages are an issue for them surely another provider could be found?

the man

@Sark Watcher

define for me ' proper sarkese ' if you would be so kind?

A Resident

Admitting that the Barclays' tax planning is legal and then questioning whether it is “moral” is one of the worst bits of “journalism” in this programme.

Let me put it another way. Given that we know how hard it is for hard working people to earn some money these days, particularly in the severe recession we are in (of which, I might add, there is no end in sight, and which is only going to get worse), with all the regulation there is in the UK — 'elf 'n safety, employment law, yuman rites law, VAT, etc. etc. — given how high the taxes are in the UK, but particularly given the obscene way the Government there spend their money — much of it goes to financing initiatives such as the Common Fisheries Policy (which would perhaps be better described as the “drive all the species of fish in our waters to extinction by throwing 2/3 of all the fish we catch dead overboard” policy), hundreds of billions of pounds go towards bailouts of corrupt nations and to the EU, 10% of whose budget is squandered on fraud and payouts to organized crime (such as the well-documented massive subsidies to wind farms owned by the Italian mafia), whose auditors have qualified their accounts for 18 years' running because of the said fraud — is it morally right to pay a penny in tax to these people if you don't legally have to? Is it right to finance people who spend the money on fraud, environmental destruction, financing corruption and organized crime — any more than you are forced to — if you can spend the money in more productive ways such as growing employment and the economy, giving it to charity, or even just burning it?

If the Barclays were (lawfully) paying more money in tax than they are legally obliged to, knowing how Sweeney operates, I'm sure he would have just accused them of (indirectly) financing the killing of innocent fish, fraud and organized crime, built up a story around their immoral behaviour from that angle and the programme would have been full of dead fishing floating in the sea.

You can't ask people to abide not only by the law, but also by every Tom, Dick and Harry's moral framework, if for no other reason, because there are a million different ways to look at every legal question from a moral angle, and 20 different answers to every such question from every 10 people you ask. After all, you could even argue (and some do) that tax itself is legal but immoral because it is the taking of money from the unwilling by force and therefore robbery. If you adopt that point of view, than engaging in any less legal tax avoidance than you legally can is immoral.


A Resident - your dislike for anyone that questions the ungiven authority of millionaires speaks volumes about the kind of society you would rather live in.

It is shared by every scum on earth. From the benefit cheat to the African warlord.

It is a pathetic stance and one no doubt driven by the anti-literate political lobbyists that peddle that filth.

You want to celebrate those that would break social fabric, after all, we're all in it together, huh?

As for the Barclays, seriously? Free speech? Yet no one is allowed to question their wealth and MO

Your promotion of extremism is nothing to crow on about.

Just Saying

A resident, are you suggesting that legality and morality are one and the same?

Sweeney Todd

For those who bleat that the programme was one sided, there was a simple solution, for Mr Delaney and Mr & Mr Barclay to give an interview and present their side of the story.

John S.

Heaven forbid. Much as in the league of gentlemen, Brecqhou is a Private Island for Private People - and the Barclays (wisely) avoid personal publicity with the same determination that their employee on Sark applies it to anyone that gets in his way.

I can't help wondering just what might have been achieved over the years had the Barclays been willing to properly engage with Sark and join in. Just imagine the effect of Fred and Dave popping into the Mermaid for an occasional game of Darts.

All the troubles would have been over.


Anyone living on Sark who received the letter below which was last week posted to every home on the island from four long standing older members of the community would have to had possessed a heart of stone not to have hung their heads and wept. Forget the Sark Newsletter and its comparisons to 1930’s Germany. We are witnessing scenes more reminiscent of America during the great depression. These men will be known to many Guernsey visitors to the island. I apologies to them for highlighting their plight here but ask who the hell is listening to the needs of working men and women of Sark?

Whilst Charles Maitland, Paul Arditti, Jan Guy, David Synott, Dave Melling, Rosanne Guille and others are only too happy to appear on Panorama for “the cause” and to continue to play loose with Sark’s economy, those that need to work to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table are suffering because of the warped ideology that these big fish in a little pond are pursuing for “the cause”.

