Chief Pleas endorses Sark’s first independent census

SARK’S Chief Pleas has unanimously endorsed the holding of the island’s first independent, modern census on 27 April.

Picture By Sophie Rabey.  07–10-21.  Generic Sark pics - Sark. (30421414)
Picture By Sophie Rabey. 07–10-21. Generic Sark pics - Sark. (30421414)

The decision was taken last Easter to give the census the go ahead, with further approval coming after a debate in the summer, before the questions to be incorporated were ratified in November.

However, an ordinance was required in order for it to proceed and this went through at this week’s meeting.

Chairman of Policy & Finance John Guille welcomed the support of his fellow conseillers in voting it through.

‘The census is nothing but positive news for the island,’ he said.

‘Conducting a census is a sensible practice for a responsible, modern democracy. It demonstrates that we are a government that is planning for the future and is looking at how we will provide services to the island in the mid- to long-term. It will inform the work of several committees of Chief Pleas.’

Concerns were raised, during debate, about the privacy implications of processing data on-island but Conseiller Guille said these had already been settled.

‘It was frustrating to hear these concerns being expressed, as they were addressed several times during the previous debates,’ he said.

‘Data processing was always going to happen off-island.

‘A census would be a non-starter if it happened on-island.’

Sark has received proposals from firms in Guernsey for the handling of the collected data but Conseiller Guille said the enumerators would be Sark residents, as they have a greater knowledge of where everyone lives. They will receive training, for which the States of Guernsey have offered assistance.

During last week’s meeting, it was also decided that a by-election would be held on 23 March to elect three conseillers, to bring the number up from the current 15 to the maximum 18.

This follows the resignations of Conseillers William Raymond and Natalie Craik, adding to the one vacancy that already existed due to only two candidates standing for the previous election of three members.

Paul Armorgie was re-elected unopposed as deputy speaker for another three-year term.

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