Monday, February 27, 2012

Jersey Electoral Reform - the Public Speaks

Following the success at St Clement on 21 February the long suffering Jersey voters will have another chance to express their views on Wednesday 29 February - this time at St Helier Town Hall.

Anybody can attend this special Assembly which starts at 7.30pm but only voters of St Helier will be able to vote for or against Deputy Le Herissier's Amendment proposition regarding the PPC attempt to seize control of the proposed Electoral Commission.

Of course the initiative against reform is led by Senator Sir Phillip Bailhache. He seeks to hobble the Commision as already approved by the States and put it under the control of himself as Chairman and other States Members.

Deputy Le Herissier is leading the fight to maintain the composition of the Commission as an independent body with a wide mandate and should be able to state his case here at this Assembly which will be chaired by the Chef de Police.

Constable Crowcroft will be out of the Island on Wednesday but he expresses his views here which are in favour of an independent Commission. Ironically he will have to present the Bailhache version of the PPC policy when it is put before the States! Such is the Jersey way of politics.

Other views are expressed here by Nick Le Cornu and Darius Pearce who signed as two of the four Parishioners calling for this special Assembly under the 1804 Law.

Elsewhere, on an earlier posting on this blog,  the Minority PPC Report of Deputies Tadier and Martin has been discussed.

This is a most important matter. The future government of Jersey for decades to come will be decided over the next few weeks. TAKE PART - this may be your last chance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RESULT St Clement Four 16 Ex Bailiffs Eleven 0

The special St Clement Parish Assembly called to consider Deputy Le Herissier’s amendments to the PPC Electoral Commission proposals turned out to be a very special event.
First things first - the vote went in favour of supporting Le Herissier’s amendments with none voting against - which was amazing in all the circumstances.

We recorded the Deputy’s address and this appears here but it was touch and go whether the somewhat grumpy Constable would allow him to speak at all.
Clearly Constable Norman is not at his best health-wise so we must make allowances but it was always a bit odd to have a member of PPC chairing this particular Assembly. He did appear to be hostile at times towards the four St Clement Parishioners who has signed the unusual request under the 1804 Law to summon the proceedings. He had also laid down some quite severe restrictions on the scope of matters to be discussed or who could speak.

It would have been useful to have somebody from PPC to present the official line but the Constable declined to do so and nobody in the audience came forward. If Senator Sir Philip Bailhache had turned up it would have been interesting to see if he was denied the right to speak. Unfortunately, neither he nor anybody else out of Jersey’s 100,000 population volunteered – so we shall never know.

None of the accredited media could be bothered to attend either, although CTV had said they were sending a crew. Roger B had interviewed Parishioner Tom Gruchy aka Mike Dun on Monday morning (7.45am) about the forthcoming assembly but the BBC carried no further information on news bulletins on today’s (Wednesday) morning programme. Tom (Mike) phoned the studio and offered to go on air to give the result etc but the offer was not taken up. Wonder why?
Channel 103 broadcast an interview on Tuesday and have a follow up on the result going out today.
The JEP did not speak with any of the four Parishioners who called the Assembly directly but cobbled together a piece from stock material with photos of two on Tuesday, but no reporter attended to observe the event and there was no mention in Wednesday's edition.

Fortunately Neil recorded Roy Le Herissier’s presentation which the Deputy proposes to deliver again at the coming St Helier Assembly on the 29th if allowed by Constable Crowcroft (who also chairs PPC). It is thus now available on You tube in case any others should want to view it.

The attendance at St Clement was very good.
16 Parishioners voted for Le Herissier and 11 abstained (so total 27). About a similar number of others, including States members, were also there but could not vote.
St Clement Deputy Gerald Baudains spoke very well in favour of the amendments but curiously declared that he had a policy of never voting at Parish Assemblies (although he was legally entitled to do so as the Constable confirmed). If he did vote it would have been for.
Deputy Susie Pinel the other newly elected Deputy for St Clement (and Assistant Minister already at Social Security) remained silent and could not be drawn into participation.  
This was also curious because (as she explained afterwards) she did not know enough about the subject to make a decision. Yet in her election manifesto she had promised;

“States Regeneration: reduce the number of members; cut waste from the public sector; undertake a full review of Ministerial Government; re-focus on the major issues; improve the quality of decision making and cut out personal attacks.”

