Guernsey Press

Supportive Covid review is 'rigorous and comprehensive’

A REVIEW of how Guernsey and the States handled Covid has been sufficiently rigorous and comprehensive, Civil Contingencies Authority chairman Peter Ferbrache has said.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32172308)

As the UK feuds over its own Covid inquiry, Deputy Ferbrache confirmed that he, like his predecessor as Chief Minister Gavin St Pier, was not involved in the drafting of the report, which was published this week.

‘I wasn’t interviewed,’ he said.

‘I make no a criticism of that. The brief that was given to those who conducted the review was they would have access to all the material it was possible for them to have access to. If somebody wanted to interview me, I’d have been available. But I wasn’t interviewed and I don’t mean that as any kind of criticism.’

Unlike the UK, which is conducting an independent inquiry, the States decided on an internal review, carried out by closely examining minutes, documents, decisions taken and their outcomes, plus feedback by a range of stakeholders.

Questions have been asked about the document, which contains vast amounts of data, but lacks critical analysis.

‘We had a debate on whether we should spend a quarter of a million pounds on doing an external review, and the States decided by a majority to do it internally,’ said Deputy Ferbrache.

The internal report had no specific budget and was described as costing only the time it took staff to compile.

‘It’s 115 pages and it seems to me, having read it twice, that is a pretty comprehensive report,’ Deputy Ferbrache said.

‘One could super-analyse decisions and be super-analytical. But I don’t think it would make any difference to what was decided in any material way, and that’s not being complacent. It was a crisis that nobody saw.’

Deputy Ferbrache highlighted the statistics of how successfully the Bailiwick had negotiated the pandemic.

‘The statistics that come out of the report which are independently verifiable, show we had the lowest death rate per 1,000, by a country mile, than any other comparable jurisdiction. We had the highest vaccination rate. We came out of restrictions quicker than anybody else in the British Isles.’

The report came up with seven recommendations and Deputy Ferbrache said he was sure the CCA would consider them in due course.

‘And they will be considered by the states when we can. People will say it will be put on a shelf and forgotten about. Well, that won’t happen. But it’s not as though its recommended we do something tomorrow, otherwise the world will come to an end. But we will look at it in a considered fashion.’

Deputy Gavin St Pier was CCA chairman from the start of the pandemic to October 2020. The vaccine programme started at the end of 2020, when Deputy Febrache took over the post.