For Efficiency, Community, Accountability and Reform
The loss of the Constables will weaken opposition to the current proposals for a centralised property tax. This proposal will cost Islanders more than the current rates system, and be set by the Treasury Minister, not Parishioners.
Parish Rates have remained steady for 10 years. Without an effective Parish Administration bureaucracy will increase, stifling business in Jersey, and increasing the burden on the individual Ratepayer.
If the Constables are removed from the States, they will either have to be paid by their Parishes or not at all. This creates an imbalance and without pay the only people who will stand will be those with the time and money to afford it. It also risks destabilising the whole honorary system should one office holder receive remuneration and the others not.
Ask yourself how effective the administration of your Parish is compared with the States of Jersey, and would you want to remove this efficiency from your Government and Assembly?
Through their political role, the Constables can interact with Parishioners and work as part of a support network. The loss of the Constables in the States will undoubtedly lead to a significant weakening of the Parish system – as has been the case in Guernsey for many years.
Constables have been identified as the future for ‘e-Government’ interaction as well as care and the community. This cannot happen if they are not in the States Assembly.
Through the Parish Assembly, and being available at the Parish Hall, the Constable is uniquely placed to be able to understand the concerns of their parishioners. These concerns are taken to the States Assembly directly, through the political role of the Constable. This cannot be replaced.
The Constables are continually accountable to the Parishioners through the Parish Assembly as well as the ballot box. No other type of States Member is. Parishioners, by the ancient law of Requête can force a Parish Assembly to be called.
Most Deputies do not represent the Parishes in the States.
They are elected in their own districts, on the basis of their political views. Each Parish, as a corporate body, is represented in the States by its Constable similar to the way each Department is represented by its Minister.
The removal of the Constables has the potential to de-stabilise Jersey’s Government. The Finance Industry requires confidence in government. Radical changes in the structure of government could damage confidence at a time of economic uncertainty.
There is a suggestion that Constables have a “block vote”. While they may vote the same way, they do so as individuals bringing Parish concerns to the assembly. Statistics show that Senators vote the same way as Constables do, but this goes unremarked. It is worth noting that a Party System would be one in which Party members had to vote the same way and take the agreed Party line. That would be a real “block vote”.
Constables have proven they are reforming States Members. They led the way towards a single election day, a four year term and spring elections. They also removed their own policing powers. Without them reform becomes more difficult to achieve.
The retention of the Constables IS compliant with the Venice Commission, which makes allowances for different jurisdictions: “The geographical criterion and administrative, or possibly even historical, boundaries may be taken into consideration.” Our Parish boundaries are both administrative and historical and thus meet these requirements.
Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst:
“I am supporting the Vote for YES Campaign to maintain the important role played by Connétables in the States Assembly. Our Parishes form the heart of our community and Connétables connect the community with the States. By Keeping the Connétables we are linking our Parliament with the people and with our tradition, heritage and history”.
Businessman Kevin Keen:
“I believe that in any electoral reform it is essential that some link with the parish system is retained. The Constables have provided this link for centuries and therefore in my opinion they should continue to represent their parishioners in the States Assembly”.
16 year old Student Amy Vatcher:
“I am a supporter of the YES Campaign as I believe that the role of the constable is an invaluable asset to the States Assembly. Due to their approachability and their accountability as head of the parish, this allows them to form a unique awareness of the issues that the parishioners may face which is important when making decisions in any legislature”.
Over the course of the Campaign the Vote for YES! Team shall be hosting three Referendum Roadshows.
Referendum Roadshow #1
Thursday 25 September, St Saviour’s Parish Hall, 19:30-21:30
Referendum Roadshow #2
Tuesday 30 September, St Brelade’s Parish Hall, 19:30-21:30
Referendum Roadshow #3
Thursday 09 October, St Mary’s Parish Hall, 19:30-21:30
Please have your say by voting YES on October 15.