Grow up, all of you, and face up to the fact that you are not only destroying people’s livelihoods, you are destroying people’s lives.
















Sark Watcher

Let's make no mistake - this tragic situation comes about because of the SNL's "blood feud" that has scared away all other investors in the island. Any prospective businessperson reading the SNL will plainly not want to come and run the SNL gauntlet.

Apart from anything else, the fact that a small community like Sark cannot curtail the SNL's plainly preposterous insinuations seems to confirm Delaney's assertion that Sark is indeed lawless - but not for the fanciful reasons he puts forward!

By Delaney's own admission he has told his employers that the SEM businesses are apparently unsustainable - but of course it always someone else's fault.

Sark's dependency on the SEM is rapidly becoming the responsibility of MoJ, who have failed to act to ensure that one over bearing business does distort and destroy the economy. A climate where others are willing to turn up and help diversify the Island economy, must be established.


Sark Man

That is so sad. I have to commend them for putting themselves out there for work like that. If I had any money I would hire them. Pilotage lessons in the summer might be fun.. would they let out spare rooms of their homes to visitors? I would stay in Sark more often but even the guesthouses are expensive and I don't fancy camping. There could be money in that.

Do any of them have farming skills and land? It sounds crazy but it appears there is money in donkeys cheese at £400 a pound! (I'm serious).

Donkey milk has higher levels of Vit and is anti-allergen.

If the donkeys were munching the salty grass in Sark it could give an interesting flavour and marketed as a unique speciality. It does sound bonkers but there is not a huge market in donkey's milk/cheese. I think someone should be making money off it anyways!!


There appears to be is plenty of work going for anyone willing to hold their nose and post Pro-SEM and Barclay comments online!

the man

how would you know who anybody who posts online works for?


Sarkmen What a sad indictment of where Sark has got to these days. So sad to see a notice of that ilk being posted up. Reminds me of when my kids were looking for work and the only work available was doing gardening or house cleaning for the gated community. Well they have got what they wanted seemingly in that they have now bought the hard working Sarkese down on their knees once again where they think they belong!So much legislation that never seemed necessary for centuries but suddenly put in place to upset the only lareg investor on island!Sad day to see this scenario returning to Sark. Who the heck cares where the work is coming from. Who the heck cares who the investor (s) are as they as they invest. Is it so scary for the gated community/cabal to see people actually having good wages paid over the last few years for honest work rather than them giving out a miserly pittance and a sandwich to those on island out of work in the winter?

As for all of the business that would have come to Sark if the Barclays had not invested - where are they? What kind of investment and if they are put off by the Barclays investment then I am sure that they were not worth having anyway. The man, A resident and Sarkman - at least these posters seem to be living in the real world as it is on Sark not the idylic scenario as seen by outsiders watching from afar and making comments that obviously show that they have never lived on Sark and tried to make a lviing on the island. As a matter of interest how many true Sarkese (apart from two familys are in Chief Pleas these days? Very very few! They have lost their right to run their own island to incomers who now rule. At least when it was land owners and the deputies there was animated discussion, just argument and in the end common sense ruled.


Jay - I can tell you write from the heart with more sincerity than many here, and your contribution gains value accordingly.

However, I can assure you that investors and businesses have been scared away from Sark by the endlessly bilious tripe spouted from the Sark News Letter.

No credible person could trust a word of what Delaney and his masters say. John Sweeney's exposure of the real encounter in the SEM office set against Delaney's hysterical reporting was surely the final nail in the coffin of his already marginal credibility.

Sark needs to resolve the conflict - but you must understand that the SEM plans always were and remain fundamentally unsustainable. There never was or can be a sustainable tourist economy on the necessary scale - unless the Bs have been praying very hard and making such huge donations to the Catholic church that Sark wakes up one day to find itself magically transported some 400 miles south east.


Sure is propaganda up in here.

