Sark Newspaper 07 December 2018.

2 Next Wednesday fifteen Islanders will be seeking our votes in what appears to be on the face of it a genuine contested election. This is the first time the people of Sark have seen a ballot box since De- cember 2013. Since then confi- dence in Sark’s electoral system has hit an all time low. The bloc vote, a mechanism by which 36% of the electorate can and has se- lected every seat in the Island’s parliament since December 2008, has meant that no-one outside of the members and supporters of Sark’s current one-party regime was prepared to stand. The intervention, or as many see it, the interfer- ence, of the UK Minister for the Crown Depend- encies and the Lt Governor of Guernsey and has given some hope to would-be politicians who find themselves outside of the sphere of the unelected Reginald Guille, their supporters and their pow- erful bloc vote. Whilst no-one in Sark welcomes outsiders interfering in our internal affairs it is fair to say that a little advice from people who appear to have the best interest of Sark at heart cannot nor should not be dismissed lightly. Lord Keen, the UK Minister for the Crown Dependencies has ques- tioned the ability of Sark’s Chief Pleas to govern. He asks that Sark should demonstrate that: “the Island's Government has suffi- cient capacity and access to the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to govern effectively.” and that: “Government decisions are made in a transparent way, based on objective advice.” But, before getting on to how Sark should govern itself in the 21st century the noble Lord tackles the thorny question of how we get a fully repre- sentative democratic government in the first place. This is something that the Island has failed to achieve over the past decade. The hope- lessly flawed reform law of 2008 merely handed control of the Island’s parliament to the Island’s chief enforcer Reginald Guille and his support- ers courtesy of the infamous bloc vote. The unelected Guille was the prin- cipal architect of the electoral sys- tem that has allowed him and his supporters to carefully select every member of the post December 2008 Chief Pleas to date. This will no longer wash. Whilst Lord Keen has no right to interfere in our in- ternal affairs he is clearly capable of articulating just why Sark has failed to evolve from the old feudal style of government into a fully representative 21st century democ- racy capable of paying it’s own way in the world: ‘No democratic government can hope to maintain itself indefinitely without periodically answering to its electorate through elections that offer a genuine choice of representation.’ ‘ It has been six years since a properly contested election in Sark. In light of the many significant challenges facing the Island, it is now a matter of urgency that your forthcoming elections deliver a strong mandate to government going forward.’ Quite where that strong mandate is going to come from remains, for now, a mystery. At the time of going to print only one candidate, Mi- chael Joseph Doyle, has issued a manifesto, meaningful or otherwise. The remaining four- teen candidates have, until now, not furnished the electorate with the information they need to make an informed decision on who they should cast their votes for next Wednesday. If they do not issue meaningful manifestos they will be a long way from having the strong mandate that Lord Keen identifies as being critical to a elec- tion where the electorate is offered and genuine choice of candidates. To allow the people of Sark to make an informed choice in next Wednesdays elections candidates must set out, in writing, who they are and what they stand for. How else are we, the people of Sark, going to hold them to account during their four year term of office during which time they will be making laws and passing legislation on our behalf? Where do each of them stand on the repopula- tion of the Island, as called for by our Seigneur Christopher Beaumont in his inaugural speech to the people of Sark in December 2017? SARK’S ELECTORATE CAN STEP UPAND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF THEY CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS BASED ON MEANINGFULMANIFESTOS CANDIDATES Diane Baker Edric Baker Simon Ashley Couldridge Natalie Alexandra Craik Amanda Jayne De Carteret Michael Joseph Doyle Christopher Drillot John David Guille Ellen Naomi Lalor Rodney Stewart Lalor Philip David Long Frank William Makepeace Helen Mildred Plummer William George Raymond Fern Joanne Turner