Seigneur plays down fears of intervention in Sark's affairs

SEIGNEUR Michael Beaumont has insisted that ‘change will happen’ in Sark despite its rejection of a full-time civil servant.

Lord McNally, the Minister of State for Justice, is visiting Sark next week but his visit was arranged before Chief Pleas rejected a proposal for a full-time civil servant. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1251328)
Lord McNally, the Minister of State for Justice, is visiting Sark next week but his visit was arranged before Chief Pleas rejected a proposal for a full-time civil servant. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1251328)

SEIGNEUR Michael Beaumont has insisted that ‘change will happen’ in Sark despite its rejection of a full-time civil servant.

Mr Beaumont also dismissed fears that outside intervention would immediately follow the vote by Chief Pleas against appointing an executive administrator.

The controversial decision on Wednesday came ahead of next week’s visit by Lord McNally, the UK’s Minister of State for Justice.

‘We know there are going to be changes, but we don’t know what they are,’ said Mr Beaumont.

The Seigneur said he did not think there would be any outside intervention to force change in Sark in the short-term or any pressure from Lord McNally during his visit.

Comments for: "Seigneur plays down fears of intervention in Sark's affairs"

Alan J

Do you know what?

I am more inclined to listen to Michael Beaumont than Kevin Delaney or even the GP.

Do you know why? I have had the "gross gullibility" centres of my brain removed.

I suggest all your readers consider the same procedure before it's too late - and their minds are filled up with endless anti-Sark BS.

Probity

By all means, Alan J. 'preserve Feudalism', whilst the rest of the World, realises it has reached it's 'use by date' and adjusted and moved on.! perhaps you would rejoice if a magic wand could bring back The British Empire. ?

Jay1

Totally agree and with your title of Probity you should be on C.P's. Find another 14 like thinkers and you could make things work!

Probity.

Just for the record, J.1. I am in very robust health on Not on C.P.'s or for that matter any other medication.! As for 14 like minded people, it seems to me that they are likely to be very difficult to locate in a place like Sark.? The smaller Island immediately next door is a much better bet.!

Samuel

Correction. Sark is a democracy - power as demonstrated by the Supreme Court judgment lies with its elected government 1 per 17 residents. Check your facts.

Jim

Eh? Have you posted in the wrong place, you seem to need the treatment suggested by Alan. Failing that, have you ever heard "trepanning" ..? It might let some of it out.

Alan J

Probity - I am not sure what you are getting at here. My original post simply points out that in any propaganda war, truth is the first casualty. I didn't say I wanted to "preserve feudalism" (nor did MB - did you read the story?) - I just want to give truth some breathing space while the GP and SNL are forever trying to smother it.

So if you are now so conditioned that you think anyone willing to accept Michael Beaumont speaks the truth must be clinging on to feudalism, then you seem to have proved my original point.

The rest of world (esp Greece and Cyprus) is probably now wondering if the notion of "democracy" that the gullible have bought from the snake oil salesmen of Brussels should never have gone on sale in the first place. At least Sark isn't begging for a £23bn hand out.

Alan Jackson

Hi Alan J, I don't know who you are but would you mind using a little more of your name as some people seem to think you are me :) Many thanks Alan Jackson.

Alan Jo

@Alan Jackson

I confirm that I am not you!

I am amused that anyone might imagine that anyone active in Sark watching would be quite so obvious. (Those over active gullibility glands again?)

Tony Webber

I was at school with many friends of both sexes from both Sark and Alderney.

It was recognised back in 1948 that Alderney needed fundamental change, and that was recognised in the current relationship with Guernsey.

It seems to me that those who love Sark and want a future for it, do not want the awful state of affairs there to continue.

There are two schools of thought and some would argue more, but Guernsey cannot stand by any longer and just watch Sark potentially go downhill.

It has been argued that Guernsey in some areas is subsidising Sark, and there has never been full transparency on the figues.

We in Guernsey know that Sark residents do not enjoy the same benefits of being fully in the Bailiwick, which Alderney residents have.

It is time that Sark residents had equality of treatment with their fellow citizens in Alderney and Guernsey ( I should also add this includes Herm and Jethou also ).

The administration of Sark needs to be modernised and Guernsey can assist with this, as we do in Alderney.

It is time for Sark to change, but this change of treatment for its residents does not need to mean change of valued customs and change of the value of the community which is there.

Alderney has addapted and kept its own uniqueness. So can, and must Sark.

If only .

@Tony Webber..

