Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Final Curtain

The Chief Minister has been elected who in turn is now the manager of a team which is not entirely of his choosing. His Ministers of Health, Home Affairs, Treasury and Transport and Technical Services were not his first choice and the appointment of his two Assistant Ministers gives the appearance of done deals.

The composition of the Council of Ministers is another blow for the supporters of the Island mandate because 4 Ministerial positions are held by Deputies. If one counted the combined votes the four Deputies received when they were elected in their Parish or District they only received half the votes that Stuart Syvret received when finishing in 7th place.

No blame can be apportioned to the Deputies but their appointment illustrates the anomaly in the current system and further weakens the argument put forward by supporters of the Island mandate.

The election for Chairmen of the Scrutiny panels turned out to be the predicted farce whereby any one wanting to be a Chairman only had to say so. It must be obvious to all but the blind that the current format is not working. One of the first tasks to be undertaken by the Ian Gorst and Simon Crowcroft is to establish why the current Scrutiny system has fallen into disarray and to rectify the problem.

The election for the two posts on the States Employment Board (SEB) sadly had another predicable outcome. Until the States approved my proposition a couple of years ago, the SEB comprised of the Chief Minister and three other Ministers. I was of the view that the SEB’s composition should reflect the Membership of the States as a whole and not just the Executive.

The proposed change came about because I had been concerned about the unacceptable level of suspensions and lodged a proposition seeking to establish a transparent and accountable suspension policy. Despite opposition from the SEB my proposition was narrowly approved. During the debate it became apparent that the SEB was insensitive towards suspended States employees.

It was obvious that changes had to be made to the Board so I lodged a proposition suggesting that it should comprise of two executive and two non executive States Members. The Chief Minister who was also Chairman of the SEB sensed that he might lose control particularly if the new Members’ sympathy rested with employees rather than the employer. He therefore lodged an amendment stating that whilst in principle he favoured a broad church he wanted the SEB to comprise of three Ministers and two non members whom he could nominate.

Unfortunately the Chief Minister’s amendment succeeded resulting in another toothless Board. This is evident because since the adoption of the proposition the Chief Minister’s nominees have always been elected. Given the new Chief Minister’s call for more inclusiveness it is a pity that he did not call for candidates for the position and chosen members who had something to offer other than obedience.

Due to a prior engagement Simon Crowcroft was unable to propose the membership of PPC this will done next Tuesday. He has no say in the appointment of members from the Executive and Scrutiny who are foisted on him. Therefore it is vital that he nominates Members who are prepared to challenge and propose alternative views, particularly as concerns are already being expressed that the Committee of Inquiry concerning the Historical Child Abuse and the Electoral Commission will be hijacked and headed by a States Member.

The States has probably the largest new intake since 1948, it will take some time to bed in but given the state of the economy and the large number of matters before it procrastination must not be the order of the day.

Readers will be aware that I established my Blog to compliment my election. I am no longer a States Member so have no right for my Blog to be called the Deputy Bob Hill Election Blog. Therefore this will be my last contribution to it in its present form.

Since I first went on line in August there have been several thousand visits from readers world wide. I would like to thank all who have read and/or contributed to my Blog.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Another sad/mad day in the office???

Yesterday turned out to be the final States Sitting for 18 Members, myself included. I don’t think it ever was intended to be but for the first time in recent history, the Agenda which included the Budget was completed in a matter of hours rather than days.

The Agenda was not really completed because it included Daniel Wimberley’s proposition P169/2011. Unfortunately because of a recent amendment to Standing Orders which now requires a four and not a two week lodging period, his proposition which was lodged on 12th October could not be debated until today.

Members were left with three choices. One, go home at 440pm which would deny the opportunity of debating the proposition. Two, adjourn and debate the matter this morning as it had already been agreed that Members would attend at for the final group photograph, or three, debate the matter by agreeing to reduce the lodging period as per Standing Orders Article 26 (7).

Daniel proposed that Standing Orders be lifted to allow for his proposition to be debated. Under Standing Orders Article 26 (7) the States may reduce the minimum lodging period if they are of the opinion that the proposition relates to a matter of such urgency and importance that it would be prejudicial to Jersey to delay its debate. The threshold may be high however it could be argued that all propositions are important and common sense should always prevail.

After a few Members had spoken against lifting Standing Orders Deputy Tadier wisely proposed that the House should adjourn to re-assemble at 930am today which was after the photographs had been taken. This seemed to be an ideal compromise; however it was not to be because the proposal was defeated by 21 votes to 20.

The proposition to lift Standing Orders when then proposed, but that too was defeated by 21 votes to 19. One may wonder why common sense did not prevail, the answer is simple, Deputy Wimberley was proposing that PPC should conduct a review of the accuracy of information given to Members and to provide an assessment of the appropriate mechanisms that should be put in place to ensure that cases of members seriously misleading the Assembly, whether by providing false or misleading information or by withholding information which should not be withheld, can be dealt with in an independent, appropriate, fair and reasonably swift manner.

Deputy Wimberley’s report contained ample evidence to show that information provided by some Ministers fell far short of what was expected. Yet there is no mechanism to make anyone accountable for their actions.

