Sark civil servant says future vision is 'top priority'

Colin Kniveton Mr Kniveton said he was focused on the way forward for the island

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Getting islanders to agree on what the future of Sark should be is the top priority of the island's first civil servant.

Colin Kniveton has been given time off from his role in the Isle of Man government to take up the post of interim chief secretary of Sark.

He said to plan for the next 10 to 20 years "agreement from everybody on what they really want" was needed.

Mr Kniveton said a survey sent to all island households was the first stage.

He said there had been 200 questionnaires returned and they were being examined by the UK Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for administrating the relationship with the Crown Dependencies.

Mr Kniveton said one area up for discussion was population, adding: "Do they want to have more people living on Sark or are they quite content with how it is at the moment?

Feudal system

"If it is the latter then how do we go about safeguarding the future for those people who are currently on Sark and that everybody has a job and a standard of living that allows them to live their life comfortably?"

He said the island had undergone some radical changes in recent years, including the bringing in of a democratic system of government to replace the previous feudal system.

Mr Kniveton said: "Now it's just a question of reviewing the changes that have been made and to some extent fine tuning some of the way forward.

"It's a question of now, as any government does, looking at its budgets, looking at how it generates its income, looking at what its citizens want in terms of the facilities they get on Sark.

"What are they happy with, what are they not happy with and the survey will be the first instrument we use to get an understanding directly from the residents of what they want to see in the future."

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