For the first Seasonal Greeting in Express's annual series, Chief Minister John Le Fondré looks back on his past year in Government...
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our island community, who has come together and supported each other through a difficult year.
Whilst uncertainty remains, I draw strength from the Christmas message which symbolises hope.
A time for sharing with and caring for family, friends, neighbours and strangers.
I know many of you will be working hard over the festive period supporting our healthcare services and residential homes, keeping our shops stocked and open, delivering around the island, policing our streets and responding to emergency calls or working in the hospitality industry.
Pictured: "I know many of you will be working hard over the festive period supporting our healthcare services and residential homes, keeping our shops stocked and open, delivering around the island, policing our streets and responding to emergency calls or working in the hospitality industry."
Others of you will be giving up your own time to volunteer in our important charitable sector.
I thank all of you for the huge service you give to the rest of us, throughout the year and especially at this time.
We are in a fortunate place in that we have been able to enjoy the return of some of the normalities of daily life and are able to enjoy a Christmas with fewer restrictions than last year. However, omicron does present a potential risk, and we must be prepared to react to protect our family, friends and neighbours.
By all playing our part we can continue to keep our community safe. Every islander over the age of 18 is now able to book their booster vaccine, and Lateral Flow Test (LFT) kits are freely available and are used at home, with results in just 10 minutes, giving you peace of mind before gathering with friends or loved ones.
Pictured: "By all playing our part we can continue to keep our community safe. Every islander over the age of 18 is now able to book their booster vaccine, and Lateral Flow Test (LFT) kits are freely available and are used at home, with results in just ten minutes, giving you peace of mind before gathering with friends or loved ones."
Those in our retail and hospitality sectors are also looking to enjoy this festive period so let’s all do our part to limit the risk we pose to others whether it’s by wearing a mask while Christmas shopping, giving each other space, being patient and taking a LFT before heading out. These are simple, practical things we can all do to limit infection transmission.
On 13th December we celebrated one year since the first islanders received their vaccination against covid-19. In the following 12 months, we have managed to deliver nearly 200,000 jabs including 80,000 first doses and more than 40,000 third dose “boosters” have already been given. A proud achievement.
Whilst working tirelessly to balance the challenges of the pandemic and keep islanders safe, the Government has also made significant progress to advance our other priorities.
We have approved the funding for the new hospital following the approval of the Overdale site last year. Work on the new Government headquarters has started, and will provide a single convenient point for islanders to interact with Government, save money for taxpayers, and also free up sites in St. Helier for housing.
Pictured: Cheval Roc nursing home resident and great-grandmother Beryl Taylor - then 87 - was the first islander to receive a covid vaccine.
This year has seen us invest in a school’s catch-up programme as well as lay the groundwork for our health and social recovery from covid, which will see significant investment next year.
We have begun implementing the Jersey Care Model to assist our ageing population to maintain their independence and comfort with more community-based services.
We have proposed and lodged our population policy and begun implementing the Migration Control Policy.
We have published our housing action plan and taken the decision to freeze Andium rents for 2022. We will also be raising the minimum wage to £9.22 an hour from 1 January.
In addition, we have taken steps to protect our natural environment, not only representing our island at the COP26 global summit but also passing a new Wildlife Law to protect indigenous species across Jersey.
To date, we have successfully navigated the continued consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU including its impact on the licensing of French fishing vessels in our waters.
These are just some of the achievements of the last 12 months. But behind every single one, stands the hard work of public sector officials many of whom will be continuing to work over the festive period to deliver for Jersey.
I know that for many in our island, Christmas can be a difficult or lonely time too.
If you are struggling, please remember that you are not alone, help is available, and others are there to listen. A full list of support services is available on the Government’s Connect Me initiative. Support is also available via the Listening Lounge on 01534 866793 and the Children and Families Hub on 01534 519000.
I hope all islanders are able to enjoy a safe and happy Christmas this festive season and I wish you all the best for 2022.
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