‘Majority of the States can see no current role for me’

THE ISLAND’S general election poll-topper has expressed frustration at his failure to secure any roles in the new States Assembly, and he fears it will mean lost opportunities for the community.

Deputy Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28842006)
Deputy Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28842006)

Deputy Gavin St Pier has set out his reaction to his demotion from Policy & Resources president to backbencher, in a letter in today’s Guernsey Press.

Deputy St Pier, who was lauded for the way he led the island through the Covid-19 crisis, and polled 13,927 votes in the general election, was unsuccessful in his bids for three different States positions.

Along with Deputy Lyndon Trott, the two are the only politicians not to have any committee roles.

In the letter, Deputy St Pier lifts the veil on some of the politicking that he believes took place when he stood against Deputy Peter Roffey for the States’ Trading & Supervisory Board presidency.

‘The size of my defeat would suggest to me that there was more than a difference in our different philosophical approaches towards STSB at play in the voting.

‘This was confirmed with the rejection of my offer to serve on the Scrutiny Management Committee. It is clear that a majority of the States of Deliberation can see no current role for me.’

Deputy St Pier says that although he feels disappointed he has no intention of resigning and he will serve as best he can from the backbenches.

In an early shot across the bows, he writes that many of the election promises made by the successful deputies for more services and investment with no borrowing and no new, or even lower taxes, ‘are likely to prove irreconcilable’.

He vows to use his ‘experience and knowledge’ to scrutinise and hold his peers to account.

‘I am frustrated at this situation but I do not feel bitterness towards my colleagues within the Assembly.

‘I wish all my colleagues and the new committees every success. It is in all our interests that they should succeed.

‘The challenges are enormous, as are the opportunities.

‘I wish them wisdom in their judgements and decision-making.

‘By definition, the problems on the table are complicated – otherwise they would have been solved already.

‘I am not sad for myself but I am fearful that the pursuit of ‘‘action’’ and ‘‘change’’ without any plan will result in lost opportunities for the community.’

There is an acknowledgement from Deputy St Pier that he was unsuccessful in his election campaign to persuade voters to back him and his group, the Guernsey Partnership of Independents.

Only 10 of the 21 candidates fielded by the group made it across the line into the final 38.

Deputy St Pier saw the writing on the wall back on Thursday 8 October.

‘I feared on election night I could be in trouble in the States of Deliberation – and so it proved when we got to the election of the P&R president.

‘During the election campaign, I tried very hard to explain to the electorate that a vote for me alone simply was not enough to secure continuity of my leadership.

‘I apologise to each of you who wanted that outcome; I failed to communicate that critical message to enough voters.’

Finally, Deputy St Pier urges his supporters not to lose hope and to keep voting in future general elections.

Without widespread engagement he warns that ‘political extremes prevail’.

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