About the Bailiwick of Guernsey
The Bailiwick of Guernsey, which includes the smaller Channel Islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm and Jethou lie at the entrance to the English Channel, some 80 miles south of England and is situated some 15 miles off the coast of Normandie.
Guernsey, the second largest of the Channel Islands is triangular in shape with a landmass of some 24 square miles and The island slopes from south to north, with rocky cliffs running the full length of the south coast, providing miles of unspoilt cliff path walks with unbroken views towering some 300 feet above sea level, all undisturbed by traffic. Sloping gently to the north, the high ground gives way to many fine sweeping bays with sandy beaches on the west coast, punctuated by rocks, headlands and old fortresses waiting to be explored. To the east lies the capital town of St. Peter Port, which is built on the hillside, with its magnificent views overlooking the deep-water harbour, the marinas and the outlying islands. The whole area is guarded by the ancient Castle Cornet, which was built in 1294. Due north is St. Sampson’s, the second largest town and commercial centre of the island. The hinterland offers many shaded valleys and there is an abundance of agricultural land. Bird life and wild flowers offer a profusion of different species that excite the birdwatchers and botanists alike. It is to the constant delight of the visitors that they only have to go a few miles to experience changes of scenery that, in bigger countries, would only be seen in hundreds of miles of travel.
The island parliament is called the States of Deliberation, usually referred simply as "the States" its members are elected by popular vote, there are no party politics in the island and the constitution of the States differs from that of the British House of Commons. Members are elected as follows: Forty-five Peoples Deputies, whose term of office is for four years In addition, there are two Law Officers of the Crown and presiding over the assembly, with a casting vote only, is the Bailiff, who is the civil head of the island appointed by the Crown. Finally, two representatives of the States of Alderney hold a seat in the House. Both Alderney and Sark enjoy differing degrees of independence, each with its own legislature and it own judicial systems, which are subordinate to the Royal Court of Guernsey. The work of the States of Guernsey, is headed by a Policy Council, consisting of the Ministers of the departments which form the central government of the island which is handled by a number of departments set up to deal with various fields such as Commerce and Employment, Culture and Leisure, Education, Environment, Health & Social Services, Housing, Home Office, Public Services and Social Security and other infrastructures of island life.
Language and Culture
no financial support of any kind from the British Government and the
island has a self-supporting economy with its own income tax and
customs and excise services, which enables the Islands to enjoy a
low taxation. Today the mainstays of its £860 million Gross National
Product (1993) are financial services, tourism, horticulture,
farming, fishing and light industry. The offshore banking, insurance
and fund management activities, strictly regulated by law, have made
the island a major international financial centre, providing about
fifty-five per cent of the island’s income from abroad.
Guernsey’s long history of sporting excellence can be judged by the success of many of it sportsmen and sportswomen who have attained the highest levels in their chosen sport, competing in World, Olympic, Commonwealth, British and European Championships, winning several medals and becoming record holders.
There are over 70 different governing bodies for sport and leisure activities in the island and it is estimated that some 18,700 of the population take part in these activities. The island has some of the most modern and up to date sporting facilities in place. Complementing the Beau Sejour Leisure Centre, which see over 550,000 entrants per year, it consists 460 seat Theatre and a six lane 25 metre Swimming pool, two large sports halls catering for Volleyball, Netball and Basketball, 5 squash courts and 2 fitness centres and which was the headquarters of the 1987 and 2003 Island Games, is a new Indoor Tennis Centre, a new Stadium with covered stand seating 500 and a all-weather athletics track with full field events facilities, which also serve as a major site for both Rugby and Football matches, Artificial Pitches which serve hockey and football. There is also an enlarged combined Indoor Bowls Stadium and Table Tennis Centre and a Badminton Centre and many other private premises catering for several other sports, such as Squash. Cricket is well catered for as well as the sport of Softball and the Motor sports.
The government of the island, recognising the benefits which sport can bring to both the economy and health of its inhabitants, are investing in new facilities and providing grants to many sports organisations to do so. The recently established Sports Commission also make grants to enable the sportspeople to take part in competitions outside of the island, such as the Commonwealth Games, International Island Games, GB National Championships and other international events, in order that they may achieve a higher standard of excellence.