Just who is a Sark resident?

RESOLVING land ownership issues, introducing fairer taxation and creating a uniform definition of a ‘resident’ have been prioritised in a report titled Securing Sark’s Future.

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RESOLVING land ownership issues, introducing fairer taxation and creating a uniform definition of a ‘resident’ have been prioritised in a report titled Securing Sark’s Future.

The cross-committee report, which will be presented to Chief Pleas in January, aims to provide a ‘stable platform’ for government to form medium- and long-term plans for the sustainable economic health of Sark.

‘This policy, Securing Sark’s Future, represents the wishes of conseillers to address issues of land ownership and use, the definition of a resident, fairer taxation, revenue generation, sustainable affordable energy, enhanced broadband and, just as important, if not more so for the future of Sark, the further protection of, and creation of opportunities for its children,’ the report said.

‘These issues contribute to developing a society, for both individuals and commerce, all of which equitably contribute to and benefit from the activities of the Sark community that Chief Pleas governs.’

The report said that defining what was meant by ‘resident’ was one of three main priorities highlighted by conseillers.

This was because a uniform definition would be useful when determining entitlement to certain benefits and services.

The other two priorities were devising a development plan, to designate land use, and encompassing a fairer system of taxation on both residents and properties.

Sustainable affordable energy and enhanced broadband were also highlighted as key enablers.

Comments for: "Just who is a Sark resident?"

bob

Looks like pick on barcleys time again may be they should ask them for help instead i mean look at sark shipping it was going to run to alderney still no boat on the horizon time they got help all of them

Proper Gander

Goodness, gracious me! Some people still don't get it. This is the cause of the problem, not the solution.

Never forget these guys have a 5-point plan; divide, bankrupt, rescue, conqueur, rule.

bob

5 point plan may be but sark is in a state at least the barcleys live in the castle they have not sold the family sliver like beamount

Jay1

Here we go again two out of three posts knocking the BBs. Waste of time. Get Sark shipping financed properly, and most importantly get residents work, not gardening. Real work on building sites and apprenticeships up and running for the kids leaving school so they learn skills like carpentry, skilled painting, electric et al. Take up any offers from anyone to build or renovate something on island. Plenty to do there.

As for the title of A Resident. Sounds to me like they want to get rid of some more of the population via more legal moves and just leave the oldies on island. Seasonal workers have always mixed in and married locals and as such it injects new blood into the island.

Why not encourage the BBs to do some more building work and renovation thus putting more money in the economy? At least they have work to do and money to pay for it. Where is the sense in knocking them? Maybe by the time their work is coming to an end SS may have joined the real world and made some money instead of pouring it into the sea. Look to Trident. They make money and run a brilliant service.

GB

@Jay1

What you say sounds pretty much like a policy of collaboration with an occupying force, not a recipe for defining and developing an independent democratic community.

Sark does not need another development bubble - pumping up (apparently) irrelevent assets that deliver no revenue to the island - albeit some transient employment.

Has anyone asked Trident to quote for managing SS? Everyone seems to have an opinion, but nothing seems to evolve.

soph

Good luck Sark

This will be a long hard and controversial route to take. But it will work eventually!

My personal 1st would be to break all ties with a certain tiny nearby island who owners think they are King of the Castle

Bee

May 2014 be the best year for Sark and its' current tussle with the 'Kings in Grass Castles' whose motto appears to be "Slash and Burn" all that was so good for Sark.

My very Best Wishes to you Sark, may you beat off these marauders.