If only it were true that Sark was getting some financial assistance from Guernsey... Please enlighten us as to what form this assistance is (even if it is a rumour) as Guernsey bills Sark for everything that it does,, I would honestly like to know what it is that you have heard we get help with, as it would be a intresting to know ,,as I cant think of a single thing, and rumours like that can be very damaging for both sides.

DB

Guernsey shelters a "certain law firm" that has been instrumental in the torture of Sark for many years.

SO here's a plan - Guernsey can have Brecqhou and from a fraction of the taxes that they then rake off the Bs, they can "be nice" to Sark. Deal?

If we need a refresher - watch this BBC show again:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01px74c/Panorama_The_Tax_Haven_Twins/

Tony Webber

If only,

you have made a fair point, and what I am trying to argue for is the release of the figures into the public domain.

I personally believe that some parts of our little group of Islands are more productive than others in terms of contributing to the Guernsey exchequer. I am sure that St.Peter Port, for instance, effectively subsidises the other Parishes, in the same way that the City of London proportionately contributes the lion's share of the Uk's income. Parishes like Torteval are probably in real terms contributing very little.

I have no objection to this, the same as I have no objection to Guernsey potentially on balance supporting Alderney and/or Sark. This is how all jurisdictions operate in respect of their various components.

On one aspect of costs, it was recently stated in the media that an agreement had been made for Sark to make a contribution to the costs of the Guernsey Crown Officers and for legal costs generally. It seems to me that these costs could well be quite high and therefore the balance sheet should be disclosed.

Clearly much of this has been to do with the dispute with the Barclay brothers and if Guernsey is seen in some way of seemingly supporting one side in this dispute I think there needs to be some debate on this.

I may be wrong, but I believe Guernsey's Defence contribution of the maintanance of the Alderney breakwater is also on behalf of Sark.

Those of us who love Sark, but who view it from a distance, can sometimes see aspects of the arguments for both sides, and I feel that Guernsey should step in and act as mediator.

I had great sympathy with the comments of Charles Maitland who has seen that Sark does need to find a way of moving forward and that some change has to come about.

In respect of DB's comments about Brecqhou, again not unreasonable, but do those outside and indeed inside Sark want a divided society there to continue forever?

The Barclay brothers have been in their own way very supportive of initiatives in Sark and apparently keep offering to do more.

They also have an excellent record of giving to charitable causes in Guernsey and in allowing use of their helicopter.

The other side of the coin is that there are tax advantages to having a base in Brecqhou but it does also raise the question that there are plenty of people in Sark not paying any income tax to any jurisdiction.

I think it would be excellent PR if the Barclay brothers made a voluntary payment to Guernsey Income Tax, or did something with a real Corporate Social Responsibility benefit such as paying for the re-instatement of the Reciprocal Health Agreement with the UK, and include Sark residents in the deal.

It is not a new concept for wealthy individuals and companies to make community supportive generous contributions.

I think Guernsey should set up a negotiating body of politicians to discuss Sark's future with their politicians and other interested parties. It is the height of irresponsibility for Guernsey's Policy Council to sit back and do nothing.

Razzer

@Tony Webber

You seem like a level headed sort. And then you spoil it:

"there are plenty of people in Sark not paying any income tax to any jurisdiction"

Sark is its own jurisdiction, and residents pay taxes - but maybe "not as you know them Jim". Sark is a lot more sensible and stable than you have been lead to believe by the distorted reports of recent GP commentaries.

If you want the genuinely free press about Sark, then pay Ebeneezer a visit.

JS

Tony: The divisions you and the rest of the world perceive on Sark arise 95% from the war of words being held by the SNL. Looking at that BBC Panorama show again reminded me the real story.

There is nothing the Barclays can do that would be believed by anyone on Sark who will remember the various issues that have blown up.

Do you REALLY think there is ever going to be a resolution of this issue? HMG should buy back the Barclay investments and ask Guernsey to administer them in trust until they can be resold to appropriate investors within a simple framework of common-sense law - and a the proposed new Sark development control law.

Or if HMG doesn't have the heart, then Sark might launch a global appeal. It would be such a story on the world's media that it would almost certainly raise £50m for its ultimate time-share proposition.

The only realistic way forward for Sark is without the SEM. SEM simply cannot be expected to act equitably, there is no evidence in the history of it with their dealings to date.

JS

Did I really "doesn't have the /heart/" ..?

I think you may have felt obliged to raise the tone of the original comment - and thereby also the location of the body parts.

But "chutzpah" might have been a better choice.

Paul

I would suggest that you check Sarks accounts available on Chief Pleas Site under the Agenda for the last meeting. Sark is an independant island, has its own tax system and pays its way for any services outside the island. Whilst it has signed up to some Guernsey regulations - it can not be forced to.

