States of Guernsey

  1. End-of-life care review stalled due to 'lack of resources'

    BBC Radio Guernsey

    A review of palliative care in Guernsey has stalled because of a lack of resources and the Covid-19 pandemic, the president of the Committee for Health and Social Care (HSC) said.

    Deputy Al Broard said HSC would not be able to complete the review without "additional resource being provided" and the delay had been exacerbated by coronavirus.

    He added it would not be possible to confirm when it would be completed.

    The confirmation came in response to a question to Mr Brouard about the status of the review the States agreed to carry out in 2018 from Deputy Gavin St Pier.

    Mr St Pier was the original proponent of a bill to investigate legalising assisted dying, which was rejected by States members.

    The review was originally due to be completed by June 2020 - although the States was also informed of the lack of progress in 2019, which was also put down to a lack of resources.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Virtual reality used to explore proposed changes to facilities to see how they will work.
  3. Fiscal review announced for 2021

    The States of Guernsey will undertake a fiscal review in 2021 to look for possible areas of additional revenue, Deputy Mark Helyar said.

    The Policy and Resources Committee (P&R) now considers this review is "absolutely essential" to work out how the States deals with projected budget defects in coming years.

    He said: "I'm not saying we are going to bring in additional taxes, what I am saying is we cannot afford what we've been committed to spend."

    Mr Helyar said the need for Guernsey to "live within our means" preceded being "exacerbated" by the pandemic.

    President of P&R Peter Ferbrache acknowledged the 2020 budget was the start of a "difficult journey" for islanders.

    He said: "You can't squeeze anymore juice from the lemon... so decisions are going to have to be made."

  4. No new taxes or major increases in States budget

    The States of Guernsey will not implement any new taxes or major increases to existing taxes, Deputy Mark Helyar revealed while presenting the 2020 budget.

    The budget forecast a £120m cost of the Covid-19 to States finances.

    The treasury lead for the Policy and Resources Committee said the decision to keep tax rises in line with inflation, to reflect the hardship faced by many islanders over the course of the pandemic.

    Mr Helyar emphasised the government faces "major deficits" in 2020 and in coming years and had been "effectively selling off the family silverware" by dipping into reserves to "fill the gap".

    He said: "We need to be honest and realistic with the community and ourselves as a government.

    "I met with political colleagues [on Monday] and my message to them was very clear - we cannot spend in a way that the States has spent up to now."

  5. UK has 'no right' to legislate for Guernsey

    Adam Durbin

    BBC News

    The UK government has "no right" to legislate for Guernsey following Brexit, the politician heading up Guernsey's external relations has said.

    Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq's comments follow a debate in the House of Lords over a clause in the fisheries bill that could attempt to extend laws to the Channel Islands.

    The proposed legislation currently includes a permissive extent clause, which could theoretically permit the UK to impose new fishing rules on the Channel Islands after Brexit without their consent,

    Both Guernsey and Jersey argue the law, which passed the House of Commons in October, is unconstitutional.

    An amendment requiring the UK government to get consent before extending any fishing rules was withdrawn in the House of Lords on Thursday, after lengthy debate.

    Mr Le Tocq said he had "made it clear" to UK MPs it was unlikely the States of Guernsey would accept such an imposition.

    He said: "The clause being there is one thing, but if the government choose to invoke it there would be a constitutional issue."

    Mr Le Tocq emphasised the UK government has "no right" to legislate for the bailiwick without consent.

    "It can include whatever it likes in its legislation, but that doesn't make it law here."

    He describe the issues as an "unnecessary irritation" but added he was "not going to lose any sleep" over the issue because he was sure of "exactly where our constitutional relationships sits".

    Mr Le Tocq concluded: "Anything the UK does will, in my mind, just make them look foolish... because it's not going to have the effect of law unless we want it to here in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark."

  6. Home Affairs search for non-voting members

    The Committee for Home Affairs (HA) is looking for up to two non-voting members to work with elected members.

    They are allowed to contribute to all areas of committee responsibility, but will not vote on policy decisions.

    HA President Rob Prow emphasised while they were looking for people of "suitable experience", there were no specific qualifications needed to join.

    He said: "We would be keen to hear from people with experience that would be particularly relevant to our work on the Justice Policy, which will be a focus for us this term.

    "This could mean someone who has experience of working in or closely linked to the justice system."

    The committee's responsibilities include law enforcement, justice policy, population management office, immigration, prison and probation, fire and rescue, trading standards, emergency planning, lotteries and gambling.

