We have had a list of 80 or so questions from the public, if all 118 of us answer them that’s nearly 9,500 answers to read. I am sure no one will wade through all of those plus 118 Manifestos as well as 118 Videos but it’s useful to have a number of ways to gauge your potential states members.-
Do you support a reduction in the cost of running the civil service? If so, how would you do that and over what timescale?
I do support a reduction in costs wherever possible. However, before the Financial Transformation program, Guernsey’s Civil Service already cost less than other comparable jurisdictions. Budgets have been reduced and cut over the years forcing the civil service to become leaner and more efficient. Guernsey currently enjoys a very low cost of government per capita compared to similar jurisdictions. That’s not to say more cost savings cannot be achieved but it cannot be at the cost of reducing essential services and the cost of the civil service no longer represents the low hanging fruit it may once have done.
Most of the detailed work of the States is done in committees, like the Committee for Environment and Infrastructure. What experience do you have of being on a committee and how did you contribute?
I led the development of the successful and world-leading waste strategy on the Public Services Department as well as designing Guernsey’s first Energy Policy whilst on the Energy Policy Steering Group. I have served on Social Security where we raised and strengthened pensions with above RPI increases over the years, Education where I worked on the rebuilding of Les Beaucamps and Public Accounts Committee where we investigated the Clinical Block. I was also on the Scrutiny committee and Public Sector Remuneration Committees.
With unemployment currently running at an all time high, what measures would you like in place to ensure local people are offered jobs before license holders ?
Training, training and training. Our society is transforming and developing at a faster pace than ever before, it is essential we islanders are sufficiently trained to meet those challenges and provide the ability to fill the jobs which are created. A well trained and professional workforce will do this and has been our strength for decades now.
What concrete measures would you like to see implemented in Guernsey during the next term to achieve net zero carbon by 2050?
I would like to see more renewable energy being generated from the islands resources, solar, off-shore wind or more preferably tidal power. It has been slow to develop though and has technological challenges to overcome. A link with a university research department or a company looking to test their equipment would be welcome in regards to tidal power.
If I live in St Peter Port but have interests in the Vale, St Peters and Castel. Will you be looking at Island Wide issues or more so in your Parish of residence? If so, how would you do that and over what timescale?
Deputies have always attended a monthly meeting of their Douzaine where matters are discussed. It would be my intention to visit the monthly meeting of all the island’s Douzaines (if they’ll have me) in order to keep abreast of all the issues in every part of the island.
Are you concerned about the large amount of agricultural land that is being lost for private gardens?
I am if it becomes immaculate, overly-manicured, sterile lawns, as private gardens can be great for wildlife if done properly with insect friendly plants and wild areas, and the land is still there is there is a need to cultivate at any stage. I am more concerned about land being lost to building, if you build on it, it’s gone.
You will make many commitments as a politician, but how will you actually ensure these are achieved? If you have been a deputy before, what will you do differently this term to improve achievements?
Work together with other Deputies and build bridges, write very good speeches.
What are your opinions on climate change and Guernsey’s role in tackling it?
I believe the evidence gathered by the IPCC and the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists who believe that man-made climate change is the greatest challenge facing us. Every population of 65,000 people has a role to play and Guernsey has shown what it can do by achieving the highest household recycling rate on the planet which should act as an example to other jurisdictions large and small.
What are the attributes and skills you will be looking for in the next President of the Policy & Resources Committee?
We need a solid vision of how the short to medium term future will develop along with great leadership skills and the ability to build an effective and cohesive team from a group of potentially disparate individuals.
If the independent Cost Benefit Analysis supports lengthening the airport runway, would you vote in favour of investing in this key element of island infrastructure?
I don’t believe every decision is necessarily only a cost-based decision, social and environmental factors also play a part. I would take a rounded view bearing in mind all the factors and parameters including public sentiment and environmental factors.
Do you believe that diversification of the island’s tax base is an important consideration for Guernsey in today’s volatile and fast-moving global economy? If so, how can this specifically be achieved for Guernsey?