Having proposed many propositions I am well aware of occasions when Ministers have made unsubstantiated manpower and financial claims when opposing my propositions. These include my my more recent propositions to conduct a review of the role of the Crown Officers, a public enquiry into the circumstances leading to the suspension of Graham Power and the Right to a Friend which was defeated last week.

Proposers are required to provide comprehensive manpower and financial implications but there is no requirement for Ministers to provide the same information in their Comments. That anomaly should be rectified.

There is a common belief that Oral question time has become a farce because so many inaccurate answers are given. The annoying thing is that the motives of Members asking the questions have been questioned rather than those providing misleading or inaccurate information.

Members have never received satisfactory explanations as to why part (d) of the Napier Terms of Reference was removed without reference to those responsible for oversight or key witnesses being informed. No explanation has ever been given as to why key witnesses were never interviewed in a number of reviews. The past three years have been sullied by cover ups, acts of omission or downright untruthful answers being given yet there is no mechanism to hold anyone to account. Sadly the media has not shown any interest in reporting the issue.

Clearly there was no enthusiasm from the usual suspects to debate Deputy Wimberley's proposition and thereby attempt to address the issues arising from it. Tuesday 9th November was yet another poor day whereby Members not let themselves down but also the public they were elected to represent. It was also the last opportunity for some Members to display support for openness and accountability which they no doubt told the electorate they believed in. Alas it was not be. Perhaps at some time in the future those Members will ask themselves what positive contributions they made during their term(s) of office and will admit that they short changed the public.  


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Another missed opportunity

                                                                         blindfolded lady with sword in right hand held vertically down to floor, and a set of balance scales in her left hand held neck high            

My proposition P112/2011, Right to a Friend was debated yesterday but was rejected by 22 votes to 17. The fishermen had a good day as the Chamber was awash with red herrings as one excuse after another was advanced by the Executive and their allies who successfully denied employees of the right to friend when appearing before Grievance or Disciplinary Hearings.

The most telling excuse was the claim that employers had not been consulted. I have always been of the view that there is no need as many had already expressed their objection to my proposition.

However in attempt to appease the Chief Minister and Social Security Minister, in July I agreed to defer debating my proposition until the September meeting. Along with employer’s representatives in late July I attended a meeting called by the States Employment Board. It was agreed that employer representatives would be contacted and asked to comment on my proposition with the proviso that an early response was required to ensure that comments were received before the September debate.  

During yesterday’s debate it was revealed that the Employment Forum had been asked to comment but had only met on 25th October and wanted more time to consider my proposition. It was clearly a stalling tactic which unfortunately worked because it gave Members the opportunity of rejecting my proposition to await the outcome of the Forum’s comments. Unfortunately I will no longer be a States Member when the comments are received.

One interesting point was that only 39 of the 53 Members were in the Chamber to vote. Whilst 4 Members were either ill or out of the Island, 10 who had been present at 930am, were missing later in the afternoon. Who knows what the outcome would have been had the missing Members been present. Unfortunately demob appears to have come early for some of my colleagues

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Right To A Friend; My Last Proposition.

On Tuesday apart from asking my last Oral Questions, I am also due to present my last proposition, P112/2011.

Although P112/2011 will be the last of the 29 propositions I have lodged during my last Term of Office, I have no idea as to the number of propositions I have lodged during the course of my 18 years service. Some I know have been successful but alas not all.

P112/2011 arises from the work I have carried out on suspension issues. About three years ago I became concerned about the suspension of a large number of States Employees. Not only was this harmful to the employees but it was causing a disruption in the workplace and the Tax Payer who was picking up the bill.

It became evident that there was a need for an efficient and fair policy to be adopted with procedures in place to ensure that suspensions were the last resort and safeguards in place for both the employer and employee. It was also important that employees were not subjected to lengthy suspensions.

Whilst much publicity had been given to the unlawful suspensions of high profile employees, too little attention had been given to employees lower down the scale. However the large number of suspensions was a costly affair which appeared to be of little concern to the States Employment Board.

In 2009 I lodged P46/2009 seeking approval to establish a formal suspension procedure. This included a set procedure when employees were being suspended and the establishment of a Body to review the suspension every 28 days if the suspension had not ceased. Very importantly I sought the right to a “friend” to accompany employees whenever necessary.

Despite opposition from the States Employment Board and Council of Ministers, four of whom also sat on the Board my Policy was adopted. Although the Chief Minister had lodged an amendment seeking to deny the right of a “friend” to accompany he withdrew it before the matter was voted on because it became patently obvious that following fierce opposition he would not succeed.

Since then the States has also supported another of my propositions which has led to two non executive States Members joining the States Employment Board. One would have thought that given my interest in employment and suspension matters the Chief Minister would have considered me to be an ideal person to join the Board. Unfortunately I was not asked.

Since the adoption of the new policy I have been contacted by several employees seeking advice and assistance. One major concern is their inability to receive adequate support when involved with disciplinary matters including Hearings or Appeals.

