Wednesday 17 June 2020

My speech at Jersey's Black Lives Matter demonstration 06/06/20

I want to thank each of you for turning up on short notice. As I look out here I see the beautiful rainbow that is our Jersey society. I see men and women, black and white, young and old, LGBT, all faiths and none, all of us here united to say with one voice that we reject the racist violence perpetrated against George Floyd and too many others.

We stand in solidarity with the brave men and women in America and around the world who stand up to injustice wherever they find it.

But most importantly, we are here to say to people in Jersey, our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues, from ethnic minorities or other nationalities, that we stand with you, we celebrate all you contribute to what makes our society so special, and we will never let you come into harms way because of the depravity that is racial injustice.

I want to thank you Chief of Police, Robin Smith, for his commitment that our police in Jersey will never descend to the behaviour of their American counterparts, because they understand that our diversity is a source of our strength.

I also want to thank the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator John Le Fondré, who is at a D-Day commemoration today, marking that crucial moment in the fight against the Nazis, but has sent his support for this demonstration and asked me to pass on those words to you.

And I want to thank the organisers of this demonstration for ensuring that it will be recorded that we in Jersey were on the right side of history.

We live in dark times. Whilst the world is engulfed by a deadly pandemic which brings hardship and anxiety on so many, on top of that we also face the horror of what seems like a growing tide of racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and homophobia, often incited by cowardly politicians and their paymasters in the media and big business, who exploit these divisions for their own self-interest.

But we must always remember that we are many and they are few.

The power is in our hands to fight for a fairer society for us all to enjoy, no matter what our background is.

Even though we have plenty to feel angry about, I ask you not to leave this event feeling angry. Leave it instead feeling determined and inspired

There are still injustices here we need to tackle. We still have to do more to tackle racism, sexism and homophobia here. But crucially we must accept that our freedom from the injustices of racism and prejudice are incomplete with our freedom from economic injustice. Our growing gap between the rich and poor must be addressed as a priority alongside these other injustices.

So I urge you to stay inspired, stay involved, get organised and whilst showing our solidarity with others around the world, make sure you play your part in securing a fairer society here, and I promise you on behalf of Reform Jersey, we will be alongside you every single step of the way.

I want to end with a quote which I hope sums up our sense of optimism though we face these dark times. It is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr, who said “let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great national with all their scintillating beauty”.

Monday 1 June 2020

The 'New Deal' for Jersey - My statement

Over these last few months, Jersey has faced our greatest public health crisis in a century, and now we also face our second major economic crisis in just over a decade.

We find ourselves at a crossroads, where the decisions made now will fundamentally affect the future wellbeing of our island. This is a time where bold action is required, if we are to ensure that Islanders livelihoods are protected.

Throughout this crisis, islanders have faced restrictions and hardship that most of us have not seen in our lifetimes. We have been unable to see our loved ones, many have lost their jobs and incomes, and we have faced growing anxiety and stress in the face of an uncertain future.

We have persevered in order to protect one another from the coronavirus.

But through this difficult time, we have also seen the very best of our society.

Whilst tens of thousands of islanders adhered to strict lockdown requirements, our front-line workers dedicated themselves to serving and protecting the public, sometimes in circumstances which were unsafe for their own health.

Our voluntary sector and networks have stepped up in a co-ordinated effort on a scale never seen before, to support the most vulnerable.

The government intervened directly in the economy to provide an unprecedented package of support for businesses, to prevent mass unemployment and destitution.

These actions have shown what is possible for our community, if we come together in our time of need to provide for one another.

Our mobilisation of efforts will see us through the rest of this health crisis, and we will have to conduct a recovery programme to get Jersey back on its feet.

But we must accept that Jersey had serious problems before this crisis hit. Problems which were often made worse by government policy. Simply going back to what we had before is not good enough.

The previous decade in Jersey had seen a huge growth in the gap between the rich and poor, with poverty rising and wages stagnating. Despite record numbers in work, productivity had been steadily declining, and we had just had a year of pay disputes in the public sector.

What economic growth we did have was based on an unsustainable population policy, and the proceeds of that growth were felt only by a small number of people at the top of the income scale.

All of this happened because of an ideological drive for austerity, which has proven to be a complete and utter failure.

The question must be asked, if we can mobilise our efforts to deal with a health crisis, why can’t we mobilise our efforts to deal with the crisis in living conditions, with the crisis in housing costs or with the climate crisis?

