States Committees

The unofficial mandate

Horticulture Committee
Housing Authority
Island Development Committee
Post Office Board
Public Thoroughfares Committee
Recreation Committee
Sea Fisheries Committee
Tourist Board
Traffic Committee
Water Board

Advisory & Finance


Their job is to advise all the other States Committees that they can't have any more money than they did last year. Traditionally made up of the Presidents of the other major committees, this conservative bunch of £-worshippers are easing themselves into a Cabinet role. Nothing gets done or delayed without A & F's seal of approval these days, but although they nominally write States Policy, more often than not they're the worst offenders for ignoring that policy - especially the "environmental" bits.

Agricultural and Countryside

Bit of a facelift for what was once the almost unpronounceable AMMB, the States has also found a new president in the prodigal Peter Roffey. Though somewhat green and hairy, he is no gooseberry here, and is eager to push organic milk and more sustainable farming practices. His determination to keep the island free of genetically modified mutant crops has put his Committee on a collision course with Horticulture, who for some reason believe "their" industry - already subsidised to the hilt with taxpayers' cash, energy and foreign slave labour - will somehow become solvent overnight if only they could grow gene-bending blue carnations.

Board of Administration

The committee with the widest ranging responsibilities and hence more fingers in more pies. They are property managers for the States, though what other property managers could get away with following the strategic policy of neglecting everything until it's in such bad condition that the Board can recommend its demolition? They also manage rubbish, sea defences, beaches, harbours and the airport. Their main job is to cover everything they own with safety railings and the sort of metal and wire fences that the IDC won't let anyone else use because they're too ugly. The BoA is at the top of Alderney's hate list since they made a valiant but doomed effort to demolish the northern isle's breakwater to save from keeping up the maintenance from now till eternity. Still finding it too difficult to keep the sea water out of their new specially designed landfill site on a headland, their astronomical tipping charges disguise a cunning plan to divert the rubbish away and into private "land raising" schemes all around the island.

Board of Health

When they introduced the medical health insurance scheme a few years back we had no hospital waiting lists. Now the average hip replacement is 18 months away and rising. The BoH also oversee the Environmental Health Officers, who seem to be unable to determine how clean the tip leachate should be before it goes into the sea, or how clean the gunk coming out of the new (proposed) incinerator should be. They've been mulling over some Environmental Protection Legislation for the last ten years, yet still seem no closer to producing anything that might stop any pollution.

Board of Trade and Industry

Conspicuous by their inactivity, apart from knocking down greenhouses and issuing an annual promise to sort out the Sunday Trading anomalies this year. A constant round of "consultations" with local industry ensures that this committee's hospitality and entertainment budget is the fastest-growing sector of the island's domestic economy. Their raison d'etre appears to be encouraging any and every industry regardless of its effect on the community or environment.

Civil Defence Committee

A PR company for the French government, paid in sea food lunches and free trips to the Cotentin Peninsular, whose job is to convince us that nuclear power is safe rather than trying to keep us safe from it, and anyone who questions the nuclear industry can't really understand it. They also oversee a merry band of volunteers who mess around in bunkers with radios and stretchers, looking forward to the day when martial law shall prevail.

Civil Service Board

Once a year they pipe up to tell all the other committees that they can't have any more staff than they did last year, and that the private sector should keep wages and inflation down, just before they award all the top civil servants wage increases above RPI... (excluding teachers and nurses, of course!)

Home Affairs Committee

is in the business of persuading us all that we live in a lawless society, so that they can justify the extreme numbers of policemen roaming our streets, the riot-control vehicles, the firearms training, the specialist firing range, the surveillance cameras, the CS gas, the increasingly autocratic powers and an ever-expanding budget.

Education Council

Despite the role of education being to enlighten the minds of the island's young, this committee's prime characteristic is its ability to keep everyone in the dark about anything the committee does, has done or may do. Strongly opposed to sex discrimination (except when it's in favour of boys), the Council educates by example. Real Life is unjust, unfair and seriously demoralising, and the 11-plus is just a taster of things to come.

States Electricity Board

Favourite hobbies include over-charging customers and not paying tax. Once mistaken for an essential service for the Community, this Board's president has made it clear that their only responsibility is to make lots of money and to deny that the yellow smudge hanging around the power station chimneys has anything to do with them, and even if it did then they would still be too poor to clean up their act. When it comes to throwing money at the French, however, they can manage to find £30 million knocking around in a forgotten jacket pocket. Taking a creative approach to its mandate, this is a committee desperately trying to place itself in the forefront of the telecoms revolution by branching out into fibre-optics. The aim appears to be to make the Board members "dot com" millionaires when the SEB is "commercialised". That it does so by trampling over the commercial hopes of the committee with the RELEVANT mandate seems to concern no-one....

