The heartbeat of Guernsey and a port to rank amongst the most picturesque in the U.K. St.Peter Port from the Little Russel for returning ‘Guerns’ and visitors alike, provides the most attractive welcome possible. ‘Les Villais’ ( Townspeople) or ‘Cllichards’ in Guernesiaise are stoical, no nonsense people and it was my privilege to teach the younger generation of the town for many years. Some were challenging to say the least, the majority have become good parents and citizens, many have become my personal friends over the years and they have had a profound effect upon my thinking. Their energy, humour and resilience made them very special for a young teacher. Consequently, my political philosophy is coloured by my experiences during that formative time in my career in the Island’s education service.
Past mistakes in social housing policies have had an effect on the dynamics of the town which is also reflected in the social divisions that exist across the island and which could well present us with severe problems in the future unless steps are taken to evolve a more equitable society.
For thousands of years our capital has been the home of many different societies. The ability of our people to adapt and respond to differing challenges is well documented and the challenges facing the island today, although different, require another proactive response. Although we are all frustrated at times with inconveniences created by a breakdown in our infrastructure, these frustrations will be insignificant if we fail to address the financial issues which a worldwide recession has created. Our businessmen and women, the majority of whom work in St. Peter Port, have been proactive in securing the future of their businesses and we need to do the same for the welfare of our island. The adaptability of all Guernsey residents needs to be harnessed to ensure that we continue to prosper.
St. Peter Port is a very special community, well served by the Douzaine and the Jewel in the crown for all those who visit the island and who wish to savour its history and culture. There have been several attempts to re invigorate the old quarter and the balance between small initiatives and big retail business in the island is a constant problem. Empty shops and buildings do nothing to inspire confidence in those who wish to invest in retail initiatives. This is a challenge for our States of Deliberation. Antiquated by-laws which restrict initiative need to be reviewed so that an entrepreneurial culture can be encouraged. It is difficult enough coping with competition but the additional hurdle of bureaucratic restrictions is sometimes the thing that ‘breaks the Camel’s back’. St.Peter Port, in my view, requires a ‘can do’ approach from our government.
As well as the centre of our business base, St. Peter Port is home to thousands of Islanders who are very much affected by day to day problems like parking, transport, security and the efficient provision of services. These issues should be a central focus for those who represent the residents of St. Peter Port in the States.