My Health & Wellbeing Manifesto 2020

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I have to day published the first of my manifestos on specific subjects.  Today’s manifesto is in respect of Health & Wellbeing and was written last week before attending the RCN Hustings after which I pledged my support to be an advocate for nurses if I got elected.  

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing further manifestos including those on the Environment, the Economy, Housing, Social Policy and Air & Sea Links.  

As with all of my manifestos, please contact me if you have any queries or comments – or you wish to know my views on other subjects.

The manifesto can be found by clicking on the link in this post or by going to the menu at the top and clicking on “Health & Wellbeing Manifesto”.

Photo from States of Guernsey Facebook Page

Silent Canvassing

Yesterday and this afternoon I’m silent canvassing so if you’re out and about and see me wearing my rosette or sticker then please do ask any questions you like – but I won’t approach you as you’re out having fun and don’t need us candidates in your face!

I will also have my Short ‘n’ Sweet Manifesto with me so if you want a copy you just have to say.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Your Invite to the Independent Candidates’ Hustings

Deputy Michelle Le Clerc has announced today a series of Independent Candidates’ Hustings to enable the electorate to hear more about each of us – we are all different and completely independent of each other!

These are the locations where I’ll be:

Here is the press release:

Twenty genuinely independent candidates, not affiliated to any Group or Association have come together to take part in a hustings roadshow, organised by outgoing Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, for Guernsey’s first island wide election.

The twenty are:

Chris Blin, Barry Brehaut, Garry Collins, Adrian Dilcock, Matt Fallaize, Adrian Gabriel, Catherine Hall, Melanie Harvey-Alan, Ross Le Brun, Ian Le Page, Jennifer Merrett, Diane Mitchell, Victoria Oliver, Charles Parkinson, Peter Roffey, Martyn Roussel, Richard Skipper, Jeremy Smithies, Jenny Tasker and Dawn Tindall.

This is where we will be.

Sept. 15th – Guernsey Institute [Old St. Peter Port School Hall]

Sept 17th – Guernsey Institute [Old St. Peter Port School Hall]

Sept 21st – Specsavers, La Villiaze

Sept 22nd – Specsavers, La Villiaze

Sept 23rd – Vale Douzaine Room

Sept 24th – Scout HQ, Rue Maingy

Sept 25th – Scout HQ, Rue Maingy

Sept 29th – La Villette Hotel

Sept 30th – Vale Douzaine Room

October 2nd – La Villette Hotel

All times 7.00pm – 9.00m. We hope to see you there.

Each candidate will take part in one husting at each venue meaning that ten will be on the panel for each husting, there will always be five experienced candidates with five new candidates.

And so the canvassing begins…..

The nomination in, the photo taken and my copy of the Electoral Roll collected and, once the manifesto is ready, I’m all set to start canvassing. I’ll be out and about over the next 5 weeks and tomorrow I’ll set out when and where you can find me so I can hear your concerns and answer your questions.

The chats I had when knocking on doors in St Peter Port South in 2016 was the most enlightening and enjoyable of that campaign and I hope that 2020 is no different. I will not be able to knock on everyone’s door this time round so I will also be at various places throughout the Island to meet as many of you as I can.

I want to take this opportunity to give my thanks to my proposer, Craig Robert, who also kindly agreed to nominate me in 2016 together with my seconder, Paulette Burtenshaw, who has been a great support to me on this journey since 2015 when we attended our first WEA course on “How to Become a Deputy”. Thank you both.

Standing for Election in 2020: An Independent Approach to Working Together

Photo0238Maintaining some form of continuity is always important for good decision making but, at a time of a global pandemic, it is essential. Electing a Deputy who was part of the Covid-19 decision making team of HSC with experience of the workings of the Guernsey system of government will be invaluable. Combine that with someone who makes evidence based, consistent decisions and that is what you have in me; that is why I am standing for election.

This has been, surprisingly, a far more difficult decision to make than the one I made to stand in the 2016 election. I have wrestled with my personal and family circumstances; the tiredness we all experienced because of the feeling at the beginning of this year? that what we achieved in the first three years was going to unravel.

But then there was Covid-19. Many suffered emotionally, financially and physically. Many will do for years to come. There was a great deal to do before the pandemic to ensure the fiscal and social policy was there to help those experiencing poverty of some sort whether in-work or pensioners, whether with a disability or caring for someone. Now with such leaps and bounds made in the last few months in that social policy, energy is needed to bring this to fruition and the effect of the pandemic kept to a minimum. To do that will need hard graft and determination with a real commitment to work together.

With so much at stake, I cannot give up now. I cannot stop when there is so much to do and I have the experience to do it. I will, therefore, be standing at the next election.

