Wednesday, June 8, 2011


In between States Assemblies this week the Corporate Services Migration Sub Scrutiny Panel has been scheduled to meet under Senator Sarah’s steady supervision. Except that the Tuesday 1pm public hearing with the Minister for Housing did not take place.

Yours truly had turned up outside the “Le Capelain” room along with one other expectant elector and at two minutes past one Deputy Macon offered his apologies on behalf of his fellow Panellists - but he did not know what had happened to them or the meeting.

Soon he went away and returned with the news that the meeting had been cancelled but without any further details of Sarah or Deputies Labey, De Sousa or Le Claire.

Across the corridor there was a great deal of activity involving the Parish Constables but this was not billed as fit for public consumption – what could it be yours truly wondered? But there was nobody here to ask and neither the Usher nor the official notice board offered any more information about it or the cancelled meeting.

At the Morier House Greffe – now laughingly referred to as the States Information Centre – where the display case shelves are becoming ever more devoid of publications (like a Soviet era grocery store) – more information was telephoned down from above. The Minister had failed to show therefore the public hearing was cancelled and your truly had been e-mailed at home and personally advised. Alas, too late for yours truly and no use for the other 92,000 residents of the Island either.

So what! Worse things happen at sea as mother used to say and Sarah’s Panel have more public meetings planned and what about all those Constables – just what were they up to?

Nobody knew, but back in the Square yours truly bumped into one of the Parish dozen blinking in the sunlight who revealed that the meeting in the “Blampied” room was of the Comite des Cennetables. Usually, it was explained, they assemble in their own room at the RJA & HS tin building at Trinity. There they sit around a very large polished desk surrounded by the Jersey Herd Books going back to the eighteenth century, with sculptures and pin-up portraits of past prize-winning milkers all about.

But are such meetings open to the public, yours truly asked?
Don’t think so replied the Constable.
How about the agenda – are these accessible to the public? Don’t know said the Constable.
Suppose a member of the public wanted to put an item on the agenda for the Constables to discuss?
Not sure – but I will make enquiries the country peoples’ representative helpfully responded.

Strange that nobody seems to have asked such questions before in three centuries or more yours truly thought – especially since the Constables are part of such an ancient Jersey tradition. After all,  it was in 1769 that the revolters from Trinity marched into this very same Royal Square and overturned the corrupt Royal Court….and this was the very act that helped established the States of Jersey, where the Constables were such an integral part of the emerging democratic assembly and it was this that caused the 1771 Code of Jersey Laws to be written and the powers of the despotic Crown Officers to be curtailed….and all under the gaze of the very same statute of King George II that stands there still today glinting in the Jersey sunshine!!!

All this wonderful history in such a little place and so little engagement with the public yours truly thought. How bloody sad!

That was yesterday. Today at 1pm, Sarah’s Scrutiny Sub Panel was back in session (in the “Blampied” room) to hear lone Constable Len Norman as the Assistant Minister for Economic Development.
He was there to explain how the Housing and Regulations of Undertakings laws were soon to be scrapped and passed on in a new form to the Chief Minister to administer. For some reason the panellists seemed to be anxious about the proposed changes – it was as though they knew nothing or little about it although the discussions and consultations had been going on for years….

Such is the dubious benefit of democracy. Change creeps up slowly. There is nothing quite as stimulating as a revolt to engage the public. Oh for the good old days….

But there was one favourite old tradition that had returned – the sandwiches.
Sarah had decreed that official participants should be fed. Sod austerity – tuck in!!!


  1. To be fair to Sarah, she actually pays for these sandwiches out of her own expenses. Thought this should be known!

  2. Do you mean out of her own pocket - or out of her Scrutiny Panel expenses allowance?
    There would be a difference.