This is not a question of reality; it is a question of political will.

This crisis has shown that what many considered was impossible before was actually possible all along.

We froze rents. We made primary health care cheaper. And we directly subsidised struggling businesses.

We did those things because they were essential. We must now adopt the same approach as we rebuild our economy, because securing people’s living standards is essential too.

But we will not achieve that through wishful thinking or platitudes. Only with a clear vision to coalesce around will we be able to achieve this change.

Today Reform Jersey is proposing a New Deal for Jersey.

This is a vision for Jersey’s recovery from coronavirus that puts people first.

This plan takes inspiration from those who came before us, and learns the lessons of history, that you cannot cut your way to prosperity. It is only by investing in people and services that we create prosperity which we can all enjoy.

The New Deal proposes a phased approach, based on the Three Rs; Relief, Recovery and Reform.

I will go through each phase in turn.

The first phase -

Relief – We must continue to support Islanders in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.

Many Islanders are hurting, having suffered from hardship which was not of their making. People have lost their jobs and incomes, businesses have failed, and many have racked up debt. If these people are not helped, we will see the recession prolonged and the economic crisis exacerbated.

We say that there must be no cliff edge where people suddenly lose the financial support they have had to rely on, before their livelihoods have been restored. The government must not allow people to fall into destitution. To do otherwise would be short sighted and cause unnecessary pain.

This means not withdrawing the benefits being paid to unemployed people who may struggle to find work.

It means continuing to provide greater subsidies for access to primary health care, for people who are ill.

And we believe that it also means freezing rents until proper rent stabilisation regulations can be implemented, and not allow islanders to face the prospect come October of paying rent, a rent rise and rental debt, which will prevent them from contributing to our economic recovery.

The second phase-

Recovery – Transforming our economy and public services to drive up the standard of living.

Before the crisis, our economy was not working in the interests of our whole community. This is a sickness which must be corrected in a new economic framework if we are to secure our long-term sustainability and wellbeing.

But as well as addressing the structural problems which have delivered us a decade of frozen living standards and growing inequality, we must prepare our economy for the challenges of the future. With any economic stimulus package that is created, there must be a focus on green jobs and digital skills.

This means investing in skills and education, not just for our young people, but for those who want or need to reskill to seek new job opportunities.

This means the government playing a leading role in getting people back into work. Either through working directly with businesses to support people into jobs or creating those jobs itself.

It means ending the scourge of insecure and low paid work, which too often is suffered by those in care roles or front-line jobs which have proved so essential in the crisis. We must abolish unfair zero hours contracts and bring the minimum wage up to a living wage.

It means factoring in cost of living pay rises into our normal budgets, rather than year after year of effective pay cuts.

The final phase –

Recovery – Ensuring that we build systematic resilience for future crises.

Jersey’s journey through the coronavirus crisis was made easier by the fact that previous generations had paid into large reserve funds which Jersey was able to fall back on to stabilise our situation and provide cashflow for emergency response actions. But our ability to pay back into the reserves will be hampered by a broken tax system which held back our access to those funds.

And getting new support packages up and running, like the co-funded payroll scheme and the agreement between the government and the GPs, took too long and exacerbated the crisis. In the event of a future crisis, the government must be able to implement a response swiftly to ensure that the damage done is as limited as possible.

Our States-owned companies were beacons throughout this crisis, able to change their plans to accommodate the needs of islanders in the crisis, such as scrapping planned price increases and even increasing internet speeds for those working from home. This demonstrates that this ownership model is a success to be proud of and should be used for other key enterprises which are too important to be left in the hands of venture funds which have no purpose other than to extract wealth from Jersey to shareholders outside of Jersey.

We must create a clear ‘Crisis Response Plan’ which can be ready to be implemented in the event of a future crisis, so there can be clarity and confidence from Day 1.

We must reform our tax model, so the wealthiest islanders and corporations pay their fair share, and do not leave the burden falling on people who can scarcely afford it already.

We must incorporate primary healthcare into the public sector, so we are able to ensure islanders health needs are met all year round, and so that our GPs can be mobilised in a time of crisis.

Relief, Recovery and Reform, will be our mantra for how Jersey can come out of this crisis stronger and more together, and help create a fairer society for us all.

Some will say this is all a pipe dream. Some will dismiss it with abuse, rather than take on the ideas.

