‘Revive and Thrive’ plan backed by the majority
STATES members backed plans for the Bailiwick to ‘Revive and Thrive’ when they accepted a report looking to the future in the wake of Covid-19 yesterday.
At the core of the plan are three elements: a sustainable economy plan, a health and care plan and a community plan.
It was presented as a ‘green paper’ – for discussion, but not for amendment. This led to a debate that ranged far and wide in terms of subject matter, and while some members welcomed the report and made suggestions as to the areas where money could be invested, others were critical of its lack of detail.
‘Fluffy and nebulous’ was how Deputy Peter Roffey described it, and said he would rather deal with firm proposals as opposed to philosophical concepts.
Touching on the visitor economy, he said that travel to the island might need to be subsidised next year.
Sport and the arts needed more investment, said Deputy Lester Queripel.
But what the community really needed was action: ‘Let’s not spend too long talking about our recovery, let’s get on and do the doing bit,’ he said.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache thought that what was needed was a return to the old Guernsey, when people were entrepreneurial, ‘where regulation wasn’t the king, the Guernsey where procedure was unimportant but substance was’.
Indebting future generations was Deputy Jennifer Merrett’s concern with the report and the potential projects that it might lead to: ‘Do the benefits outweigh the risks?’ should be a key question, she said.
Alderney representative Alex Snowdon wanted to see different revenue streams explored, not just taxation, and he hoped that both islands could work strongly together and that in future Alderney would be seen as an opportunity, not a burden.
P&R member Jonathan Le Tocq urged the Assembly not to go back to its old ways and said that it should not be risk-averse in future: ‘We have to be prepared to make mistakes,’ he said.
Deputy Matt Fallaize poked fun at the name of the project: ‘Revive and Thrive sounds like the name of an ‘80s hip-hop band,’ he said, going on to say that there was a fine line between stability and not taking action and this Assembly had often crossed the line into inaction.
The green paper read more like a marketing document, said Deputy Carl Meerveld: ‘It totally lacks substance,’ he said, and was ‘filled with political rhetoric and platitudes’.
A plea for P&R to remember who the recovery was for came from Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez: ‘Let’s keep today’s young people at the heart of the action plans because it is their tomorrow, more than ours, that this recovery strategy will most directly shape,’ she said.
The report was approved by a large majority.