    Anyone interested in a seat on the committee as a non-voting member should contact Vicky Lajoie by emailing vicky.lajoie@gov.gg.

  7. P&R president sets out priorities for new States term

    President of Policy and Resources Peter Ferbrache has outlined his priorities for his committee in the beginning of the new States of Guernsey term.

    He said they would investigate and report back to the States Assembly on the following issues:

    • Civil service reform and transformation
    • "Empowering" douzaines
    • Investing in medical tourism
    • Greater co-operation and cost saving with Jersey and the Isle of Man
    • Reform to States of Guernsey employment terms and conditions
    • An inventory of States property
    • Drawing up a list of capital construction and renovation projects
    • Providing assistance for Guernsey Finance
    • Changes to insolvency and bankruptcy laws
    • Establish a sovereign wealth fund, a States-run financial investment body
    • Development of the east coast, including the development of affordable housing
    • Establishing an updated air and sea travel links strategy
    • A tourist accommodation strategy to deal with empty and unused hotels
    • Urgent review of the population management regime
    • Investigating the provision of broadband internet
    • Expediting the approval and implementation of new Guernsey laws
    • A review of Guernsey's government structure

    Deputy Ferbrache also confirmed setting up the States investment body would provisionally be investigated by his predecessor, Deputy Gavin St Pier.

  8. Home Affairs committee picks new vice-president

    BBC Radio Guernsey

    Guernsey's home affairs committee has elected a vice-president.

    Deputy Simon Vermeulen was chosen by the Committee for Home Affairs during its first formal meeting.

    President Rob Prow said Mr Vermeulen would bring "enthusiasm and determination" to the role.

    "Simon is well-known in the community from his work in the hospitality sector so will have insight that will be particularly helpful regarding the Population Management part of our mandate," he added.

    Mr Vermeulen, a member of The Guernsey Party, said: "I’m looking forward to playing my part as we deliver on the many different areas of our work as a committee.

    "Gaining seats on this committee and the Committee for Economic Development was my priority after the election, so I am both delighted and ready for the challenges they will bring," he added.

  9. Scrutiny member does not intend to cut party ties

    BBC Radio Guernsey

    A member of the Guernsey Party has said he didn't expect Deputy Yvonne Burford to step down from The Guernsey Partnership of Independents after she was appointed head of the Scrutiny Management Committee.

    There have been calls for Deputy John Dyke to follow the lead of his committee's president and do the same, but he said he won't be ending his party membership.

    "As neither I nor any member of my party have been in government before, I take the view that there cannot be any conflict of interest," he said.

    "Maybe different if we had a history in the last States of Guernsey," he said.

    Mr Dyke said if he felt there was a conflict of interest he would recuse himself.

    He described the party as a "group of concerned citizens who came together to try to help out" and as "a useful think tank" and he had been keen to sit on scrutiny to ensure taxpayers get "value for money".

  10. Guernsey Party gains new sitting member

    BBC Radio Guernsey

    The Guernsey Party has added a sitting deputy of the States of Guernsey to its ranks.

    New member Deputy Liam McKenna said he "followed the development of The Guernsey Party closely throughout the election" and shares the same outlook.

    The Guernsey Party believes "almost all of the past four years have been wasted", and wants to "focus on elimination of unnecessary waste and inefficiency" and grow the island's "revenue".

    Party Leader Deputy Mark Helyar said he was "delighted" to welcome Mr McKenna to his party, but assured voters that they had limited serving members to 15, ruling out the potential of a government majority in the future "in order to assuage public concern about domination of the house".

    The party now has seven sitting deputies as members - compared to nine for The Guernsey Partnership of Independents.

  11. Health and Social Care president defends appointment

    BBC Radio Guernsey

    The new president of Health and Social Care has defended his appointment despite criticism that he did not want the role.

    Deputy Al Brouard was elected to the position last week, but he has been criticised by some people in the assembly, after he said in the States that he was reluctant to do it.

    Mr Brouard said the island's health service is in a safe place regardless of his stance: "Day in, day out, there are dedicated staff and professionals working in the health industry in Guernsey."

  12. Sam Haskins appointed E&I Vice-President

    Deputy Sam Haskins has been elected the Vice-President of the Committee for Environment and Infrastructure (E&I).

    The newly-elected politician was appointed by his fellow committee members following their first formal meeting on Thursday.

    Committee President Lindsay de Sausmarez said Mr Haskins will bring "energy, intelligence and practicality" to the role.

    She said: "His background is in IT, property and the marine world – specifically marine engineering... adding to the strength and diversity of this fresh new team."