Heritage Committee

Fighting a losing battle to preserve the best in local architecture, they are nevertheless prone to listing everything that stands still for more than 20 years, regardless of aesthetic quality. Unfortunately most people receive the news that their property has been listed with the same degree of elation as receiving a tax bill for £200,000, and the Committee seem no nearer resolving this tricky subject of financing privately-owned heritage sites despite many years of bemoaning the situation.

Horticulture

Teamed up with the Tourist Board to spawn Floral Guernsey - a bunch of people who thrive on bedding plants, sumptuous luncheons, and forming working parties. This committee will chuck money into planting trees and putting up greenhouses, yet won't raise a finger no matter how many trees you cut down, or greenhouses you demolish. Harbours a belief that environmental enhancement is about growing lots of pretty flowers with fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, and letting the run-off contaminate our drinking water.

Housing

or "Units" as they prefer to be called these days, believe that Guernsey people are getting smaller, and cat tails are a lot shorter than they used to be. Part of their mandate is ensuring that Right to Work documents are more difficult for locals to get than off-islanders.

Island Development Committee

Sharing a president with Housing could either help fast-track well designed, high density, brownfield housing, or be a rather incestuous embarrassment. As this president starts a new term his record speaks for itself. After a decade as Housing president and two terms on IDC, the housing situation is at its worst ever. IDC's aim is to sprawl loadsa suburbia over undeveloped land and ex vinery sites in the mistaken and terrifying belief that they can outrun market forces by building faster than the available land disappears, until the Island is so crammed and unattractive that everyone moves out. Evidently those in power at the moment expect to be dead and gone before that day arrives, such are the lengths they'll go to in order to avoid the responsibility for their policies.


Post Office Board

Chunky legs in shorts, on bicycles... what more can we say!!

Public Thoroughfares Committee

Looks after sewers and roads, and you can't get less sexy than that. This committee is determined to become the highest spending committee this decade by replacing and relining the whole sewerage network to the tune of some £30 million or so, while at the same time gaining recognition for being the committee which offends more of the people more of the time. PTC are more concerned with keeping the seawater out of the shit than the shit out of the sea, and the present President believes that human crap is good for fishes and makes the crabs much tastier. And he should know.

Recreation Committee

Having fulfilled a long-held ambition to become a PRESIDENT, and run a committee from the golf course, this Committee's boss grasps every photo opportunity to exhibit his spectator prowess. Recreation can see sporting opportunities where the rest of us can only see wild headlands, unspoilt cliffs, nature reserve quarries and green fields.

Sea Fisheries Committee

The Island's first (and only) line of defence against the excesses of our Gallic neighbours (see also Civil Defence). After a spell of parading French prisoners through St Peter Port for ritual public and judicial humiliation, they are now paying the price. The French have just cut a deal with Jersey to specifically exclude Guernsey fishing boats from most of their traditional fishing grounds, which has rather soured the waters between the Islands. A challenge in the European courts is on the cards, and then, who knows, all-out war? What a good thing we've got Vince on the job now.

Telecommunications Board

Also known as "the family silver". See it now whilst it's still ours.

Tourist Board

The Tourist Board's role is to spend £3 million a year telling everyone the island is a sleepy, quiet, peaceful little backwater. They appear not to have noticed that the rest of the States have long been intent on turning Guernsey into a cross between Singapore and Blackpool. Disappointing idyllic expectations is an occupational hazard, and ensures that they always have to keep finding new visitors, because the old ones won't come back.

States Traffic Committee

(aka Motorists' Protection Committee) If you thought that shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic was pointless, you should see the STC shuffling parking spaces around St Peter Port, as they blithely steam on in the blind faith that there are no traffic problems that can't be solved by either a) adding parking spaces, b) moving parking spaces or c) changing the time zones of parking spaces. This committee is on a permanent collision course with problems which are nine-tenths below its perception.

Water Board

Endowed with the greatest anti-pollution powers of any committee to date, but have yet to figure out how or why to use them, and prefer to treat the chemicals in the water by adding more chemicals. The Board are finally looking into the problem caused by their dumping of aluminium sulphate into Perelle Bay, unfortunately way too late for anything that once lived there. After years of puzzling they finally noticed that we keep running out of water because people use too much, and responded by distributing blue plastic "Hippos" to place in toilet cisterns, thereby prompting an increase in the revenue of the Island's plumbers.

The Official Government Pages to see what THEY think they're doing ....


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