In 2003 the States approved the Employment Jersey Law 2003 with Paragraph 78A providing the right to be represented at Disciplinary and Grievance Hearings. Sub paragraph 78A (2) states that an employer must permit the employee to be represented at the hearing by one representative chosen by the employee who is (a) an employee or an official of a trade union or (b) another employee of the employer.  

Whilst the above may be of some assistance it is of no use to employees who do not have work place colleagues or if they do, they may not have the necessary skills to be of any value. Likewise not all employees are members of a Union and again, from experience, not all officials are competent. I believe the Law should be amended to allow for employees to be represented by a “friend.” Unfortunately the States Employment Board and organisations representing private employers are crying “foul” because they fear that a “friend” could be a lawyer.

Although article 78A only provides for workplace colleagues or Union Officials to represent employees, some employees have Codes of Practice or similar Codes which permits them representation by a friend. These include police officers, teachers, lecturers, doctors and dentists. However this does not extend to civil servants or manual workers. P112/2011 seeks to rectify that anomaly.

Those who oppose my proposition claim that it will involve additional cost because those representing the employers will need additional training and the assistance of legal advisors. The Treasury Minister and States Employment Board believe there will be a need to employ a lawyer in the HR Department. It is estimated that the cost could easily rise to £500.000+ per annum.

I have no idea how that figure has been arrived at because since the introduction of the new suspension policy, the number of suspensions has dramatically dropped. Also as mentioned above a large number of employees are already permitted the right to “friend” which has not led to additional training or the employment of a Lawyer.

As previously mentioned much of the concern arises because it is feared that the “friend” might be a lawyer or have some form of legal expertise. This would bring a different dimension into the proceedings in that the test in law is that of “beyond reasonable doubt whereas in employment terms the test is that of “balance of probabilities. It is also feared that the presence of a lawyer would undermine the professional integrity of the HR officer managing the case.

The threshold is very much in favour of the employer so it is understandable that they wish to retain their advantage. However experience has shown that lawyers have not been involved since the introduction of the new suspension policy. Also given that some employees have Codes of Practices which permits “friends” one is entitled to assume that HR staff are already highly trained to cope with what ever may arise, therefore one if left to wonder why those representing the employers are opposing my proposition.

Surely it is in everyone’s best interest that suspensions are dealt with fairly with all players partaking on a level playing field. 

It should be noted that my proposition was due to be debated in July but I agreed to Social Security’s request to defer to allow for more consultation. I believe that has occurred but unfortunately I have not received any feedback.                                                     

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Last Oral Questions.

Due to our bizarre system, the next States sitting will include a number of Members who like me have been voted out of Office. However on the plus side I am able to lodge a couple of Oral Questions which have arisen since the last sitting in July. Also in July my proposition P112/2011 (The right to a friend) was deferred following a request from the Minister of Social Security.

I will cover that matter in another Blog which I intend to publish before next Tuesday.

My first Oral Question for next Tuesday has arisen following a complaint from a constituent who felt that the States, by approving P114/2011, which dealt with the tax arrangements for 1 (1) K residents, has created an anomaly which is unfair on local businesses.

"Given that 1(1) (k)' can. outside of property rental. trade in Jersey at 1% personal inncome tax rate once they have exceeded a predetermined yearly income at 20% tax rate, what effect will that have on locally owned businesses that will have to generate an additional 19% profit to maintain parity in competitive businesses and what long term consequences for business ownership and locally generated personal income tax returns?"

My second question is related to the UK Human Rights Act 1998.

Following some very questionable judgements which are bringing the Human Rights Act into disrepute the UK Government has decided to set up the “Commission on a Bill of Rights” to review the Act. I became aware of the review a month back and on 18th September emailed the Chief Minister, States Members and the Media with the following request. 

Dear Terry

The UK government set up the "Commission on a Bill of Rights" to review and report on reform of the UK Human Rights Act 1998. See  There is a mix of scepticism and concern about what is likely to emerge from the Commission. The Commission includes people who are unsympathetic to the whole idea of European human rights.

It seems the Commission has overlooked the fact that Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have all adopted legislation almost identical to the UK Human Rights Act 1998.  It would appear to me that the Jersey government ought to respond to the consultation currently being carried out by the Commission?

If the UK Human Rights Act 1998 is amended significantly, would there be consideration in Jersey of amending the Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000 so that it continues to mirror the 1998 Act? Or would the States be happy to have different domestic legislation incorporating Convention rights in Jersey than applies in the UK (even though the UK government will continue to be responsible for Jersey in the European Court of Human Rights).

I ask whether the Chief Minister's Department is aware of the above information and if so who is dealing with the matter.  Also in view of the points I have covered above what will Jersey's approach be? 

The deadline for responses is 11 November. 

As I did not receive a reply, on 4th October I re-submitted my email. I received an acknowledgement the following day but as yet have not received a reply to the questions posed. I have therefore lodged the following question.

Given that the UK government has established the ‘Commission on a Bill of Rights’ to review and report on reform of the UK Human Rights Act 1998 and that the Island has adopted legislation almost identical to the UK Act, will Jersey be participating in the Review and, if so, would consideration be given to amending the Jersey Law should the UK decide to amend its Act?”

