With the island’s General Election just weeks away, Elaine Gray yesterday praised election candidates for standing and offered a ‘constructive challenge’ to drive forward economic growth and wider benefits for all islanders. Key priorities for Chamber include infrastructure, changes to the population management regime, education, government and regulation, and sustainability.
But she also stressed the importance of not giving UK politicians ammunition to interfere in the Bailiwick’s affairs, highlighting how a group of MPs had tried to do just that in relation to a public register of beneficial ownership, despite warnings such attempts broke constitutional conventions.
‘Just over a year ago Andrew Mitchell and other UK Westminster MPs were invoking the UK’s rights to interfere in Guernsey’s affairs in the interests of good government,’ she said.
‘So I say, and it is a plea to future deputies, please in the way that you conduct yourself in the States do not gift the UK the opportunity to come and interfere in our affairs. It is a very important constitutional principle. But we need to do our part of the bargain.’
Election candidates were also praised for standing during Chamber’s regular business lunch held at the Old Government House Hotel. ‘We will give you the government, the deputies, the civil servants our full support and commitment to working for resolutions that work for Guernsey. You can expect us to lobby for changes where we think changes are necessary. We will try and secure the right outcomes for business.
‘Equally, just as much as we are held to account for the way that we run our businesses, just as much as we are expected to run our businesses in accordance with principles of good conduct, good citizenship and good governance we expect the same from you in the States. We expect that we will hold you to account if you fail to deliver or fail to conduct yourself in a manner equivalent to what you expect of us.’
Stressing the importance of ‘building forward’, the Chamber president said: ‘I want us to think about building a recovery that’s focused on a great transformation as we emerge from this exceptional crisis. That great transformation is what we at Chamber want to be driving with government and other stakeholders. As we decide what we are going to invest in, what matters to Guernsey plc, the good news is that there are opportunities for growth which are both good for growth but also good for bringing up the standard and quality of life in Guernsey.’