Wez

Once again, it's all the BBs fault! They're the ones in the wrong! GET REAL: I will be the 1st to admit that the Barclays have not always gone about things the right way, and I am in no way "Pro-Barclay"(as some of the more vindictive and spiteful Sark residents would label me), but at the same time, to heap the Island's problems and shortcomings at their door is a prime example of the "convenient scapegoating" style of blame on this island. When will Sark take responsibility for the previous and ongoing mistakes of its government? Sark is at a crossroads; it can either move forward, join the 21st century and thrive, acknowledging problems and tackling them appropriately, or it can continue as it's doing now; burying its head in the sand, ignoring the youngsters, under taxing the super wealthy, and basically acting like a cat at the vets, doing anything it can to be dragged from its box(the 1950's) into the surgery(2014). Now, I know there'll be the usual "if you don't like it go home" retort from the less imaginative islanders, but there is a nepotism and quid pro quo on this island that is poisoning it from within. I love Sark, I have a child in the(terrific) school, I was married there and have been visiting for 30 years(I have lived there permanently for 7) and it sickens me that while a very real crisis is facing Sark, our Chief Pleas(I do not wish to tar all Conseillers with the same brush, some are truly excellent, approachable politicians) are playing post-offices and are in great danger of seeing our island fall into chaos.

Watcher

Wez

Well said,it is good to hear the views of the real Sarkees, the people who live and work, or try to work, on the Island instead of the relentless drip of anti Barclay Brothers vitriol from the ruling proletariat and its aging supporters. Sark is at a crossroads and the suggestion on another thread that Lord Faulkes will be able to sort out the problems misses the fact that Sark is probably rather low on his agenda. Do Chief Pleas seriously believe that the infighting amongst 600 or so people living on a rock in the English Channel, some of them tax dodgers from the UK, will figure highly in his "things to do" list ? All he needs to do is ensure that what Sark does or does not do is in accordance with the democratic rules and principles of good governance that everyone else in the civilized world abides by and that Sark does not in any way draw adverse media attention on the Crown Dependencies for which he has accepted responsibility. Intervening in the Sark/BB saga ? I don't think so.

I really hope the hatchet is buried in 2014 and that the Sark people can look ahead to a period of stability with real work opportunities for those who want them, but I am not holding my breath....

waspy

@Wez: I accept that your comments are obviously written from the heart - but the key issue remains that there is no realistic prospect of any external investment in Sark until the question of the SNL is resolved. And then we need to resolve the matter of SEM overwhelming Sark's economy - and playing with it much as a cat (to borrow your allusion) - plays with and torments a mouse.

The sniping comments made against extant businesses on Sark - never mind the relentless full-on character assassination - is clearly designed to send warning signals to anyone thinking of coming to Sark.

This really is the current reality, and some of us "get it". You should not offer any succour to those who use the tactics of Josef Goebbles to grind down the will to resist.

@Watcher: I fear you may exaggerate when you say: "everyone else in the civilized world abides" - perspectives on precisely what amounts to "democracy" vary considerably.

Sark has more consensus-based government than just about anywhere - not least because everyone knows everyone else. Of course those who cannot get their own way will cry "foul" and deploy all the arguments and personal innuendo that they think will advance their point of view. That's life in a democracy or a dictatorship.

Whatnot

Well Wez that's very interesting coming from somebody who just recorded an album funded by the good people of Sark and to who you promised to fly the flag for Sark. Well just what flag are you flying here? It is obvious to most people that the Barclay Brothers have been bad for Sark in their attempt to take over and change a community that has survived on its own merits to the envy of many without a social security for almost 500 years. But you seem to think that it's corrupt and or living in the past. You say Sark should "move into the 21st century and thrive" what do you mean by that and if you feel so strongly about things why did you not STAND at the recent elections? It's so easy to stand on the sidelines and complain. What positive initiatives have you got to offer? Let's not forget that Chief Pleas is run by people who have been voted to their position in a democratic election and they all work for NO money in fact I am sure they themselves are out of pocket. So I really find your opinion upsetting and untruthful to say the least!

