The way in which we are governed is not fit for purpose in a modern world. We are internationally accountable and very much influenced by political decisions made elsewhere. The ‘Little Guernsey’ mentality illustrated by the comments of some members of the States is both myopic and dangerous. We need a well informed and proactive government capable of coordinating and facilitating change to enable us to remain globally competitive without losing our social harmony.
To consider failings in one area of island life without looking at the wider picture, as has happened recently in education is, in my view, not only naive but also negligent. Ill advised social housing policies and unhelpful housing laws, for example, have been major contributory factors in causing the problems in the two High Schools at the centre of the recent crisis in education yet little consideration has so far been given to this.
It is far too simplistic to lay the blame on individuals or even at individual departments. Systems that allow such failures to occur need to be reviewed and improved. My priority would be to ensure the following:
- Effective monitoring of all Civil Service Departments by their respective ministries, answerable to the States.
- Individual departments held accountable for all aspects of their practice and charged with making efficient use of available resources and generating a harmonious and coordinated working ethos.
- A more collaborative and coordinated approach to policy and planning by the States.
In addition, we must engage and empower islanders to play an ever increasing role in the decision making process in our island. A 36% turn-out at the last election reflects disillusion with the current system and those charged with running it.
- Island wide voting would inject more interest and fairness into the democratic process.
- The energy, idealism, vitality and aspirations of young people should be harnessed for the good of the island.
- Regular dialogue between the parishioners and their representatives in the States is essential.