Guernsey Press

‘Virtual’ IIGA visit has health top of agenda

PUBLIC HEALTH will be the foremost topic and criteria in deciding if the planned third staging of an Island Games on domestic soil goes ahead, as scheduled, in 2021.

Games Director Julia Bowditch at Footes Lane yesterday, exactly a year before the opening of the week-long event. (28427674)

A year ahead of the planned start of the Games here, Julia Bowditch, the Games director, issued an update with a degree of doubt surrounding the event due to coronavirus.

Representatives from the member islands were due to be in Guernsey this weekend, but with our borders closed this meeting has now been moved online. Nevertheless, it remains a crucial meeting.

‘We should have been hosting representatives from each of the 23 member islands here in Guernsey this weekend, along with the executive committee from the International Island Games Association,’ said Bowditch.

‘We had a full island tour planned, with visits to many of the venues that we will be using for the 14 sports that will make up the Games.

‘Obviously, we have had to cancel this trip, and instead we are doing an online update this coming Saturday.

‘Although it is not the same as having everyone here together, we have prepared a comprehensive online presentation and will be answering any questions the islands may have.’

Hinting that the Games running on schedule is not a given, she added: ‘The single most important consideration is one of public health and we are determined to act responsibly through any decisions we make.’

Presently, only three member islands – Isle of Man, Alderney and Sark – have unimpeded access to the island. Others have been hit hard by the pandemic, most notably the Baltic island of Saaremaa which lost 26 people, half the total Estonian number.

As many as 40% of residents in the island’s capital were believed to have been infected, but their own Guernsey-style lockdown meant there have been no new infections in two months.