Wez

Well, Whatnot, I LOVE Sark. Hence why I am so passionate. No, I might not come from a family line stretching back 400 years, I might not be named Guille, Hamon, Baker or Perrée, I might be a gobby outsider, but I am entitled to my opinion. And I am entitled to make it here if I wish. The prerequisite for loving Sark(as far as I am concerned) is not to side with one faction or another, but to see the two sides from an unbiased perspective. This isn't a case of "flying flags", is it? I am firmly in the middle. You will all know, I worked for the Barclays, and they were very good to me when my wife was pregnant. I was also one of the guys who was made redundant(the soundtrack to which was the whooping and cheering of the anti-Barclay faction). I was then offered generous employment to tide me over and have found work "independently". So, I have been on both sides of the fence. Suggestions for chief pleas? Well, how about a look at proportional rent/earnings? How many houses are empty/unaffordable? How about a labour exchange? How about taxing millionaires more appropriately? How about lowering the fares for Sark Shipping? How about free community use of the hall? I would love to stand for Chief Pleas, I would love to have my say, but I can't. Why? Because even though I work full time, I can still only JUST afford to make ends meet, and I live a very frugal lifestyle. My rent is well over HALF my earnings, so to take time off for meetings/sittings would be economic suicide for my family.

Also, your tone concerns me; "The good people of Sark", when did I say different? Some people on Sark are so warm, generous, good people. Some people would give you their last penny, the food from their table; and those are the folks I love. There are also some people on Sark who are pure poison. Did you know, then when my daughter was 6 months old, we all moved into a property and straight away there was a complaint, because we were "druggies"? I am extremely grateful to those on Sark who have supported my band's efforts, but that doesn't mean any opinions I have of the place should be silent, should it? Come and talk to me face to face, I'm sure you would realise that my intentions for Sark are entirely honourable.

Alan J

Wez - thanks for your contribution. But you need to keep in mind that Sark's community exists to be different. It what Sark is and has been for 450 years.

Lowering IOSS fares and taxing the wealthy is a tiny fraction of a strategic plan - where is the rest of it? And who will fund it, with 30% of the island's soul already in the hands of those who love Sark so much they happily spread an image of Nazi Germany whilst gleefully persecuting named individuals who disagree with their propaganda.

The "improvements" you seek may be available in many countries around Europe. And if I went to Monaco, I'd like a decent job, cheap apartment plus a Ferrari and boat.

Now I don't want to be Mr Beastly and suggest that lonely boat in the morning, but no one is forcing you to suffer deprivation on Sark against your will, are they?

Wez

Well, Alan, no one forces me to live on Sark. At the same time, are you saying that I should just keep my head down and suck up any opinions I have? "If you don't like it, leave" doesn't really cut it these days, mate.

Alan J

Not at all, it's still a free country unless you want an unadulterated right of reply in the SNL.

If you don't like "it" then by all means say what you don't like, but please keep in mind that the elected government of Sark is the elected government. It's not supposed to be an agony aunt that listens to the gripes disaffected and responds with tea and platitudes.

We all need to be careful that we do not give the SNL any scope to take our words and twist them into their own propaganda - or nothing will change.

And yes, being a free country, you are indeed free to leave; but because you do not, it means that Sark obviously means more to you than a this momentary transient difficulty. Persistence and bloody mindedness is the basis of any true Islander's outlook.

Phil

"Chief Pleas is run by people who have been voted to their position in a democratic election". Really? Who voted in Beaumont and Guille?

Mark

The Supreme Court has already ruled on the role of the fief holder the Seigneur, and Sark's 2008 reform act. Did you trouble to read it Phil?.

Did you both read the 2012 independant observer report into election?

Did you bother to read the CP agenda and supporting papers?

Yes I am anti Barclay Brothers and their multifaceted attrition against Sark to gain control following their failure to get Brecqhou declared independant of Sark. I despise them for the damage they have done both to the island but more importantly Sark residents, particularly the ones used as pawns in the battle.

No I do not have rose coloured spectacles on when looking at Sark either prior or after 1993, like any tiny rural community it was and is not perfect - but and it is a very big but, no-one has the right to use their wealth to try and batter a rural community into compliance by undermining every pillar of that community let alone divide residents using vicious propaganda

Phil

No I haven't read the reports to which you refer, as I don't care enough about the issue.

The simple fact is that your earlier post was wrong, just admit your mistake rather than waffle on about this, that and the other.

Sark Watch

Who voted for Kevin Delaney? Belinda Crowe, Colin "one we did earlier" Kniveton... Cath Jones?

