CCA still has backing, but scrutiny is key

THE end result of the vote was conclusive, but there was a perhaps surprising amount of debate in the States last week over whether the Civil Contingencies Authority should continue to retain its executive powers.

Only two deputies – Lester Queripel and Andrew Taylor – eventually opposed the motion but several expressed concerns in speeches in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, Deputy Gavin St Pier openly pondered, in the form of questions in the States to the chairman of the CCA, whether the island’s Civil Contingencies Law’s definition of ‘emergency’ – an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare if it involves, causes or may cause loss of human life, illness or injury, or disruption of health services – was still appropriate given nearly 90% of the Bailiwick’s adult population are fully vaccinated.

In defending the CCA’s ongoing activity, Deputy Peter Ferbrache argued that the pandemic was still occurring, and one expects that the majority of islanders would agree.

As the UK this week published its plans for another Covid winter, with Boris Johnson saying the virus ‘remains a risk’, concerned islanders would have had an interest. While Plan A essentially revolves around booster jabs and extending vaccinations, a stricter Plan B, if required, revolves around vaccine passports and face masks.

Guernsey will remain robustly proud of much of its record throughout the pandemic. Adherence to the words of Dr Brink and the political members of the CCA has been strong for 18 months now.

However the CCA would be well advised, in this climate, to ‘read the room’. Dissent against some CCA decisions – notably rules for children outside education settings – is rising, and while a reduction in regular press conferences is not surprising, it removes another opportunity for public scrutiny, one which the CCA should consider reopening.

Deputy Ferbrache said the authority would love to be able to walk away from its responsibilities and for life to return to normal. That is unlikely, but the CCA’s responsibilities to keep the public safe will not be without scrutiny.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News