Birmingham Commonwealth Games begin
Athletes from Team Jersey will represent the Island on one of the biggest stages in global sport as the 2022 Commonwealth Games start today. A squad of more than 50 – including 28 competitors from eight different sports and around two dozen support staff – are expected to make the journey to Birmingham to fly the flag for the Island.
After last night’s opening ceremony, in which cyclist Rhys Hidrio will carry the Jersey flag, 11 days of sporting action begin today with an estimated 5,000 participants representing all 72 of the jurisdictions which make up the Commonwealth Games Association. Team Jersey will be cheered on by a sizeable contingent of supporters, which will include three members of the government formed earlier this month.
Chief Minister Kristina Moore, External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf and Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson – who has responsibility for sport – will represent the government and seek to build stronger links with other Commonwealth states. Deputy Moore and Deputy Ozouf were due to take part in a business forum today, with the Chief Minister subsequently attending the opening ceremony at the Alexander Stadium.
Deputy Moore said: ‘Jersey has a fantastic sporting tradition and I’m delighted to attend my first Commonwealth Games to show support for our athletes.‘We have some talented athletes who will be doing the Island proud over the next two weeks, and I would like to thank Jersey Sport and Jersey’s Commonwealth Games Association for their continuing support, and the years of preparation that have gone into Birmingham 2022.
‘This is also a valuable opportunity to meet with our Commonwealth partners – it is important that Jersey is represented at these events, where we are on an equal footing with larger nations such as Australia, India, South Africa and Kenya, many of whom are key overseas partners for the Island. ’Prior to the official start of the games, Deputy Stephenson has taken part in the tenth Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting.
She said: ‘The challenge of getting people involved in sport is not unique to Jersey, and I’m looking forward to discussing with sports ministers from across the Commonwealth how they are encouraging people to get active and sharing best practices.
‘Our mission is to increase the physical activity of Islanders by 10% by 2030. Not everyone will have the ability and dedication needed to reach the level of the athletes at the Commonwealth Games, but I hope that Jersey’s squad will be an inspiration to all Islanders, not only to watch but to get out and get involved too.’
Chief Minister’s 100-day plan
Work to address the cost of living and housing crisis, as well as the establishment of constituency offices and a public service Ombudsmen, are among the actions contained in the Chief Minister’s vision Statement for the first 100 days of the New Government.
Deputy Kristina Moore has unveiled a list of comprehensive, affordable and deliverable priorities for the newly established Council Of Ministers. Greater engagement between the Government and Islanders and proposals to involve young people in the formulation of policy and decision-making are also included in the document.
Special measures to combat the housing crisis, one of the key issues in last month’s general election include a proposition to construct prefabricated homes and temporary limits on the number of homes above 3,000sq ft that can be built. Deputy Moore said Ministers would agree to a programme which would include the Government’s common strategy policy, ministerial plans and the Government plan.
She added ‘each of these 3 elements will play its role in a comprehensive prioritised affordable and deliverable Programme to be delivered within the first 100 days.
The Vision Statement includes;
- A Mini Budget to deliver targeted support to islanders before the end of the year.
- Raising the minimum wage to £10 per hour whilst recognizing the need for Jersey to remain competitive in international markets.
- Establishing a cabinet office to coordinate the work of Government as well as constituency offices outside St Helier and an Ombudsman to handle complaints against the Government.
- Creating a people and skills commission to monitor the population, availability of accommodation skills gaps and employment opportunities.
A Letter has been sent to nurseries and children’s facilities after a number of cases of scarlet fever were confirmed in these settings. Dr Ivan Muscat, deputy medical officer for health, said that parents and carers who are concerned their child may have the fever should visit their GP immediately and keep them off school or nursery for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment.
In his letter, Dr Muscat wrote: ‘Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, but it should be treated with antibiotics to minimise the risk of complications and reduce the spread to others.
‘The symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. This is followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. On more darkly pigmented skin, the rash may be harder to spot, but it should feel like sandpaper. The face can be flushed red but pale around the mouth.’
Children’s Commissioner resigns
Young Islanders’ rights have improved dramatically over the last 4 years, but political will which was often missing during the last term of office, is still required to drive change, the Children’s commissioner said as she announced her shock retirement this week.
Deborah Macmillan resigned from her post for personal reasons and with tremendous sadness from what she described as ‘the best job I ever had’.
She was appointed in the wake of the 2017 independent Jersey Care report, which uncovered a catalogue of failings in the protection of children on the island over many decades, Mrs Macmillan said ‘I love this job. To make the decision to give it up has been incredibly tough but it is a decision I have had to make for the good of my family. We teach children that they have rights and the right to family life is very special. We live by the values we teach in this office and sometimes we have to put that first’.
She added that she was confident that she could walk away and know that it is not going to fall apart due to the significant policy and legislation changes to support the rights of young people on the island that had been enacted since she took office at the start of 2018.
A States assembly notice from Deputy Moore announcing Mrs Macmillan’s resignation said that it had been received with great regret although with full understanding.
Chief Minister Moore said ‘I would like to pay tribute to the leading role that Deborah has played in island life as a champion for children’s rights and young people in Jersey. She has brought passion and diligence to the role through her great clarity of purpose and I wish her the very best in her future endeavours.
Call to islanders to form living flag for Ukraine
Islanders will come together to form a ‘living’ Ukrainian flag in St Ouen’s Bay next month – in the first of a series of fundraisers to help those affected by the war.
The event, which is due to take place on Sunday 21 August on the beach at Le Braye, will see participants wear blue-and-yellow clothing to create the flag, which will then be photographed from the air by a drone.
It will mark the start of Jersey’s Ukraine Week, a series of activities – including a blue-and-yellow-tie dinner, an auction and a Ukrainian market – to raise funds for the Bailiff’s Ukraine Appeal through humanitarian charity Jersey Side by Side. Islanders are also being encouraged to organise their own fundraising events in pubs, workplaces or at home during the period.
Michel Le Troquer, the charity’s chairman, said: ‘We wanted to start Jersey’s Ukraine week with a show of solidarity with the people of the war-torn country and what better way to do this than by gathering as many Islanders as we can to recreate the country’s distinctive flag’. He added: ‘We hope the image will be used online, and in the media, as far and wide as possible, as a pictorial representation of the Island of Jersey’s unwavering support for the people affected by this barbaric war.’
A ‘Living Flag at the Beach – Ukraine Week’ Facebook page has been set up and blue and yellow clothing can be purchased from local charity shops, such as the Salvation Army, which have been made aware of the initiative.
London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.59%.
European markets are broadly higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 1.54% while Germany’s DAX is up 0.81%.
U.S. stocks fished higher on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 332.04 points, or 1.0%, to close at 32,529.63. The S&P 500 index rose 48.82 points, or 1.2%, finishing at 4,072.43. The Nasdaq Composite gained 130.17 points, or 1.1%, ending at 12,162.59.
Asian markets finished broadly lower today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is down 2.26% while China’s Shanghai Composite is off 0.89% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 is lower by 0.05%.