Guernsey has no power to intervene, nor to seek financial benefit from any tenent on Sark including Brecqhou. Nor indeed has the Crown unless there is a gross failure of governance - which as evidenced, there has not been. I respectfully suggest that you check out the facts before floating unrealistic bubbles.

If Only

Re. Tony Webber

Sark does not get free services from the Law Offices,or any special treatment, just a bill, and we receive NO money from Guernsey at all, we do however pay taxes here, that again is another myth.but I still wish to know where you have heard these rumours about Sark as I,ve never heard them before and I have many friends in Guernsey who also have never heard anything,so please do tell where these originate from. Because everyone is Guernsey knows is not true, it seems to be a strange statement.

Tony Webber

In response to the various very reasonable comments made, I appreciate being put right in certain areas, and if I am wrong in any respect I am happy to apologise.

I do not take any side in respect of the situation in Sark and a lot of Guernsey people like me do not have the full inside picture.

However, I do feel that the Sark politicians would be acting responsibly if they fully explored the possibility of Sark having a relationship with Guernsey similar to that enjoyed by Alderney.

Does it really need someone like Lord McNally to have to suggest that ( after all he could suggest something far worse ) or is it not better for Sark to act on its own initiative?

I appreciate the advice to look at Sark's official accounts, but would also like a full disclosure of ALL the figures from Guernsey and the Crown's perspective. The "rumours" are, I agree, not from official Sark sources, but they also include the fact that the implication in some Guernsey Press articles has been that there may be a financial inbalance.

If this was to be true in any way, as a former Deputy and Conseiller, I would not be concerned because most smaller outlying communities cannot survive without some assistance.

However, to be fair, I understand there is not full disclosure of the full Guernsey/Alderney balance sheet, so maybe we have to accept that Guernsey has wider responsibility, moral, cultural, community and some legal ( i.e. GFSC) for Sark.

I appreciate Sark people do have their own alternatives to income tax, but the question needs to be asked: "is there a better way."

Sark politicians are quite capable of examining the different options.

Surely they would like Sark people to be treated equally in all areas the same as their counterparts in Alderney, Herm, Jethou, and Guernsey?!

There is no point in denying that there are some problems.

I do feel that the Guernsey Policy Counci is largely at fault for standing by and doing nothing when the issues in Sark first commenced and since then when they worsened.

The whole scenario has not reflected well on Guernsey and I believe Guernsey has a responsibility for Sark's welfare as well as how Sark's situation reflects on Guernsey.

To put matters into perspective, we in the Channel Islands are very much seen in the outside world as such, rather than the different individual Islands. Guernsey and Jersey are endeavoring to work more closely together in recognition of this outside perception. Sark needs to find a way of protecting its uniqueness at the same time as much closer cohesion with Guernsey, and the Channel Islands generally.

Finally, visitors to Sark, often fit in a visit to Guernsey and vice versa. It is not just the visitor economy where we have areas of mutual interest.

Ian D

Tony - these are all worthy and measured thoughts, but you miss the point that Sark is an independent jurisdiction with no debt.

"most smaller outlying communities cannot survive without some assistance"

Sark is not "most". It is Sark.

It has remained this way for 450 years by accepting small island reality, namely that a small island with an intensely seasonal economy can only support a population of a certain size and profile.

It has been able to do this by adopting a presently unfashionable form of government - at least not fashionable in societies that have mortgaged their great grandchildrens' futures in the name of a strangely incorrect but thoroughly dogmatic view of "democracy". Oh yes, and these same preachy governments have also got involved in numerous wars over climate-changing oil and increased opportunities for US globalisation in the past 60 years.

Funnily enough, Sark does not want to be part of all this - or Guernsey - or anything else that runs at a loss when not robbing its citizens to pay for state profligacy.

It wants to be allowed to make its own arrangements (and mistakes) without external influences - well meaning or otherwise.

You can help us very simply by getting on the boat, coming over and eating and drinking yourselves into a state whereby all the above concerns of the world don't seem to matter nearly as much. Win win.

Jon

New economy idea!

Sark should offer a free carriage service from all hospitality services to the boat home for any party spending over £50 a head. Either that, or some sort of fancy "chute" ride down Harbour Hill.

Has anyone been to Funchal? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaSZrEg1xIQ

(Are pedal rickshaws permitted?)

Tony Webber

Ian D...I very much like your " win win idea!"

I also like Jon's suggestions, which also raise the issue of the cost of getting to and from Sark, so terribly expensive these days.