Having worked in a large corporate organisation for many years, I’ve learned how effective working together can be and just how counter-productive working in silos is. I will look at ways we can encourage more and better collaborative working across our States’ committees and with the community, businesses and third-sector groups. This would undoubtedly solve some of the government inefficiencies we currently see.
I believe investment in our young people is the key to the long-term success of Guernsey. After all, who else is going to look after it?
We need to make sure all our young people have equal access to great opportunities, healthcare and additional support when needed; that they are protected, inspired and supported to be their best. They are our nurses, advocates, builders, graphic designers and our government of the future. If we don’t invest in all of our young people, we will have no one to blame but ourselves if the future of Guernsey is not what we want it to be.
Protecting our most vulnerable children is vital. A close friend of mine grew up in our care system and is now a foster carer. Through her experiences I see there is much-needed improvement to protect our children and support those who care for them. More resources are needed for our social workers, struggling parents and carers.
I would fully support our Children and Young People’s Plan and all of its initiatives and goals to secure future generations are healthy, supported and able to be their best.
There are several ways I could be discriminated against: because I’m a woman, a member of the LGBTQ community, I’ve experienced mental illness, I’m a single parent. What about you? Most people will have something that someone, or a business, could choose to discriminate against them for. They could deny you employment, accommodation or access to services and goods that you need. And if you don’t think you have even one of those characteristics, then consider this: Only 17% of disabled people in the UK were born with their impairment*. Just because you don’t have a disability now, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever have one.
This term, our States committed to introduce long overdue equality laws. I will push and support this every step of the way to make sure this commitment is achieved as quickly as possible.
You can’t change attitudes and behaviour just by bringing in legislation, you need to educate and support people and businesses to understand how to treat everyone equally. That’s why I fully support the need for an Equality Rights Organisation in Guernsey; without one, the legislation is just a set of rules, not a powerful way to make the island a fairer society for everyone.
We are way behind the times with this. Now the legislation has been passed, it’s time to get on with protecting our community. No one should be discriminated against for their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or for being pregnant or a carer.
Guernsey together needs to mean all of Guernsey moving forward together with no one left behind.
Paul Chambers Photography
Without a thriving and sustainable environment, we may as well all pack up and go home. Because in the not-very-long run, not much else matters. The impact on the environment needs to be considered in all our decision-making.
This can no longer be an arm’s length, future issue. As government and individuals, we all have to take responsibility for this now and be prepared to make some big changes. Doing your recycling is great, but it’s going to take a lot more than that.
Guernsey’s Climate Change Action Plan is an excellent first step, but now our government needs to be prepared to make some bold decisions and we as islanders need to be prepared to embrace them. We’re all privileged to live in such a beautiful place, it’s time to recognise that privilege and start actively showing respect to our home, not just saying the right words. We need to invest in infrastructure that reduces traffic and incentivise people to get out of their cars, enable and encourage people to move to sustainable energy resources, and we need to protect and encourage our natural biodiversity.
If saving our planet for our future generations isn’t enough for you, then consider the economic benefits.
Guernsey is at the forefront of Green Finance, offering world-leading products, services and initiatives that assure investors that their investments have a positive impact on the environment. Great news for the economy, great news for the environment – a big tick. But can we honestly say our local practices match up with this? Our island needs a boost to its dying tourism industry and taking advantage of nature tourism would be one way to do this, but we have to walk the walk if we want to be credible.
We must now have a sense of urgency around education. We have two year-groups of children in a system that’s a holding pen, not a system. This simply is not good enough. We are failing these students. We cannot afford to dither further and allow more children to go through a halfway house.
There is no doubt that, once again, education will be a major election issue and that’s why I am dedicating a fair proportion of space to it. For full transparency, this directly affects my family – my daughter has just started secondary school.
I would not support the re-introduction or re-debating of academic selection, we need to accept that that time has passed and move forward. We’re not going backwards, so let’s stop looking that way.
I would look forward to receiving the new education proposals and judge them on their merits and evidence. I would take the views of those expected to execute the plans day-to-day at the highest value.
