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P&R President on his highs and lows

P&R President on his highs and lows

Wednesday 19 January 2022

P&R President on his highs and lows

Wednesday 19 January 2022


Deputy Peter Ferbrache has just completed his first full calendar year as President of the Policy & Resources Committee and Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority.

In another year dominated by covid-19, it is no surprise that Deputy Ferbrache said his and his colleagues' best decisions and the areas where they could have done better were both related to the pandemic.

He said the most obvious decision they got right was locking down exactly one year ago this coming weekend. His biggest regret is that they could have communicated better. 

In a wide-ranging conversation with Express, Deputy Ferbrache said: “I think it’s a great honour being the Chief Minister… there isn’t a single day where you don’t look at your emails at 22:00 and know you’ve got to do something the next day."

You can listen to the full interview in the latest Express podcast HERE.

States Chamber Peter Ferbrache Heidi Soulsby

Pictured: In the days leading up to the election of a President of the Policy & Resources Committee in October 2020, several colleagues hoped to persuade Deputy Heidi Soulsby to stand in the election herself, but she eventually declined and Deputy Peter Ferbrache was elected. Since then, Deputies Ferbrache and Soulsby have formed a strong relationship as President and Vice-President of the States' senior committee.

The Civil Contingencies Authority suddenly imposed a second lockdown on the Bailiwick on 23 January last year after four cases of covid-19 were found in the community without a clear source. 

“I think the 100% right decision is an easy one - the necessary one was closing down in January. That was the right one, but that was an easy one," said Deputy Ferbrache. 

But he said that he and his colleagues in the States' leadership team could have explained their policies and actions to the public "more readily".

"What I intended to do and what we’ve done a bit – but it’s been knocked a bit askew by covid – is to have public meetings, drop-ins, etc. That has not been possible recently.

“Public events at Les Cotils - that kind of stuff - going out to the media, going out to the radio, explaining ourselves. I’m sure we could have done more of that.

"Albeit you don’t want to be doing it all the time because you do actually have to do the work.”

helyar_ferbrache.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Peter Ferbrache and the Policy & Resources Committee's Treasury Lead, Deputy Mark Helyar, will need to work together closely this year if they are to persuade the island and the States of the need to raise taxation in the near future - possibly through a General Sales Tax. 

Deputy Ferbrache said a prime example of where better communication could have helped the States was in the public and political debates over future tax policy last summer and early autumn. 

“People criticised us for not really going out to the public enough when we had the first debate about the tax review.

“No criticism because I think our communications team does a brilliant job. But perhaps we, the politicians, could have done that better.”

Deputy Ferbrache recently announced that, even if he seeks and secures re-election to the States at the next general election in 2025, he will not stand again for the Presidency of the Policy & Resources Committee, the most senior role in the States. He will be in his mid-70s by then. He told Express that one term in the top job is enough. 

He also said that he hopes his single term - which still has three-and-a-half years to run - is not completely defined by the pandemic.

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