On Wednesday, 11-year-olds around the island will be ready to start secondary school for the first time. Their year group is the first not to have taken the 11-plus, ushering in the long-awaited beginning of non-selective education in Guernsey. The [...]
What a fantastic event from YouthAction4ClimateGsy yesterday! Young people from schools across the island gathered in the Grammar School Hall at half twelve, ready to make their concerns about climate change heard, loud and clear.
Last week, towards the end of a long debate on In-Work Poverty – sometimes constructive, sometimes grandiose – Deputy Barry Brehaut said that long-serving States Members, term after term, have tried to bring policies which would allow poorer islanders to enjoy a decent quality of life. Those have been batted back by other politicians who turn up their nose at the cost, or even the concept, of doing so.
Like every Deputy in the States, I've had to cut my cloth – I'm left with a small but critical pile of things that, come hell or high water, I will try and see through to the end. I want to use this blog to talk about what those are – and to spend a little time on what I've left behind.
Happy New Year. Perhaps it’s getting a bit late to say that – we’re already double-digits into 2019. But I’ll say it while I can: if you are reading this, I really do wish you and yours every good thing for the year ahead.
The votes are in and Option A – a single, island-wide election for all 38 States Members – topped the poll in the first and last rounds of voting. That means big changes for Guernsey and a very short window – only eighteen months – to get them in place before the next election. It's going to be a tough two years!
With five days to go until Guernsey's first referendum, here are five reflections on our current political system, its virtues and vices. They're not a direct commentary on any of the options, but I hope they might help to highlight what could be gained and what could be lost, as you weigh up your choices for Wednesday's vote.
The pace of States' business picks up in October, with an agenda that ranges from benefit rates to airport runways. A report updating the Rules of Procedure will provide some opportunities to improve the ways that States meetings run, and will no doubt attract a fair share of amendments.
The States reconvene on September 26th, and once again the meeting starts with the election of a Jurat. This is an important role within Guernsey's justice system and, as ever, it would be good to see a contested election with several good candidates – if this is something you're interested in, please get in touch: I'd be glad to help you find out more. The agenda is relatively light, with several pieces of law to approve and three short policy letters, relating to regulation of the finance sector, minor changes to benefit rules, and dates of States Meetings for the final year of this term. Very few policy letters have so far come forward for October, either, so it looks like this autumn will be off to a more gradual start than most.
In early August, I asked Deputy Mary Lowe some questions about criminal justice policy. These followed her announcement in the States that the Committee for Home Affairs might need to look at alternative accommodation for prisoners, because the prison is getting too full.
After a couple of relatively quiet States Meetings, the July agenda is full of interesting business, with seven policy letters – including proposals for the future of air transport licensing, and the publication of the KPMG housing market report – and a requete on the future membership of the States' Trading Supervisory Board.
The States will meet twice in June, and both meetings are significant. The first meeting starts on 5 June with updates to the Policy and Resource Plan, and is followed by ordinary business of the States. The second meeting will begin on 26 June, with consideration of the States' Accounts. This update deals with the first of the two meetings.