Dissenting voices grew louder in the States Assembly as the Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority asked for Guernsey’s Deputies to retain the authority’s emergency powers.
It follows Deputy Gavin St Pier’s Rule 11 questions to Deputy Peter Ferbrache, which asked for clarification on what constitutes an emergency and whether we’re still in one.
In a response earlier this week, Deputy Ferbrache said: “This situation, together with other, frequently changing factors, risks potential disruption to the Bailiwick’s health service and knock-on consequences in terms of either human illness or loss of life.
“Therefore, the Authority is satisfied that a situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare still exists, in accordance with section 2 of the law.”
However, when it came to the vote on the CCA’s emergency powers and vaccine regulations there was more debate than in previous months, with numerous Deputies voicing their concerns.
Pictured: “The CCA would love to be in a situation to say it doesn’t have to make these regulations anymore, our duties are over, we need to move forward. But we are not there yet,” said Deputy Ferbrache.
“There does seem to be an increase in the number of people contacting me who are vaguely dissatisfied with the CCA regulations continuing,” said Deputy John Gollop, citing public concern with unvaccinated young people who are finding it difficult to travel.
Deputy Lester Queripel also highlighted issues facing young people, especially those in school.
“I have a concern about the latest measures put in place, with the focus on school children to be tested,” he said.
“Bearing in mind discrimination has reared its ugly head in our community and has caused a divide, between those who are vaccinated or unvaccinated – I wonder if discrimination will rear its ugly head in our schools.”
Pictured: “How are we as a government going to deal with discrimination in our schools, will we put legislation in place or let our children and teachers deal with it when it arises,” asked Deputy Queripel.
Some considered whether it might be time for the States Assembly to be allowed in on some of the decisions being made by the CCA.
“We’re really starting to have to look at this from the proportionality of human rights, from the proportionality of the cost of families not being able to reunite with families elsewhere, and the cost to the economy of people not being able to travel here for work,” argued Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller.
“I really think these are the types of questions we should start debating as an Assembly and I would like the CCA to consider how we do that.”
She continued by highlighting the issues she faced when trying to travel earlier this year, questioning the regulations implemented by the CCA.
“I decided to see my family earlier this year, and the hoops I had to go through were quite tremendous - no wonder nobody wants to come to Guernsey to work, figuring out how to get here is quite impossible.”
Pictured: “As we’re really coming to the stage of living responsibly with covid we really have to start considering proportionality of all the measures that we are taking,” said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller.
It was revealed during the discussion that the 21-day enforced self-isolation for those who don’t want to be tested on arrival will be reduced to 14 days, and since legal provision for the vaccine will soon be inserted into Bailiwick law this should be the last time the vaccine regulations would need to be voted on.
The regulations were voted through almost unanimously, with only Deputies Queripel and Andrew Taylor voting against them. Deputy Gollop abstained from the vaccine regulations vote.
Additionally, Deputy St Pier suggested this will be the last time he endorses these propositions, saying there needs to be a longer-term solution.
“I am anxious that this assembly should be putting in a permanent legislative framework for this environment rather than relying on the use of the authority and its regulatory making powers - with that in mind this is probably the last set of general regulations that I will support.”
For a more detailed insight into the continued existence of the CCA you can listen to our most recent podcast HERE.
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