VIEWS OF A STATES MEMBER – Feb 19

Before considering this month’s States Agenda I comment briefly on other matters that I believe are relevant. I am not though going to dwell on Brexit. The Island has made and is making provisions relating to Brexit as best it can. It is a monumental issue that is of paramount importance.

I comment thus on other issues. In no particular order they are:

(1)    A new electricity cable link to Jersey. When the current cable was laid it was expected to last 25-30 years. That has not proven to be the case. There have been serious faults in 2012, 2015 and last Autumn which means it cannot be relied upon. Thus Guernsey Electricity are taking steps to lay a new cable. It is unlikely that will be fully operative until the Summer of 2020. In the meantime, because more electricity has to be generated locally, there is an extra cost of many hundreds of thousands of pounds per month. In addition we will a few years hence need to lay a cable directly to France at a cost of around £100 million. The Island thus faces much infrastructure costs, some of which are unexpected.

(2)    Aurigny. With the concerns over Flybe, Aurigny will need to be prepared to step in. That is much easier said than done. The present Chairman’s term of office soon ends. I am aware that the steps will be taken soon to advertise for applicants for his successor. I express my own view that the reality is that Aurigny is likely to have to provide most of our regular flying needs in the future. Also I have seen the 2018 air passenger figures. They are the lowest since 1995.

(3)    That takes me to our economy generally. By most standards we seem to be fine. The reality may be different. We are complacent as a jurisdiction. The truth is we are seen to be second choice to Jersey. There is little office or hotel development. There is more and more cost and regulation. There is a lack of impetus and confidence. We are still slicing the salami which cannot be done for much longer.

I now refer briefly to certain issues before the February States Meeting.

There are ten Road Traffic Speed Limit Regulations. These limit the speed limit to 25 mph in various roads. These can only be debated if the Bailiff is approached before the meeting to give permission. I have no idea whether such a request will be made. I hope not, otherwise we will be debating whether 25 mph is appropriate for L’Aumone. I see it as part of a general social engineering policy, but the time to resolve that is at the next election.

The other item I would comment upon is the Policy Letter from the Committee for Health and Social Care on Health and Care Regulation in the Bailiwick. I am likely to be in a very small minority who oppose it. I regard it as another example of big government. In my opinion it just brings in another and unnecessary level of bureaucracy. The cost is anticipated to be £368,000 per annum of which £272,000 is said to be additional cost. Small beer some will say with a Government spend of around £400 million. My response is that it is a recurring expense, which is likely to increase and in any event is not necessary. The States though will pass it overwhelmingly.

Until the next time – Kind regards,

Deputy Peter Ferbrache

© 2019 – The 2020 Association

VIEWS OF A STATES MEMBER – Jan 19

We are now in the last eighteen months of this States term.  A very important part of our rationale as an association is to promote purposive change which can only realistically be achieved by a significant change of personnel in the next assembly.  I intend to write more on that as the election approaches.

In the meanwhile eighteen months is a long time in politics and we have to do our best to make that as productive a time as we can.

Brexit is undoubtedly the major issue.  The UK as I write seems in total disarray.  No-one can sensibly predict the outcome. In Guernsey though we have to ensure that basics such as food and fuel are readily available post Brexit.  Also on 29 March, unless Article 50 is invoked and the date extended or another agreement reached, Protocol 3 will end. We also have the uncertainty surrounding our financial services post Brexit.

The Authorities here, I have to say, have done and are continuing to do what they can.  By the time you read this, I will have attended a Brexit Transition Group Meeting. The President of Policy & Resources I anticipate will be making a statement in the States.  This issue will be fast moving and will engage the States both in the short, medium and long term. More certainty will emerge when, whatever it will be, the final outcome is known.  I also envisage that whatever the conclusion it will affect these Islands for years to come. If there are challenges we will need to meet them, and if there are opportunities we should seize them.  We will need more individuals in the States who can do that.

More prosaically at this States Meeting we will discuss the Report carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate on our Law Enforcement Services.  Having read it now several times, I really do wonder why. As you would expect from such a report, there are some recommendations but nothing in my view too untoward.  In such circumstances it is often not recognised by such reporting bodies that we are a very small community, and what may be required elsewhere is not here. There has been a degree of small townism, but minimal and thus why spend States time on it?

We also will be discussing the repairs to Alderney Airport Runway.  If approved this will involve expense of just over £12 million. If not approved then I genuinely believe that Alderney’s Airport will not be in a workable state for much longer.  There undoubtedly is the much wider question of the 1948 Agreement between the Islands, but that is for another day as the repairs are urgently needed. We should not allow the two to be linked.  

