Posted by: Deputy Ogier | June 28, 2013

Population Management Regime – June 2013

Speeches

“It’s been a odd series of debates with some seemingly unusual voting patterns being observed over the past few days. I think that’s because the lines have been drawn not on a left / right split, perhaps as we are more used to seeing, but on a free market vs a protectionist split.

It’s clear those wishing to afford some form of protection to the people who have been living here for years, decades and in some cases centuries – a form of protection acknowledged as reasonable by international protocols which recognise an island’s right to protect itself and its population – it’s clear that those of that view have been roundly outnumbered by those who believe it is NOT right to continue protecting parts of the local market housing.

They’ve been outnumbered by those who think children born to local families are not local at 11, 12 or 13 years old but 14 years.

I’m teaching my nine year old where the clam beds are at Grande Havre, where the flat fish spawn, which sea weed you can eat, when it’s safe to go across the neck. She knows where Gran’s beach is, where you get cockles, she can already run or lope across a rocky beach, not bad for a nine year old. She in turn is teaching her younger sister to do bunchos. She loves the Babouins and doesn’t like budloes. She can grasp a nettle and not get stung, she can’t wait for the blackberries, she wonders what sloe gin tastes like…she can wait…

You try telling her at nine, she isn’t a Guernsey girl, you tell her she doesn’t have the right to live here, you’ll see a Guernsey Donkey dig their heels in.

It’s been said already that this assembly in this debate

“gave away rights precious beyond words, rights generations of our predecessors fought and died for, rights that were not even theirs to give”

Not my words, but strong words from someone outside this chamber, and like Deputy Trott’s source, it shows the depth of feeling being discussed in the community.

I firmly believe we need this new population management regime and we’ve fixed many problems but we’ve also lost something today and in this civilised debate with its lack of passion, it went with barely a whimper.

Deputy Harwood did say this debate would be the defining moment of this States, it was

This general lack of protection for islanders won’t be felt immediately but over the longer term it will have an effect. We hear of local families moving away from the island because it is getting too expensive, because their children can’t reasonably look forward to affordable homes – we’ve done nothing to fix those problems here today, in fact it could be argued that we have not only continued these problems but added to them.

It may be to the benefit of the economic prosperity of the island that this be the case, perhaps lower income families may be displaced by better skilled, higher wage earning families which will be a boon to the coffers of the island.

But our population management regime should have been about fairness to all, but it’s been about equality.

This is the problem with equitable treatment. I recall the small cartoon of a mother and her two children trying to see over the wall to watch Vale Rec. They have all been treated equitably by being given the same sized square box which enables the mother to view over the wall, the teenager to just peer over the wall and the small child is left still staring at the wall, all standing on the same size of box. One size does not fit all, treating people equitably is not necessarily fair.

My grandfather was French, one grandmother was Scottish, my father was born and raised in Scotland, I’m not xenophobic, I welcome much needed essential workers coming to the island, coming to this safe harbour because it’s getting a tough world out there and Guernsey is a wonderfully safe, beautiful, prosperous place to live and work. I do think however, that those living here already should be afforded some form of protection, whether it be that their children qualify for residence quicker or whether it’s that a section of the housing market is protected. This Assembly has thought differently and Guernsey should recognise that their island is changing and will continue to change and may change faster from this point in.

There may be some friction between this new direction and the aims of this assembly to maintain and enhance our unique cultural identity.

This debate was indeed, the defining moment of this new Assembly”

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Responses

  1. An intelligent review of many of the issues raised by this Assembly’s attempt to create a Population Control Policy. Unfortunately The Assembly has come up with an unworkable, probably illegal, unclear, intrusive, bureaucratic and offensive proposal that is unfair, inequitable and offends every tradition and family value islanders hold.


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