Sark Newspaper 04 January 2019

3 REPOPULATION The unelected Reginald Guille and his support- ers have spent the past decade mortgaging the futures of our younger generations, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be around to be ac- countable for the appalling legacy that they leave in their wake. In 2008 over 650 people were liv- ing on Sark all year-round. Today there are less than 390 year-round residents, a drop of 40%. Invariably it is working men, women and fami- lies who have had to take the infamous ‘boat that leaves in the morning’ as their jobs have been destroyed as a result of Guille and his support- ers’ policies of economic ethnic cleansing. The net result is that Sark has been left with a low-spending ageing population who are inter- ested in only what the Island can provide for them during their autumn years. This is a demo- graphic time bomb. Those with a genuine inter- est in Sark and its future will have as much con- cern for what they leave behind as for what they enjoy today. No less an individual than Sark’s Seigneur, Major Christopher Beaumont, has called publicly for a radical approach to repopu- lating the Island. In his address to the people of Sark in December 2017 he set out his vision for future population numbers on his Island; “So, it would be better for all of us if we were be- tween 750 and 800 is my thought. I don’t think that we could sustain more than about 1,000. I don’t think that we have got enough water on the Island, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t get higher. That would be good for all of us.” If Sark is to have a future and retain its inde- pendence and its status as an autonomous juris- diction whose people have a right to self- determination it must have a population of up to 1,000 year-round residents, the majority of whom are economically active. To achieve this we need inward investment to support business- es, create jobs and provide the basis upon which to build a sound economy that will allow Sark to pay its own way in the world. LAND REFORM When there is a favourable economic environ- ment that can attract inward investment and create the hundreds of jobs that the Island needs if it is to survive as a going concern, we will need to attract aspirational and gifted young men, women and families. This will never happen whilst property ownership remains the preserve of the cash buyer. It is beyond comprehension that as we enter 2019 it is impossible to raise a mortgage against the majority of Sark proper- ties. Chief Pleas is riddled with beneficiaries of the ‘Sark lark’; individuals who have made huge sums of money from signing as nominee direc- tors of unregulated offshore companies. As such they skewer Sark society. They do not need ac- cess to credit via mortgages on property to buy their own homes and are therefore not remotely interested in passing laws that will allow home ownership for all to become a reality. The world at large is having its patience tested severely by those in power on Sark who govern for self- interest above that of the greater good. Many are of the view that it is an infringement on the human rights of the people of Sark not to have access to mortgages that allow even the lowest paid in society to take a first tentative step on the housing ladder. An equal abuse of human rights is Sark’s une- lected governments’ refusal to allow asset rich but cash poor residents to secure a mortgage against their home. Everyone on Sark knows an elderly man, woman or couple who are strug- gling to make ends meet, despite sitting on hun- dreds of thousands of untapped equity in their homes. What right do our unelected would-be politicians have to deny them access to funds that could allow them to undertake home improve- ments, enhance their enjoyment of their autumn years or allow them to gift money to their chil- dren, grandchildren or other family members? LOWER TAXES “We need more taxpayers, not higher taxes.” These words, spoken by the reformer Sébastien Moerman, represents the most profound state- ment made in Chief Pleas in the past decade. During this period property tax has risen by an 130% and direct taxation by 67%. This is clear- ly unsustainable. Any jurisdiction that increases peoples’ hard-earned taxes year-on-year without any obvious benefits to the taxpayer is heading for the poor house. Governments do not have any money of their own to spend. They have on- ly ours - the taxpayers’ money - to spend. Our unelected ‘chief minister’ Reginald Guille, the man nobody voted for and nobody wants, has overseen the squandering of hundreds of thou- sands of pounds of taxpayers’ money over the past decade. His wanton disregard for the mon- ey entrusted by the residents of Sark in their government is beyond comprehension. 50% of the Island’s parliament now carries a mandate from the people to govern on their be- half. 2019 must be the year that the new intake of democratically elected politicians reject Guille’s policies of division and entrenchment and set about rebuilding Sark’s economy.