Emails row is a case for Law Enforcement

WHAT has been dubbed Farmhousegate, the controversy over alleged Covid-19 breaches at a well-known local hotel involving some equally well-known individuals, has highlighted the difficulties of dealing with sensitive issues in a small community.

A number of allegations have been made. If correct, they would give cause for concern. Unsubstantiated, the damage created continues and the comments on social media all the more heated.

Against that background, the island’s Civil Contingencies Authority made a late evening intervention this week, referring to the Farmhouse emails and making it clear that it was not the appropriate body to comment on or investigate any allegation of a breach in the law.

Although unstated, that tacitly acknowledged the desire, particularly politically, for the allegations to be looked at and judgement of some sort passed on them. That’s clearly not the job of the CCA but it indicates the depth of concerns that are being expressed.

Shortly afterwards the Guernsey Border Agency, which does investigate Covid-related issues, also sought to clarify its role – and inability to comment on ongoing investigations it might be conducting. Significantly, however, it added ‘…we respond to reports of self-isolation breaches and follow up all legitimate lines of enquiry’.

That’s potentially a very wide catch-all provision and ought to provide some comfort for those worried that there is no backstop in cases where complaints such as those highlighted by the Farmhouse emails are concerned.

The point here is that if individuals believe they have information relating to a possible breach of the Covid regulations, this should be raised with law enforcement, where impartial judgments can be made about validity and situations can be independently investigated as necessary.

The GBA has already clarified that its inquiries are ongoing and two people understood to be Farmhouse staff have been charged in relation to an alleged breach of Covid-19 regulations.

All of which suggests that due process is under way and at least some of the results of that should be clearer later this month.

Until then, this is less of a political issue and more one of law enforcement.

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