Just sayin'.

Guernsey Fudge

Does anyone know what is within the walls of the Castle ?

A secret nuclear command bunker perhaps ?

Often visited by British Prime Ministers, and God knows who else via helicopter.

Would you like a Knighthood by the way also, for services provided in avoiding tax also ?

history lesson

The set to between the Sark Establishment and the Barclays has the semblance of Guernsey and Castle Cornet in the English Civil War when the Royalists isolated on the Castle fired potshots at the Roundheads in Guernsey. Sark being Guernsey and Brecqhou Castle Cornet. The main difference seems to be that the Royalists swore allegiance to the Crown and the Barclays possibly prefer to choose Monaco. I wonder which way the cannons are facing on Castle Brecqhou?

Your Best Hope

As any Mayan knows, that's not actually a Castle, it is a spaceship that will take off at midnight tonight.

Jo Birch

Do the residents of Brecqhou pay their fair share of tax to Sark? Not only the property tax but the personal capital tax and not just the castle residents, but all Brecqhou residents? Ask Chief Pleas.


I thought the BBC program was very interesting. It was rather amusing when the reporter caught the guy spying on him and then confronted him at the end. I didn't know Sark had their own KGB, perhaps there's a future for a spy thriller sometime soon. i wonder if Liam Neeson is interested?


I would love Chief Pleas to issue a statement saying that Mr. Maitland is not the "Leader" and Mr. Arditti is not a Sark Resident/Local


I agree with the comments of The Man. Well said.

Sark Watcher. Why do you, like so many people in your Bailliewick, slag off the UK, at every available opportunity, and then go into shock horror mode if the teensiest criticism is made in return. After all you and your ilk have done extremely well out of the UK.



You do not know "me" or "my ilk", but I will nevertheless respond.

The UK is solely responsible for the imperious schizophrenic mistreatment of all the CI over the past 25 years.

The arrival of sharp-suited financial engineering services replaced traditional agriculture and tourism. This was widely integrated with thrusting London City operations and significantly helped make London the world's financial hub.

A real world expedience element was well understood and accepted: "if we didn't do it, then some Johnny Foreigner somewhere like Monaco or the Cayman Isles would."

But then the last Labour Government followed Clinton's US lead and allowed the creation of a fairyland economy based on absurd asset bubbles. And we all know what happened next.

We have latterly gone through a bizarre "new fiscal puritanism" with all the world's economies desperate to plug the gaps made easily accessible by the communications revolution.

However, despite being wise enough to avoid EU membership the CI are effectively not allowed to operate in any way independently of EU and OECD diktats.

There are no votes in the CI for Westminster, and there is now absolutely nothing that any of the CI can presently do that makes them in any way attractive as a base for financial services. The blighters are even doing their damnedest to prevent global warming improving our climate and faint tourism prospects.

So please remind me why we should be grateful to the UK?


Interesting the apparent large amount of posters on here that are eager to jump to SEM's defence as always, after the fact, and as always, hiding behind the printed word.

Why didn't any of you tackle JS when he was quite openly and visibly there?

Sarks a small place, and the word as to what he was up to wouldn't have taken long to get round. He's quite recognisable and was pretty obvious, strolling about with a camera crew.

If you had tackled him, and quite rightly, exercised your right to free speech, expressing your defence of the poor beleaguered Barclays and SEM, I am sure one of you would have mentioned that by now (wouldn't you?) and I think he would have included it on the basis it would make damned good viewing....

anyone..? No, thought not.

Seems to me that you - they - the Barclays and Dalaney - had the chance to put the case for the defence forward and failed to do so, so hardly surprising, then, that the programme may have looked rather unbalanced.

I mean, what was JS supposed to do? Speak in their defence and get done for yet more libel? The whole point of the programme was to show what was happening with their tax status and the various businesses they have, and inevitably, to investigate what's happening in Sark, where they are so very determined to put their mark on.

