An intolerance of islanders to visitors

BEING a very frequent visitor to the island, notwithstanding the recent Covid-19 pandemic, I have endeavoured to visit family in Guernsey at least once a year for the last 50-plus years (initially as a baby in arms and more recently in the past couple of decades with my own children).

With such close links with the island, I have kept a keen eye on all the ‘goings on’ over the years, both from afar and from a close-up standpoint whenever I’m on the island. One of the most disconcerting trends that I now currently witness in recent years, - albeit it appears from a very small minority of the island’s population - is the growing intolerance of said islanders towards visitors.

An incident transpired today [Saturday 16 July} in the Alliance supermarket car park where an English visitor had parked their car in a spare back-to-back parking space located behind an islander’s car. The English family, upon returning to their car, was berated by the driver of the Guernsey car for having the sheer audacity to even consider, let alone actually parking their car behind the islander’s car, especially as it was now making said islander have difficulty in loading their purchases into the boot/back of their car.

Now I understand that Guernsey, with it’s long history has developed what some would consider quirky traditions, but not parking in/utilizing an empty parking space behind someone else’s car who has decided to park nose out in a supermarket car park with back-to-back parking spaces I do not believe is one of them.

Now anyone with a modicum of common sense (which one can only surmise must be in very short supply with this particular islander, especially as they were intending to load their numerous purchases into the back of their vehicle) wouldn’t even consider to park their car nose out of a back-to-back parking space with the expectation that no one would have the gumption to park in the spare space behind your car. And then to actually berate someone for doing so is beyond belief, even more so (and not to belittle the majority of the island’s more courteous and friendly population), I suspect that had the car that had parked behind have been an islander and not a visitor that no such confrontation would have taken place.

Now VisitGuernsey have a very strong offensive ongoing in persuading people to visit the island, especially after the recent closed borders enforced by the pandemic, but such unfounded verbal torrents towards a visitor could not only sully the island’s good reputation for being a friendly place to visit for that particular individual, but could have an unwanted cascading effect of putting many, many more people off from visiting the lovely island of Guernsey.

IAN WILSON

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