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.


  1. Deputy Tadier says there would have been a 4-3 majority (3-2 in the actual vote), but he forgets the fact that because Senator Bailhache has a stated interest in the outcome, he should have abstained on the vote, as is the convention in Committee meetings.

    This makes his conduct far worse than it actually is.

  2. The JRA Town Hall public meeting scheduled for Wed 22 February has apparently been cancelled.

    On Wednesday 29 February, after the Licensing and any other published St Helier Parish matters have been considered, the Assembly will consider the Electoral Commission and vote on Deputy Le Herissier's Amendmnts. This will be open to the general public but as with the St Clement Assembly, only voters of St Helier will be able to vote on the Le Herissier Amendments.
    Deputy Le Herissier has indicated that he will attend to explain his proposition.

    Other meetings might take place on similar lines in other Parishes but no details are yet known here.

  3. The St Clement special Assembly will proceed as announced from 7pm on Tuesday 21 February.

    The St Helier special Assembly is being arranged afresh because the licensing agenda is larger than anticipated.
    So watch out for the new date and time - but meanwhile do attend the St Clement meeting and learn what it is all about....

  4. Hi Tom.

    Just put up the Audio from today's Question time. You & your Reader's can Listen HERE

  5. The St Helier Parish Assembly on Wednesday 29th February will be discussing the Electoral Commission as first item on the agenda. The meeting begins at 7.30pm.

    Deputy Roy Le Herissier has been invited to discuss his amendments to the PPC Proposition P.5, which is the suject of the resolution to be voted upon by the Assembly.

    Be sure to be there and have your say. The vote will be restricted to St Helier residents, but there will hopefully be an opportunity for those outside the parish to make comments or ask questions of the speakers.