Diversification is absolutely key to Guernsey’s long term success. Rules and regulations are always changing and other jurisdictions are breathing down our necks looking to take business from us. Guernsey needs to be swift of foot to adapt and keep ahead. High levels of training for the local workforce is essential in having a workforce well-positioned to take advantage of the swiftly changing economy. Adapting legislation quickly also plays a major part in attracting business, supporting it and keeping it here.
What are the candidates’ views on maternity pay and leave and how would they improve the current arrangements, if at all?
Parents need time to be with their young families and I support statutory Maternity and Paternity leave. If there is a case to change the current position, let’s hear it.
I believe Guernsey needs a vision; a forward-thinking concept for the future of the island’s infrastructure, community well-being and economy. What’s yours?
We are a small enough jurisdiction to be able to trial and test new concepts. I love the aim of being one of the happiest places and it gives us all something to work towards. This aim needs to be backed up with concrete proposals for progressive social change, environmental protection and measures to keep our economy strong.
Do you agree that people should be encouraged to use cars less and if so what measures would you like to see introduced to achieve this?
I don’t see the sense in using fossil fuels to transport 1 – 2 tonnes of metal with you as you move around the island unless you are transporting something, people, goods etc. Smaller more fuel efficient vehicles should be promoted. I’d like to see more cycling and as Guernsey is very hilly in places maybe more scooters and electric bicycles. We need more cycle friendly policies for those who want to but it’s hard to see how this can be achieved on many of our roads. It will need some radical thinking to move us from where we are now. As combustion engine vehicles using fossil fuels are phased out and replaced with electric vehicles the situation should improve and I hope to see some innovative forms of electric transport and some very snazzy one and two person electric vehicles coming forward.
Do you support outsourcing of States services?
I think there are some areas we could look to outsource and I would welcome the discussion, I am not of the view that we should outsource key infrastructure such as the prison or the hospital though.
What will you do to educate the islanders about the reality of the climate crisis which is the biggest threat currently facing the world?
My political life since 2004 has been spent making speeches and preparing policy which seeks to mitigate Climate change and the effects of climate change from the formation of Guernsey’s first energy policy to the high recycling waste solution and the support for renewable energy. If elected, I would continue to do this. I am hopeful that fulfilling environmental aims will not be the struggle it has been in the past
Most environmental problems are caused by the love of growth. Would you consider de-growth?
One of the ideas being discussed in last year’s Institute of Directors annual convention was moving away from the obsession with endless annual growth. Economic growth as we have seen in the past is unsustainable, due to the over-consumption of natural resources. If you can de-couple growth from its reliance on carbon-heavy activities then economic growth can continue but that isn’t happening fast enough. We need to consume less and re-use more is the current reality.
What intra island transport strategy would you support to ensure safe and ‘clean’ travel on island for all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists? And how do you plan to deliver that plan financially?
A funded workable Transport strategy is essential with measures to reduce reliance on high emission vehicles.
What environmental policies would you support to reduce Guernsey’s reliance on the internal combustion engine, in support of International global warming initiatives?
Increasing electrification of our transport using the electricity from renewable sources which Guernsey imports and in the future, hopefully, we produce ourselves.
What measures will you put in place during the next term to ensure that environmental biodiversity will be protected and enhanced?
Fund and implement the excellent strategy for nature.
The Guernsey Press had an article and a picture of a proposed East Coast development called HYDROPORT. It seemed to me to be a brilliant plan and included a new deep water harbour, a hydro electric supply by enclosing Belgrave bay and changes to St Peter Port harbour to accommodate cruise liners and super yachts. It would provide jobs, produce an ongoing and substantial revenue stream and make us to some extent self-reliant on electricity, why has there been no update on this project?
I think It’s just too big a concept for States Members to get their heads around, they are presented with a similar plan every few years – last time it was handed to the Eastern Seaboard Project Group. It will take focused and determined leadership to see it through.
Do you agree that there is a climate crisis caused predominantly by the actions of humans?
By far the vast majority of the earth’s scientists believe in man-made climate change, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believe that human activities are having an effect on the climate. Anyone who argues against that, must have some excellent data unknown to the rest of the scientific community, either that or they are not following the science.
