Guernsey Press

‘We don't always agree with them, and they don't with us’

Improving the Confederation of Guernsey Industry’s working relationship with senior States members has been one of the things that retiring chairman Dave Newman said he was most proud of during his three-year tenure.

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After three years as chairman of the Confederation of Guernsey Industry, Dave Newman is stepping down at its AGM in April. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32957733)

Mr Newman will be stepping down at the group’s AGM in April and is now involved in helping to find someone to take his place.

Prior to his appointment he had worked with members of the CGi but had never been on the committee, although his wife had.

In looking for a new chairman the decision was taken to cast the net wider than just committee and CGi members, he said.

‘They asked me if I’d put my name forward. There were a few candidates and I was selected as the preferred one.’

He said it was an interesting time to take on the role since it was post-Covid and post-Brexit and then the cost-of-living crisis started.

The CGi represents an array of local companies, ranging from the very large, such as Specsavers and Guernsey Electricity, down to small firms such as scaffolders and cleaning firms.

One of the chairman’s main tasks is to represent the views of members to politicians and the media while also helping members get to grips with new legislation.

But he has also welcomed the fact that politicians have approached the group on a range of topics, asking for comments from both the committee and the members.

Better relationships with politicians is one of the things he is most proud of having achieved in his time.

‘All the CGi have developed a good working relationship with senior politicians in the States,’ he said.

‘We don’t always agree with them and they don’t always agree with the things that we’re saying, but one of the most positive things that’s come out is a willingness to engage with us and me.’

As a result of this, the CGi’s voice was being heard at a senior level, he said.

And at the same time, he has gained a better understanding and a good working knowledge of how the States works and how challenging some things can be for politicians and departments.

It was only by sitting across the table from people that the various pressures there were under could be appreciated.

‘It is sometimes very helpful and useful to realise that there are two sides of this,’ he said.

It was important to understand that sometimes there were pressures from outside the island impacting on processes, he said.

Mr Newman said that he had enjoyed his time in the job, which had been both interesting and challenging.

‘I’ve enjoyed having free and frank conversations on behalf of the CGi at a political level,’ he said.

These conversations have been of benefit because they helped deal with any preconceptions that he and others might have had of a particular issue.

‘When you actually enter into dialogue, you realise that those preconceived notions sometimes need to be somewhat re-evaluated because of the information that you get.’