By James Ede-Golightly, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce’s recent panel debate brought together key stakeholders to discuss the risk associated with further delay in investment in our island.

I was inspired by the insightful discussions put forth by the panel – Alan Bates, Chief Executive of Guernsey Electricity, Daragh McDermott, Chief Executive of JT, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of the Committee for Environment and Infrastructure and Simon Kildahl of the Guernsey Development Agency.

Past Missed Opportunities, A Future of Possibilities

It’s no secret that Guernsey as a whole, has experienced decades of underinvestment and a lack of coordinated planning. The Guernsey Development Agency has a monumental task ahead – to rejuvenate the environment for islanders and to overcome the inertia from the lack of decision making.

They shared a vision for what could be achieved at the Bridge – from enhancing pedestrian public spaces to the radical notion of constructing a ‘bridge over the bridge’, it showed a much-needed forward-thinking approach and the response from the room was very positive.

Collaborative Efforts

In light of some deputies’ comments during the recent states debate about inter-island relations, it was refreshing to witness Alan Bates’ enthusiastic approach. He radiated a genuine openness towards bolstering coordination and partnership with our neighbours in Jersey. The energy transition challenges we face are not exclusive to us, and collaborating with Jersey can pave the way for shared solutions.

Linked to this, Daragh, made some very interesting points around the need to work together to make the most of the opportunities. JT was the first to complete a full fibre rollout to every property in any one jurisdiction and shared insights around the need for collaboration with the business community and residents to maximise the impact – to drive innovation, economic development, and improve overall quality of life for communities.

Trusting the Process and Engaging the Public

One thing remains clear: for our aspirations to come to fruition, we must trust the process and the professionals leading the charge. Too much focus on the detail will cloud our vision and slow down the process. Instead, let’s keep our eyes on the bigger picture and the long-term benefits. As Lindsay de Sausmarez remarked – we need some cathedral thinking. We need to deliver some long-term projects which are for the benefit of future generations.

The key to our success lies in the hands of our fellow islanders. Public engagement, understanding, and support are paramount to shape the future and here and now of our little island.

By investing wisely, embracing innovation, and working together, we can write a new chapter for Guernsey – one that future generations will be proud of.