What’s point of armed police when States just hands over millions?

Our Olympians did bloney well, but it’s not all been gold medals and big grins this month, says Neil Ross in his Letter from Emile. How can a well-regulated finance centre ‘lose’ £2.6m., for example? And are we ever likely to find it, given that we’re still looking for £20,000 that went missing years ago...

(Illustration by Peewee)
(Illustration by Peewee)

CHER Eugene, I told you we had three people taking part in the Olympics, eh, Eugene? I don’t know if you saw them, but they did really well, them.

That one who did the marathon, he was the first British one to finish, so that was one in the eye for the selectors who didn’t want to pick him, eh?

And that one from Sark, he even won a gold medal, him. He doesn’t live there now, but he was giving all these interviews on the television about how he grew up there and how he first learned to ride on a donkey, eh?

I suppose some of the viewers must have thought that was funny, but it would have sounded even stranger if he said he’d started off with sheep racing, eh?

And do you know, the Sarkees had loads of tourist enquiries, just because it was all over the television where he came from?

Caw, it makes you wonder what it would do for tourism if that Potato Peel Pie book got made into a big Hollywood film, eh? We could be overrun with tourists, us.

That’ll be the day, when developers start applying to convert flats back into hotels, eh, Eugene?

I haven’t seen many visitors here, mon viaer, not like there used to be. Bert, from L’Ancresse, he says there’s some from Denmark come specially to explore an old bunker on the common, it’s been closed for 50 years, and the entrance is only about three metres square. Caw, I didn’t realise that sort of thing attracted tourists. Perhaps I haven’t seen many because they’re all underground, eh? Maybe they could try a different film and call it the Burrowers, eh?

There’s a few people saying the States should help to get the Potato Pie film made here because it could be worth millions, but this new States, they keep saying they haven’t got any money, them.

Mind you, I’m not surprised, Eugene – after all, they’ve already managed to lose £2.6m. in just one day.

They were supposed to make a payment to that airport contractor and just before it was due they had a letter saying the firm had a new bank account. So they sent it there instead, but then found the letter hadn’t come from the firm at all.

So the States paid £2.6m. into someone’s bank account and they don’t even know who, eh? That new minister, he said the new States is all transparent so he’d find out what happened and tell everyone.

But it was just like the old States, mon viaer. I mean, it shouldn’t be difficult to find out who received the letter and who paid the money without checking it, eh?

But it took two weeks before the minister even told the States about it, then he said he’d set up an internal inquiry to find out what happened, and the accounts’ committee started an independent review, and the police said they’d investigate as well. Caw, how much will that cost, on top of the £2.6m., eh?

And would you believe, the Treasury even offered counselling to the civil servants in case they were upset? Hang, like Jack said, it’s taxpayers’ money so it’s the bloney public who are upset, eh?

He said a private firm would have found out what happened in one day and instead of giving people counselling they’d have given someone the boot, eh?

When you think, it doesn’t look good when the States keep telling the world how Guernsey is a well-regulated finance centre and there’s a financial services commission that costs millions of pounds a year, eh?

I mean, when Jack wanted to open an account for his granddaughter, he said he needed a passport and a utility bill and everything except his inside leg measurement.

So how can someone open an account and get £2.6m. paid in without anyone asking any questions, eh?

I suppose that’s why there’s a police investigation going on as well, but Jack hasn’t got a lot of faith in that either, mon viaer.

After all, they still haven’t had found that £20,000 that went missing from the Customs shed seven years ago.

I said the States should have reported seeing someone with a knife, then there would have been armed police and cordons set up everywhere before you could say, well, ‘knife’.

It happened like that a few weeks ago in Town, Eugene. The police were told someone had a knife so they turned up with their armed response vehicles and riot gear and even battered down the door of a flat and charged upstairs, just like they do on the films, eh?

But you’ll never guess, they had the wrong house, them.

I said to Jack, it was like something out of the movies, but instead of a crime thriller it was more like a Carry On film, eh?

He said old Sergeant Trotter would be turning in his grave.

And the thing is, there was an old lady inside the flat they attacked, so she was bloney scared when armed police smashed in her door, eh?

That got me thinking, when that police chief says he wants to keep the population safe, perhaps the best way to do that is not to give his policemen guns, eh?

Jack said he could send them to Alderney, because there’s a security firm that wants to turn Fort Albert into a training centre, with pretend streets and houses so they can train people to be armed bodyguards.

Then again, if the Guernsey Police went there and couldn’t even get the right door, anything could be a target. Even the puffins up there would be worried, eh?

Anyway, I’d better finish this now because I want to ask Mrs Tostevin, to the stores, about an Income Tax letter. They say I owe them some money, but it was only last year they gave me some back, so I don’t understand what’s going on.

Jack said I should tell the Income Tax I’ve already paid; I had a letter saying they’d changed their bank details and I sent it there, eh?

A la perchoine,

Your cousin Emile