Sark Newspaper 08 March 2019

2 Reginald Guille is no longer a member of Sark’s government. His name has been deleted from the Policy & Finance and Child Protection Com- mittees, onto which he was ‘elected’ as a co- opted member shortly after his recent resigna- tion from Chief Pleas to avoid appearing before a code of conduct panel. No statement has been issued by Chief Pleas but what caused his remov- al from these committees - whether Guille jumped by his own volition or was pushed - is immaterial. What’s important is that we can now get back to basics. Finally, after a false start in January 2019, we can get on with mak- ing a future for Sark and put behind us a decade hallmarked by economic ethnic cleansing, divi- sion and entrenched hostility to change of any kind. There is a lot of work to be done, but together we can ensure that Sark once again becomes not just a viable independent jurisdiction but a hap- py and prosperous one too. ECONOMIC GROWTH We cannot exist as an autonomous and self- governing jurisdiction unless we have an econo- my that generates enough state income for us to pay our own way in the world. Without a func- tioning economy we cannot pay for our own gov- ernance and administration and will remain un- able to provide the basic services taken for granted everywhere else in the British Isles. Without a functioning economy we cannot afford to improve our neglected and decaying infra- structure, let alone invest in the future. For a decade Sark’s economy has been spiral- ling downwards. Year after year budgets have been slashed and tax hikes imposed to cover the shortfall in state in- come. The only way out of this vicious circle is to foster economic growth. Economic growth bene- fits everyone; it creates trade, it provides em- ployment opportunities and it generates in- creased state income. We already have a recipe for how to get on with making a future for Sark in former Temporary Chief Secretary Colin Kniveton’s ‘Inaugural Economic Policy for Sark’. Although published back in 2013, only to be studiously ignored by Sark’s government ever since, it is based on sound economic principles and therefore no less valid today than in 2013. We can no longer afford not to follow his advice. THE CASE FOR A CUSTOMS POST In his ‘Inaugural Economic Policy for Sark’ Colin Kniveton observed that in order to enjoy economic success - in order for Sark’s residents to have their “ living standards raised through an ability to sell goods and services in the UK and overseas markets, it is an absolute imperative for the attainment of future growth that access to eve- ry possible foreign market (including the Channel Islands and the UK) is increased. The visitor economy is no exception to this, requiring the re- moval of every potential barrier to accessing Sark in order that Sark can compete with other holiday destinations. ” However, it is not only the parachuted-in Colin Kniveton who sees that border control is the only way through which Sark can boost its shattered tourism- dependent economy. In January this year the Sark Chamber of Com- merce handed Chief Pleas a petition signed by 150 Sark residents. The petition urged the Sark government to establish a Customs post in order to provide the Island’s main economic driver, tourism, with a viable market. Again, there can be no excuse. A Customs post is the only initiative that can kick-start our tour- ism-dependent economy, by giving our main in- dustry direct access to the vast and untapped market of continental Europe. Tourism is meant to provide this Island with a living. Without ac- cess to a viable market, our all-important tourist industry will continue to decline, and so will Sark’s economy. NOW, LET’S GET ON WITH BUILDING A FUTURE FOR SARK http://www.gov.sark.gg/ downloads/reports/ Inaugu- ral_Economic_Policy_for_Sark.

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