- Parish St Martin
- Experience New Candidate
- Party The Guernsey Partnership of Independents
I’m Josh Macksoni. I’m a graduate, a poet and a passionate campaigner for equality. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the beautiful island of Guernsey but it has not been without its challenges for me, and those around me. I believe many issues can be addressed through better governance. I am standing for election to invest in Guernsey’s future by improving Guernsey’s present.
- Bringing a fresh perspective to the States
- Equality for all islanders and promoting diversity in our community
- Reviewing our housing, licencing, justice and drug policy to better serve our islanders
- Promoting a connected island by investing in community projects that promote wellbeing
- Creating an attractive and sustainable island for our youth to ensure a prosperous future
Guernsey has been my home for nearly two decades and a family home for generations. My Guernsey great, great grandparents were interned in Biberach during WWII. The other side of my family hails from Zimbabwe. This dichotomy of identity, and the challenges it brought for me growing up here, have given me a unique perspective on the social environment of the island and what we can do to improve it.
I firmly believe in equality for all islanders. On my return to Guernsey this summer, I co-founded the campaign group Guerns Against Discrimination – a group dedicated to promoting equality and highlighting this desire in the youth of our island.
I intend to carry this passion into the States by ensuring the implementation of the recently-passed anti-discrimination proposal.
I believe it is vital for good governance to keep an ear to the ground on many issues affecting various people and groups in Guernsey. I advocate for reform on our approach to licencing and population management to enable the valuable workers brought to the island to feel more secure and to maintain a diverse community.
I also stand for improving affordability and accessibility of healthcare, implementing an education programme to instil anti-discrimination in our population and I would push for a review of the criminal justice system that, at present, focuses too heavily on deterrence through punishment rather than prevention through community support. This extends to drug policy reform, particularly with regards to cannabis, driven by principles of harm reduction instead of prohibition.
In my spare time I write poetry, listen to Hip-Hop and research into the humanities. I have a deep interest in exploring the human experience through lyricism, philosophy and psychology and I hope to bring these skills to the States. It is this ability to filter and accept such diverse ideas that will ensure I bring something positive and active to the States.
I am also passionate about creativity having studied a Creative Writing degree at the Arts University Bournemouth. I understand the value of creativity as a means of enhancing connections and generally improving wellbeing. If elected I would seek to drive the implementation of new programmes which support socialisation through creative means to improve social cohesion in Guernsey. One of the beautiful things about a small community is the ability to act as a unit to benefit each other. I strongly believe that enriched social prescription of creative groups, alongside similar pursuits such as community gardening projects, could foster a truly connected island community.
It is a heavy list I am sure you will agree. I intend to approach such reforms with empathy, compassion and in the interests of islanders.
Above all else, I will listen; listen to the community and what they tell me they need while applying an evidence-based approach to shape legislation. I will also listen to those in the States with more experience than me while forming my own opinions based on what I hear and what I want to achieve. We have an ever-changing social and political landscape but I will be decisive and, as always, prioritise the best interests of islanders.
Guernsey has near limitless potential as an island united - as evidenced by our world-leading status through the Covid-19 crisis. I feel that unity has been missing recently in the States and I would work to redress that by representing both the youth and marginalised communities on the island.
My other major passion during my leisure time is climbing. What has that got to do with running for election? Strangely, I believe this activity will also help me if I am elected. Climbing is all about spatial problem-solving, staying calm and working things out methodically using both mind and body. It is also a brilliant way to see the island from a new point of view!
Finally, as a 23 year old, I recognise that many young islanders feel they are not accommodated and remain unheard. Whether it is a lack of cultural diversity, job opportunities, housing or any number of other issues, it is clear to me that a large portion of our youth question if Guernsey really is for them. This needs to change as alienating any group of islanders promotes an island divided. I believe it is key for us to make every islander feel that they really can call Guernsey their home.
Answers to questions proposed by the public:
Most of the detailed work of the States is done in committees, like the Committee for Environment and Infrastructure. What experience do you have of being on a committee and how did you contribute?
