Guernsey Press

Economic Development members push positive message

AMID the doom and gloom in many of the Budget speeches in the States this week, there were also calls to be brave and positive.

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Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller made her maiden speech. (29022635)

Sasha Kazantseva-Miller gave an upbeat assessment of the opportunities ahead in her maiden speech, receiving a enthusiastic traditional round of applause.

‘In between the lines I choose to see hope, hope that it’s the last time that we see a budget that is putting so little emphasis on economic enablement, hope that we are fostering our ambition and boldness.’

Her speech focused on the conditions the States could cultivate to allow the economy to thrive after the standstill, listing enterprise incentives, start-up support, regeneration zones, enabling legislation, and light regulation.

Deputy Kazantseva-Miller asked why Economic Development, of which she is a member, had by far the smallest budget of the principal committees, when it had a track record for successful initiatives.

She identified future trends of lifelong learning, cleaner energy, technology innovation and community cohesion, and said Guernsey was ideally placed to capitalise on them.

‘We should not underestimate the shift in our mindset approach and processes required to navigate reinvention, we need to take more risks, act quicker at Covid speed, try new ideas, explore more public/private and third sector commissioning.

‘We can choose to invest in the future, that will be coming our way whether you want it or not, or trail behind.’

The positive thinking theme was picked up later by the president of Economic Development Neil Inder, who quoted from an old proverb: ‘beware how small your dreams are, because they may eventuate’.

He said that the last two years of the previous Assembly had felt ‘like a divorce’ because States members were only communicating via letters, and there was an entirely new co-operative mood to the States now.

Deputy Inder listed some of the tangible progress that had been made in his own committee.

Tourism is being ‘re-imagined’ and a tourism accommodation strategy is under way which will allow some providers to leave the sector and others to come into it.

A regulatory framework is being developed for medicinal cannabis and it is due to be presented to the States in the first few months of next year and could make Guernsey ‘the first well-regulated jurisdiction’.

A document has been drawn up to look at giving more money to Guernsey Finance, which is the marketing arm for the finance industry.

Deputy Inder included a word for ‘opinion columnists’ who he said ‘talked down the economy’ and he ended his speech with a rallying cry for positivity.

‘Everything is about confidence, commitment and belief and we can bury ourselves today, tomorrow and the next day, and I’m asking this Assembly, I implore you, not to do it, it’s unnecessary, there is a future out there.’