Chief Pleas has a future call to make
Wednesday 6th March 2013, 3:18PM GMT.
SARK’S first full-time but also temporary civil servant didn’t mince his words in a farewell interview with the BBC:
‘The number of jobs being created are not very significant on Sark at the moment and obviously that is going to be a concern with regards to the ongoing viability of Sark as a self-governing Crown dependency’.
Given the sensitivities in the island, the immediate reaction – other than one of dismay – was to question for whom he was speaking.
Colin Kniveton’s response would presumably be for himself, having just completed his four-month secondment, and been very concerned about the state of Sark’s economy.
However, given the Ministry of Justice and Bailiwick involvement in parachuting him in in the first place, there will be concerns that perhaps he is voicing the views of others.
The reality, though, is that he is stating the self-evident and an observation made previously by this newspaper and others: Sark cannot be run by and for those who view it as a kind of moated retirement community.
To be less abrasive, it needs jobs, growth, a real economy and to attract and retain young people and their families if it is to have a sustainable future, certainly as a credible, autonomous island that exists through fealty to the Crown and, by proxy, the UK Government.
There are those in Chief Pleas who understand and accept this and Mr Kniveton has prepared papers that, if embraced in the spirit of the earlier Belinda Crowe report, will enable the island to move forward and, everyone hopes, prosper.
If, however, the balance of influence remains with those who do not need to work and have little interest in those who do, the future is indeed bleak, whatever the timeframe might be.
Mr Kniveton’s remarks might be interpreted to suggest it is quite short, but the point is that another authoritative observer has suggested that the priorities are the economy and planning for the future, not trying to remain in the past.
Depending on Chief Pleas’ attitude towards the Sark community as a whole, the Kniveton Report represents either an exciting challenge or a dangerous threat.
CampaignsVoice For Victims
Voice for Victims is a campaign aimed at promoting the rights of those affected by child sexual abuse.