I haven't yet had any committee experience because I am a new candidate, but I do feel I have developed collaborative skills that will aid in committee work throughout my time university and working with Guerns Against Discrimination.
With unemployment currently running at an all time high, what measures would you like in place to ensure local people are offered jobs before license holders ?
I want to see an emphasis on upskilling the local workforce to ensure locals are as qualified for positions as possible.
I live in St Peter Port but have interests in the Vale, St Peters and Castel. Will you be looking at Island Wide issues or more so in your Parish of residence?
I will certainly be looking at addressing Island Wide issues. Of course it important to address our local parish issues, but I think it is key to look at Guernsey as a community with shared goals and responsibilities.
You will make many commitments as a politician, but how will you actually ensure these are achieved? If you have been a deputy before, what will you do differently this term to improve achievements?
I will endeavour to uphold my values in debate.
What are your opinions on climate change and Guernsey's role in tackling it?
Climate change is a huge global issues that has massive implications for future generations. As we have seen with Guernsey's impressive recycling rate, we have the potential to be a leader in green practices despite being a small island. This gives us the opportunity to influence other jurisdictions to improve their own impact on global warming.
Do you agree that people should be encouraged to use cars less and if so what measures would you like to see introduced to achieve this?
I do believe we should try to encourage people to move away from cars. I see improving infrastructure for cyclists as a first major step towards achieving this goal.
What will you do to educate the islanders about the reality of the climate crisis which is the biggest threat currently facing the world?
Implementing a climate change action plan is a necessary step. This should include better education across all schools to ensure future generations,
What measures will you put in place during the next term to ensure that environmental biodiversity will be protected and enhanced?
I would like to see a centre for nature from which we can optimize our approach to maintaining our biodiversity. If we could bring together our biodiversity groups and look to engage some universities in the UK to aid inn researching our local environment with a specific focus on our unstudied marine biology.
The Guernsey Press had an article and a picture of a proposed East Coast development called HYDROPORT. It seemed to me to be a brilliant plan and included a new deep water harbour, a hydro electric supply by enclosing Belgrave bay and changes to St Peter port harbour to accommodate cruise liners and super yachts. It would provide jobs, produce an ongoing and substantial revenue stream and make us to some extent self-reliant on electricity, why has there been no update on this project?
As a new candidate I can't comment on why there has been no update on this, but I am interesting in investigating new options for improving our economy.
Do you agree that there is a climate crisis caused predominantly by the actions of humans?
I do and I think that we ought to take responsibility to combat our negative impact.
A significant proportion of the concerns about the two college model of secondary education related to the capital costs and space standards: they could have been addressed with higher spending. Would you be prepared to spend more money on the future model of secondary education than previously agreed by the States in September 2019? If so, how much more?
While I agree that increased funding could improve the outcome of our education, we have many areas that require funding in the next term. I am passionate about reaching the best model for our students, guided by the upcoming review, but I also recognise that we need a swift conclusion to the debate for the benefit of students. If the review returns to support that model, a debate about increasing funding will be worth engaging in.
Did you know that same-sex families aren't treated equally when it comes to registering the birth of a child? What will you do to change that?
I did know and I would love to see that change in the close future. If the anti-discrimination proposal passes into legislation, we should have protection for this type of inequality. I am passionate about seeing this legislation pass and will fight for it vigorously.
Increasing home working will likely result in surplus office space. Will you encourage an urgent revision of Planning Policies to facilitate conversion of retail and office space to residential & curb green-field development?
If a surplus of office space becomes available, I would support reviewing planning policies to best use that space.
I have one question for sitting Deputies and one for new candidates. Deputies:- what, in your mind, was your greatest political achievement in the last four years? New candidates:- What is your biggest political goal in the next four years?
My biggest goal is to ensure the implementation of legislation protecting marginalized people and employing community education initiatives to improve attitudes towards equality and inclusion.
How good are your mediation and conciliation skills? The key to the islands well-being and progress is in working together to achieve the projects approved - to see sustainable, innovative solutions. Leadership in pulling the team together to move forward, rather than in circles.