Not forgetting Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

Larky

An excellent perspective on the complexity of the situation facing a democratic Sark.

The main thing about the current European/US interpretation of "democracy" is that it too easily enables money to buy and then rule and distort government.

In the old feudal system, the money that bought the fief was at least transparent and pretence-free. Nevertheless, it could only ever be a form of consensus rule, or the Seigneur ran the real risk of coming to a sticky end at the end of a pitch fork.

CaptainCrotch

Chief Pleas, the islands democratically elected government recently voted Reg Guille back as President.

Michael Beaumont, of course, was not elected into the role of Seignuer (spelling?) as it's a hereditary position. However, given the limits of his constitutional power, and the ease with which they'd be challenged and dismantled if he actually tried to use them now, I don't really see what the problem there is.

Given the array of unelected people who wield significantly more power in this dispute than Michael (i.e the Bailiff on Guernsey, who retained his dual, and unelected, role, unlike Reg on Sark, or whichever house of Lords member is now watching over us, or, of course, the royal family, to whom Mr Beaumont ultimately answers), I see him as rather unimportant to the discussion.

Tim

Now we have lost the banking maybe we could set up a farming commune with them ?

Bee

@ Phil

If you 'don't care about the issue' why make comments on the site.

You and I know that it is not necessary for Seignewur Beaumont to be voted on, as he is still Fief and can also choose his right hand man being Reg Guille as per the Feudal laws set out how long ago??? and that being that it was the Feudal System of Government that attracted visitors to Sarks' shores plus the natural beauty of the Island.

So now currently what is there to offer visitors, non-productive vineyards, un-used mausoleums of hotels, and what a wonderful Holiday Read the SNL, so full of Sarks' beauty and happenings which will hold the visitors absolutely fascinated??? I don't think.

Phil

Bee

Did you conveniently not see the word "enough" in my earlier post?

Thanks for confirming the fact that Beaumont and Guille are not democratically elected, thereby reinforcing my point about the original post being incorrect.

The Feudal System of Government may have attracted some visitors, it may also have put others off, it doesn't really matter as that has nothing to do with the fact that it is totally unsuitable by modern standards.

Alan J

Phil

What do you mean by "modern standards"? Vast gravy train politics laden with crony politicians who have never done a real job of work other than dwell in the bubble of politics and media controlled by newspaper proprietors?

Sark's so-called "feudal" system guaranteed "real" people who were engaged in all aspects of Island life were involved in just about aspect of Island life. The term feudal is intentionally emotive but very misleading - it was about consensus and leadership.

Of course it didn't suit some people - no system of "control" ever does because there are always those who don't like being lead and not getting their own way - but quite obviously it worked better than the impasse that we presently face - until the money rolled up and the price of the Island's soul was established.

Phil

Alan J

So can I just get this straight?

The "old" Sark system, whereby the island was run by landowners who had a seat in chief pleas by virtue of their property ownership rather than being elected, suited the majority of islanders better than the present system of government?

Of course it was those very same landowners who established the price of the island's soul when they took the money from the Barclays, which is kind of ironic don't you think?

If you want your way of life to go back several centuries just keep on going as you are, the Barclays could close the island down tomorrow if they wanted to, be careful what you wish for.

Sark Watch

I hope Lord Faulks is reading this:

"the Barclays could close the island down tomorrow if they wanted to"

How, precisely? Sinking the Brecqhou Warrior in the harbour entrance? Planting life sized cardboard cut-outs of Kevin Delaney around the Island and along the jetty at St Peter Port?

The fact that the landowners took the Barclay money and left (for the most part) is of course unfortunate. Many saw the writing on the wall and simply could not ignore the market-distorting prices being paid. Maybe the MoJ should have stepped in and called a moratorium on all land sales while the question of the "corporate island" was fully addressed.

But we are where we are, and Sark is more democratic than any nation on the planet with the daft number of directly elected representatives for such a modest population.

In fact, for a community of 550, there is still remarkably little distortion by those "leaders" who are frequently tagged as feudal fundamentalists. Just see how the politics of certain areas of the UK are distorted by bent elections and bought politicians.

