Farmhousegate needs its own pause to review

ON THE eve of what is arguably the most important debate for the future of the island’s young people, children and as yet unborn, Bailiwick Law Enforcement was preparing an urgent statement.

‘[It] does not comment on the nature of any enquiries, allegations, social media comments or investigations. It is only when a formal investigation has been completed and a court hearing has taken place that the full facts of the matter are made available to the public.’

That was in relation to publication online by a senior deputy of what’s claimed to be a text message inspired by the chief minister pre-empting the announcement of a Covid lockdown earlier this year.

In Frossard House-speak, the optics of that are not good and the timing dreadful – an unwelcome distraction at a time of intense and historic parliamentary business when attention needs to be on finding a solution to Education, Sport & Culture’s misguided school model.

For islanders puzzled by what some are terming Farmhousegate, there is the prospect of clarity on the alleged leaks, emails and WhatsApp messages that political opponents are desperately hoping will prove to be a ‘gotcha’ moment for the chief minister.

He has said that while comment is currently difficult as Law Enforcement investigations are still current, ‘I am more than willing so to do when the legal process has come to an end’.

This is an important commitment and one that should serve to take some of the heat out of the situation. Islanders enjoy a bit of knock-about politicking but this goes beyond that.

The focus of members’ attention needs to be on this week’s marathon States meeting and the significant topics to be considered – not pursuing matters that, while potentially significant, can nevertheless wait.

Bluntly, the future of education and the schools model proposed has become a shambles with little likelihood of a sensible outcome.

Deputies would do their constituents and island families a favour if they recognised that and imposed their own ‘pause and review’ by instructing ESC to maintain the status quo before returning with a fresh package that commands majority support.

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