The satirical magazine Private Eye has awarded the Civil Contingencies Authority the unenviable title of ‘Covid Hypocrites of the Year’ - but its coverage has been dismissed as "nonsense" by CCA Chairman, Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
The CCA was included in Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs Awards of 2021 over its handling of the visit to Guernsey of British and Irish Lions' rugby coach Warren Gatland.
Pictured: Private Eye made the award to the Civil Contingencies Authority after setting out its understanding of the events surrounding Warren Gatland's visit to the island, but Deputy Ferbrache says its version of events is "nonsense". Credit: Private Eye.
At Easter last year, Mr Gatland visited Guernsey to assess the island as a potential training camp for the Lions.
This was at a time when anyone coming to island was required to isolate immediately for two weeks. Mr Gatland was given permission to meet several politicians and senior States' officials.
Some States' members and islanders were critical because they felt that giving Mr Gatland permission to move around more freely than other arrivals in the island sent mixed messages about the importance of following isolation rules.
However, on revisiting the story in light of Private Eye’s article, Deputy Ferbrache firmly believes that he and his colleagues made the right decisions at the time and that Private Eye has got it completely wrong.
“That [the article] was nonsense because: a) Dr Brink and I didn’t go to the dinner - we were accused and we never went and b) I didn’t go as a member of the Civil Contingencies Authority," said Deputy Ferbrache.
“Paul Whitfield [then Chief Executive of the States] did a very good thing. He’s a rugby man and thought if we could get Warren Gatland’s rugby team to spend some of their time in Guernsey that would be great. It was a fantastic idea.”
Pictured: Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions eventually went to Jersey for their training camp.
“I come up to ‘meet and greet’ as the Chief Minister, to welcome Mr Gatland. There were other people there and we were all socially distanced. Dr Brink was there and we all complied with every single rule.
“There was an argument about whether it was lunch or not. I think that’s a bit of an arid argument now. All of a sudden someone said there were a few sandwiches at the back. I had a few sandwiches and so did other people. I don’t know if that’s lunch or not. That was it."
Deputy Ferbrache said he has no intention of trying to find out who alerted Private Eye to the story and he thinks there is “no point in asking for a correction" from the magazine.
“It’s complete and utter rubbish," he said.
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