The public only see the decisions made in the Assembly. My skill is in getting those decisions to the States in the first place and in a format that means we can have a sensible and productive debate and agree evidence based decisions.

My voting record will show the changes I’ve supported including the Discrimination Ordinance, Same Sex Marriage and NICE Drugs. I admit I was reluctant to vote for NICE Drugs but that wasn’t because I did not see the need – it was because I wanted the same access to be given to those receiving drugs and treatment that were not approved by NICE including much needed preventative approaches.

I also voted for the ending of the 11+ and the one school two sites model. The evidence showed that model would provide the best education and choice for the Bailiwick’s children. Due to the “pause”, more evidence is being collated and I will consider that fully and objectively if and when the time comes as the outcome of that debate is not a foregone conclusion. The aim is for the provision of a quality education for all at a cost Islanders can afford but that decision needs to be taken in the light of what is happening now and not what happened in a Deputy’s youth.

Among the several successful amendments I have laid, one exemplifies the importance I see of the economy and our transport links. It aimed to ensure that any review of our air links took a strategic approach to include the infrastructure needed and not just to take a look at Aurigny in isolation. We need to be bold in our aims especially in a post Covid world to get business and tourists to come to our beautiful Islands whilst taking care of our environment.

My role on the Development & Planning Authority started in 2016 and I became the President in 2019. This role has been a source of frustration but also success. The D&PA, through the implementation of the Island Development Plan, has been at the forefront of protecting the natural and built environment and promoting the balance between that, the economy and social policy. Whilst it is not perfect – what States’ policy is? – changing the negative and unjustified press it receives has been a long journey. I hope that by my contribution there is a better understanding by the next Assembly of its role than when it began. .

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Energy and enthusiasm is needed to be a Deputy. Skills, knowledge and collaborative working increase the likelihood of success. As someone who gives all to the job, I hope that I can call on your support to elect me as People’s Deputy for the whole of the Island of Guernsey.

I am, of course, preparing my manifesto, supplemented by posts on my website and on social media with more details, all of which I hope you will read and then decide to vote for me on October 7th.

Island Wide Voting – is it all over?

Lotto-results-LIVESo we have Island Wide Voting (IWV) – 6,017 (52.48%) people out of the 14,370 who voted yesterday have chosen our new system of electing Deputies. Should we respect the vote?  Absolutely!  Should we consider what it means?  Yes – I think we have a duty to do so and now’s the time.

Whilst IWV is a quantum shift from the way we have chosen our elected representatives in the past, will it have the dynamic effect that the proponents hope for?  A better calibre of Deputy was one claim – personally I don’t think IWV will make a jot of difference with the quality of candidate or, indeed, who is chosen but improving the way we support all candidates and changing the way the government works will.

We need to encourage a wide diversity of candidates not only to stand as Deputy but to put themselves forward for all roles in public life – and let’s start now by ensuring our adverts for the roles are more welcoming.  We must ensure that the way in which we support candidates – whatever their background, age, gender etc – is tailored to their needs and equally given.  At elections, we need to make sure it is fair for both newbies and those who re-stand for election to promote diversity and better decision making as a result.

We also need to consider how we can make IWV a success.  Before I was elected, I was keen to promote Island Wide Voting as I felt it would inspire more people to get involved in Guernsey politics.  I wrote a paper on all the ways that the electoral process could help such as late closing of the electoral roll, electronic voting, speed hustings, multi night hustings and a voting slip similar to the National Lottery.  Quite a few of those changes have been made and no doubt more ideas will be developed.

However, the biggest question that must be addressed is does IWV go far enough?  Many are disillusioned with the way Guernsey’s government works – or as some say- not work!  I personally feel that the way in which policies are developed and then legislation produced is a process that could do with a complete overhaul.  I believe we need a more streamline process in Guernsey in the form of executive government.  We need to alter the way in which a proposal can be changed so drastically in a few hours of debate in the Assembly from the well-researched proposals which results in a complete mish mash and inevitable procrastination.  We need to consider again how many Deputies are required and how roles can be designed to ensure the people of Guernsey get the most their elected representatives.

Some may say we’ve looked at that several years ago but then we didn’t have IWV.  Also, I felt that executive government was dismissed out of hand so very easily in that first Policy Letter and so should be revisited.  We are looking at an overhaul of the civil service, change because of Brexit and serious world issues such as climate change.   For all of that, we need a government fit for purpose able to face the challenges in the decades to come.  A review of our system is a must.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambitious Tourism

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On Wednesday last week, the Committee for Economic Development held its annual Tourism Seminar ably presented by Visit Guernsey.  As part of that seminar, I gave a short speech which I hoped would provoke discussion and, even better,  inspire action to support all year round attractions in Guernsey.