During the 2016 election, this was a priority subject for me as a voter but I felt some degree of comfort in knowing that it was four years away for us as a family. I believed the States would commit to finalising the plans in time for us to benefit. So, my warning is: do not be complacent. If secondary school is a way off for a child in your family, our experience shows that if our States continues to be too afraid to make a leap and take a decisive course of action, our situation could happen to many more families.
We have to accept there is no one perfect solution, we will have to compromise on some things. My feeling, however, is the compromise should not be made in relation to the education and welfare of the students – that has to be the highest priority. Whichever model is chosen, it needs to demonstrate our commitment to inclusivity, set our children up with the skills required in today’s world, and have evidence-based best outcomes.
We have an opportunity to be brave and bold, perhaps choose something that is out of the norm and out of our comfort zone. We should not be afraid of a new and alternative approach, if is proven to offer all children the best opportunities.
Affordable health and care for all is a basic provision, surely? Our health impacts all that we do. The pandemic proved that we can’t have a thriving community or economy without healthy people to support it. For some people, there are currently major financial barriers to accessing primary healthcare and these need to be reduced.
The Partnership of Purpose sets out Guernsey’s future plans for health and care services, aims to address these barriers and improve the health and wellbeing of all islanders. I would work to push these plans forward at pace, with our Covid-19 recovery and future resilience front of mind.
Prevention and early detection are key. We need to teach everyone how to keep themselves healthy and make sure they know what’s available to them when something is wrong. Increasingly we are realising that pills are not the answer, ‘social prescribing’ – where doctors prescribe exercise, club memberships and social activities instead of or alongside medication – needs to be more widely available. I’m keen to see healthcare providers work together to provide a seamless service for patients.
During my volunteering with the Guernsey Voluntary Service, some of our older people have told me that they feel trapped on island due to the lack of a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. They are too old to get travel insurance, so they either risk going away without cover or they don’t go. Most of them choose not to go. Some were evacuated to the UK during the Occupation and so have deep connections there, or their families have moved away, so the lack of an agreement prevents them from visiting their friends, children and grandchildren.
We need to listen to the experiences of our community to improve and ensure our health and care provision is fit for purpose now and in the future.
Now, more than ever, is a time for change. Our government needs to have the lived experience of the majority of Guernsey folk, not the few.
For all of us to thrive we need all our voices to be heard and represented in our government. When I sit in the public gallery to watch a States debate, I don’t see myself or my friends represented nearly enough in our assembly.
One of the areas we’re lacking diversity in is gender. Women make up 50% of our population and yet only 30% of our government, and that has only been for the last four years. In the previous States term it was 11%! How is that representative of our community? This is not the only area we are lacking diversity, but it’s one of the starkest.
I believe we need a diverse government to take the whole community with us. As a short-term solution, I am standing for Deputy to try to increase the diversity; by bringing some relative youth, the view of a single-parent and of hard-working families who are struggling to get by. For a longer-term solution I’d like to demystify our government by explaining what’s happening more clearly; by teaching our children how Guernsey works; by identifying and removing barriers that stop people wanting to stand for election; and by improving working conditions to make the job of Deputy more appealing to a wider range of people.
A lot people who would be a real asset to Guernsey are wary of putting themselves forward because of infighting, stories of bullying, the levels of abuse and what is seen to be a toxic atmosphere. Deputies and the wider community need to demonstrate measured and mature behaviour if we are to inspire talented people to stand.
Despite Covid-19, our finance industry is thriving. We are fortunate to have a robust industry that makes up around 40% of our economy. But what does the old adage tell us about putting all our eggs into one basket? Don’t.
We need to actively encourage and support small businesses and entrepreneurs to make it easier to go it alone. We need to attract our graduates back to our island earlier; those that have gone to university to gain the skills we so desperately need. Too many don’t return until they need grandparents for free childcare and the safe environment to bring their children up in. Others don’t come back at all. We need to offer more.
We must identify our skills gaps, now, and anticipate those of the future to come up with and implement initiatives to plug them. Our education offering should support these initiatives, not only to our homegrown students, but also by attracting those from further afield. If we can demonstrate that we are truly a world-leader in protecting and enhancing our natural environment, we could attract students from around the world to study it.
Our government needs people with the right skills to fill the gap and boost the economy. Our people need our government’s investment to achieve this and not just when they are young, but throughout their lives.