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.