These people will be those who measure Jersey’s success by it’s GVA and by the number of high net worths who want to live here, rather than on Islanders happiness and wellbeing.

Let’s be clear, this New Deal will challenge vested interests who were quite happy with how things were before. Those who benefited from tax privileges, the broken housing market and exploitative employment regulations, will not accept an alternative. They will fight to oppose it.

But they do not have history or justice on their side.

Their plan after the 2008 financial crash failed, and it will fail again if it is tried now. That is why we need a New Deal.

We believe that we have a community out there in Jersey which is feeling inspired for something better. As we have gone out every Thursday evening to clap for our frontline workers, we know that they deserve more than just our gratitude. They deserve our commitment that we will honour their dedication and sacrifice by creating a fairer society for us all to enjoy.

We have a choice between another wasted decade on austerity or to build on the momentum we have now to bring people together around a New Deal which ushers in a new era of prosperity. Succeeding generations will be condemned to a poorer future if we do not learn from our history, and make the wrong decision.

We hope you will join us. Thank you.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Coronavirus: Minister welcomes increased tenancy protection

The Minister for Housing, Senator Sam Mezec, has welcomed developments which will give tenants protection from eviction during the Covid-19 pandemic, but has undertaken to do more.

Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court has announced the adjournment of all eviction cases before the Petty Debts Court as part of a package of measures in response to the pandemic. 

The Minister also wrote to leading housing providers, and has received confirmation from Jersey Landlords Association, and several social housing providers and letting and management agencies, that evictions will not be pursued during the outbreak.  

Senator Mezec said: "There is still more to do to give tenants protection in legislation, which I soon hope to be in a position to say more about, and we are working hard to house those vulnerable islanders who need urgent accommodation. In the meantime, however, I hope these commitments will provide tenants with peace of mind that they are not at immediate risk of losing their homes because of the pandemic. 

"I welcome the commitment provided to me by many of our housing providers that they will take a pragmatic and compassionate approach to dealing with their tenants, many of whom may see their incomes reduce because of coronavirus. Most have confirmed that they are already putting procedures in place to manage rent collection and late payment during this difficult time."

Sunday 9 June 2019

My speech at the Citizens Advice AGM

Last week I was very kindly invited to be the guest speaker at the Jersey Citizens Advice AGM. I was pleased to take questions afterwards and hear about the important work the organisation is doing to support Islanders in need.

He is the transcript of my speech.


Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak to you at this AGM tonight.

I was really pleased to be invited and thought I might start by revealing a little-known fact that it is actually the Citizens Advice Bureau’s fault that I am in politics in the first place.

I will leave it to others to judge whether CAB should be thanked or condemned for that.

Originally, my intention had always been to become a lawyer. I got a law degree at university, started studying my Legal Practice Course and was working for a local law firm here.

When I was studying in London, I volunteered at a Citizens Advice Bureau in Hammersmith, basically to get some experience. I went through some of their training, and got to learn the values of the CAB, about being independent, non-judgemental and on challenging discrimination.

We had all sorts of people come through our doors, sometimes people who were absolutely desperate for help, sometimes people who just wanted to get a second opinion on something to be on the safe side. Sometimes we could help people to help themselves by empowering them with knowledge of their rights, helping them fill out paperwork they didn’t understand etc, and sometimes we couldn’t help them, but could get them to another agency which could.

The truth is that I discovered that I found this work much more rewarding than I did working in a law firm, where often my work was about helping rich and powerful people in commercial disputes. Whereas at CAB we got to make a more direct impact on people’s lives and learnt about the structures and processes of government which often make life more difficult for ordinary people, but with a push in the right direction could be changed for the better. That experience is a key part of what convinced me to go into politics instead.

Tomorrow will mark one year since the new government took office and I became Minister for Housing, and then Minister for Children as well a couple of months later.

I think you will probably find few people in Jersey who don’t accept that housing is one of the top political issues of our time and this government is facing a huge challenge to try and fix things.

I come at it from the perspective of believing that having a roof above your head and the security of a home which you can be comfortable and safe in, is a fundamental human right.

Something has happened over recent decades where many people have found their housing situation become more precarious and more unaffordable. Home-ownership feels more out of reach for young people than it was for their parents, and the cost of renting is putting too many people in rental stress.

I have said that I believe the housing market is broken and works too much in the interests of investors, rather than people who need a decent home.