Phil

Sark Watch

What do you think would happen if the Barclays closed down every single one of their businesses, and simply wrote off the investment as one gone wrong.

Who would employ the resulting unemployed? Where would tourists stay? How would IOSS cope with the drastic reduction in income? How would the remaining non-Barclay businesses survive with far fewer residents and tourists to serve?

I'm intrigued to hear your answer to these questions, if it has any validity you may wish to copy it to chief pleas who clearly have no answers of their own.

Larky

Phil - "if the Barclays closed down every single one of their businesses, and simply wrote off the investment as one gone wrong."

..and your other questions mean the issue would at last force the MoJ to step in. Now we have what looks like the right man for the job almost in place, bring it on, I say. It would lead to the much needed re-definition and assertion of Sark's proper independent role in the world, and not as the megalomaniacs plaything you starkly describe.

Without the Bs' menacing presence, Sark will have no problem finding proper supporters and investors who want to work with us, not against us.

Maybe even Prince Charles and his mum would be encouraged to subscribe to the development fund for a properly Barclay-free Sark? They might even buy some of the properties - Sark could provide much more discreet and defensible hideaways than some that they have been "papped" at..

Bee

Well said Alan J. I totally agree on all points.

As for 'Phil' perhaps you should take your 'concerns' about un-elected individuals to Edward Faulks who is now the Crown Dependancy 'minder'. Of course he is an un-elected member of the House of Lords, but I'm sure he will have an answer to your 'concerns' Phil.

Phil

Larky

Are you suggesting that if the Barclays did indeed choose to close their businesses down that the MoJ (or anyone else for that matter) would attempt to step in and force them to keep them open, or try and compulsory purchase them (with money from where?)

Sark and Sarkees need to face reality, the Lark is (virtually) over, thereby removing a much needed source of external revenue, if the Barclays decide to close tourism down then where are you left? In the mire up to your necks, that's where, good luck if you go down that road, you'll certainly need it.

Larky

There is never anything but more trouble waiting when giving way to bullies or blackmailers or terrorists.

Sark is not quite as impoverished as you imagine, and can readily survive the departure of the Barclay Occupation.

There are alternative industries that smart people can legally operate on the internet these days - much to the chagrin of KD who is doing his best to drive one off Sark, in case others realise that tourism is not the only game on the island.

Tourism is somewhat over-rated anyway - look what has happened to the tourist industry in other CIs. There is not a lot of enthusiasm for the SiH style of "boutique" establishment as long as private chopper access is not possible. The whole operation is going be forced to rethink anyway.

Although maybe when SEM has rolled up its carpet and gone, CP will decide to license a private helicopter service that delivers guests to the beach at La Coupee, where a new funicular service will whisk them aloft to a fleet of waiting electric taxis.

Such are the unpredictable opportunities of the fickle democratic process.

CaptainCrotch

How nice to see that Wez is being misinterpreted and attacked for a completely reasonable point of view!

It is not (and should not be) a point of contention that, if you took Dave and Freddy B out of the equation entirely, Sark would still have a boat-load of problems to contend with. Many of these problems would be nobody's fault, but are simply the struggles that accompany small isolated communities wrestling with new systems of government and a changing wider world.

First of all: I am not a Barclay sympathiser. I consider myself middle of the road; but if pushed, I would confess to falling firmly on the anti-Barclay side.

My problems with the BB's are simple, and easy to articulate:

1 -- A lack of transparency. They are the islands largest investors and the biggest players in the game (financially) by a very wide margin. Yet, despite their considerable power, communications from the BB to the Sarkees is often garbled, misleading, and offensive. Unless, of course, you're one of Sark's many child-abusing, money-laundering, violent feudal supporters who are secretly running the island as part of a neo-Nazi conspiracy reminiscent of the occupation during WW2. If that's you, then the SNL probably makes a lot of sense in your household. IMHO, the whole thing is compounded by the fact that the BB's refuse to have any contact with Sark whatsoever and simply run it through Kevin Delaney.

