Sark Newspaper 08 November 2019

2 These are dark days for the Island of Sark. From a relatively robust population of 650 in 2008, the Is- land has suffered an unprecedent- ed rate of state-enforced depopula- tion that has resulted in less than 390 year-round residents living in Sark today. A decade on, we have 40% fewer taxpayers, 40% fewer consumers of goods and services, and 40% fewer utilities users. The Island has spent the past dec- ade in the grip of the ‘old guard’; a group of powerful individuals driv- en by self-interest who promote a doctrine of division and entrench- ment, and we are all now paying the price for their folly. The west- ern world has been living through a decade of sustained growth, cou- pled with low inflation, but Sark has bucked this trend because of the reckless actions of the few. Guernsey's annual inflation as measured by the changes in the retail price index is currently 2.0%. This year alone on Sark Personal Capital Tax has risen by 29%. Property Tax has risen by 29%. Taxation on alcohol and tobacco has risen by 7.5%. In one month alone, November, the price of electricity has soared by an eyewatering 28.79%. It is a simple statement of fact that these are the direct financial costs that anyone living in Sark in 2019 has to bare as a direct result of a decade of state-sponsored economic ethnic cleansing, akin to that last seen in the western world in 1930s Germany. The net results of these destructive policies do not begin and end with the increased financial burden on Islanders. In the process of depopulating Sark by 40% in a decade, the econ- omies of scale are impacting on the very fabric of Island life. As of mid-December 2019, Sark will not have a resident doctor. Instead residents will be relying on locums charging up to £700 per day to come to Sark and attend to patients that are little more than strangers to them. So much for the state’s much vaunted community care! Sark has no Vingtenier. Tradi- tionally the constable chooses a deputy to serve for a year after which they assume the role of con- stable and, in turn, choose their own Vingtenier, thus maintaining continuity of law enforcement cov- er. This year no one has been pre- pared to come forward for the role of Vingtenier, resulting in the pro- spect of October 2020 being the first time in living memory that the Island has no constable and no Vingtenier. 2020 will see the state- owned ferry and freight company, Isle of Sark Shipping Company Ltd, having to charter vessels at enormous expense to the business and, in turn, the hard-pressed Sark taxpayer. Peter aka Samuel La Trobe-Bateman confirmed at the recent meeting of Chief Pleas that, despite knowing for a year that a replacement vessel would need to be designed, ordered and built, the company was in fact scurrying around looking for a second-hand vessel: “With the company looking into buying a second- hand vessel to replace the Bon Marin and the Belle. A bank loan is necessary for the company for the purchase of the new vessel, but this will need to be guaranteed by Chief Pleas. Hopefully this will be coming before the House very soon, otherwise we may need to charter to fill our next year’s season.” The Island has no qualified treasurer. Instead of an experienced and qualified Chief Secretary, it has an underqualified partisan in the shape of the recent arrival, Zannette Bougourd. All signs are that we will not see a new slaughterhouse. This will in turn lead to the end of the Island’s agrari- an way of life. The prospect of Sark having its own dairy herd is dependent on the Island com- peting with other worthy causes to attract chari- table donations to the sum of hundreds of thou- sands of pounds. Predictably, next year will be like every other year for Sark’s beleaguered tour- ism industry. Once again, the one-party state’s policy of self-imposed isolationism will deny Sark’s principal economic driver the opportunity to increase trade by allowing holiday makers to travel directly from France into Sark. THE IMPACT OF ONE-PARTY STATE ISOLATIONISM IS HURTING EVERYONE IN SARK