Hopefully answers will be forthcoming next Tuesday.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Thank You

Following the publication of my last Blog I have been surprised and heartened by the large number of hits it has received. However I understand that some readers have had difficulty in posting comments I believe that this is down to a problem with Blogger.

I have also received many letters, emails and phone calls from Residents Island wide expressing their appreciation for my time in the States.

I also note that there are requests for me to continue with my Blog, I will give the matter consideration. In the meantime I thought I share with my readers some of the comments I have received. I have deleted any reference to the sender’s details.

1. Hi Bob

What a great disappointment reading the Jersey election results.  You must be gutted.  

I have no doubt many have appreciated all your hard work over the years and you will be missed, including by some of your colleagues.

Politics is tough eh. Take care and now have time to relax and start thinking of you instead of others.

2 Dear Bob,

Thank you for all that you have done for St Martin’s parish and the marvellously positive and human way that you have related to everyone.  Though I am sure that you are disappointed, you can be proud of the long, distinguished and appreciated service that you have given.

Once you put your head above the parapet, as everyone in public life does, then you take the risk of being shot at and criticised but that goes with the territory.

I do look forward to continued links with you and pray that your post-States life will be really good and enjoyable.

3 Hi Bob

I was sorry to learn that you were not voted back in office, I just wanted to say thank you
for your support and help and I know that you had helped many other parishioners in the parish.

4 Dear Bob

Just wanted to drop you a line to say how sorry I am about the
St. Martin result. I hope you're not too disappointed and wish you all the best for the future. I'm sure you'll continue to contribute to Island life in whatever capacity you choose to follow. You might even enjoy a well earned rest, but I doubt you'll stay still long enough for that!
5 Dear Bob
I am so sorry about your election result. I was really surprised but at least you can have quieter life now!
Bob, good morning. Want to say I am sorry for your distress, but it has been a pleasure to know you.

6 Dear Bob,

I was saddened and surprised to hear of Mr Luce's victory. I know that it is always difficult being a straight, honest and outspoken politician in what is ultimately a conservative borough.

Your presence in the chamber will be sorely missed and I would like to say thank you for all the support you have given to me, even before my first election until the present.

Rest assured that there will always be members in the States to keep up 'the good fight' and push for transparency and human rights.

7 Hello Bob

H and I are sorry to hear you have not been re-elected for another term and we both would like to thank you very much for everything you have done for us whilst you have been in office.

I remember you expressing concerns about running for another term in office as your wife wanted you to call it a day.  Perhaps the upside of this is that you will be able to spend more time together enjoying your lives.

Good Luck

 8 Dear Bob,

I'm so sorry things didn't work out better yesterday. The States have lost someone with honesty and integrity.

9 Hi Bob
         So sorry to see you lose last night. Hope you are both ok it has been great working with you

10 Bob

I am so sorry that you did not get in yesterday. I personally would like to thank you for everything you have done over the many years you have served. Not only sorting a few of my problems out but tackling difficult issues. All the best in your retirement.

11 Dear Bob

I want to say how sorry I am to see that the people of St Martin didn't vote for you in sufficiently large numbers on Wednesday. You've made a real contribution to the better government of Jersey in recent years, even if the pressure you have applied has resulted in less progress than you have wanted to see. Your departure from the States will leave it without a champion for human rights and it's not easy to see how that gap will be filled.

12 Oh dear, sorry you lost your seat Bob but no doubt your wife will be pleased to see more of you and you'll be able to do all those exciting things that you would have done if you hadn't been up to your neck in States business!

I hope that the MVA can count on you as a source of all wisdom, you do know the ropes and how to get things done, added to which, you have a longer history of the Maufant fiasco than most of the householders.

'Bye for now Bob and thanks for all you have done over the years as our representative.

13 Dear Bob 
So sorry about the result!  Obviously, you were stitched up because you are a decent person and for that reason I have to say that really the States of Jersey do not deserve good people amongst them who fight for their rights, at their own peril.    And you are that good person Bob, as is your wife who, I know, along with the corrupt States of Jersey, will be very glad at the outcome!

I do not live in Jersey, but I thank you for pointing out the unfairness of the judicial system which is only obvious to us who live outside of it or who happen to understand the law and whose lives it has affected.  And always for standing up for what you have believed to be correct in the interest of the island and humanity, in fact.     Such views had to be stopped by the corrupt States of Jersey it seems!

 Anyway, I do hope you will have time to reflect and remember all the good you have achieved. 

 14 Bob

I saw the result last night. I am sure that is disappointing but I also think something else will turn up to engage you. I can't see you being idle. You are too high octane for that.

15 Dear Bob,

I voted for you but it was not enough. Sorry you were not elected.

Everything's changing.

16. Bob, sorry about the result. Thank you for all you have done for the Parish the last 18 years.

17 Dear Bob

Don't know what to say, we are so sad this has happened, you don't deserve it.

18 Dear Bob
So sorry to hear of your defeat last night, we shall miss your helpfulness and friendliness and seeing you cycling around the parish. I hope you continue riding your bike around these parts but whatever you decide to do now I wish both you and Ann well. We will see how the new deputy gets on.