2 -- The BB's have a (perhaps understandable) tendency to run Sark like a plutocracy. Their stupendous wealth means they can say what they want. Other examples of plutocratic power exercises are the dismissal of workers on a whim and the BB's ability to buy full page 'advertorials' in the GP, produce 'manifesto's for Sark' and deliver the SNL (unasked for) to every house on the island.

In my opinion, the answer is simple in theory, difficult in practise: legislate against plutocratic excesses. Limit the holdings a single person (under however many corporate entities) can own, levy a system of taxation that is gentle on those who have little and aggressive on those who have a lot, and create laws regarding rights to dismissal, minimum wages, and all the rest. I think once no 2 is dealt with, no 1 (the problem of communication) will solve itself. The newsletter behaves the way it does because it is able to get away with it.

But, even if Sark got around the problems created / revealed by the BB's, there are further, non-Barclay, problems assailing it, as Wez so unfavourably pointed out.

1 -- Sark's tourist industry has declined dramatically.

I don't believe Sark's tourist industry can be revived suitably to support it's economy. Certainly, it can be improved by lower fares / special deals from Guernsey and a wider range of accommodation options (not everyone wants to stay in modern, done up, hotels! Or shell out for Stocks. Places like the 'old' Dixcart and Moinerie filled a niche goddamit!) Decent advertising would help too.

But the situation today is so different from when Sark's tourist industry was at it's peak -- people have less disposable income, and fares to more 'exotic' places from mainland UK have dropped, while getting to Sark has become more expensive. Even if tourism could be revived, it wouldn't be a safe bet for the long term, and as Sark's population grows, we badly need another industry to function alongside it.

2 -- Sark has no welfare state. Now, a lot of people will rally against the idea that Sark needs a welfare state by pointing out that elderly and ill people were traditionally looked after by friends and family on the island, and that work was always available for locals in the winter if they looked for it. Plainly, those two things were true once, but they are not true today. We need medical insurance and a dole and all the other things that make sure the least fortunate among us don't get left by the side of the road. Honestly, an income tax that was gentle on the poor and aggressive on the rich would be the fairest way to do it. Yes, I know it creates red tape and is an unpleasant move forward in Sark's way of life, with forms and bureaucracy etc, and I loathe it as much as anyone, but I think the benefits demonstrably outweigh the hindrances.

The last thing I want is to see tarmac on Sark's roads and Guernsey police marching on it, but unless we pro-actively own the changes that need to be made to Sark, we open the door for those things to occupy our island.

And just as a leaving note, the Recks are a fantastic band, and just because Sarkees paid for the production of their album does NOT mean they should be expected to kow-tow to other's political opinions! Good god, when we give them money, it's in exchange for their MUSIC not their FREEDOM OF OPINION!

Larky

@ Captain Crotch – as usual with Sark, there is more underlying consensus than argument since in a community of 500 or so, the real issues are always going to be "conspicuous" and not easily denied - unless you are the SNL!

I don't think Wez is being "attacked" as much as "responded to" - his points are honestly made and mostly valid; however, his belief in the benefit of collaboration may not be justified or accurate - in the experience of others.

Any concessions to the SEM and SNL always send the wrong messages and provide encouragement for their style of steamrollering presumption and propaganda. Anything printed in the GP that is not downright condemnation is taken out and spun of context, all negative responses are ignored, and presented in the next SNL as evidence that all 550 oppressed residents are right behind them. Which they are not. This is clearly no such thing as "peace in our time" where the SNL is concerned.

As you almost say, the irony is that everything SEM promotes amounts to overbearing financial feudal dependence and a "new" serfdom. Plutocracy is too generous a description. Anyone with any experience of Sark will realise that it has been and will always have to be a “consensus community” where everyone's point of view has to be heard, and the majority will prevail; it is not going to wear a “New Serfdom” imposition on any terms.

However, if the answer is “more taxes, more law”, then it is the same slippery slope that has dumped most of bankrupt Europe into the arms of an unlimited and unfettered bureaucracy.