A former bank manager turned guest house proprietor with a passion for the environment has shared his ideas on what could make Jersey better for everyone.
Until the beginning of this year, Richard Romeril was a senior credit and risk manager in Jersey’s financial services industry but after 35 years in banking he is now turning his hand to restarting family-owned bed and breakfast business in St. Ouen, La Croix.
A keen runner who regularly takes part in many of the island's half marathons, Richard is currently spending a lot of time bringing his family home, a Grade 2 listed Victorian-era house, and former farmhouse up to date so it can be run as a niche guest house business. Along with his wife, Carolyn, he is looking forward to welcoming the first guests this Summer.
Interested in the arts, Richard has collected paintings and prints from a number of local artists as well as following theatre and live music whether on or off-island in a variety of genres.
He is looking forward to seeing the Jersey Opera House open its doors again and sees its current extended closure as a real loss to Jersey’s cultural scene.
Richard has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Jersey for over 10 years.
Pictured: Richard has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Jersey for over 10 years and will be president of the club from the beginning of July.
He describes it as a great way of benefiting the community in many diverse ways, citing the charity's long-standing flagship project the Good Companions Club at Les Marais, the Joint Charities Christmas Appeal or more recently a street collection for the Side by Side appeal for Ukraine.
Richard has taken some time out of his busy schedule to share five things he would change about the island with Express...
Having been involved with a partnership between Rotary and the Jersey National Park to tidy up and remove invasive plants from the nature reserve at Les Mielles de Morville in St. Ouen, I feel the Island could do more to improve the many special places it has instead of relying so heavily on volunteer organisations.
The work undertaken by the likes of Jersey National Trust and Trees for Life is fantastic but the Government should provide more funding for example more park rangers. In addition, apart from declaring a climate emergency, little has been done so far to back this up whilst subsidies for electric cars have been a feature of many Government strategies for years.
Photo: Richard and the team tidying and removing invade plants at Les Mielles.
Jersey is the ideal place for electric vehicles and we could be much further along the road to widespread adoption had we acted more quickly. It will be great to see a more joined policy being developed as it is now hopefully it will make a material difference.
As a regular runner through the island's beautiful green lanes I see many examples of thoughtless littering and fly tipping.
Around convenience stores, some of the lanes can be littered with a particular favourite brand of beer or soft drink, no doubt from a regular stroller on his or her way back from the shops.
Pictured: Richard is a keen runner
I often do a bit of “plogging”, or picking up litter as I run, and the Rotary Club has also organised various litter picks in lanes and beaches over the years.
But I am strongly of the opinion that the litterer should be responsible for their own waste and I suggest that cans and bottles should have a deposit scheme which would also encourage recycling and fines should be levied on litterers but they never are.
Having been a regular cycle commuter from the West of the island for many years, I have seen many positive improvements such as the track up St. Peters’ Valley and the new diversion around the bunker by the Old Station Café. But there are still several areas even from the West (not mentioning the less well served Eastern route) that could be improved.
Pictured: Richard was a regular cyclist travelling up and down from the west of the island.
In particular a number of road crossings around Jardin de la Mere give no priority or safety to either cyclists or pedestrians and the roundabout by the swimming pool is even worse where cycle lanes abruptly end with no indicated alternative route.
Also Beaumont Hill is another bug bear where cyclists are permitted to use it in the up direction but in some places the pavement is almost too narrow for a bike and this can be particularly hazardous in the dark and on wet winter nights.
Jersey’s system of speed limits is far too complicated and lacks a joined-up approach as it has been left to individual parishes to determine what is safe. Road users can find themselves in narrow lanes where 40mph is seemingly permitted, but then drive out on to a main road which is designated 20mph, which then goes up to 30mph for a short while and then turns into another small lane which drops to 15mph.
Pictured: Richard would like to see a joined-up approach to speed limits.
If you are local to an area this might seem ok, but visitors to the Island must find this very confusing indeed. It would be great to see an Island wide policy towards speed limits and although the green lanes are great perhaps we should have settled on 20mph to avoid yet another speed limit to confuse visitors.
Finally if speed limits are to be imposed they need to be enforced - the road we live on is 30mph but there has never been a speed check that I am aware of and we get a few regulars up and down here who seem to think there is no speed limit much less 30mph.
After many years, we are finally seeing States reform which may be positive but I still see the loss of Senators and the inclusion of Constables in the Assembly to be a major mistake.
Pictured: Senators had an Island-wide mandate that was cited by many as being their greatest appeal giving them independence from Parish politics.
Constables have a full-time job looking after their Parishes. If they need to be paid they should be remunerated in line with the States Assembly but not be part of it.
I will be very interested to see how the new electoral areas will work, but we do need a good choice of candidates and I fear there is little incentive for people to stand and people that go into public life are often the target of personal abuse as well as their families, which is not the way to conduct a democracy.
Also whilst many in the establishment denied the need for party politics for many years, I think this is now essential as, without coherent manifestos, it is impossible for voters to know what they are getting when they vote for someone, or what that person will do when in power as they often say one thing and do another thing entirely.
Finally, at the time of an election whoever plans to stand for Chief Minister should be abundantly clear and the public should choose its leader not the elected members after the election.