As many Islanders realised from the outset, Senator Perchard’s position became untenable when it emerged that he had urged a fellow States Member to commit suicide.
Such a suggestion would be unacceptable on the lips of any politician, but it was utterly beyond the pale from a man whose position in public life — which carried responsibility for social services as well as health — demanded the highest levels of sensitivity and empathy.
However, the Senator is a man much sinned against as well as sinning. It has become all too apparent that his abusive conduct was provoked by a barrage of insult, allegation and defamation directed not only at him personally but also at staff for whom he quite rightly felt responsibility.
That one man has fallen on his sword while another, Senator Stuart Syvret, the source of provocation through his own torrents of immoderate abuse published on the internet, should escape censure manifestly lacks balance.
But now is a time for looking forward rather than towards the sordid events of recent weeks. A new Health Minister must be elected who is capable of meeting the challenges of a department that is in danger of becoming the poisoned chalice of the public sector.
As well as building morale in the wake of scandals that have rocked the service, the new minister will have to ensure that standards are maintained, or ideally improved, in the face of increasing pressures on funding. He or she will also have to develop strategies for coping with medical care which, thanks to scientific and technological advances, is becoming ever more complex and expensive.
Meanwhile, the accession of a new minister to the executive might offer the Council of Ministers a chance to take stock, tighten the rigging on the ship of state, and sail on into calmer waters.
Turbulent events which could not have been foreseen have played their part in making the Council’s task a difficult one since it took control, but it is time that its members backed up their frequent assertions that they know exactly where they are going with convincing evidence of competence across the board.