It's pouring... time to dip into the rainy-day pot

CHIEF Pleas last week gave themselves the go-ahead to kit out their Assembly Room in a manner befitting a legislature and court.

Carl Hester received a hero’s welcome from Sark’s children when he visited last year with fellow gold-medallist Charlotte Dujardin. He’s in the running for the Channel Islands Sports Personality of the Year award
Carl Hester received a hero’s welcome from Sark’s children when he visited last year with fellow gold-medallist Charlotte Dujardin. He’s in the running for the Channel Islands Sports Personality of the Year award

CHIEF Pleas last week gave themselves the go-ahead to kit out their Assembly Room in a manner befitting a legislature and court.

Several conseillers expressed concern about spending £17,000 on fitted seating and tables, along with a complete sound amplification and recording system, and there was even a 15-minute adjournment in the middle of the debate. However, approval was eventually given.

The original approval for the concept of refurbishing the room – housed in what used to be the senior (and before that the boys’) school – was given in 2004, so it’s not as if anyone has rushed into anything.

Some of the concern about spending the money centred on the number of people seeking employment and the fact that several members thought other work on the island’s infrastructure was at least as urgent. Refurbishing the public toilets at the harbour was one suggestion.

However, it was pointed out that making and fitting the seats and tables was to be done by two Sark craftsmen, Matthew Rang and Ben Perree as I understand it, and the installation of the recording and amplification system was also to be done by a Sark resident.

Interestingly, no one suggested that at a time when a number of local people were seeking employment it might be in the island’s overall interests for both projects to be done, along with many others that need completing.

After all, there is little point in having rainy day funds when those holding the purse strings refuse to spend a little when it’s chucking it down.

I know that a number of residents have tried to ease the distress of unemployment by bringing forward household projects in order to give work to those seeking it, without arguing the toss about rates of pay. If residents can do that then there’s no reason why Chief Pleas can’t either.

While on that point, I heard the other day – and have no reason to doubt the veracity of the source – that one of our elected representatives expressed the view that any Sarkee who had previously worked for the island’s largest employer should not be helped or employed by Chief Pleas.

That sort of talk has no place in a civilised society.

I hope in future that such views are left to those who do not have Sark’s best interests at heart and are not expressed by those whose duty it is to represent the whole population rather than sections of it.

*

I had an email the other day asking me to urge readers of this column to vote for Sark’s Carl Hester as Channel Islands Sports Personality of The Year.

I understand polling closes on 31 January and votes are recorded by dialling 0845 606 2402. The Sarkee who sent the email referred to Carl’s ‘phenomenal international achievements’ and went on: ‘For me though it is his generosity in promoting Sark to the wider world that is so greatly appreciated by someone like me whose small business is now seriously affected by the significant downturn in visitor numbers and the rotten weather.’

The writer went on to thank ‘this lovely gentleman’ and double gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin for giving up much of their ‘unwind in Sark’ weekend to meet so many island residents.

Knowing how much Carl does for Sark – where he lived from his toddler days until he started work – it’s a pleasure to publicise that particular email.

l The email address for comment is fallesark@sark.net

Comments for: "It's pouring... time to dip into the rainy-day pot"

soph

Nice newsletter, including

"While on that point, I heard the other day – and have no reason to doubt the veracity of the source – that one of our elected representatives expressed the view that any Sarkee who had previously worked for the island’s largest employer should not be helped or employed by Chief Pleas.

That sort of talk has no place in a civilised society."

We are all civilised, just some a lot less so

Oppressed

The person that said that should not be in chief pleas and if it was upto me they would be run out of the island. But that would be lowering myself to establishment level. SEM since they have been here have employed and continue to employ people for their skills not for their political beliefs.

DB

The 3rd Reich also employed a lot of people - to use the SNL's favourite analogy.

Some of those folks also paid us a visit - but they were gone in rather less time than the present invaders. Simply employing people in furtherance of a particular ideology does not provide all those involved with immunity from consequences.

If the argument is that some do not get the luxury of conscience or choice of whose orders to follow in the present economic climate, then we should consider how that climate arrived.

DB

"Sark's largest employer" is also the nurturer of a certain venomous and divisive viper in the bosom of Sark's civilised society.

Feel free to turn your various other cheeks by all means, but please don't get too sanctimonious if a victim of that viper's venom shows a less saintly reaction.

Whatnots

Yes indeed .Jobs were created by kevin delaney and crew that were never sustainable and these poor people who where seduced to come to live and work on Sark for SEM have now been dumped at Sark's door. Decent people being used. Sadly it's not Sark's problem it's SEM's problem they brought the workers here on a promise knowing well that they would use them for political gain.

Philip Falle

Please comment on what I write rather than what you think I write. There was no reference whatsoever to Sark having any responsibility for people brought in to be employed by SEM. My comment criticised the Conseiller for saying 'SARKEES' would not be helped. Quite how this can be defined as a platitude - as one person on another site has stated - is beyond me.

GB

Welcome to the fray!

Be grateful that Kevin hasn't involved you in his latest conspiracy theories - or are you indeed the shadowy Mr Big behind the Seignueurie take over, while David Synnott fronts the action?

Sark could do worse.

Jay1

Soph & Oppressed totally agree with you both.

As for Whatnots I presume that you were born on Sark and are happily employed or one of the 'gated community' welcomed by the Sarkese with no income problems.

A lot of people come to Sark to work in the hospitality industry and agriculture as well as the construction industry. We employed many over the years.Some went at the end of the season and others fall in love with Sark, fond a permanent year round job and sometimes even fall in love with another resident and then set up home on Sark. They have the right to expect that the government will do its level best to secure any kind of employer on island and back them to the hilt regardless of politics. That is why they are in parliament! Not to look to their own interests but to use any means available to ensure the population is gainfully employed if they need to be and housed in a proper manner with a mortage if needed. That is the job description of a politician to look after those who vote for them and secure by any means a better life for those who vote them in. Liking or disliking an employer is not part of their remit nor should it be.

GB

"They have the right to expect that the government will do its level best to secure any kind of employer on island and back them to the hilt regardless of politics."

Sadly, they have no such "right". The SNL propaganda machine is clearly in overdrive.

The elected government of Sark has a responsibility to provide and sustain Phil's "civilised community" that is consistent with the wishes of the majority of the people. Encouraging the notion that governments "drop everything" to pander to vociferous minorities who find themselves saddled with problems that are not of the government's making, is not always helpful.

Sark's "largest employer" is playing games with people lives on many levels - not least as a result of having created a boom bubble and raised expectations to levels that anyone who considered the broader issues, would realise would be unsustainable.

And now reality returns, the SNL sets about its familiar divisive purpose and encourages those suffering from the (inevitable) bust to blame everyone but the SEM for their plight.

If everyone wants a civilised island once again, then that starts with an end to the SNL so that people can risk "doing things" that are not immediately going to result in personal abuse and public vilification..?

The impression left by the SNL has driven business opportunities away from Sark for years now. Can't you see that?

Sark Watcher

I do admire Phil for his saintly tolerance - despite having had his own share of mauling from the SNL.

But Sark has been all about taking sides for some time now - and one of those sides has relentlessly insulted, insinuated, bullied, harassed and intimidated using every trick in the propaganda handbook.

The other side has barely responded to this outrageous taunting.

So whose supporters most deserve the protection of Phil's "civilised society" ..?