Longue Hougue has been proposed as a site for inert waste disposal despite it being a site of international importance in terms of wildlife. La Societe Guernesiase and other scientists have advised against this. What will you do to ensure that this valuable habitat is protected?
I’d push to look at land reclamation in front of the QEII marina to extend our harbour facilities instead, as well as work to reduce the amount of inert waste produced in the first place.
Most scientists and experts agree that a target of 2050 to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions is nowhere near ambitious enough and will have catastrophic consequences around the world. What will you do to ensure that Guernsey takes action to significantly reduce carbon emissions during the next term?
Guernsey has a history of hitting targets early, it hit its’ 2030 recycling target in 2020, it made its Kyoto targets early, I am sure given our relative wealth, high levels of education and community participation, hitting our 2050 target early, while challenging, would not be impossible.
What is your view on current spending on Aurigny, is it worth how much we are paying? Is it run efficiently? Did we need new aircraft?
The Guernsey tax payer is having to put up too much money in covering these losses, we need to find a better way to guarantee our Gatwick slots and maintain lifeline air links.
If elected, would you fully support the retention, repair and ongoing maintenance of the Sea Defences provided by the anti-tank wall at L’Ancresse Bay?
Sea defences, especially for the low lying north of the island, are vital and will become more important this century.
A significant proportion of the concerns about the two college model of secondary education related to the capital costs and space standards: they could have been addressed with higher spending. Would you be prepared to spend more money on the future model of secondary education than previously agreed by the States in September 2019? If so, how much more?
Like many, I believe strongly in investing in education as it is our key to maintaining a well-educated and flexible workforce which will prove able to meet the challenges ahead. But it’s not just about buildings, I’d like to see more apprenticeships, technical and vocational courses and work experience rather than focusing on achieving certain grades in subjects they will never use again as well as an expansion of online courses and material.
With the general increase in costs of running the island and with various capital projects requiring funding; and with limitations on the amount that islanders can be taxed; do you think that it may be time to revisit the 0-10 tax scheme that created a big black hole in the island’s finances?
The black hole has been filled and the 0-10 has been amended to include more sections of business within our tax base, any significant action on 0-10 should not be taken unilaterally but must include the Isle of Man and Jersey. We are in a competitive arena with other off-shore jurisdictions and any unilateral taxation moves contain a high element of risk; upwards and we become uncompetitive and downwards we put pressure on public finances. The crown dependencies should recognise their common interests and work together to improve their finances, making beneficial changes simultaneously. I am in favour of taxing economic activity where it occurs.
If elected, what priority will you give to the introduction of the already-drafted consumer protection legislation?
If there is a hold-up, I’d have to look at all the other priorities as well to rank them relative to each other.
Did you know that same-sex families aren’t treated equally when it comes to registering the birth of a child? What will you do to change that?
I did not know that, I am a great fan of equality and support policies which promote it.
Would you support a programme of privatisation of island utilities and other facilities such as Beau Sejour to help reduce record levels of borrowing resulting from the cost of Covid defences?
I think there are some areas we could look to outsource or privatise and I would welcome the discussion. I am not of the view that we should outsource important service provision such as the prison or hospital however, but I am not sure there is a reason not to look at outsourcing something like Cesspit emptying services for example, I’m sure there are many others.
Increasing home working will likely result in surplus office space. Will you encourage an urgent revision of Planning Policies to facilitate conversion of retail and office space to residential & curb green-field development?
Yes, I think this is essential and will re-vitalise a vibrant St Peter Port for example.
What is your attitude towards enhanced and mandatory registration, chipping and DNA recording of dogs and control of their fouling, island-wide?
Dogs should be chipped but as for DNA registering them and testing dog faeces to find a perpetrator, that’s an intrusion into people’s lives which seems Orwellian.
I have one question for sitting Deputies and one for new candidates. Deputies:- what, in your mind, was your greatest political achievement in the last four years? New candidates:- What is your biggest political goal in the next four years?
I led the team which developed the recycling strategy resulting in a world-leading 73% house-hold recycling, I’d like to tackle Commercial and Industrial waste next.
