Guernsey Press

It's all just a complete mess

What an unholy mess this island has got itself into over education.


And now this crucial debate, where some members are aiming to put a sticking plaster over an ever-gaping wound, by borrowing to pay for Les Ozouets, with no certain plan on how to repay the debt, is now on hold for a fortnight.

Members last month legitimately decided that they preferred to support capital spending on health, rather than education. The funding is there – just about.

The complaint calls from islanders – sometimes in tears – about how politicians are letting down relatives are more frequent, and much more difficult to deal with, than any call about how children are being let down with sub-standard facilities.

But then waterlogged classrooms mean classes cancelled and the pressure rose to fund the other priority spending case – with no firm idea of how to repay.

The proposal cobbled together is to borrow more money, at rates higher than we would like, backed with the flimsiest of quickly-invented repayment packages, to fund a post-16 education facility that many in the community, and indeed, the States, didn’t support initially anyway. And are backing now mainly because it’s ‘better than nothing’.

Whatever the outcome of the debate, the end result will still be a mess.

A mess that we, as a States and as an island, have managed to get ourselves into, over recent weeks, and previous years – and one that whatever decision is ultimately taken, to build or not to build, will take an awfully long time to extricate ourselves from.