Did anyone from the castle or the SEM stand up to JS and explain, with justifiable angst, how wrongly they are being portrayed (not just in JS's programme, may I add, a quick internet search will prove that)?

No, of course not, they hid in the castle and Dalaney hid behind his vile free sheet, just like they always do, they ran and hid.

The good people of Sark, dependant on Barclays owned businesses or no, have nothing but my sympathies and empathy, however, I believe as another poster does, that this constant battle is keeping others from investing there, so they are stuck between a rock and a hard place...

which of course, is just what certain parties want, as they know they have enough money to just sit it out and wait for Sark to give in.

Totally disgusting.


'Bullying and intimidation...'

Can anyone explain to me why Mr Dalaney's version of events that took place in the SEM office between JS and an SEM member of staff varies so much from what JS actually said?

What I heard was Mr Sweeney asking, very quietly and politely, imo, for a copy of the SEM mag, whilst after the fact, Mr Dalaney reported him as being very aggressive, demanding, and of course, 'bullying and intimidating'.

- very different accounts, one with a live recording to back it up, the other not.

A favourite TV judge of mine always says, 'lie to me once, and I don't believe a word you say'



Good post, The film certainly contradicted Delaney's version of events. It also said that the Barclay's had been asked to respond to some of the tax allegations but declined to do so or couldn't be contacted. Delaney also declined to be interviewed so he can't start complaining now that the program was one sided.

The Barclay's were just about the worst thing that has ever happened to Sark, not because of the idea of inward investment, because that is needed, but because they have always wanted to move it into their way, of what they call democracy.

The offer of mortgages would have put even more people under their obligation, had they been taken up.

Sark has voted for its Chief Pleas, let them get on with the Job.


There is no case for any defence, so of course the BBC crew was avoided. The game has been a cynical process of occupy/divide/rule/destroy and then overwhelm.

The creation of a "client" workforce has set islander against islander - although it should have been painfully obvious that the money tree was always and illusion with no sustainable future.

Poor Sark, you have been taken for a very carefully planned and executed ride.

Never mind "Occupy London". Occupy Sark!

Sweeney Todd

I did enjoy Kevin's spy following John Sweeney, reminds me somewhat of 1930s Germany.....


Sark Watcher

The CI would be a lot poorer if they had not spent decades plundering ships of the UK and their allies even when specifically requested not to do so by the Englsih King (as it then was). Plus you may have forgotten that the UK liberated the CI from the shadow of the jackboot so that you do actually have freedom of speech to debate at all.

I could go on but Sark is the issue here. I have read a number of copies of the Sark Newsletter and can only conclude that the CI must have extremely liberal libel laws. There are two sides to every story so it is a shame that neither the Barclay brothers nor Mr Delaney agreed to be interviewed. The BBC appeared to present a reasonably well researched programme and I do not understand why both sides did not take the opportunity to present their case. However when people simply indulge in one sided slanging matches it is usually an indication that they have lost their argument.

I hope Sark resolves its issues before Mr Delaney is left as the sole island inhabitant.


The privateering Guernsey took part in (as well as Jersey) was done on behalf of the Crown through a letter of marque. The money we made was from attacking enemies of the crown such as France. We were noted as being of great assistance to the Royal Navy. I do not believe Sark was involved to any great degree. (If I'm wrong I apologise and would find any input on Sarks role v interesting.)(Or Alderneys for that matter).

The crown is responsible for our defense for which we now pay a voluntary contribution towards. The people of Guernsey also contributed to the war effort. We do have freedom of speech and we should use it wisely... we all want to remain on good terms.


You neatly highlight the dilemma of the CI.

Without recourse to brigandry of one sort or another, The CI have no natural resources than can possibly sustainably support it's current population density other than perhaps Sark.


Hi Rosa

You may have a genuine argument in opposing kneejerk anti-UK comments - I tend to share that view. However please feel free to visit the Bailiwick and see the memorials to the many local people from these islands who fought side by side with other nations of the commonwealth, and made the ultimate sacrifice, to liberate Europe from the shadow of the jackboot.