How good are your mediation and conciliation skills? The key to the islands well-being and progress is in working together to achieve the projects approved – to see sustainable, innovative solutions. Leadership in pulling the team together to move forward, rather than in circles.
Sometimes getting the States to move in the same direction is like trying to herd mercury using cats but I do have a track record of driving policy successfully through the States, projects such as the Long Sea Outfall project and the Waste Strategy as well as mini-projects like changing the cruise liner passenger berth which was a tough project to implement against much opposition but has proved to be an excellent decision.
Would you support not giving Local Market licenses to those earning above a set level to support both LM and OM?
I would, if it is compatible with European Court of Human Rights. I am not sure of the numbers involved however, or if it is a significant problem. I already favour some protection for houses at the lower end of the market.
First time buyers are encouraged to buy new build developments taking up green space, while there are vast amounts of listed properties facing dereliction on the island – buildings ripe for restoration, renovation and to be lived in. Currently, people are put off as they are greeted with stringent and outdated views by The Planning and Heritage Department – it takes too much time and money so are immediately put off. What will you do to change the process for the better?
New builds are often on re-developed sites these days and long may that continue. We need to encourage the development of homes using modern environmentally friendly construction methods and planning should reflect that.
In 1945, the generosity of people outside Guernsey enabled the delivery of Red Cross parcels to the island on the SS Vega. What is your view on the statement that ‘charity begins at home but should not end there’? How can we best show our care for people in need in other parts of the world?
I support our Overseas Aid programme and know that money raised here can have a far greater benefit in other countries where it buys more and helps lift people out of poverty. I have supported KIVA loans also.
Do you agree with the principle of scrutiny of government and if so how would you ensure that it was fairly carried out ?
Scrutiny of government is key to maintain confidence in government operations and ensure government operates in a well governed manner. Powers to compel are essential.
Considering the mounting public pressure against the way our current justice system deals with cannabis offences, what is your stance on the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in Guernsey?
We spend too much money on enforcement and burden individuals with criminal records for a plant which grows naturally which has proven medicinal benefits. I would support a re-think on cannabis with one caveat, I would investigate the science and research regarding a capping of THC levels or CBD/THC balance as some of the modern strains have been engineered to be so high they can cause mental health issues, it’s a subject for discussion. I definitely support the wide-spread use of medicinal cannabis for patients whose symptoms would be alleviated by it.
In a review last year into drugs and treatments and States debate in January, HSC acknowledged that the disparity between life changing NICE TA drugs available in Guernsey compared to the NHS had become too great to be justified, with nearly 4000 patients now on sub-optimal treatments. The Guernsey Health Reserve was identified as the funding source. HSC announced last week a delay of at least a year to the implementation of this policy. How do you propose to tackle the pace at which change takes place within the States? Should you be held accountable for delivering on commitments you make individually, as a committee or collectively as the States?
I understand there is some positive movement on orally administered NICE TA drugs. I think politicians are held or should be held accountable every four years in public voting and more frequently by Scrutiny.
What ideas do you have to ensure there is affordable housing including support for first time buyers and ensure affordable rental property is available for locals so they can continue to live here? What is your stance on mortgage tax relief and shared ownership initiatives
The Guernsey Housing Association’s programme of partial ownership schemes is drying up and this excellent initiative needs a shot in the arm. I support shared ownership also.
What would you do to address traffic noise pollution from vehicles speeding and backfiring along St Georges Esplanade/Les Banques and towards town?
Excessive noise is illegal, if it is an issue, place some community policemen there to apprehend offenders and enforce the law by ensuring faulty equipment is rectified.
The recent Frontier report on the runway extension summed up that “the economic benefits of extending the runway are likely to outweigh the costs” with net benefits over 40 years of up to £687m (over £20k per household). Post COVID, do you support continued investigation into the potential for a runway extension to improve Guernsey’s infrastructure, air links, and sustain the visitor economy?
Not at this stage I don’t. I’ve seen reports which show little economic benefit, especially with the future of aviation as we know it in doubt. £20k per household over 40 years leaves a pretty big margin for error. We could have a fleet of smaller electric planes in the not too distant future, I am in no hurry to rush into spending tens of millions of pounds for a project which has such a low potential return given the uncertainties the future holds at this time.