Sir Philip might well have written that for her! As it turned out she joined the abstainers which was a mathematical curiosity in itself. How was it possible that eleven people ALL decided to abstain whereas not one voted against?

Was this the St Clement mafia at work?

Clearly their spokesperson on the night was Advocate Sue (“Superman”) Permain who had come with a ready prepared lengthy script based upon the wonderful and ancient traditions of Jersey etc. Typically too (even as a Jersey lawyer!) she protested ignorance of the PPC proposals and thought that the St Clement Four should educate her!
Fortunately even the Constable soon tired of her monologue and invited her to sit down and shut up but it is always interesting to see the covert lines of support emerging at such gatherings.

As Susie Pinel warned in her election leaflet;


How true – but be doubly warned about who you vote for - and we must ensure that even those we have been minded to elect do not sit on the Electoral Commission.

Next – possibly our final chance – to save our meagre level of democracy is at St Helier on Wednesday 29 February. It will be the first item on the agenda commencing at 7.30pm.

Make sure you are there… IF YOU CARE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jersey Electoral Commission - here we go again

Daniel Wimberley's parting shot as the Deputy for St Mary in the States of Jersey last year was to gain approval for his Proposition to establish an Electoral Commission.

Now States Members have commenced yet another attempt to reform the composition of the States along with many other changes to the way they are to be elected by the long suffering public. This latest show will run for years.

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache (the former Bailiff) has taken the opportunity - surrounded by so many weak States members - to grab the initiative and seeks to control the Commission's activities in line with his own agenda. As a member of the Privileges and Procedures Committee he has already proposed that the Commission shall include States Members (not part of the original Wimberley plan as approved by the States) and to choose its own outside consultants.

Senator Bailhache's agenda includes the retention of the 12 Parish Constables in the States whilst reducing the overall number to just 42 elected members in total.

Tom Gruchy and the other heroes of 1769 would recognise the role now of the former Bailiff. They bravely fought to establish democratic government in Jersey - risking their lives to do so - against the all powerful Crown Officers of their day.

Their battle continues. It is now our legacy. The representation of the public of Jersey is at risk today if the Commission is hijacked by the old guard centred on existing and past autocratic Crown Officers.  They must not be allowed to stifle democracy and debate.

The public must enter this debate at the earliest opportunity - it is no use waiting for a yes/no Referendum vote on such complex and important issues. A Referendum will be yet another stitch-up.

Here Deputies Monty Tadier of St Brelade (above) and Roy Le Herisssier of St Saviour (below) explain their current roles and views.

The first public opportunity to discuss these matters in a meaningful way has been arranged by the voters of St Clement who have called for a Parish Assembly on Tuesday 21 February 2012 specifically to consider the merits of the PPC proposals and the future  of the Electoral Commission.
Deputy Roy Le Herissier has agreed to attend to explain his lodged Amendments which seek to ensure that local politicians do not sit on the Commission etc.

A vote will be taken at the special Parish meeting expressing support or otherwise for Deputy Le Herissier's amendment.
Only St Clement voters will be allowed to vote but it is important that the public from other Parishes should attend to hear what is going on. Other meetings are being arranged in other Parishes etc.
The public must now show the initiative and lead the discussion to ensure that long fought for rights are not taken away - the reform of the States and of the democratic process must continue but not in accordance with the 18th century feudal concepts of the Crown Officers and their followers.

The St Clement meeting starts at 7pm.

Monday, February 13, 2012

La Ville Davy Retreat Centre - Peter and Mo Henderson explain...

Mo and Peter Henderson will be known to many people in Jersey already through their Mindfulness teaching and other professional work in the Island.
Here, in this February (not January!) interview they explain about the Retreat Centre that they have created and run at St Helen near Dinan for some years.

With Jersey’s Health Service now facing so many challenges it is useful to hear people who have independently established their own successful initiative towards mental well being using meditation and related practices.

La Ville Davy Retreat Centre, 22100 St Helen France further details can be found on Facebook or

or email

This is not an advert – the information is offered as part of the eternal search for knowledge and understanding for those who seek it.

Please don’t complain about the poorish lighting on this interview …it’s the best I could manage on the day…just try to concentrate on the information that is being offered…..