19 We just wanted to say how sorry we are that you didn't get in as deputy but wanted to say a personal thank you for all the hard work you have done and especially for helping us. We really do appreciate it.

20 Sorry you didn't get in. At least you have a good past record in the States

21 Really sorry to hear the result of the election but well done for all that you achieved over the years. It was a pleasure to serve with you when I was involved.  However retirement has many advantages whether enforced or chosen!!!

After a decent period of resting let me know if you need things to do.

22 Dear Bob,
I am so sorry to hear the news last night.  I was surprised given the endless effort you have made for your Parish.
It was a pleasure getting to know you better and working with you and I would like to thank you for the tremendous work you have put in helping me.

23, Deepest commiserations. It was always going to be a tough fight.
Time to relax and take some holidays. You can be proud of your record.

24 Dear Bob
Sorry to see the news last night - there is no doubt that the States has lost a hard-working Member who is prepared to put in the time to research a subject properly.

25.  Sad to hear of your result - if successful, I was looking forward to working with you again.

26 Hope you are doing ok.  I was really sorry to hear the results last night, it was certainly a surprise

 27 Good morning
Sorry to see you didn't get back in last night the public do not realise how much time and effort that you put into ever thing. You have done and how honest and straight speaking you are, you will be sadly missed in the states chamber.
I suppose the + side is that you will be able to spend time with your wife travelling as you mentioned to me during the summer and not have the likes of me bending your ear!

28 Hi Bob,

Shocked and Saddened by the Result! Would like to thank you once again for all your hard work and assistance with my planning permission and your tremendous support and also for your sterling work both in the Parish and the Island as a whole. Wishing you all the best for the future.

29 Hi Bob,

Commiserations in the loss of your seat as Deputy, having said that, however, Ann will be pleased you can now relax and enjoy life, apart from the Human Rights of course as we still need your expertise.

30 Good morning Bob
You must be very disappointed and I commiserate with you.
You fought a good campaign and it seems the voters wanted a younger man.
So look at the bright side and enjoy your retirement in the knowledge that you served the community well.

31 Dear Bob,

I was shocked to see your St Martin result - politics is a tough game and whilst we might not have seen eye to eye on some things, I respected you.

32 Dear Bob

Sorry things didn't turn out quite how you were expecting. It might though be a blessing in disguise as it will give you and Anne the opportunity to take time out together and to write this book you have been saving up. Looking forward to buying a signed copy when it is published. The island owes you a debt for the hard work you have put in over these eighteen years. What comes after a BEM?

33 Dear Bob,

We would just like to say how sorry we are that you have not been successful this time. We could say that you deserve the rest but know that you are not the sort to do nothing so we are sure you will soon find something else to fill your time.

34 Bob, my commiserations to you, you will be a great loss, digging away at the back there with your pen-knife. Who's going to do that stuff now?

35 Dear Bob,

Very sorry to hear the result in St Martins. We were listed to vote in Grouville so could not lend our support. You should be proud about airing some controversial issues. I suspect that people merely felt like a change.

36 Hi Bob
Sorry you did not get in, a very great loss to the

37 Dear Bob,

I am sad to see that your ungrateful voters have not supported you again this time. You have done a fine job of fighting for right against wrong, and I for one have admired your work. 
Congratulations on having pulled your weight for six terms.

38 Dear Bob,
I have just heard the news update and I am in utter disbelief over the result
You are and always will be the best man for the job and I look forward to you standing again and showing the new boy how to do it properly. I don't think he has the stamina to serve the parish with the same dedication as you have for so long and certainly does not have the connections you do with the elders of the parish. I feel that once all the uni students settle into working life his following will decrease as will his enthusiasm

39 Hi Bob,
I'm really sorry to hear the result. I don't know much about Steve Luce but it is a real loss to the parish for you to not be elected.
Best wishes.

I thank you all for your kind sentiments and look to the future with interest.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Time to reflect and pack my bags

Today has been a very busy one receiving many phone calls and emails, also taking down my posters and generally unwinding after a hectic month of canvassing and yesterday's election.

Prior to the result I felt quietly confident that I would receive sufficient support to retain my seat. I also thought there would be a high turnout probably in excess of 55%. As it turned out I did not receive the support I thought I had and the turnout was the highest in the Island by far with over 63% of the electorate voting. In my address following the result I said that the day reminded me of the titles of two war films. One being The Longest Day and the other being A Bridge Too Far.

It certainly was a long day and it was also a bridge too far. This was evident because the Parishioner's clearly voted with their feet by voting for change, youth and someone who lives in the parish which for so many years has been of concern to some small minded Parishioners.

I was disappointed to lose but naturally accept that it was as a result of a democratic process. I have had a good run and hopefully will be remembered for my hard work and commitment to the Parish and Island. When looking for reasons for my defeat, one could look to my age but I also believe that my involvement with the Graham Power suspension, Napier, Human Rights, the Review into the Role of the Bailiff and Crown Officers and the Clothier Review was just too much for many conservative Parishioners.