For too many people, their access to housing holds them back in life, rather than providing them a stable position to move their lives forward which is what it ought to do.

I had found that in the last year of my term as a St Helier Deputy, the number of constituency cases that were coming my way about Social Security issues was declining, but housing issues were increasing. In my discussions with Citizens Advice they have also reported a rise in housing issues.

Reflecting all of this, the government has made ‘reducing income inequality and improving the standard of living’ one of the headlines of our Strategic Plan, with a particular work stream focusing on improving housing in the Island.

The Government has set up a Housing Policy Development Board, which brings together different States departments that hold the relevant levers to affect change, as well as independent experts to get to work on tackling what we see as some of the key issues we need to get to grips with.

To name just a few of them –

  • External buy-to-let – making sure that local people are not at a disadvantage when purchasing homes to live in
  • Scraping the 90% market-rate rule in social housing – finding a more sustainable funding arrangement for homes for lower income households that doesn’t put people in rental stress
  • Measures to improve rental security and mid-tenancy rent rises – so tenants can actually live knowing that if they haven’t done anything wrong, they don’t have to worry about losing their home
  • Introducing transparency in letting agent fees – as has been done in the UK, so prospective tenants are not hit with unfair charges which can’t be justified
  • Keyworker accommodation – making sure we are welcoming to people coming in to work in our essential public services where we have struggled with recruitment in the past because of housing problems

Overarching all of this, the board will be looking towards the next Island Plan and future years to work out how we can meet the needs of our population.

Outside of the Policy Development Board, I have begun work on some of my personal priorities.

  • Improving how the Social Housing Gateway works – so people are helped into the most appropriate homes for them and improve transparency in how that system works
  • Introducing a housing advice service – discussions with Citizens Advice will be fundamental to making sure we make that work

But, when it comes to my housing portfolio, I have no greater priority than addressing the issue of homelessness.

We are one of the richest places in the world, with a community that is intrinsically hardworking and generous, and we have no excuse whatsoever to not deal with this issue.

As Minister, I regularly have people in desperate situations contacting me because they are either homeless or about to become homeless, and I have been so frustrated at the lack of options the government actually legally has to save a person or a family from that situation.

Often this is single men who aren’t eligible for social housing, people who are on the Housing Gateway but nothing is becoming available, and even a single working mum who had had to sleep in her car with her children because she ran out of options.

At the end of last year I held a summit with various government departments and charities, to scope the work to put together a homelessness strategy.

We are working with homelessness charities here, independent experts and, of course, Citizens Advice, to have something in place within a year.

So, these are our ambitions, and there is a lot to be getting on with, but despite what commentators in the media might say, we have not been standing still until this point.

In the last year, the work to improve standards in the rental sector has been substantial.

In the social sector, Andium Homes are on track to deliver 100% Good Homes Standard at twice the speed they initially planned for. They’re currently on 97%.

The introduction of minimum standards in health and safety for residential properties has been hugely important, and the Environmental Health Department have done some sterling work to build an enforcement regime for those standards and use not just a stick but a carrot as well with landlords who need a helping hand or advice to make sure they do the right thing.

A consultation has just opened now on a new landlord licencing scheme, which will bring this industry into the 21st century and give us the tools we need to ensure the market is working fairly and that tenants are protected.

We have seen recently headlines about how the slightest change in housing rules will decimate the market, but I think these proposals strike me as entirely reasonable that we subject the second biggest sector of our economy, an area which has such a huge impact on people’s well-being, to regulations that match its importance. We have regulations in place to stop people selling food which is rotten, the same should apply for housing.

As you might be able to tell, I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge before us, but I am optimistic that we can and will make progress to make life better for the people that I am privileged to represent. I will certainly be all ears when Citizens Advice wish to speak to me about the experiences your clients have, because that will be invaluable in improving things.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Senator Mézec lodges proposition to end dual role of the Bailiff and establish an elected Speaker

“We will support introducing an elected Speaker to preside over States sittings and to undertake outreach work to promote democracy in our Island by engaging with schools, businesses and civic groups to improve how they interact with the States Assembly.” – Reform Jersey 2018 election manifesto ‘Working for a Fairer Island’

Following the announcement made in the States Assembly on Tuesday by the chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee that they were unable to reach a decision to bring a proposition to establish an elected Speaker, Senator Sam Mézec has lodged a proposition to enable the States to decide to end the dual role of the Bailiff in time for the retirement of William Bailhache in October.