Brexit presents a unique opportunity for Guernsey to strengthen its ties with other Commonwealth countries and stand on its own two feet on an international scale. Would you be willing to make an effort to strengthen our diplomatic ties to countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada?
If it is to our economic benefit in terms of trade then yes.
The current states assembly has approved proposals for a Discrimination Ordinance, but much work needs to be done. How committed are you to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, people with disabilities and people of faith are protected on this island?
I have always supported progressive social advances and will continue to do so, equality and diversity are the hallmarks of a modern society.
What criteria do you use for decision making?
Is it in the long term interests of the people of Guernsey and the environment we live in? Is it affordable? Is it appropriate, reasoned, measured and supported by evidence?
In the last two years two pieces of legislation have come to the States which specifically target the most vulnerable members of our society – euthanasia and abortion – where a person’s fundamental and basic right to life is overridden in the name of lesser rights. Do you believe that disposing of a person’s life is a sign of progress? Do you believe that failing to protect human life at any age or stage of development is the mark of a civilised and enlightened and caring society?
I think the quality of life as one draws near the end of it, coupled with the patient’s wishes are important factors in decision making and I do see that as a sign of a progressive caring society. With respect to abortion, I support the right for choice but understand and respect those who believe that God created a life and it is not for us to extinguish it but I don’t know how to reconcile those two opposing views at the moment.
It is beyond time to invest in our people, infrastructure and public services. Do you plan to make the island’s tax system more fair and progressive, so that more businesses and the wealthy pay a fairer share?
Our task is to to develop a sustainable tax system which ensures we remain competitive whilst sharing the tax burden fairly and not putting an undue load on the lowest income members of our community, or squeezing the middle.
In light of covid-19 and the hit that the tourist industry has taken what plans (if any) would you try to put in place to make Guernsey more attractive to tourists after travel bans are lifted? And do you feel tourism should play a more crucial role in Guernsey? If not, why?
We should make more of our German fortifications as a holiday destination for enthusiasts with more organised offerings, stays and tours focused on our history. I’d do more to attract cruise liner passengers back.
Please list in order of importance: – driving Guernsey’s economy – addressing social needs – protecting the environment – invest in Guernsey’s infrastructure and improve – sort out the schools – focus on air and sea links – extend the runway – implement revive and thrive as a priority – open our closed borders as a priority – reduce states expenditure
We have to get to grips with the Revive and Thrive strategy straight away while other teams look at the ‘Economent’ – the economy and environment are so inextricably linked that we cannot do without a robust and healthy version of either, most of the others are all also important and should be taken forward by their respective Committees contemporaneously.
List your achievements to date which have been a benefit to Guernsey.
I led the team which developed the recycling strategy resulting in a world-leading 73% household recycling level, I’d like to tackle Commercial and Industrial waste next.
As we subsidise the airline, should Aurigny have a monopoly over all air routes to and from the Bailiwick, with a regulator to ensure fair pricing and a policy of not for profit?
I’d take a policy of not-for-loss right now but in a small island jurisdiction I don’t think we should be afraid of well-regulated monopolies dealing with essential lifelines, I’m not sure all routes off the island would qualify.
Should the island be spending tax payers money on maintaining air and sea links?
Preferably not. Guernsey have air and sea links which outstrip nearly every other jurisdiction of 65,000 people, what we might like to think of is carefully regulated monopolies for essential links, such as sea-links so that a reasonable profit can be made by the operator, a choice of routes available and subsidies avoided. Competition in such small markets can result in a reduction of service on less profitable routes restricting choice.
What is your view on future funding for long term care as current funding will be insufficient by 2040?
People are living longer than expected and so not enough has been paid into the long term care fund over the years. Which part of society should pay for it? Probably it’s fairest to share the burden in a number of ways, a small uplift in Social Security, coupled with a transfer from general taxation.
What is your opinion of introducing a goods and sales tax?
I voted against a GST
Would you support the ‘listing’ of all remaining historic military structures, as Jersey has done, to ensure their ongoing protection, repair and maintenance?
