It’s pouring… time to dip into the rainy-day pot
Saturday 26th January 2013, 10:00AM GMT.
CHIEF Pleas last week gave themselves the go-ahead to kit out their Assembly Room in a manner befitting a legislature and court.
Several conseillers expressed concern about spending £17,000 on fitted seating and tables, along with a complete sound amplification and recording system, and there was even a 15-minute adjournment in the middle of the debate. However, approval was eventually given.
The original approval for the concept of refurbishing the room – housed in what used to be the senior (and before that the boys’) school – was given in 2004, so it’s not as if anyone has rushed into anything.
Some of the concern about spending the money centred on the number of people seeking employment and the fact that several members thought other work on the island’s infrastructure was at least as urgent. Refurbishing the public toilets at the harbour was one suggestion.
However, it was pointed out that making and fitting the seats and tables was to be done by two Sark craftsmen, Matthew Rang and Ben Perree as I understand it, and the installation of the recording and amplification system was also to be done by a Sark resident.
Interestingly, no one suggested that at a time when a number of local people were seeking employment it might be in the island’s overall interests for both projects to be done, along with many others that need completing.
After all, there is little point in having rainy day funds when those holding the purse strings refuse to spend a little when it’s chucking it down.
I know that a number of residents have tried to ease the distress of unemployment by bringing forward household projects in order to give work to those seeking it, without arguing the toss about rates of pay. If residents can do that then there’s no reason why Chief Pleas can’t either.
While on that point, I heard the other day – and have no reason to doubt the veracity of the source – that one of our elected representatives expressed the view that any Sarkee who had previously worked for the island’s largest employer should not be helped or employed by Chief Pleas.
That sort of talk has no place in a civilised society.
I hope in future that such views are left to those who do not have Sark’s best interests at heart and are not expressed by those whose duty it is to represent the whole population rather than sections of it.
I had an email the other day asking me to urge readers of this column to vote for Sark’s Carl Hester as Channel Islands Sports Personality of The Year.
I understand polling closes on 31 January and votes are recorded by dialling 0845 606 2402. The Sarkee who sent the email referred to Carl’s ‘phenomenal international achievements’ and went on: ‘For me though it is his generosity in promoting Sark to the wider world that is so greatly appreciated by someone like me whose small business is now seriously affected by the significant downturn in visitor numbers and the rotten weather.’
The writer went on to thank ‘this lovely gentleman’ and double gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin for giving up much of their ‘unwind in Sark’ weekend to meet so many island residents.
Knowing how much Carl does for Sark – where he lived from his toddler days until he started work – it’s a pleasure to publicise that particular email.
l The email address for comment is email@example.com