There are other issues bubbling not far beneath the surface, and next time I may well write about the reality of trying to co-operate with Jersey.  That though is for another time.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache

© 2019 – The 2020 Association

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

© 2018 – The 2020 Association

Using existing runway.

We support anything that will lead to the better connectivity of Guernsey with the mainland. We are hopeful that the Requête of Deputy Kuttelwascher (one of our members) will be one of the first steps in improving the situation.

Synopsis: Maximise existing airport facilities using existing runway to allow competing airlines to service Guernsey.

As of today (02/12/2018), has the ‘Scoping Document’ to the consultants been produced?

Deputy Kuttelwascher’s Requete on the length of Guernsey’s runway:

  1. To direct the States’ Trading Supervisory Board to consult with the Director of Civil Aviation to determine if:
  • a) A 90 metres “undershoot” RESA is acceptable for landings on runway 27
  • b) A 90 metres “overrun” RESA is acceptable on runway 09.

AND

  • c) To  identify any safety enhancements, including EMAS, which would be required  to enable the commissioning of 107 metres of the starter strip/paved RESA or to mitigate the reduction in the length of the RESA from 197 metres to 90 metres.
  1. Following that consultation, if there is evidence to suggest that the commissioning of the 107 metres is possible, to direct the States’ Trading Supervisory Board to return to the States by March 31st 2019 with a Policy Letter giving, inter alia, indicative estimates of the costs of all components of the commissioning requirements.

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Discussed: States Meeting on 24 October 2018 (Billet d’État XXIII)

Voted: 35 for, 3 absent, 2 against (Deputies Brehaut, Langlois)

“The 2020 Association” announces its launch.

New Guernsey political association comes into being: “Change starts here!”

Following success in the Island Wide Voting Referendum five members resigned from the Executive Committee of the recently formed Islanders Association because of “irreconcilable differences of administrative style” with another committee member. One of them, Harvey Marshall, says “Many people approached us afterwards, regretting the departure of the majority of the “team” at the Islanders, and asking whether we would be setting up another association. We are pleased to announce that The 2020 Association is the result. The Association is supported by Deputies Ferbrache, Mooney and Kuttelwascher, who will be playing an important role towards its success.

“Although there are some bright stars, it is our confirmed view that the present States is one of the worst ever. It is only when one examines the quality of many of the members of the States, by listening to their debates, and noting the sheer incompetence of some of the decisions taken, that one realises that if this situation continues the island will simply descend ever more speedily into being an economically stultified backwater; a result of not promptly and efficiently addressing vital issues such as connectivity and economic development, and being hampered by complacency and inadequacy.

“We think that the 2020 Association can enable a difference to be made by forming an association which can effectively bring together and support like-minded people who have been quizzed as to their attributes, acumen and approach; a better calibre of people who can stand for the States. This is the first step towards giving Guernsey an efficient government, which is what it so badly needs.

“The 2020 Association aims to provide a focal point which the electorate can recognise and can trust in the context of island wide voting. We will not be a political party. We recognise that the concept of the traditional political party is anathema in Guernsey, and so there will be no whipping. What we intend is that the membership will be canvassed via the internet for their views on particular issues as they arise – to give their opinions on what would be best for the island. The Deputies affiliated to the Association would then be informed of the results of this consultation, and requested to follow those results, but they would do so because of their knowledge of widespread views, and they would always be free to vote according to their own personal convictions if they felt really strongly.

“The first task will be to get a sufficient number of deputies elected under the association’s banner in 2020. Creating a single core manifesto to which 2020 candidates will subscribe will assist this, because the electorate will not have to read many different manifestos.

“Assuming we succeed, our next task will be to start to reform the management of the States and Civil Service, where we would bring a culture of competence, accountability and transparency to both – to encourage better, more considered decision making. We’d remove the silo mentality, leading to more joined up and efficient government; one where people see the big picture instead of focussing on their own departments. We’d encourage an administration with a co-operative “can do” approach, rather than looking for problems.

“We are against unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and the interference of Government, which should be enough to provide the fundamental, critical requirements that individuals cannot of themselves provide – and no more. We seek a realistic path towards a prosperity which should have benefits for all.

“We have a very good team lined up to help manage the above ambition, including, amongst others, Geoff Dorey and Peter Atkinson. And given our success in the IWV issue, we think we could make a big difference to the Island and put Guernsey back on the track which it used to have; where success bred success, rather than its current complacent, inefficient belief that everything will always turn out all right.”

The Chairman of the 2020 Association, Harvey Marshall, added “This is an opportunity for those who voted for Island Wide Voting, and others, to ensure the success of the Island in the future. We urge them all to support the 2020 Association.”

30/11/2018

© 2018 – The 2020 Association