Senator Mézec had been pressuring the PPC to bring forward proposals since the election last year, whilst a working party had been established to investigate potential options. However, this work reached an impasse this week as no consensus in support of the working party’s proposals emerged.

Reform Jersey party chairman Senator Sam Mézec said - “Numerous reports have been published which have said that it is unhealthy that Jersey does not have an effective separation of powers between the courts and the States, and legal advice provided to the government has indicated that our current system puts us at risk of human rights challenges in the future.”

“The States Assembly has never before had the opportunity for a straightforward vote on establishing an elected Speaker and leaving the Bailiff to focus on his court duties, and now the time has come to make that decision in time for the retirement of the current Bailiff.”

“I hope that the Assembly will take this decision to take our democracy into the 21st century and meet democratic best practices as are well established around the world

The amendment is due to be debated in the week of 30th April.


THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion •

(1)         to agree that –

(a)         the States Assembly should select its Speaker either from amongst the elected members of the Assembly, or by appointing a person who is not a Member of the Assembly but who would be eligible for election to the Assembly;

(b)         the States Assembly should select a Deputy Speaker from amongst the elected members of the Assembly;

(c)          the selection and appointment of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be the first items of business for any new States Assembly and, should either office become vacant during the term of an Assembly, be the first item of business at the next scheduled meeting of the Assembly;

(d)         the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be elected to serve for the duration of an Assembly term, or for the remainder of the Assembly’s term if (for any reason) they are elected mid-term;

(e)         the process for electing the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should follow a similar format as those for the election of the Chief Minister, Ministers and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen;

(f)          provision should be made for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to resign and/or be removed from office by the States Assembly;

(g)          the Speaker should be required to act impartially, and be seen to act impartially, at all times. To that end, the Speaker may not lodge propositions, table questions, participate in debates or vote on propositions. Upon being elected, the Speaker would be required to resign from any membership of a political party;

(h)         the Deputy Speaker should be required to act impartially when chairing meetings of the Assembly and undertaking official duties related to their role as Deputy Speaker. When not acting as Deputy Speaker, the Member elected to this post may continue to lodge propositions, table questions, participate in debates, vote on propositions and sit on scrutiny panels;

(i)           the functions of the Speaker shall include –
(i)           fulfilling all the functions of the Presiding Officer as set out in the States of Jersey Law 2005 and the Standing Orders of the States of Jersey;
(ii)          representing the States Assembly both within Jersey and overseas;
(iii)         promoting the development of the States Assembly and democracy in Jersey;

(j)           the functions of the Deputy Speaker shall include –
(i)           fulfilling the functions of the Speaker in the absence of, or at the request of, the Speaker or at any other time when the office of Speaker becomes vacant;
(ii)          supporting the Speaker in representing the States Assembly within Jersey and overseas;
(iii)         supporting the work of the Speaker in promoting the development of the States Assembly and democracy in Jersey;

(k)          the additional resources required to support a Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be provided for within the current structure of the States Greffe;

(l)           the Bailiff should remain as the Civic Head of Jersey, continue to swear in Members of the States Assembly in the Royal Court, Preside in the Assembly during the process of electing a Speaker, and be invited to Preside in, or address the Assembly, on ceremonial and other appropriate occasions;

(2)         the Privileges and Procedures Committee should bring forward all necessary actions, including legislative amendments, to implement these changes in time for the Assembly to select and appoint a Speaker and Deputy Speaker at the meeting of the States on 22nd October 2019.

Saturday 26 January 2019

Please Vote Lyndsay Feltham for Deputy of St Helier No. 3/4 district on 27th February

Westmount resident and public servant, Lyndsay Feltham, has announced her candidacy in the upcoming by-election in St Helier No. 3/4 district.

Mrs Feltham was born in Jersey and has spent over 12 years working as a public servant, both in Jersey and for the State Government in Western Australia.

I am standing in this election because I want to support the delivery of positive change for the benefit of the Island. I am standing as a Reform Jersey candidate as I believe that we can deliver more together, working as a team.”

I firmly believe that it is the duty of the government to maximise the value of the services that it provides to the people. For me, this does not mean austerity-driven budget cuts and a continuous drive for savings. It means keeping people at the heart of decision making, encouraging public sector innovation, and involving the community to co-design the services best suited to meet their needs. More listening and more action.”