It has been a privilege to represent St Martin for a record 18 years. I believe I have enriched the lives of many people Island wide and will miss the challenges that comes with the job. However I have devoted 49 years to the Police and States and now is the time to move on and enjoy the free time that will ensue.

My wife wants to travel and I want to attempt to write a book on St Martin's lost farms. In closing my blog I wish to thank all the many people who have helped me and for the friendships that have been formed over the many years.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Husting's Speech; Thursday 13th October 2011

The St Martin's Hustings was held in the Public Hall last night with most of the seats being occupied. Both candidates were permitted to address the audience for ten minutes. This was followed by 17 questions being asked on a wide range of subjects.

My address is as follows.

When preparing for tonight’s speech I looked back to my first Hustings speech to see whether the promises I had made then had been kept and whether the concerns people had about me had been addressed.

If elected, I said I would pursue policies based on Consultation, Openness and Accountability. Those three words are now seen in many candidate's manifestos.

I believe we all benefit from more Openness and Accountability in all areas of public administration. However there is more to be done and if re-elected I will continue pursue those ideals.

I also said I wanted to listen and reflect the concerns and interests of all parishioners in both parish and Island affairs and to inform and be informed.

I believe I have kept my promise, I am seen around the parish, and I rarely miss Parish Assemblies or Parish committee meetings. I am delighted that with the help of the former Connétable John Germain we introduced the Green Lanes system in St Martin. As promised I established a self funding Twinning Association, I am a regular member of our parish church congregation, President of the St Martin’s Division of St John Ambulance and with Gary Westwood we ensure that St Martin’s has sufficient footballers to compete in the annual Trinity shield competition.

I feel very much a part of the parish and with your support; I hope to continue as Deputy for another 3 years.

I said I would endeavour to ensure that our countryside and coastline was preserved. I successfully lodged a proposition to reinstate the Cliffside at Geoffrey’s Leap so that the area is preserved for future generations. As a member of the parish Conservation Committee I am ever vigilant in protecting our countryside.

I am proud of my attendance record in the States having only missed a handful of the 800 plus Sittings that have been held since being elected.

I have lodged a whole plethora of propositions and regularly asked questions I also partake in States Debates and only speak when I have something to contribute.

I believe I have made a difference to the lives of many of the Parishioners and resident’s Island wide. One is now able to enjoy a pub lunch on a Sunday and purchase a bottle of wine after on that day. Police may confiscate alcohol from persons under 18.  I also established the registered doorman’s scheme which is being incorporated into the new licensing law.

Parishes are able to retain all the revenue from speeding fines and Driving licences are now renewed from the date of expiry and not the date of renewal. Allegiance to Her Majesty and her heirs has now been retained in the police oath. Owners of share transfer properties now pay stamp duty following purchase. Unmarried parents are now able to register their child in either the father’s or mothers surname if they wish.

Following the suspension of an unacceptable number of States employees, the States has approved my proposition to establish a new States Suspension Policy and my further amendments to the States Employment Law are currently the subject of consultation with States and Private employers. 

The current State’s sitting schedule is as a result of my proposition and recently the States approved my proposition whereby Members Interests are recorded on line. At the last Hustings I said that if re-elected I would seek approval for a review of the role of the Bailiff and Crown Officers. I am pleased to say that following States approval the Review was undertaken under the chairmanship of Lord Carswell.

However I have not always been successful and was disappointed that the States recently rejected my proposal to amend the Highway’s Law which was intended to protect road users who become victims of negligence caused by the failure of the States and Parishes to maintain its roads in good condition. That is a matter I will pursue if re-elected.

As one can see, individual States Members can make a useful contribution in the States if they are prepared dig and delve and spend a great many hours researching and consulting with the public.

So much for the past but now to the future; on parish matters the issue of the ownership of the roads and footpaths in Maufant Village is coming to a head after over 30 years. The residents know how much time I have devoted attempting to resolve the long standing problem but I believe we are very close to resolving it and there will be a vital meeting which is open to all Maufant residents next month.

The issue of affordable housing for first time buyers and accommodation for the elderly is an ongoing problem but St Martin has not stood still as is evident by the developments behind the St John Ambulance Hall, Maufant and the extension to Court Clos.

Balancing parish need and protecting our countryside is difficult but this can be best achieved by keeping Parishioners fully informed and public consultation with would be developers.

I have been part of the Committee appointed to address the issue of the Rectory and the recent application to build 14 first time homes and 10 apartments for retired persons. Unfortunately that proposal was so lacking in detail and reinforces my previous comment that would be developers must work much closer with the parish before launching their proposals.

We are about to build a welcomed new school which will require oversight by elected members. The parish football team will now require a new pitch; however with the help of others I am assisting the Club in finding an alternative pitch.

Parishioners continue to be concerned about speeding motorists so I very much welcome the news that the Honorary Police have trained a number of officers who will be conducting regular speed checks throughout the parish.

It is disappointing that unlike other Parishes, St Martin does not have a community news letter that is produced freely in other parishes. If re-elected, along with our new Connétable appropriate steps will be taken to address the matter.

