Guernsey Press

‘Why one rule for him, another for others?’

THE decision to allow British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland to visit Guernsey without undergoing quarantine has continued to come under fire.

Last updated
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland, whose CCA-approved visit has caused anger.

‘Why is there one rule for one person and a different set of rules for everyone else?’ asked Katie Walters, who works in the UK and has family and friends locally.

She contacted the Guernsey Press to express her disappointment at the visit and said that her faith in the authorities had been affected.

She said her Guernsey family had been unable to meet her new-born baby, and she had missed the birth of her niece, her parents’ golden wedding anniversary, and the birth of her best friend’s baby.

But she added that the tight restrictions had at least given her reassurance that her family were safe.

‘Now I want answers, from whoever made the decision to invite Warren Gatland to the island without the need to quarantine.

‘Why was he not shown the facilities available by Zoom?

‘What exact measures were taken to ensure that this was a Covid-secure trip?

‘Are any islanders that he came into contact with now in two-week isolation as a precaution?

The visit has been described also as undermining of the Guernsey Together spirit.

Questions have also been asked about whether States money will be used to help meet the costs if the players do come here in June.

Mr Gatland was in the island at the weekend to carry out a recce of rugby and hotel facilities which could be used as a pre-tour camp before the team tours South Africa.

Dan Meinke, from Island Rib Voyages, was asked to put on a special trip at the weekend for a visiting dignitary, and to do it at cost price in the spirit of Guernsey Together.

‘For us it was too big a risk, we’re a small business of three or four people, if we catch Covid we’ve got to close our business down.

‘So I refused it, and also from the personal side, I’ve got older parents to protect.

‘My wife hasn’t seen her family for over a year, like many thousands of other people over here, it’s just such a smack in the mouth.’

In an interview with the Guernsey Press, Mr Gatland was asked whether the team would be looking for a financial incentive to choose Guernsey as a pre-tour base or whether it would be funded entirely by the Lions.

His response was that it was early days.

‘I don’t know, that’s a good question, that’s something that you’d probably need to talk to Paul [Whitfield] about.’

No one from the States was available yesterday to comment on that question.

Over the weekend, Dr Nicola Brink, the director of Public Health, had attempted to reassure islanders that Mr Gatland was required to follow stringent safety measures on his two-day visit.

One-day business tunnels were introduced last summer but were suspended in mid-November. They did attract mild criticism, but were not as controversial.

But while there has been criticism of the trip, some have welcomed it because a visit from the Lions would put an international spotlight on Guernsey and its sporting facilities.

This in turn could provide a boost to the economy, and promote the safe haven status the island has achieved through its management of the pandemic.