1st January 1949
Alderney elects its first president
Guernsey and Alderney were once entirely separate islands, just as Guernsey and Jersey are today. That changed at the end of the occupation, throughout which Alderney had been run as a prison camp. It was in such a poor condition that there was little prospect of it ever regaining its former status.
Alderney’s locals started to return in December 1945 – more than six months after liberation – to find their homes ransacked and the land around them desecrated. For a while, the island was run as a collective farm, but even this wasn’t going to be enough.
Legislation from the mainland
The British Home Secretary, Chuter Ede, proposed the “Guernseyfication” of Alderney and thus, in summer 1948, the Alderney (Application of Legislation) Law was passed, giving Guernsey broad jurisdiction over its neighbour. At the same time, two representatives from Alderney were given places in Guernsey’s States of Deliberation and, the following year, Alderney elected its first president. Sydney Peck Herivel served for over 21 years until 26 August 1970.
Alderney’s presidential term of office is four years, although the candidate can stand for re-election as many times as they choose. They are responsible for calling meetings of the island’s legislature, liaising with the public and other government offices, and organising civic and social events. As the Chair of the legislature, they only ever cast a vote if the other representatives are evenly split on an issue, thus settling the matter.