On Island Affairs the issue of job creation, cost of living and immigration will continue to demand attention. Much criticism and undue attention has been given to the division and behaviour of some States Members. That supposed problem is nothing new and was raised by Sir John Cheshire in his final address 5 years ago. It should be remembered that the States Chamber is a debating forum and some members do on occasions allow their passion to over run. The offenders come from both sides of the Chamber.

Due to the cherry picking of the Clothier Report the present set up is causing frustration and tension because too many States Members are denied being part of the government.

To remedy the problem, it is vital that the States elects a true leader to be its next Chief Minister, who will appoint States Members for their ability rather than their loyalty to the Council of Ministers. The current crop of Ministers has under performed much to the dissatisfaction from both inside and outside the States Chamber.

The States made a major blunder when not supporting Len Norman’s proposition to exclude GST on all food for human consumption which I supported. Had support been given we would not have got locked into expensive income support mechanisms, and any future increases in GST would NOT have affected the cost of our food. It was absolutely naïve to believe that GST would remain at 3% for any length of time despite promises from the Council of Ministers.

There are belt tightening measures in place but it is pointless making savings in one quarter and than spending it in another.

One area of concern is the cost of private education. I opposed the ill conceived attempt by the Education Minister aided by the Council of Ministers to raise schools fees. Parents know they will not be immune, but any increases must be as a result of wide consultation and staged, so that parents can make long term arrangements.

There are other Parish and Island issues which I am sure will be raised from questions which will follow, however in conclusion I would like to say that I have kept the promises I have made. I am known for never ducking issues and I attend to the concerns from everyone who raises them with me. I have a proven track record in both parish and Island affairs and it is a privilege to serve the parish.

When first proposing me, Alan Mollet said he was confident that I would not let parishioners down. Mr Connétable I believe I have fulfilled Alan’s prediction. 

Monday, 3 October 2011

Election Update

Candidates will be well into their canvassing and having previous experience there are a few noticicable differences this time round. The most noticeable has been the extreme fine weather with short sleaved shirts being very much the order of the day. St Martin is still very rural with many houses to be found deep down narrow lanes which are better negotiated in the daytime, the only problem being that occupiers are out at work. Canvassing in the country lanes can be both a pleasure and pain. The pleasure comes from the beauty of the St Martin's countryside, whereas the pain comes from trying to negotiate the tight lanes and finding somewhere to park. Compared with canvassing in November the extra daylight hours are very welcomed with sufficient daylight until around 7pm.
Another noticeable feature is the fact that there is now only one Election Day so there is no longer feeling that we are canvassing after the Lord Mayor's show. This time round many parishioners are seeking my views on the qualities of the 13 Senatorial candidates. Having signed Rose Colley's nomination paper her name comes up and hopefully she will be one of the four successful candidates. We have had the Senatorial Hustings in St Martin and one has to question the value of the event when time only permitted four questions being asked .
The St Martin's Deputy's Hustings is being held on Wednesday 13th October at 730pm. Having looked back at the JEP report of my first Hustings I noted that the first of the 15 questions asked that evening came from my fellow candidate. I still have vivid memories of that evening because of the number of "planted" questions from the other candidate's supporters who were intending to catch me out.  
There is still the issue of Parishioners being on the Electoral role yet not wishing to exercise their right to vote. I have never been a fan of spending  time and money attempting to get people to register, I would prefer people being able to register up to the day of the election. St Martin usually has one of the highest turnouts however it is not immune to parishioners having no intention to vote. Why waste their and every one's else's time and distort the final percentage vote? 
I am well known for riding around the parish on the bike I purchased when leaving school. My cycling is not just for my health but it is to see and be seen. It is also to listen to the concerns of the St Martin parishioners therefore many of the concerns I am picking up during my travels are ones of which I am aware of. Possibly the most frequent is the lack of confidence in the present States Chamber.  As a long standing Member lack of confidence in the States is nothing new however it does appear that some people believe we have reached a new all time low. What is very apparent is the lack of understanding of the Ministerial system. Prior to the change all members formed part of the Government via the Committee system, for my part I always served on the maximum limit of four committees, All Members had a part to play in policy which was thrashed out by the Committee before it came to the Chamber for debate. Scrutiny was conducted in Committee and because all Members were involved in executive decisions they were better informed which resulted in fewer questions being asked.    
It was interesting reading a Senatorial candidate's comments when he claimed that the reputation of the States in the Island has seldom been lower. He further stated that following the introduction of ministerial government, there are now too many members of the States and the devil makes work for idle hands. Having claimed that there are too many members he still wished to retain the Connétables. Unfortunately no explanation was given as to how the reduction would come about. One is also unable to ask the would be Senator what he proposes to do should he not become a member of the Executive. Will he join those who never ask a question or lodge a proposition or will he join those who do their job by holding the executive to account by asking questions and lodging propositions thereby joining the devil.
Another issue is the appointment of the Chief Minister. The right appointment is crucial and we must appoint the best leader who in turn will appoint Ministers best equipped for the job and not for their loyalty to their leader. If the reputation of the States has seldom been lower than a fair share of the blame must rest on the shoulders of the current Council of Ministers which has not distinguished itself. Too often the Chief Minister and his team have been found wanting with own goals and banana skins being all too apparent.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Election Leaflet.