Party chairman Senator Sam Mézec said “we are really pleased to be supporting Lyndsay in the by-election. She has an in-depth knowledge of the political issues facing the Island. Her experience working in the public sector in both Jersey and Australia, as well as supporting her mother’s campaigns when she was younger, will be invaluable in making her an effective States Member from day one.

Notes for the editor

  • Lyndsay was educated at Grouville, Le Rocquier and Hautlieu Schools, and has a Masters degree in Cultural and Media Studies and a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts - Enterprise Management.
  • She is 40 years old and lives in the district, with her husband and daughter.
  • She is the daughter of former St Helier No. 3/4 Deputy Shirley Baudains.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Enemy of the Parish System - the Jersey Way in action

At the end of my last blog, I said that even though I was not an enemy of the Parish system, I would inevitably be portrayed as one for trying to hold the system and those involved in it to account.

Oh how right I was! I seem to have struck one hell of a nerve!

It is a very long running tradition in Jersey that if you stick your head above the parapet or try to speak truth to power, the establishment types will do what they can to run you down and publicly disparage you, even if they're not able to use facts to do so. This is part of the "Jersey Way" that Francis Oldham rightly criticised in the report of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. It is also symptomatic of the undemocratic nature in which Jersey is run. When you do not have a proper democratic culture, many do not know how to properly respond to democratic criticisms, so you get what I have faced over the last couple of weeks.

My full blog which made several observations and criticisms of how the Parishes administer themselves and contribute in the States Assembly can be read here -

In short, my main criticisms centre on these points -

- The Constables routinely bring forward propositions in the States to reduce democratic participation.
- Many Parish meetings are held in private, with virtually no information put into the public domain about what happens at these meetings.
- Elections for Parish positions are not held in a transparent way

Treason! How dare I make these observations which are totally untrue, and how dare I speak when I am clearly so misinformed and ignorant!

Or at least that is the response from sections of the Parishes.

The first full response to my blog was published on Tony Bellow's blog, by someone called Adam Gardiner. It can be read here -

It is titled "The Truth About The Parish System" which is a pretty gutsy name, given there is not much truth in it.

Both myself and local blogger Gabriel Carter attempted to publish responses on this post, but for some reason Tony has not published any of them. Obviously when it comes to the Parishes, the debate is closed.

Mr Gardiner attempts to make 6 corrections, which were either demonstrably not true, failures at being pedantic, or not actually corrections at all, but a rather justification of the status quo.

You may wish to have both posts open in separate browsers to follow along, otherwise my commentary would look messy if I copied every reference point.


The first "correction" is that I am wrong to say that the Comité des Connétables recently brought a proposition to the States to reduce polling hours for elections for the position of Procureur de bien Public to 12pm to 8pm.

This is a bit of a weird correction given that what I said it just true. Like... it just is. It happened. The proposition was lodged (P.89/2019) and the debate happened.

The Public Elections Law currently says that public elections must have polling hours from 8am to 8pm. The Comité wanted to change it to 12pm to 8pm. That's the fact. That's what happened. It's all on public record.

His "correction" centres on a pedantic point that the law used to state that polling hours for Procureur elections were reduced, but after an oversight in subsequent amendments to the law, this section fell away and the situation reverted to the full polling hours instead.

Well, sorry Mr Gardiner, but regardless of whether the law was expressly changed or simply fell away, both have the same effect. The law was changed, and the Comité tried to change it back.


His second correction revolves around my comments that the Constables wanted to move a proposed public referendum from a Saturday to a Wednesday, because holding it on a Saturday would be a "nuisance".

You see, it wouldn't be a nuisance, it would just be impractical...

It is bizarre reading a correction that isn't a correction, but actually reiterating the exact point I was making. It's not a nuisance, it's just impractical. Ummm... what's the difference?


Thirdly, I was wrong to say that the Constables increase the number of signatures required to call a Parish Assembly from 4 to 10, even though that is exactly what I did. But I'm wrong to say they did it, because they were right to have done it, apparently.

That isn't a correction, it's just a subjective justification for their actions.

Although he makes a fine dig at Reform Jersey for being ones to complain about signatories anyway. Again, this is another example of facts not mattering, because if Mr Gardiner had paid real attention to our nomination form debacle, he'd know that the Royal Court ruled that our nomination forms were valid and legal. But, whatever, facts don't matter!