In that context, I hope you understand that your comment is going to be extremely offensive to many local families.


Clueless just about sums your post up.

Longtime Sark Visitor

Sark's current population was set up to prevent the island being used by pirates/privateers hostile to the UK ... thus the feudal set-up, with 40 parcels of land inherited by the eldest son ... to ensure 40 "Men with Muskets" for the defence of the island against enemies of the English Crown.


Rosa, I am not in agreement with your version of Sark's history. I doubt very much if piracy has made any great contribution to the island's economy. Nor was Sark liberated in quite the way you imply - the Channel Islands cannot be liberated by force from whoever occupies the surrounding French coast. The allies simply accepted the peaceful surrender of the German forces when their time was up. Nor does Sark have "extremely liberal libel laws". As the program correctly stated, pursuing libel cases is a rich man's game. Nobody in Sark has deeper pockets than the Sark Newsletter so it can basically say what it wants, civil law has little to do with justice.


Rubbish. The UK did no such thing, Rosa.

the UK blatantly and wilfully abandoned us to the Germans throughout

the war, failing to tell them that we were demiliterised and therefore causing many unnecessary deaths, then turned up when the war was over to 'liberate' us from the already defeated and retreating Germans.


Having just watched the Panaorama programme thanks to the wonders of the internet, I feel Mr Sweeney has missed the boat...

Mr Sweeney was sitting on potentially two big and very interesting stories : the issue of tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals in the UK, ( and we can safely assume that the Barclay Brothers are not the only players in this field ), and the feud that has arisen between extremely wealthy individuals, who have come to live in a very unique part of the British Isles, and certain residents of that community.

But Mr Sweeney chooses not to elaborate on either story and this programme sadly does indeed, ( albeit probably against Mr Sweeney's wishes ), give the impression of a disgruntled journalist who is trying to get his own back on former foes.

End result.... I would rate the programme with a score of just 4 / 10.


Alvin: We don't know what the BBC was obliged to cut as a result of legal jitters.

"Sack 'em all" Delaney's hysterical claim that Sweeney shouted at and abused his staff was shown to be a total fabrication - what more do you need to know about the bloke?



No offence intended and I don't think I ever said that CI folk did not fight alongside UK comrades in WW2. However in 1940 UK forces fought almost alone against the Nazis in the Battle of Britain and thus paved the way for the eventual Allied victory that gave the German occupying in the CI forces no option but to retreat and surrender. Sark did not suffer unduly from the Occupation because the Dame of Sark had formed a good working relationship with the local German commandant to safeguard islanders.


You are quite right about the Letters of Marque BUT they were intended for use in plundering the ships of countries who were enemies of the UK. George III took issue on a few occasions with CI folk who were attacking any shipping going, including Enlglish, Dutch and Danish, which made the King very angry.


I assumed that Sark must have liberal libel laws in order for some of the items in the Sark Newsletter to be published. If that iis not the case I stand corrected.

If the BBC programme did not accurately represent the Sark situation surely the CI BBC could be persuaded to redress the situation.


rosa, i started off very deliberately being polite. You should have left it there because my patience is shortening. Those uk forces in 1940 that you speak of so proudly included good men from these islands. It is a shame your very limited, schoolgirl grasp of history does not appreciate that fact. You should be very proud of them. As for the suggestion the battle of britain paved the way for victory, what it actually did was prevent the uk undergoing the invasion and occupation these islands suffered. As much as it pains me to admit it, victory in europe owed as much to the involvement of america as ig does the uk. That's not undermining the bravery or sacrifice of the (and women) of the uk, but it also isn't rewriting history simply to make a very abstract point.


Lest we forget, the yanks charged the UK for everything we got from them - and they saw to it that the UK had to mortgage the remnants of the Empire - of which they had always been insanely jealous. And they demanded payment in gold before releasing the stuff.

And we had the absurdity of the Brits fighting in N Africa and far flung Empire remnants dealing with the Japanese - while the US was based in the UK - drinking our beer and "comforting" our ladies!

