I am a product of Guernsey. I was born here. My father was the youngest of fourteen children. My paternal grandfather worked until he was eighty as a stonemason. My maternal grandfather, amongst other things, was a Police Officer.
Guernsey gave me every opportunity. I was educated at Vauvert Infants, Amherst Junior School and Elizabeth College as a Scholarship boy. I went on to Law School and was called to the English Bar on the day after my twenty-first birthday. I qualified as a Guernsey Advocate in 1981, and I am still practising as such. In various capacities, I have served over ten years as a States Member. I have held senior positions in the States.
I also have business interests, which I have been able to develop in this Island.
I am grateful to those who came before me for the contributions they have made. I am grateful to those who have worked with me. I want to ensure that Guernsey allows the youngsters of today and tomorrow and the future to continue to thrive and have the opportunities, and better, that I have had.
Guernsey is a unique place and a unique society. Many places pretend to make that claim, but for Guernsey, it can be said that these are truisms.
The Island is beautiful. The entrance to St Peter Port Harbour is beyond compare. People speak to each other. They greet each other in the street daily. They welcome people who do not originate from these shores. They respect other people. They value hard work. They value integrity. They want people to succeed. They want to look after their elderly. They want to give their young the opportunity to prosper and thrive. They want to develop talent in whatever form that talent may take. They want people to be happy, healthy and prosperous.
The political system
The States of Deliberation now consists of thirty-eight Deputies and two Alderney representatives. In my time, I have seen the system develop. I have seen the reduction of States Members but the expansion of States of meeting. I have seen the reduction in Committee numbers, but the expansion of time spent in Committee meetings. Not all of that can be satisfactorily explained by the increasing complexity of the world and Guernsey’s place in it. We have a consensus Government. At the moment, it is operating at the lowest common denominator and it is preventing us making the decisive and positive decisions that we need to make. Many of the candidates will make many promises in their Manifesto. Even those that are joined together as a group will find those promises difficult to deliver. That does not mean you should not have hopes and aspirations, but what any candidate should do is refrain from making assurances to the Public that they will be able to achieve this, that or the other. What they should say is that they will work towards the goals that they seek to achieve.
What do I want to achieve?
I want to make sure that Guernsey keeps its uniqueness. I want to make sure that young peoples’ enterprise is not stifled. I want to make sure that every young person, and indeed every person, is given the opportunity to maximise their talents, whatever that talent may be. I want to make sure that the elderly can lead a dignified and financially secure retirement. I want to make sure that those, who through their own efforts have bought their own property, can keep hold of it. I want to make sure that those people what they wish can pass it down to their children. I want to make sure that we do not engender the politics of envy. I want to make sure that we try and improve our standards, rather than equalize downwards. I want to make sure that we do not supress and depress initiative and enterprise generally. I want us to be positive rather than negative. I want us to be endearing and welcoming rather than jealous and dogmatic.
The way forward generally
I believe that the States should:
In the first three or four months, and no longer, of its life sit down and address all these issues and come up with policies for years to come. For example, and I have not touched upon it as a separate topic, but there is the east coast development. None of us want fifteen storey high hotels. None of us want bulldozers and lorries driving up and down the roads of our coast for years to come. That said, there are things we can do now, which includes the Tourist Office and La Vallette, just to give two examples. We are though going to need a wider development, which may well stretch over many decades. That does not need to be a talking shop, as it has been for several years with nothing happening. Again a common theme and common policies can be adopted in a very few months, which could then be developed over a longer period.
I would thus like to see a more proactive and purposeful States.Only the Electorate can deliver that.If it delivers much of the same, then that will simply not occur.
I conclude by saying that I am optimistic. We are going to face considerable challenges in this Island and in this Bailiwick. We can overcome most of those and we can provide people with a way forward that probably nowhere else in the world could achieve. We can do that if we elect the right people and give them a mandate.
Many thanks if you have taken the time to read all or part of this.