So with hours-worth of States Meetings, Committee Meetings, Sub Committee Meetings, general meetings, presentations, workshops, tours, social functions and a Cricket match now behind me….I can honestly say I’ve never had an induction period like it! This has been the most enjoyable shove in the deep end I’ve had since I got married and had my 3 kids. It’s been hard work, but so far all very a positive experience.
Starting with the first of the 3 States meetings we had during June, on the 8th June to (Billet d’Etat XVII ) I’ll cover some but not all of the items contained within the Billet – which can be read via the above link.
So on the 8th we began with completing the elections to the Scrutiny Committee. This Committee is headed up by Deputy Chris Green and the election was for the non-voting members of the Committee who are appointed from a pool of applicants from members of the public. With 2 candidates chosen, we had to unfortunately postpone our vote on the item on a technicality, as due process required the Biographies to be circulated in advance, to assist in our decision making. This had not been done, so this item was carried forward to the next meeting.
This is a good example of how the States’ Rules of Procedure are strictly followed during States Meetings. The job of the HM Procurer is to advise on these matters and for the Bailiff or his Deputy to ensure that these rules are followed.
An item of particular importance to me, was the amendment to the Gambling Ordinance. This was another matter of a technical nature, with the addition of a further day on which gambling is allowed in Guernsey, being Good Friday. Ten years ago when the law was amended to allow gambling on a Sunday I felt uneasy. Further extension of gambling service hours into a holiday day, which has religious origins feels odd and secondly I feel gives a message of further acceptance of a habit, which has ruinous consequences of the lives of individuals and families.
This vote left me in a conundrum with many items to consider: I value highly time away from work and do not want to see traditional family holiday, and for some day of worship, more commercialised into an ordinary work day. I am also conscious that many in Guernsey still have a strong faith and I respect this. I do however want to help diversify the economy and encourage freedom of choice, so on the face of it want the market to be able to trade as and when it needs to, but I feel this has to be balanced with a strong sense of social responsibility when the product or service one sells can be very harmful. I could not reconcile my views so had to vote “contre” to the proposition, as I would have done to allow the gambling on a Sunday if I had had a vote a decade ago.
The last item on 8th was the funding for the 2021 Island Games. £750k has been ring-fenced from the lottery fund and needed approval at a States level to be released so as to make the Island Game a realty in Guernsey in 5 years’ time. Deputy Lyndsay de Sausmarez delivered her maiden speech, off the cuff and unprepared in the most impressive and articulate of ways, blowing all the nay-sayers of the event out of the water. Her first hand and personal experience of the Sydney Olympics, and that of her cousin whose life was inadvertently saved via an inspiration to get on his bike as a result of the London Olympics, was moving and a lesson in the “can-do” attitude of many of us newbies in the States this term. With Dame Mary Perkins at the helm to guide the ship that is the organising committee for the Island Games and a capable team surrounding her, this is a worthwhile investment for an epic event which has so many plus points it’ll take too long to note them all here – email me if you want to chat about it as it’s one of the Committee’s that I sit on which is supporting this ESC.
With June being the longest and busiest of months’ I’ll split this post and let you know about some of the sub-committees that I’m involved with and the 2 other States Meetings at the end of the month.
You can see the decisions made on 8th June noted here in the document entitled Resolutions. Next post coming soon.