Guernsey government resigns after paper's exposé

A Guernsey Press exposé has resulted in mass resignations throughout the island's government's cabinet.

Thirteen weeks ago the Press revealed on its front page how the States of Deliberation in Guernsey bungled a tender for a hospital block wasting £2.4 million, or around £40 for each of the 60,000 people living on the island.

The Press claimed building contractor Falla had pulled out of the deal following political intervention and demanded a major independent public inquiry by the Wales Audit Office. The results of that inquiry sparked public outcry prompting the mass stand down.

Among the 11 members to step down were chief minister Laurie Morgan and treasury minister Lyndon Trott.

Guernsey Press editor Richard Digard (pictured), who led the calls for an inquiry, said it was a victory for quality journalism.

He said: "Our main hospital needs around £40 million worth of work which is a huge number for us on the island.

"For various reasons the island is short of money and the only information that had come out officially was that the cheapest tender for the hospital had been withdrawn and the one they were going for was £2.4 million more expensive.

"We started digging around and a contact of mine said there were some confidential minutes that blew the thing wide open. We got a copy of them and that's when we ran the headline saying, ‘It's time to go'.

"It's taken until now, following almost daily coverage by ourselves of the affair, for them to do the decent thing and stand down. It leaves the Government of Guernsey in tatters.

"What happened was a triumph for public and peer pressure over a discredited, weak and vindictive policy council. Today's outcome is a credit to the hard work of our editorial team."

The members will remain in office until 28 February when those resignations are either accepted or rejected.

The States of Guernsey would not comment.

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