VIEWS OF A STATES MEMBER – Dec 18

It is the intention every month or so for me to write a short note on forthcoming issues coming before the States at its next sitting. I may at the same time, or in addition to that, add a few other comments on what I see as matters of the moment.

As this is the very first such note I will just recap on the first two years and eight months of this Assembly.

It is undoubtedly comprised of well-intentioned and decent people. Sadly though, in my view, the make up of the States is such that we as an Assembly have not addressed in any satisfactory way the real issues of the day, save for Education where I believe the States made a poor decision. I think of how my life changed because of my Education and I wanted, and still want, even better opportunities for young people going forward. Anyway, that is an issue for another time and is too important to be covered in one short note.

I say from experience that the 2020 Association, if we are to be meaningful, will need to have a significant number of credible candidates standing in 2020. Without that there will be no sensible changes. So, although I and others value all the background assistance, we will need people to stand up and risk being counted in 2020. A Politician’s lot in a small community is not an easy one but is necessary.

At the last States Meeting one of the main issues was the purchase by Aurigny in 2019 of three new ATR’s. I was convinced that that was the appropriate decision for a number of reasons but Jan Kuttelwascher made a good speech setting out the concerns. A major issue going forward is the extension of the Airport runway to 1750 metres or thereabouts. We will need to coalesce with the business and general community to put forward the best case we can. I regard it as vitally important for Guernsey both from a business and ‘can do’ perspective. Realism tells me that there is little chance of it being accepted by this States and I envisage it being an Election issue.

We also debated the Economic Development Policy Letter on Air & Sea Links. As a document it was fine but it lacked any detail as to how their aims will be achieved. Again that is something we need to detail as it is so important to our well being.

For the January States Meeting two of the key issues (and there is also a debate on the Poverty Issue) are (1) The HMIC report on the Guernsey Law Enforcement Services and (2) the refurbishment of the Alderney Airport Runway.

As to the HMIC Report, its debate was proposed by members of the Home Affairs Committee. I see lots of navel gazing and a bashing of the Committee for no good purpose.

As to the Alderney Airport Runway, STSB are going for the middle ground which will still have a bill of over £12 million. In my view that is vital for Alderney’s future. Alderney will never be able to justify that economically (just 55,000 passengers travelled to and from Alderney/Guernsey/Southampton in 2017) but it is part of the Bailiwick and we must do our best for it. P & R criticised STSB saying there was no proper business case for it (and in reality there never can be) and said STSB should have looked into a sea ferry type service (which in my opinion is a nonsense in that context).

Anyway, onwards we must go and I welcome any comments on the above, or indeed anything political.

On a final point, in these festive times when you are seeing lots of your friends/acquaintances, can you please persuade them to join the still embryonic 2020 Association? We need you!

I wish you all the best for 2019 and beyond.

Peter Ferbrache

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