…… and what a week!
As I have been concentrating on other things this week (canvassing, hustings, 50th birthday), I thought I’d look back at what else had been going on around us.
I think the civil service headlines were the most eye opening – not just the resignation of Dr Carol Tozer but also Paul Whitfield’s views that the civil service will be more accountable under the new Committee system of government. As a non-States member of the Legislation Select Committee, I played some small part in the consultation process on the proposed system and had many discussions on the subject. I think it is a great opportunity not just to ensure accountability of the civil service but also of the deputies. It will also give an opportunity for greater participation by the islanders of the Bailiwick with the earlier publication of the Billets and, hopefully, better communication of the outcomes.
Then there was the announcement of a Deposit Scheme only to be followed by what seemed a hasty (in my view) statement by the Housing Minister that it would not help. The Harbour raised its head as an issue again but for reasons which seem to me all so familiar – the under use of our assets. We have seen the Herm boat, unfortunately, having difficulties but this time a simple solution arrived – a back-up vessel!
The cruise passengers have started visiting our shores saying they prefer Guernsey to our larger neighbour. This is always good to hear especially as it is the warm, traditional welcome that they appreciate. Their trip could be better if we knew the true value of these visits so we can assess what we should spend to improve their visit, know that it is proportionate and see that it is also beneficial for us islanders.
There are more planning and parking concerns reported – concerns which I have heard echoed regularly on the doorsteps. Why can’t we get to grips with the problem of parking whether it is the number of parking places for new builds or treating our residents fairly by preventing vehicles outstaying their welcome? Some have been there for days, months even years!
We have had a discussion on banning bonfires and what to do about our waste. Some say stop the bonfires, others say burn the lot (the waste that is!) The Guernsey Press have been telling us about their Pride of Guernsey Awards to rightly celebrate some amazing achievements. We have also honoured two of our brave Guernseymen who died as a result of the first world war.
In the UK, the EU debate heats up with the US getting involved. It has been 400 years since Shakespeare’s death and 90 years since our wonderful Queen was born. This is tempered by the sad passing of another two greats, Victoria Wood and Prince.
Today is the London Marathon and I want to wish good luck to those runners from Guernsey – working hard for worthy causes. Whilst I am not a runner, I understand a little more about the extensive preparation needed having walked my own Marathon around St Peter Port South these past few weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will complete my Marathon as the mind is willing but the body isn’t. Apologies to those I have not had a chance to meet but a great big thank you to those who have given up their time to tell me their views.
And, finally, to next week. Some of you have already voted through the postal vote system but most are reading the manifestos for the last time. If you have questions, now is the time to ask the candidates as you may not get another chance.
For me it has been a wonderful journey. I have met so many fascinating, informed people and have become firm friends with many. I have campaigned using all sorts of social media, responding to e-mails, videos and, of course, the hustings. But, after all that, I have realised that meeting people is the best for me and I hope for you the voter, whether on the doorstep, in the pubs and wine bars or in Market Square holding tightly onto my balloons.
So having made my observations and said my thanks, I repeat my belief that the future of Guernsey is in the hands of the voters. Please vote wisely, please vote on the 27th April.