The US was not and is anyone's friend; their conniving grasping bankers have been grasping and conniving for almost a century.


Another post and still not a clue


So Rosa, what do you think the CI's options were? Having no navy or air force to back them up, how could the occupation have been resisted exactly?

One person's collaboration is another's way of survival, any real form of resistence would have been totally futile, have you ever spoken to anyone who was actually in the CIs during the war?


Rosa, are you really unaware of famous libel cases won by people who were subsequently proven to be the guilty parties?



The UK abandoned us during the occupation to the point where islanders were on the brink of starvation and resorting to eating cats and dogs to survive towards the end of the occupation. To say that the UK 'saved us from the jackboot' is quite frankly insulting and couldn't be further from the truth.You obviously have no understanding of the feelings that still exist to this day with regard to what our families went through and had to endure and your comments are extremely ignorant and offensive.


Get real folks. You haven't stopped Delaney doing anything he wants to over the past four years. While you sit behind your pathetic little desktops posting garbage that you do not have the courage to put your names to, Delaney just soldiers on oblivious to you all. He will lead us out of serfdom and on to an island that will provide the dignity of labour for all. Month by month Sark's old system of those who have and those who haven't is crumbling in front of our eyes. Cometh the moment cometh the man. No one has stood up to the establishment on Sark in 450 years in the way that Delaney has. All of you Sark Larkers who thought you could outsmart the system wake up.

Looking at this week's Sark Newsletter he is going to pick you off one by one. Do you no get how pathetic you all are? He is merely playing with you one a d all.


"an island that will provide the dignity of labour for all"

What condescending nonsense. The SEM plan always was unsustainable without changing the entire character of Sark - that 2008 disaster manifesto enshrined the inescapable and inconvenient truth of the thinking behind the plot. And even then it was a long shot given the random climate.

Delaney hides behind an impenetrable shield of others' cash. The attempt to bankrupt the Hall trustees was a shameful but carefully calculated opening shot, and it worked.

The SNL even seems to be able breach BBC and GP copyright with sneering impunity as it continues to peddles bile, bullying, innuendo, insolence and intimidation.

This maybe the season of good will, but obviously hired agents provocateurs make it quite hard to remain Christian about it all.



You mean to say that "Sarkman" is your real name, or are you just hiding as well?


Maybe he should call himself "Sarkmouse"


Larky? Get real. Sweeney and co will have had over 30 hours of footage to edit down to show them in 30 mins of the best possible light. Delaney has been "wired for sound" ever since he taped Alan Blythe abusing him in hugo's bar 3 years ago. He has held this back hoping that the gold digger and would be post master Blythe will take him on.

Sweeney has been shot to pieces. Time to understand that it is not the Barclay's wealth that is driving change. It is a refusal to return to serfdom that is making the man and woman on Sark question the status quo.

Synott. Wrong time. Wrong place.


"Sweeney has been shot to pieces" ? Have you been on the Christmas Cheer a few days early?

Can't you see that all the SEM offers is an alternative serfdom with the Barclay cash in charge.

The Bs might as well rename Fortress Brecqhou "Nottingham Castle" and hire Keith Allen to snarl and strut about it.

Nick Le P

As the son of a Sarkee, whose family used to work for La Dame, and having much affection for the island the issue I have is this -

the Barclay brothers we well aware of how Sark was (Feudal) and that Brecqhou was a part of it, if they didn't like that they should have left well alone and bought an island somewhere else.

Instead they have sought to challenge long held and established traditions and done so by using the power of cash to invest in the island. I am sure that was welcome but it now amounts to "we've invested so you should change". The SNL amounts to not much more than a weekly poison pen letter and to think it is not supported by the brothers is naive.

It is also naive to think that Chief Pleas is any more corrupt than any other Government. You only need to look at the abuse of expenses, cash for questions etc etc here in the democratic UK to see that.


You are too kind, Nick! Who said the UK was democratic? The entire government is being wagged by its Libdem tail, who are lower in the polls than UKIP.

