Deputies need island to start to trust them

BOOSTED by scores of election candidates, yesterday’s Institute of Directors’ conference had to move to a bigger venue to cope.

Organisers, caterers, sound and lighting technicians turned on a sixpence to cope in what must have been a frantic few days.

It was in many ways symbolic of what business leaders at the mid-term review identified as the island’s greatest needs: decisiveness, flexibility and a spirit of can-do togetherness.

#GuernseyTogether has seen the island through the darkest times of lockdown, but it’s time is not done.

For if the island is to pass the economic tests coming its way it will succeed only through the efforts of the entire community.

Those who cannot wait for the election result in three weeks’ time so that a new Assembly can sweep in and make everything right are missing the point. The States can do little without the backing and help of businesses, charities, organisations and individuals.

The Civil Contingencies Authority has rightly won plaudits for its handling of the pandemic. Yet, as they were quick to point out, that success came out of islanders’ willingness to social distance, maintain good hygiene and follow the rules.

Trust between leaders and community was quickly established, to mutual benefit.

Guernsey needs that trust to continue. The new crop of deputies must nurture it and harness it through transparent, honest government so that people can understand the plan, buy into it and, most importantly, contribute.

The alternative is to pass on all the responsibility to 40 States members and step back to criticise. They will certainly fail.

The critical opportunities presented by this crisis will not fall to government alone. Making the most of the recovery will take public-private partnerships of government, business and the third sector.

It is a massive challenge, especially as the structure of the States badly needs to change. But the last thing the Assembly needs is a protracted period of navel gazing.

Somehow the new deputies must work within the limitations, identify the best investment opportunities and commit to their choices.

Above all, it must take the community with it.

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