By Alderney States Member Steve Roberts
I will always be an advocate of retaining as much of our own law as we can. For years we have been known as a friendly quirky open community, living in an oasis of being refreshingly different, in our society.
Drivers waving to everyone, visitors walking around our forts and bunkers,the feeling of freedom for all is most evident, and for all to enjoy. These Alderney lot are a different lot they say. A brave and fiercely independent population, feeling time is on our side, no matter the struggles that we have had to endure in the last few years of economic decline, brought on by external factors, in many instances and examples too many to mention.
We feel safe, our children are safe to roam, as indeed they always have been, locals and visitors alike, a rare commodity in an ever changing world. We are certainly to be envied, but we also need to protect this, from bureaucratic nonsense threatening us like never before. Our way of Alderney life needs preserving in its entirety and we are being challenged.
I was the first to complain about the harbour closure, read the minutes. The freedom for us all to wander a public amenity. While I can fully understand the Covid crisis disruption, we enter phase five now and it needs to be and will be opened back up. It is a GSC mandate that was reviewed in 2004.
The old German pier was wooden, and full of holes, and we used to fish with hand lines and limpets as kids, catching Rockfish, which we now call Wrasse. No health and safety brigade then.. just a common sense. A good administration, set out by people on the island five minutes, a million miles from the recent rules, all their over the top compliance demands.
It is Alderney for goodness sake!
One way streets we now have to live with, as we have extra vehicles here now, and I do understand that. But I do mourn the two way Victoria street, Oliver Street and New Street , not forgetting High Street. Allow me that pleasure please?
We once had a local, our driving test examiner.. you got in the car, he told you to drive around the lighthouse on your own. If you got back in one piece, he asked you, any problems? If you said no, and he passed you with flying colours! Ten Bob and off you went!
I once as a child came out of the Town school, to see a wheelbarrow full of German stick grenades sitting unattended across the road!! Builders were removing them and they did not even close the school or road!! Now that was an issue! A different world but we survived.
Of course all that that had to change, and we managed then as Alderney always will. You will have compulsory seat belts and helmets, plus traffic lights dished up in the name of compliance next. We cannot even do our own licences as we should. A simple low cost card licence. An Alderney licence. Its not impossible, but compliance will rear its head again and say no I guess.
You will soon need a yellow tabard and a crash helmet to go to the toilet ! Health and safety me dear. You might topple off!
So after our Harbours over the top restrictions, my next moan is going to be the Airport, my favourite place. Why have we not opened restrictions since phase five? To reinstate day trips to accommodate medical patients, who cannot get afternoon appointments, and have to overnight, as some consultants are in theatre only in afternoons. Also with new Stay cation promotions, we need day trips to attract the visitors and locals alike to strengthen economy.
Airport opening hours are now far shorter, impacting on flight times, but they can and will be lengthened,only if Aurigny request it, to restore our service, at more reasonable times, to suit the need for medical and tourist opportunity of the Bubble opportunity
I have written to STSB and economic committees this week regarding this, hoping to persuade Guernsey to support this initiative, and to lobby the company to support the restoration of full service and achieve this aim.
We really need to Revive and Thrive, and this is one vital way. A proper air service, and a larger boat. Support those two and we are in business. Some islanders to supplement the Dorniers have to be negotiated to restore a better cheaper alternative. New income streams will follow through into a new more accessible island.
These Covid restrictions disaster can turn into a marvellous opportunity for change here. So use it or lose it.
So, beware all the restrictions, as they may have not to be adopted, and many of them may not even apply, due to the size of our jurisdiction, no matter what we are fed. Read the small print.
I am told in Guernsey that we have far less restriction on the Airport here, than in Guernsey. There is a difference you see. Size matters.
Just popping to the shop in my tabard and baked bean helmet, just in case my trolly crashes.