Sark Newspaper 08 February 2019

2 Last Friday this publication’s lead story reported on the Financial Times blogger and occasional print journal- ist Jemima Kelly and the BBC’s John Sweeney desperately trying to attract attention to themselves by posing for selfies whilst ‘out on the town’ togeth- er. Whilst dismissing this cheap pub- licity stunt as an unwelcome distrac- tion to the real issues facing the peo- ple of Sark, our coverage did serve one important purpose, that of high- lighting the contrast between the ob- jectives of ‘here today, gone tomor- row’ ‘journalists’ such as Kelly, who put self-promotion and career above that of their duties to the fourth es- tate, with those of the editors of small self-financed publications such as The Sark Newspaper. In covering the antics of Kelly and Sweeney, Sark resident Kevin Delaney, the sole proprietor, Editor and publisher of The Sark Newspaper and its predecessor The Sark Newsletter wrote: “Word on the street is that at next Wednesday’s meeting of Chief Pleas Reginald Guille will be se- conded to the powerful Policy & Finance Commit- tee as a non-Chief Pleas member. A greater trav- esty of the principles of democracy would be hard- er to imagine. However it will be The Sark News- paper that, in the best tradition of the free press, will hold Guille and his supporters to account. The likes of Kelly and Sweeney will be too busy sipping cocktails and posing for selfies to bother themselves on what really counts as journalism.” At the latest meeting of the Island’s parliament, Chief Pleas, held on Wednesday evening of this week, three things were made abundantly clear: • The unelected Reginald Guille’s insatiable thirst for power knows no bounds, nor does his contempt for the principles of democracy. • The quality of The Sark Newspaper’s sources and editorial content is beyond reproach. • The antics of Kelly and Sweeney are no more than an insignificant sideshow. Two months have passed since this publication played a key role in deliv- ering the first contested general elec- tion in Sark since December 2012. Our campaign calling for people to stand up and make a difference helped ensure that no less than 15 candidates competed for the 9 availa- ble seats. The electorate spoke and chose, in the main, new, younger can- didates over establishment figures such as Edric and Diane Baker. The message was clear, the people of Sark want to break the old guard’s policies of division and entrenchment and with it the seemingly unstoppable cycle of economic decline. Having retired with what must be acknowledged as some dignity after an extended period in public life, Edric Baker, the long-time second-in-command to Re- ginald Guille, has not publicly questioned the outcome of the elections. Nor has he questioned the fairness of the election campaign. He has, to all intents and purposes, accepted the will of the people and has withdrawn from public life. Reginald Guille, on the other hand, refuses to go. There is no doubt that, were he to stand before the electorate, he would be rejected out of hand. Since December 2016 he has been the most domi- nant member of our Island’s government, de- spite the fact that he had not faced the electorate, had not received a single vote via the ballot box and had no mandate from the people of Sark to govern on their behalf. Three weeks ago, it appeared that Reginald Guille’s ego and sense of self-importance had delivered what the ballot box had not, to date, had the op- portunity to do. Following a charge of bullying a candidate (Sark resident Michael Doyle) in December 2018’s elections, Guille flounced out of office rather than subjecting himself to the scrutiny of the Chief Pleas Code of Conduct Panel. GUILLE RE-ESTABLISHES HIS CONTROL OVER THE GOVERNANCE OF SARK