Sark Newspaper 08 February 2019

10 On 2nd January this year the Guernsey Press announced the good news that “ Air Rescue Channel Islands is a new pan-island charity look- ing to run a community-funded emergency heli- copter based locally that will be on standby 24 hours a day ”. (See: news/2019/01/02/plan-for-life-saving-helicopter-service/ ) It would appear that the Guernsey Press was in fact reporting old news and that this charity has been working for some time to establish a dedi- cated helicopter service able to airlift any criti- cally ill Channel Islander to a UK hospital in un- der a quarter of the four hours it currently takes on average. From a Facebook message dated 5th October 2018 it is clear that this charity had already held extensive talks with Sark’s so-called ‘government’ and, as can be seen below, four separate Sark landing sites had been identified for the possible use in an air rescue operation. The Sark Newspaper is as surprised to see this statement, as will be each and every one of its readers. These discussions on how to facilitate emergency air rescue from Sark were kept com- pletely secret by those on the Island who took part, although it is a topic on which the general public is keenly interested. The secrecy comes as no surprise, of course. Holding important discussions, regardless of how vitally important to the population at large, is a time-honoured tradition in Sark’s govern- ance. As time-honoured a tradition as the same government’s resistance to permitting helicop- ters onto the Island unless the passengers in question happen to be royalty. The government with which Air Rescue Channel Islands held its discussions last October was wholly unelected. Not one of the individuals tak- ing part held any mandate of any kind to make decisions on the people of Sark’s behalf. Since none of the parties to these discussions took contact with Sark Estate Management Ltd (SEM) at any time, we can only conclude that, blinded by the habitual and entrenched hostility to all things SEM, they will have wilfully ignored that Sark actually has a helipad already at the headland of La Moinerie. It is freely available for emergency airlifts, fully maintained, fully regulation compliant and fully operational. No taxpayer funding is required, nor the spending of charitable funds. It has been there for the past eight years, carefully main- tained just in case it was needed - and, if so, if the Island’s powers that be permitted its use to save someone’s life or avoid needless suffering. It is ideally situated in that it is approached from the sea and does not overfly any Sark housing or TIME FOR OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP TO THE MARK a.331078287648634/331078260981970/?type=3&theater The bright green circle at the centre of the photo above was taken at dusk in 2011. It is the fully regulation com- pliant and operational helipad at La Moinerie cotil.