While we are speaking of corruption, let's ask Andrew Mitchell if he shares Kevin's blind faith in the "official police".

Overall, I am bemused why a corrupt minority UK administration and its politicised "enforcers" should be so presumptuous as to tell Sark how to conduct its affairs?



Many years ago I was told some statistics and although I no longer have the exact figures, they covered the percentage of some form of crime and corruption in every 100 members of society. One or two people in every hundred will be corrupt in one way or another, One or two will be dishonest, no matter what their occupation. It is up to the honest one's to root out corruption and dishonesty.

Now my guess is that those figures have increased over the years, so in a force the size of the metropolitan police, there will always be corruption and dishonesty, but 98% will be honest, so we must not let things get out of proportion just because media make big play on the dishonest or corrupt ones.

Sark's Chief Pleas has been voted in democratically, everybody knows those on the committee, the chance of corruption, looking at the above figures, is very small and would not be tolerated for very long.

The SNL is a rag and should just be dismissed out of hand. It's fighting a losing battle so just ignore it. Difficult I know when you are the subject of its venom, but it's not worth the paper it's written on.



If you are victim of the 2% of bent coppers, then you will take little comfort from stats.

I am not alluding to corruption on Sark, where as you rightly say, the chance of anyone "getting away" with anything always was slim; but with all the paraphernalia of modern technology and Sam the Spy lurking in the bushes, it is now nigh-on impossible!

It's the Motherland that bothers me. Whitehall (apparently now patrolled by 2% liars with guns) is being presumptuous on the matter of telling Sark how it should operate and merely wants Sark to go away and stop being a nuisance. If the government wanted to get stuck in and resolve the key issue facing Sark, it should not have put a career waffler like Lord McNally in charge.

Here he is - talking inter-alia of the PCC of all things!

And here is on the matter of "unlocking disputes"

You could not make it up, could you?

We must not so lightly dismiss the SNL. I know for sure that its intemperate ranting has driven people and would-be investors from coming to the island.

Sticks and stones maybe, but a weekly vat of boiling bile and venom amounts to more than a few sticks and stones. What assurance is there for an incoming businessperson that their lives will not be investigated if their business does not happen to suit the new feudalism of the SEM? Some of the personal comments made about Paul Arditti in past issues (SNL #18 in particular) appear carefully designed to do more than merely "inform".

We must make no excuses for not taking the matter straight to the Barclays and forcing them to face their responsibilities at last.

glass houses

Razzer wrote "Some of the personal comments made about Paul Arditti in past issues (SNL #18 in particular) appear carefully designed to do more than merely “inform”."

Two words, Razzer. SMOKE, FIRE.


@glass houses

Sigh. The endless innuendo and pursuit of personal vendettas that seeps from behind the protection of the cash-mountain is keeping businesses and employment away from Sark.

It's also going according to plan poisoning some of the more feeble minds in the community. But not enough to make a democratic difference.

The economic plight of Sark seems to be inexorably entangled with the impression of life on Sark that the Island Pariah (NOT Parish!) and the SNL conveys to the outside world.

Nick Le P

Razzer not sure if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me?


Agreeing and amplifying

David Barry

"Would this be permissible in the UK?"

Yes it would, at least in England. (I know this because I am a school governor). Schools are empowered by law to offer community functions its called being an "extended school" This would include being able to run a licensed bar subject to the conditions that would be imposed by the licensing authorities.

Schools also frequently get special licences for particular occasions, and school PTA's frequently sell alcohol on social occasions.

My son's school in London serves wine to parents at various receptions..

And so forth.


Can no one from either side see how damaging this is? The Panorama programme uncovered some sordid practices, but was obviously personal. Private Eye continues to focus on Barclays damaging the island, but no comment on any benefit.

I meet people on both sides of the fence and have no idea who is less in the wrong. All I know is I would be reluctant to visit given the poor publicity.

Sit down and discuss before it's too late for all concerned!!!