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;
PLEASE THINK WHAT YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE TO BE.”
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.