Three-quarters of candidates respond to ESG questionnaire

THE Electoral Support Group said it was pleased that three-quarters of candidates in next month’s election responded to its questionnaire asking for personal background information.

The Electoral Support Group, left to right, Sir Geoffrey Rowland, Jurat Alan Bisson, Diane Ward and John Langlois. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28717603)
The Electoral Support Group, left to right, Sir Geoffrey Rowland, Jurat Alan Bisson, Diane Ward and John Langlois. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28717603)

Its website at www.2020esg.gg containing the answers to its questions is due to go live today, with those who responded giving islanders information about their background and indicating the skills they believe they are able to offer the States.

But the 88 responses meant that 30 of the candidates did not provide answers, including all 11 of those standing under the umbrella of the Alliance Party.

‘Was that because they are so clear in their views that they don’t need to tell us about themselves?’ wondered ESG founder member Sir Geoffrey Rowland. ‘We really wanted to know about them.’

The deadline for responses was at midnight on Saturday: ‘Quite a lot came in at about 11.45pm,’ said ESG member Diane Ward.

‘And some of those had been sent five reminders.’

The website does not contain manifestos and the group has stressed that it is non-political: ‘The ambition of the ESG has been to enhance democracy in general and this election in particular,’ said Sir Geoffrey.

‘I believe that we have made a valuable contribution.

‘Our ambition has been to secure from candidates some meaningful information,’ said former jurat Alan Bisson.

‘Let’s hope that voters will read the answers and make comparisons.’

Group member and former deputy John Langlois said the consequences of replying to the ESG’s questionnaire were ‘in the realm of speculation’, but he was grateful to all those who had taken the time to do so.

In the wake of the printed edition of the manifestos now being delivered to voters’ homes, Lord Eric de Saumarez said the questionnaire’s answers provided more information: ‘It may give some indication of a candidate’s skills and attributes and provide some clue whether we can have full confidence that, if elected, that candidate will make a real contribution and fully honour manifesto pledges,’ he said.

  • The group has encouraged islanders to register for a postal vote, since this will give them time to reflect on their chosen candidates and fill in the ballot paper at their leisure and, given a shortage of volunteers to man some polling stations, it has reiterated its stance. The deadline for registrations is midnight on Friday, and those who are on the electoral roll are still able to apply for a postal vote at registration.gov.gg/ER/

After none of its candidates responded to the questionnaire, the Alliance Party Guernsey said it preferred its candidates to tell islanders about their backgrounds face to face.

‘We have always been transparent and clearly laid out our policies and the candidates’ individual backgrounds and experience both on our website and in the manifesto booklet and on the official election website,’ said a party spokesperson.

‘It states on the Electoral Support Group’s website that there are no hustings in the election, which is incorrect, and therefore we weren’t really clear why it had been set up in the first place. We have our hustings coming up and others have had hustings as well.’

Anyone who wants to find out more about the party and its candidates can visit its website, read the manifesto booklet, go to the official election website or attend the party’s hustings, said the spokesperson.

‘People can ask questions through the website and at our hustings. We think it is better if people want to ask us questions that they ask directly and are not limited as to what they can ask so that we can have a full discussion. There were a number of similar sites set up and we thought we’d stick with the official site and our party’s own channels of communication.’

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