Once this week's States Sitting has ended I look forward to visiting the hundreds of households in St Martin's with my Election Leaflet below seeking valued support from Parishioners.

                           Frederick John Hill, BEM

Frederick John Hill or Bob as he is more generally known was born in Jersey in 1940. He was educated at St.Martin’s School and lived in the Parish with his farming parents until leaving the Island to fulfil a boyhood ambition to join the Metropolitan Police. He is married to Ann and they have two daughters and a grandson.

Bob enjoyed a distinguished 31 year police career that culminated in the award of the British Empire Medal in recognition of his service to the Lambeth Community. He returned to Jersey in 1991 and two years later was elected Deputy for the Parish of St. Martin.

He has an exceptional record of States attendance and has not missed a States Sitting in the last 10 years. Respected by his colleagues for his research and attention to detail he has acquired a reputation for not ducking issues but being prepared to tackle those difficult issues which many other  Members seek to avoid. To this end he has lodged a wide range of propositions. These include amendments to the Licensing Law, the establishment of the Registered Doorman’s Scheme and the power to confiscate alcohol from young people.

His amendments to the Firearms, Gambling, Animal Welfare, Administrative Appeals Laws and much other legislation have made them all more workable. His amendments to the Marriage Law have given unmarried parents the right to choose the surname of their child.

He has gained wide support for the introduction of the Police Voluntary Visitor Scheme and his introduction of new States Policy has stemmed the flow of suspensions in the public sector.

Members also supported his propositions to close the Share Transfer loophole, retain reference to Her Majesty and Her Heirs in the Police Oath, allow the Parishes to retain the revenue received from speeding fines and renew driving licences from the date of renewal rather than the date of the application. 

His propositions brought about the stabilisation of the rock face at Geoffrey’s Leap, the lengthening of question time, the introduction of the current States Sitting rota and more recently the requirement for Ministers to submit comments in good time and for States Members’ interests to be viewable on line.

Outside of the States Bob organises and plays in the inter-island States Members’ cricket match. He was a founder member of the St Martin’s Jumelage Association and the Jersey Human Rights Group of which he is Chairman.

Bob is recognised as caring and approachable, representing parishioners with professionalism and tenacity and assisting parishioners with appeals on a wide range of issues or helping to overcome difficulties in their everyday lives.

Often seen around the Parish on his bike and playing an active role in giving support to many Parish organisations Bob also regularly attends Parish Assemblies. He is a member of the St. Martin’s Conservation Trust and the Village Plan Review Committee and President of the St. Martin’s Division of the St. John’s Ambulance, assisting too in the annual Trinity Shield football competition.

Bob has demonstrated that he is an effective and dedicated Member of the States and hopes you will consider him worthy of your support for re-election for the position of Deputy of St Martin.

To assist voters wishing to cast a vote prior to polling day, please contact or  or 861019.

Election for
Deputy of St Martin.
                                    Wednesday October 19th 2011
                                                            St Martin’s Public Hall
                                                                      8am to 8pm

                                         Please Re-Elect

                                Bob Hill

Frederick John Hill B.E.M
Experience, Commitment, Integrity, Energy and Time

The Qualities that Count

For help regarding postal, home or pre-poll vote, Telephone 861019 or Email

For information and assistance on polling day, please telephone 861019    


                                  Catel Cottage, Rue du Catel, Trinity, JE3 5HA.   
                                                     Telephone 861019. Email

Dear Elector

On Wednesday 19th October the Island’s electorate will have the opportunity of voting for Senators, Connétables and Deputies. I ask that you consider me worthy of continuing to represent you as Deputy for St Martin.

When I first sought election, I said I was offering a fresh and positive approach. I believe I have kept that promise and my enthusiasm and commitment has not diminished. This is evident by the 29 propositions and over 100 oral and written questions that I have lodged during the past 3 years. 

Since my first election the economic climate has changed considerably and Jersey has not been immune from events in the world economy. However, if we want to maintain the standard of our care, education and social benefits then that must be paid for. The introduction of GST will not be sufficient and therefore it is vital that we balance the need for belt tightening and greater efficiency by ensuring that those living on fixed incomes are not disadvantaged.

It is also paramount that we address the continual waste of money. Therefore It is important that there are experienced Members like me who have shown that they are prepared to hold Ministers to account and when necessary offer constructive alternative proposals. I am known for my persistence in seeking social justice and in ensuring that parishioners have rights of redress. I have been prominent in promoting social issues and also ensuring that there is a balance between advancing social legislation and the myriad of monetary legislation vital to Jersey’s financial industry.

On Parish matters, the issues of the Rectory, the new school, the search for an alternative pitch for the Parish football club and a quest for a solution to the longstanding Maufant ownership issue will all need to be addressed. If re-elected I should like to advance the idea of producing an official Parish Magazine further to develop Parish links.

My manifesto has always been clear and simple in that I intend to maintain the same commitment to both Parish and Island affairs that I have demonstrated over the past 18 years.
Yours sincerely,

Deputy F.J. (Bob) Hill, BEM