Some unique examples should be protected yes, but simply listing them does not guarantee they will be properly preserved and maintained.
What initiatives would you put in place to grow our economy?
Diversification is absolutely key to Guernsey’s long term success. Rules/regulations are always changing and other jurisdictions are breathing down our necks looking to take business from us. Guernsey needs to be swift of foot to adapt and keep ahead. I’d push for growth in the green fund initiatives, could be a massive growth opportunity for Guernsey if we continue to get our offering right and adjust as we go.
Do you believe that the rates of income support are a) too low b) about right or c) too high? Explain your answer in some detail.
I’d need to take an in-depth look and be led by evidence. Too much in the way of income-support removes a desire to better one’s position and too little and people, especially children, can suffer. It’s a careful balance.
How will you support and encourage young people coming to the island with regards to housing and licencing to ensure the island has more stable tax base as the population ages?
The GHA should be supported to assist in building more partial ownership schemes (not on green-field sites) and a change should be made to the population management – homes with lower TRP values used to be protected for locals – residence permit holders were not permitted to purchase these lower priced houses. That protection was removed as part of the Population policy. This means that locals, many of them first time buyers, our children, must now compete with those relocating to the island who are often in receipt of generous housing allowances or relocation packages not available to local people. I voted against this as in my view it is unfair and affects the ability of Guernsey people to buy homes on their own island, I would vote to reinstate it.
How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?
I always vote with my conscience for what I believe will be in the best interests of islanders and society in the long run, that may or may not be divinely inspired, I don’t know.
What are your views on the cost of Primary Healthcare locally and what innovative ideas do you have that don’t simply involve ‘redirecting funding from a different states pot’ to create fair, equitable and affordable access to Primary Care for all islanders?
It’s clear that there is no choice in primary care in cost terms which means the free market is not working in competitive terms. I would seek to inject some competition which could be to attract new providers or even Govgg to open a competitive primary care surgery.
Do you support developing end of life care (including palliative care) or would you look to introduce a form of euthanasia as in assisted dying (assisted suicide)?
I think both can go together, the quality of life approaching the end coupled with the wishes of the individual should be taken into consideration.
Education – Do you know what T levels are and if you do, would you be enthusiastically demanding that they are available here in Guernsey?
I didn’t know about T levels but I do now. I think they look excellent and would be perfect for Guernsey with its need for highly skilled workforce.
What will you do to help Guernsey businesses revive and thrive and make Guernsey a ‘smarter’ and technologically advanced place to do business, and to encourage new start up businesses?
I would push for Fibre-Optic to be available to all homes in a shorter timescale than the 15 years currently envisaged which should help High Tech companies looking for excellent connectivity and Internet speeds, boost the potential for working from home, give more people employment opportunities and boost our economy.
There is a lack of mental health support available – particularly to those who seem to fall into the apparent gap between the secondary and primary mental health services. What will you do to address this?
I am in favour of increased funding for mental health services to deal with the mental health epidemic which is washing through our society.
How would you as a deputy ensure emotive proposals such as, change to abortion law or assisted dying law would be publicly debated? And allow Islanders to have more of a say in these emotive issues.
I have always been in favour of calm, rational debate, using evidence and logic, I would continue to follow that course and strongly encourage others to do the same. I would also urge voters to vote for rational candidates able to operate well in a team even whilst challenging each other’s views.
What is your position on the opportunity to debate the abortion issue more openly and fairly with more balanced representations to the Deputies?
I think there is a fundamental difference of view between those who believe that God put a life into being and those who believe that mankind has a say in the matter. I am not sure that can be reconciled other than a ‘show of hands’ at this stage but I am respectful of other people’s views and would always listen with an open mind to fresh viewpoints or nuances. I would say that this has been debated a number of times, have things changed significantly?
What are your views about the proposed way forward with regard to Probate, recognising that the age-old system has been efficient, pastoral, and inexpensive? Are you of the view “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?
I am afraid I am not knowledgeable enough to comment.
With sea level rise already underway, we need to understand all our sea defences around the island and where they need to be shored up in the years to come and a budget allocated for strengthening and maintenance. This needs to occur whether we develop the Eastern Sea front or not.