Guernsey Press

Wildlife trust accused of too much meddling in politics

THE Alderney Wildlife Trust is becoming too powerful within the island’s States and civil service, and should not ‘meddle’ in the island’s politics, said one Alderney politician.

Alderney States member Steve Roberts. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31198648)

Steve Roberts’ comments came after he challenged Policy & Finance committee chairman Ian Carter over his apparent directorship of the trust during Wednesday’s States’ meeting.

Mr Roberts had a printout of a Guernsey registry of charities entry from October last year which listed Mr Carter, a former president of AWT, as a director.

Mr Carter has since confirmed the listing was an error.

‘I resigned as a director of AWT Enterprises on the 10 December 2020 after being elected as a States member and before taking up office and hence I have had no contact with AWT Enterprises since that date,’ he told the Guernsey Press.

‘It would appear that the paperwork on the Guernsey Registry wasn’t updated to reflect this.’

He is going to ask for the entry to be deleted.

Mr Roberts was concerned that Mr Carter was involved in the writing of the Island Plan, which included biodiversity as a priority, and that the AWT has been heavily involved in the formulation of a biodiversity strategy.

‘I was not involved with AWT Enterprises while helping to draw up the Alderney Island Plan,’ said Mr Carter.

However, Mr Roberts is still worried that the trust is becoming too political.

‘The AWT do very good work and have a place, but should not meddle in Alderney law or any politics.

‘They have grown too powerful within the States and the civil service and it’s a shame.’

I have to be involved in politics – trust CEO

THE CEO of Alderney Wildlife Trust said he would be happier if he did not have to be involved in politics, but that was the reality of living in a small community.

Roland Gauvain was speaking after some islanders criticised what it saw as the AWT becoming too involved in the island’s political scene

‘I can’t not be involved in politics,’ he said. ‘If I wasn’t involved in politics my life would be 100% better.’

Mr Gauvain was among AWT members and politicians who talked islanders through the biodiversity strategy draft at a drop-in on Thursday afternoon and he said the trust would now amend the report to take on board some of the changes requested.

He also apologised publicly to Policy & Finance committee chairman Ian Carter, who was challenged by States member Steve Roberts on Wednesday over Mr Carter still being listed as the AWT Foundation Ltd’s director.

This was an error, said Mr Gauvain, and was a result of the updated details not being published on the Guernsey charities’ registration site.

And he stressed that the final document will be a States strategy, not a law.