Guernsey Press

Parkinson makes case for P&R to go as confidence debate begins

The leader of a motion of no confidence in Policy & Resources has said the States needed to replace its senior committee if it wanted to achieve anything meaningful in the final 18 months of its term.

Deputy Charles Parkinson. (32747365)

Deputy Charles Parkinson opened debate by alleging that P&R had purposely obstructed other committees, delayed progress on vital projects, and lost the confidence of the island as well as the Assembly.

He pressed ahead with his motion to oust P&R despite two of its members, Deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney, announcing immediately before debate started that they wished to resign from the committee.

'The States needs less divisive leadership which will tap into all the talents in the Assembly,' said Deputy Parkinson.

'It needs leadership with vision, which will prioritise sustainable economic growth. It needs leadership with the courage and integrity to meet our fiscal challenges and not run away from them.

'It needs a direction all members can buy into and leadership which enables and supports other committees instead of frustrating and obstructing them. That is what collaborative working is all about. Acting in a collegiate manner does not mean everyone else doing P&R's bidding.'

Deputy Parkinson reminded P&R president Peter Ferbrache that he had promised 'action this day'. He then provided several examples of projects on which P&R was alleged to have obstructed progress, including inert waste disposal and plans to develop a new commercial harbour and dairy.

'If it wasn't P&R's idea, it was opposed to it. They seize control of the process but then introduce nothing but delay and procrastination into it,' said Deputy Parkinson.

'Far from helping us to make progress, P&R has been obstructive at every turn, has gone back on its word on several occasions, and has sabotaged progress.'

He criticised two unnamed members of the committee in particular over their conduct towards civil servants.

The motion of no confidence was lodged by seven deputies after P&R failed for the second time this year to get its flagship tax and spending package through the States.

Deputy Parkinson said P&R's performance had since deteriorated still further and accused it of abandoning its previous principles by supporting an unsuccessful attempt to take on unfunded borrowing to pay for Education's stalled £130m. reorganisation plan.

'The recent debates have only made matters worse. When the States needed leadership on a fiscal issue, entirely within its mandate, P&R went missing. The result of these debates is that P&R has lost the confidence of the island,' he said.

Deputy Parkinson claimed that P&R had failed to obtain adequate public support for its flagship tax and spending plan, including a new goods and services tax.

'Not least because some of the people trying to sell these arguments to them stood at the last election on a platform of cutting expenditure and not increasing taxes. Many members of the public no longer know who to believe.'

Deputy Parkinson concluded by asking other members to support his motion and elect a replacement P&R with a better chance of 'restoring consensus government and public confidence'.