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Gatland visit "not a CCA decision"

Gatland visit

Friday 09 April 2021

Gatland visit "not a CCA decision"

Friday 09 April 2021

CCA members found out about the special exemption given to Warren Gatland at the same time as everyone else, as the former Chief Minister branded the management of the rugby coach's visit "a masterclass in poor communication".

The decision to allow Mr Gatland to come to Guernsey without having to isolate was signed off due to the sporting and economic opportunities that senior officers believe a British & Irish Lions training camp would bring to Guernsey.

However, the way this was communicated has sown discord in the community. The focus of those concerns is the sudden revelation of compassionate isolation exemptions - which had never been announced publicly until now - and an original press statement which said Mr Gatland had room service deliver meals to him in his hotel suite throughout his two-day stay.

Following further questions, this was shown to be untrue, as Mr Gatland ate with Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache, States CEO Paul Whitfield and Public Health Director Nicola Brink at Footes Lane before being invited to a private dinner with "a small group of people" at the hotel he was staying at, following negative tests. 

Former Chief Minister Gavin St Pier said the States was right to explore the opportunity, but has expressed concerns about special exemptions and the contradictory statements about what really happened. 

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier said there had been "a masterclass in poor communication".

"[It] was right to explore opportunity; just been executed poorly and is a masterclass in poor communication, damaging hard earned trust and confidence," he tweeted.  "No disrespect of community was intended, I’m quite certain."

Environment & Infrastructure President Lindsay de Sausmarez - one of four voting members on the Civil Contingencies Authority - said that none of the decisions were made with the CCA's knowledge. It has also emerged that Policy & Resources President Peter Ferbrache and his committee were given a briefing. 

"I know no one's particularly interested in this nuance but it had nothing to do with the CCA," said Deputy de Sausmarez.

"I'm a member of the CCA and I found out about it through social media and media releases at the same time as everyone else."

Former Deputy Matt Fallaize was shocked by the original press statement from the States of Guernsey on Saturday, in which Dr Nicola Brink was quoted as saying that Mr Gatland had remained in his hotel room for room service.

"I have to say I was amazed when the comms came out on Saturday," he said. "On the Friday I had been told about the meal by more than one person."

Deputy Heidi Soulsby

Pictured: Deputy Heidi Soulsby said there had been a "cock up" but it had not been the "conspiracy" that some were making it out to be. 

Former HSC President and current CCA Advisor Deputy Heidi Soulsby described it as a "cock up" rather than a conspiracy.

"The comms have not been good internally or externally on this but I don’t believe there has been any intention to lie," she said. 

"I’ve no idea why things happened as they did but it’s happened and we’re reviewing to make sure avoid same in the future.

"It was cock up not conspiracy. After over a year I guess it was going to happen at some time."

Pictured top: The CCA's four voting members in Guernsey Deputies Lindsay de Sausmarez, Peter Ferbrache, Al Brouard and Rob Prow. 

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