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Democracy in Sark in the spotlight after another uncontested election

Democracy in Sark in the spotlight after another uncontested election

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Democracy in Sark in the spotlight after another uncontested election


Sark’s latest uncontested election was already under the microscope before it played out, with the UK Ministry of Justice publicly expressing concerns over democracy in the island.

Three seats were available in last week’s Chief Pleas by-election, only two of which were filled, completely uncontested.

In a surprising turn, Vaughan John Bougourd was joined on the ballot sheet by Kevin Delaney, with both elected unopposed as Conseillers until January 2023.

In his monthly newspaper, Mr Delaney is a consistent and fierce critic of Chief Pleas and its processes; going so far as to call the situation “an affront to democracy” in his February edition.

sark chief pleas

Pictured: There are supposed to be 18 Conseillers in Sark's Government, Chief Pleas. With only two spaces filled in the by-election, there is still one vacancy.

In the latest issue of his newspaper, Mr Delaney refers to the UK Ministry of Justice, and the warning given from its newly appointed Under-Secretary for Justice.

Lord David Wolfson of Tredegar QC wrote to Sark’s Policy & Finance Committee Chairman, John Guille, earlier this year. 

In his letter, Lord Wolfson raised concerns about the “undeniable fact that Sark has had only one contested election in the last eight years.” He promised to pay “close interest” to the island and hinted at possible interventions if Sark's Government did not embrace the need to professionalise its civil service and put a greater emphasis on long-term strategy. 

We contacted the MOJ for comment and were provided with the following statement: “We stand ready to support Chief Pleas in ensuring the good government of Sark, including any further measures they propose to increase the likelihood of contested elections.”

Lord_Wolfson_of_Tredegar_2021.jpg

Pictured: Lord Wolfson wrote to Sark’s Policy & Finance Committee Chairman, John Guille, earlier this year expressing his concerns about the "unsustainable" way that the island is governed. 

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Posted by Robert Williams on
Sark seemed to run well before there was outside interference and a forced change in the way it was administered.
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