I am committed to representing my views, but I understand that in the States it is not always possible for your personal view to align with the democratically reached decisions. While I will vehemently advocate for what I believe in, I am committed to accepting outcomes and moving forward sincerely.
Would you support changes in the law to make cannabis for personal use legal?
It is a change I would like to see in Guernsey. However, I think that a push for decriminalisation initially is an important step that can be achieved in a shorter timescale with positive social impacts.
Question for New Candidates: During the COVID-19 lockdown States Meetings were held virtually. On 24th of June Meetings resumed in the Royal Court Chamber. As a prospective States Member have you spent any time at all in the public gallery observing our Parliament (potentially your future workplace) in action? If not, why not?
I have spent some time during the gallery, largely during the anti-discrimination proposal debate.
Considering the mounting public pressure against the way our current justice system deals with cannabis offences, what is your stance on the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in Guernsey?
I believe that legislation and regulation should be our ultimate goal, but a push for decriminalisation initially is an important step that can be achieved in a shorter timescale with positive social impacts.
The current states assembly has approved proposals for a Discrimination Ordinance, but much work needs to be done. How committed are you to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, people with disabilities and people of faith are protected on this island?
Protection of marginalized communities is a great concern of mine. I was very pleased to the proposal pass, but I would like to see an equality and rights organisation implemented alongside the legislation to help educate the community and businesses to better local attitudes to equality.
In the last two years two pieces of legislation have come to the States which specifically target the most vulnerable members of our society - euthanasia and abortion - where a person’s fundamental and basic right to life is overridden in the name of lesser rights. Do you believe that disposing of a person’s life is a sign of progress? Do you believe that failing to protect human life at any age or stage of development is the mark of a civilised and enlightened and caring society?
I believe that the debates on the morality of both abortion and euthanasia are more complex than simply the protection of the right to life. As and assembly we should ensure that we take a holistic and measured approach, understanding the different view of or community and the different moralistic arguments behind them.
How will your religious faith influence your voting decisions?
I do not subscribe to any particular faith or religion, though I do align with many Eastern spiritual ideas. My decisions will be influenced by secular morality.
Do you support developing end of life care (including palliative care) or would you look to introduce a form of euthanasia as in assisted dying (assisted suicide)?
I would support both improvements to end of life care and introduction of assisted dying. I believe that giving islanders more and better options in these difficult times would be beneficial to the community.
Education - Do you know what T levels are and if you do, would you be enthusiastically demanding that they are available here in Guernsey?
T levels are an attractive option to imrpoving post-16 education, but with the current state of education I think we have other priorities for achieving the best education outcomes.
There is a lack of mental health support available - particularly to those who seem to fall into the apparent gap between the secondary and primary mental health services. What will you do to address this?
I advocate for enriching our capabilities of providing preventative care like social prescribing alongside investing in improving funding towards traditional mental health services to help bridge the gap in support.
How would you as a deputy ensure emotive proposals such as, change to abortion law or assisted dying law would be publicly debated? And allow Islanders to have more of a say in these emotive issues.
Open and fair debate is very important on any topic and abortion is a particularly difficult one. Every issue should be debated in an appropriate manner and majority states decisions need to be respected.
What is your position on the opportunity to debate the abortion issue more openly and fairly with more balanced representations to the Deputies?
Open and fair debate is very important on any topic and abortion is a particularly difficult one. However, because of the recentness of the debate, I'm not sure its in our best interests to revisit it yet.
How do you see the way forward for secondary education in the island? Do you favour a particular model and if so which one?
I lean towards a three school model, but I would reserve a definite decision until after the pause and review is completed and we are best informed.
What are your views about the proposed way forward with regard to Probate, recognising that the age-old system has been efficient, pastoral, and inexpensive? Are you of the view "if it ain't broke don't fix it"?
Though it is easy to adopt the attitude that a system that has seemed to work does not need changes, the ecclesiastical court is not the most accommodating option for islanders of denominations outside of the Christian religion.