Unbeknownst to me when I wrote my speech, the speakers at the IOD Conference the following day called for a more ambitious approach by government.  In response to that and as the Tourism Seminar was, unfortunately in my view, not open to the media but only invited guests, my speech is below so that others may discuss and contribute as to how we can be ambitious for the tourism sector.

“When I was asked to be tourism lead for Economic Development, I grabbed the chance to being part of a team which will create a Tourism Strategy to support the industry and show the public just how important tourism was both to government and to the Bailiwick. I also looked forward to participating in this annual event which I can see is clearly a highlight just by looking at the number of you who have turned up today.

However, no matter how interesting the speakers are today, this event should not just be about turning up and listening – it is about us buying into the idea that tourism in the Bailiwick can, and will be, a thriving industry. How we can turn the numbers watching the Film into visitors? How can we get people to talk about the natural beauty of the Bailiwick, our history and our people? Those Great Encounters we heard about earlier. I believe today is about how all of us here today plan to make tourism a success story and, to that end, I am sure the workshop later will prove very worthwhile.

We have heard from Visit Guernsey and how they have been working hard to market what Guernsey has to offer the tourist. The new website will be an excellent window into what we offer. So much has been done in the wake of the Film it still amazes me I ever doubted our ability to take advantage of this unique opportunity and tell the world about the Island that inspired the film. I particularly like the Occupation Trail we heard about and the idea of a passport – I wonder where they got that idea from?

However, our success must not solely rely on that work – it depends on the extent of the participation of all of us. Everyone can make a difference.

We have heard about the need for good air and sea links and how we are working on that with gusto because, of course, it is not just important for tourism but for everyone. We are also told we need visitor accommodation that meets the higher expectations of the traveller of today. Many of you have done your bit, improving your hotels, guest houses and self-catering units and even other visitor markets such as the popular AirBnB visitor. But more can be done and should be done.

We also need exciting visitor attractions and it is my thoughts, my ideas on that I wanted to share with you today.

We know that we are usually almost full during the summer months but that, during the rest of the year, we have rooms sitting empty awaiting visitors. But, next year, if all those anticipated travellers try to book during the summer and can’t, what will attract them to look at alternative dates during the shoulder months or, goodness me, even during January?

To do that, to be a 365 destination, we need high quality attractions preferably all year round which offer indoor and outdoor activities with a real connection with our Island. And not just super offerings like Oatlands – others can benefit us all.

With that I mind, rather than just talking about what we need, I thought I’d see if I could come up with something – a project, a vision – that could provide that special experience but one for year round visitors. Something which combined fun for the family with a world-wide hook. Maybe even an early entry for the Ideathon we also heard about earlier.

One such attraction in the UK already in existence immediately sprang to mind. A place which, in 1995, was just a twinkle in the eye of its creator. A place which ended up giving a disused piece of land a new purpose and, by combining education and research, created a year-round visitor attraction known throughout the world.

I am of course talking about the Eden Project in Cornwall which was created by Tim Smit and which houses the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants and exhibitions which serve as a backdrop to striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.

So why not here on Guernsey? Why not our very own Eden Project or Garden of Guernsey?

We have the land. There is 80.6 hectares of redundant glasshouse sites – land which under policy OC7 can be turned into tourist attractions. The policy says that proposals to develop redundant glasshouse sites will be supported where the proposal is for outdoor formal recreation or informal leisure and recreation – subject of course to compliance with all relevant policies of the Island Development Plan. Similarly, Policy OC9 allows new indoor formal recreation development.

The States’ approved economic strategy sets out the intent to attract entrepreneurs to Guernsey, to encourage medtech firms to undertake research here and for groups to put on events which attract visitors year on year. Whilst we don’t have bags of money to spare, we do have a nimble, accessible government willing to listen to new ideas. I have also spoken to businesses who are willing to get involved in a public private partnership to promote tourism to the Bailiwick.

Long may we have the natural beauty of this Island but we also need a visitor attraction which offers activities – music festivals, art exhibitions, a marriage venue, ice skating rinks and maybe even a big screen! We need a creator like Tim Smit and others who have an idea and want to get business, government and the people of Guernsey together to create a world renowned venue worth visiting any time of year. One that will benefit all of us both residents, businesses and tourists alike.

You may say it is a dream – even a pipe dream – but I have started by asking what is required for Guernsey to become part of Eden Project International and we shall see what happens next ….

Dreams have to start somewhere – why not here in Guernsey? Let’s be inspired by the Islands we call home.”