Discussion of Kniveton report needs to focus on the facts
Saturday 23rd March 2013, 10:00AM GMT.
A PUBLIC meeting to discuss Colin Kniveton’s reports is being held this morning and it promises to be quite a lively event.
The three principal reports have been on the island government website for a while – a welcome departure from Chief Pleas’ customary reticence when it comes to telling Sark residents what their money is being spent on. It is to be hoped that those who have things to say at the meeting will base comments and questions on Mr Kniveton’s reports rather than interpretations others have placed on the documents.
One of the things I have in mind is the sort of misinformation people choose to disseminate about how many ‘additional’ administrative positions are under discussion and some of these comments are suggesting a veritable army of civil servants is being recruited to despatch Sark on some form of slippery slope similar to EU bureaucracy in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Hopefully Sarkees will be too canny to fall for alarmist nonsense and will make up their own minds about what, if any, additional administrative assistance is required. I have heard of comments by several conseillers, including one or two committee chairmen, suggesting that if they can manage their own admin then all committees should do so.
Such rubbish loses sight of the fact that simply in terms of correspondence alone, the workload of the chairman of something such as GP&A absolutely dwarfs that of, for example, Agriculture, which by its chairman’s own admission used to meet once in a blue moon and, if the lack of progress on anti-snare legislation is anything to go by, probably still does.
Whether people like it or not, Sark’s ability to govern itself is continually being threatened, and competent and efficient administrative support is needed to combat that and to ensure the island is getting value for money from its public employees. You never know, having someone to organise better use being made of existing resources could save cash.
The Public Astronomer at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, Dr Marek Kukula, must like Sark because next month he’s making his third visit to the island since we achieved Dark Skies Island status just over two years ago.
This time he is coming over with Sky at Night presenter Dr Chris Lintott and they will be here for the Sark Astronomy Society’s Spring Starfest weekend from Friday 12 April until Sunday 14. There is a fish and chip supper and general chat – hopefully with a clear sky when it gets dark – on Friday evening, while a dinner at Stocks Hotel is being held the following night.
The weekend before that – on Saturday 6 April – Sark will welcome two other eminent visitors when Artists for Nature participants Bruce Pearson and Harriet Mead return to give a presentation on their work.
They took part in the Artists for Nature Foundation’s 20th anniversary jubilee project, which resulted in the publication a year ago of the prestigious Art for the Love of Sark book. Both artists will be making their presentation at the Island Hall between 5 and 6.30pm. It would be interesting to see if the small handful of people who continue making snide remarks about this project are at the presentation to ask the artists themselves if they considered it to be worthwhile.
The reason I’ve referred to these events this week is because there will be no Sark column next week as it is Good Friday.
CampaignsVoice For Victims
Voice for Victims is a campaign aimed at promoting the rights of those affected by child sexual abuse.