The grapes of wrath a sorry saga

IF WHOEVER carried out the senseless vandalism to vines owned by Sark Estate Management was intent on creating mischief and mayhem and adding to the deep divisions in this community, then they have succeeded.

Sark school pupils and the vehicles they made to transport an egg without breaking it. The winner was Yasmin Williams, far left, with her go-kart, which covered the course in exactly two seconds.
Sark school pupils and the vehicles they made to transport an egg without breaking it. The winner was Yasmin Williams, far left, with her go-kart, which covered the course in exactly two seconds.

IF WHOEVER carried out the senseless vandalism to vines owned by Sark Estate Management was intent on creating mischief and mayhem and adding to the deep divisions in this community, then they have succeeded.

Not surprisingly, Sark at present is awash with theories about this idiotic criminal behaviour, ranging from something akin to the burning of the Reichstag – to use the parallel with Nazi Germany in the 1930s which the Sark Newsletter is so fond of using when describing life here – to it being part of the protest residents staged against continued vineyard expansion.

I have no more idea about who or why than anyone else but I suspect the truth may lie somewhere in the middle, with the object being mischief and discord in a divided community. Accordingly, I doubt it is self-inflicted and doubt also that it was part of what, by all accounts – including that of Guernsey Police chief Patrick Rice – was a very peaceful protest near The Mill.

However, it was interesting to read about the adequacy of policing in Sark.

Perhaps someone could tell me how having Guernsey Police officers stationed here in Sark could have either prevented these criminal acts or made the task of catching the perpetrators any easier.

Vandals who damage or desecrate property in the middle of well-lit towns and cities – many also covered by CCTV surveillance – are notoriously difficult to detect and convict. Without putting too fine a point on it, that task is immeasurably more difficult in an environment with no street lights, in the middle of fields and without the luxury of CCTV, no matter how many police officers are available and who they are.

What does puzzle me, however, is why, when the vineyards have been established here in Sark for several years now without any reported vandalism on any significant scale, thousands of pounds’ worth of damage is done just hours before island residents stage a (first) peaceful protest against expansion. It is a question many people are asking.

What with all that, and the questions posed by the national media about a firm operating from Sark – quite legitimately, it appears – the island is again in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. One wonders how Lord McNally at the Ministry of Justice views all this.

Well, according to the word in The Avenue – I nearly said grapevine – the ministry was concerned about the company employing supply teachers operating from Sark but not, apparently, about the fears of island residents over vineyard expansion.

I wonder what the ministry’s reaction would be to a protest in Britain involving 10m. people – that figure simply being the pro rata equivalent of the Sark protest – and whether ministers like Lord McNally would view such an event with concern.

It’s just a thought.

*

Just before the half-term break I spent an enjoyable hour watching Sark School pupils demonstrating how to design vehicles capable of transporting an egg – sometimes at speed – without breaking it.

Held at the Island Hall, the event provided a goodly crowd of friends and families with lots of laughs, considerable admiration for innovation and ingenuity and much-deserved praise to everyone involved – pupils, teachers and in many cases families.

There had to be a winner and it was Yasmin Williams, aided, abetted and assisted by most of the Magell family, with an awesome-looking go-kart affair powered by some pretty powerful elastic.

*

Next week is busy for Sark. Chief Secretary Colin Kniveton is talking at a public meeting on Monday evening, just after the Theatre Group’s AGM, while Chief Pleas meet on Wednesday evening to discuss a report on the appointment of the (new) Seneschal.

There is also a public meeting on Thursday to discuss new road traffic legislation.

Preceding all this is Remembrance Sunday and the service at the war memorial, while Sark children will have planted crosses at the memorial this morning.

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

Comments for: "The grapes of wrath a sorry saga"

argus

Well done Phil; again.

Given that the Beith report pointed out that London already meddled with the CI way beyond its constitutional remit and authority, it seems that London remains dangerously conflicted and will continue to strong-arm and meddle.

The astonishing dichotomy with the CI outside the EU can never be reconciled by any number of impositions such as Crowe or Kniveton with a Westminster government that is controlled from the EU. Having removed all of the old "arrangements and understandings" how very dare Westminster try and pass on the diktats of Brussels!

The UK is presently fixated on charging its oppressed citizens more tax than they want to pay in order to try and fix the immediate economic disaster wrought by the previous Labour administration - and 70 years of steady general decline after the Empire fell apart thanks to the perfidious imposition of "terms" by the US to pay for the UK's war efforts.

Thanks to 450 years of common sense and prudent management, Sark has a budget surplus; it should not take any sort of instruction on any aspect of how it operates from the fabulously bankrupt EU and UK.

Dave Jones

That’s a great post Angus and one with which I wholly agree.

Jimmy Krankie

An interesting quote from the Times: "Whoever carried out the attack knew what they were doing and where to cut. The task of restringing miles of trellis wire will be a time-consuming one although, perhaps strangely, not a single plant was damaged."

IanD

I am reminded of...

http://youtu.be/zyeMFSzPgGc

Which would be understandable!

ChrisB

I haven't heard that since my early chilhood - brilliant - probably the same time as I first holidayed in Sark and fell in love with the place.

Good comment

Brian

I wondered what the damage inflicted was and at such an (in)convenient time. Now we know.

The plot thickens.

Ed

It's just like the Reichstag Fire of 1933- political intrigues and suspect individuals ...

DB

Not quite - that did a lot more damage, and provided no opportunities for underemployed SEM workers.

Also, we are still all jumping to the conclusions that suit our prejudiced viewpoints. A few facts would not go amiss - although if either faction did this and are specifically hushing up to imply a conspiracy of the other, we may never know.

A week in Sark politics, eh?

soph

The fact still remains that if SEM management was more sensitive to Sark feelings the attacks would probably never happened to him or the vineyards

Never the case SEM, you and your cohorts could actually walk down the hill to wait for the next boat (one way ticket)

Jimmy Krankie

In a letter to the GP from Dr Richard Axton on SEM's vines (12 Nov) the GP editor added a foot note:

"Sark Estate Management had no comment to make on Dr Axton’s letter. However, in its newsletter of 4 November, it made the following statement:..."

If SEM declined to make a comment, why does the GP feel it necessary to provide a comment for them on their behalf? Just how scary are the SEM's lawyers?