I'm not sure the fourth "correction" needs addressing, given that it clearly isn't a correction. I made a justified criticism of the Parishes holding important public meetings at times that are inconvenient or unattractive for most Parishioners. I preferred to watch the England match in the World Cup, rather than going to my Parish Rates Assembly. But, hey, the 99% of us St Helier residents who prefer football to Parish Assemblies are wrong, and the 5 or so people who did turn up are right!


Fifth, I said that there is no information online whatsoever on when the Parish Roads Committee election are.

Mr Gardiner says I am wrong.

Perhaps he can have a quick check of and tell me where there are any details of when the next elections are. If not the exact date, at least the month or year.

Of course, they are no where to be found.

He says that all Parish Assemblies are advertised in the Gazette. This is true. They are advertised with a few days notice.

It is also quite amusing that when I point out that St Ouen did not have even the names of their Roads Committee members on their website, Mr Gardiner attempts to pin it on me for not letting St Ouen know they had not done this. But, I suppose everything is my fault.


Sixth, I said that (at the time of writing) there was virtually no information online about the upcoming Procureur nomination meetings, so prospective candidates or Islanders who were interested could be aware of them. He said I was wrong to say this, even though the record shows that what I said was accurate. I don't even know why Mr Gardiner bothers taking this stance when it's just nothing more than naysaying.

He says that was set up for general elections, not parish elections. Unfortunately for him, that isn't the relevant distinction. The law in Jersey defines elections as either Public Elections or Parish Assembly Elections. The former is a full public ballot, the latter is a meeting in the Parish where the vote is taken then and there. Procureur elections are Public Elections, exactly the same as Senators, Deputies and Constables. was set up to cover Public Elections and has in the past covered Procureur elections, but did not do so this time.

My whole argument is that putting this information online is not difficult when there already exists the right forum to do it.


Lastly, the final point isn't even an attempt at a correction, but just a last ditch attempt to condescend to someone from behind a computer screen.

He says "SM chose to go into politics and needs to understand that not all agree with him."

This is just condescending and patronising. It's also illogical. If I believed everyone agreed with me, why would I have published a blog which overtly said at the start that there is not just one perspective on how the Parishes are run? If I thought everyone had the same opinion as me, I'd have kept quiet because I'd have had nothing to write about.

He then says "debate and consensus is the way to achieve change and is called democracy - whereas peddling misinformation on a website is not!". I couldn't agree more, but maybe this pot should leave the kettle alone.

Here's my take on it - If you're going to throw your toys out of the pram because you don't like what someone stands for, use facts and reason. Don't claim someone is pedalling misinformation, when actually you are the one who has got pretty much everything wrong.

The second batch of criticism came from the newly elected Constable of St Ouen, Richard Buchanan. This can be read in the JEP here -

First things first, I like Richard. He's a sensible guy and has made some good contributions early on in this term. We have different perspectives on politics, but we both care about the Island and I've enjoyed working with him so far. We can have our banter with no hard feelings.

But he does use words like "misinformed" and "lack of understanding" without really elaborating to show what exactly it is that I've got wrong.

The central point he takes issue with is when I said that the Parishes (except St Helier) hold their Roads Committee meetings in private. He says that no one has ever asked to attend a St Ouen's Roads Committee meeting, and he probably wouldn't say no if someone did ask.

The problem though is that there is virtually nothing online that says what the St Ouen's Roads Committee does, when it meets, what the agendas are and the records of the minutes. If I wanted to go observe discussion on something, I don't have that information accessible, and this is part of the problem.

In fact, until just a few days ago, there was no record on the St Ouen website that they even have a Roads Committee! The names of the members were not even published.

In all fairness to Constable Buchanan, when I pointed this out to him he immediately corrected it and it is now one of the most detailed pages on the Parish website.

But much more needs to be done to improve access to information and therefore engagement with the system, and that is a discussion we need to have.


Just one final development to report on -

Since I published my blog which criticised the lack of information on the nomination meetings for Procureur de bien Public, 7 Parishes have held their nomination meetings. Apart from St Helier, the rest have not published anything on their websites to let their Parishioners know what the results of those nominations were and if there is a contested election.

When they have published the nomination meeting details in the Gazette, some have done so with just 5 or 6 days notice.

I stand by every word when I say that the Parishes are awful at promoting these elections.


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