Most of the old lads seemed to think that anything which has already seen the better part of a million quid disappear quicker than you could chuck pound coins off the end of the Albert Pier – even two of you working shifts – has already failed but what’s in the correct use of a tense when it comes to reading spin doctors’ scripts?
As one of our number put it, I suppose we ought to be grateful that, having presided over what can only be described as a complete and utter waste of tax payers’ money, Assistant Economic Development Minister Murray Norton has now washed his hands of the whole shooting match and found an outfit in the form of Ports of Jersey – in real money it used to be called the Harbours and Airport Committee – to take over what it is that there’s left to take over.
However, as someone else in the group put it, how much confidence can we have in Ports of Jersey having either the wit or the wherewithal to turn a loss of eight hundred grand into what Deputy Norton somewhat optimistically described as ‘an undeniably failing project into a solid plan for future success’. The Deputy didn’t explain whether ‘future success’ means losing a bit less money – which I strongly suspect may well be the case – or actually turning this into something which generates cash and relieves the unending pressure on tax payers, but you wouldn’t expect that sort of detail, would you.
On the issue of confidence in Ports of Jersey – or indeed any department of the Big House in these troubled times – one only has to look at track records on certain issues to start raising eyebrows. After all, how many years is it that the long suffering – and poorly served in this respect – travelling public using the Elizabeth Terminal have had to put up with the farcical situation of not having adequate catering facilities? Far too many, is the general view among tax payers – for this has the potential to raise revenue, in case that’s escaped the notice of the suits running this particular outfit – and travellers alike.
Then of course we’ve got the equally disgraceful and wasteful situation at La Folie – a site of huge potential in terms of its financial value – which under the watchful eye of Ports of Jersey has been allowed, encouraged might be a better description, to fall into the most abject state of disrepair. Quite frankly, this is a prime site which must be worth millions, yet no one seems to want to get off their backsides and free up those millions so that they can be spent in the very many areas where such amounts would really make a difference.
Mind you, knowing the liking the hierarchy at Ports of Jersey have for thinking big – an easy mindset to get into when working with other peoples’ money – it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit to wake up one morning and find that they’ve flogged La Folie – probably to Dandara – for fifty quid and are going to put that into the biscuit tin under the bed to help pay for that grandiose new development at the Airport which no one to whom I have spoken has a good word to say about. Still, as lots of us keep on saying, forty-five million quid isn’t much if you say it quickly.
As one old boy put it, this bunch act as if their bodies are vertical but their brains are for the most part in a horizontal position.
And finally… It’s now just a matter of a few weeks before the election band wagon starts rolling with nomination meetings, followed by the often farcical – in terms of too many candidates and not enough time for proper questions – hustings meetings. Already we’ve seen some relatively surprising decisions in terms of established and experienced (whether you agree with them or not) politicians deciding that they’ve had enough and are calling it a day. The consensus in the pub last week was that of those who’ve decided to quit, some will be missed more than others. Perhaps it would be prudent to leave that there.