Of Stuart Syvret
A brief reminder for those who may not have made their mind up yet, of some of the policies I support – and the personal qualities I offer as a politician.
The polls opened at 8.00 a.m for the island’s general election, and people will be able to vote until 8.00 p.m.
I am a candidate for the post of Senator.
I’m asking that people vote for me because I believe I have the abilities – and the qualities – this community needs in its parliament.
I am keeping this posting brief; I hope the public will already know enough, to understand the issues.
I have written below two, brief, lists. The first itemises ten key policies I pledge to pursue should I be elected.
The second is the list of qualities – as a politician – and as a person - that I offer the people of Jersey.
If I am elected – I pledge that, within the first twelve months of the term-of-office, I will bring before the States assembly propositions that will address the following policy areas:
Taxation and Economic Policies: A Transparent Inquiry:
In 2004 – at a time when Jersey’s taxation polices faced great upheaval, I studied the matter carefully, and recognised just how shallow and defective was the thinking of the traditional establishment when trying to address the problems. Many options were not examined – certain obvious and key strategic issues not properly appraised – and the policies they proposed, such as 20 means 20, and zero/10 were never going to work properly. In an attempt to get the States to at least undertake a detailed examination of the real issues, I wrote a detailed report and position, “Taxation Policies: A Transparent Inquiry”, which asked the States to examine the issues properly. Predictably, the assembly rejected my proposition. It gives me no pleasure to say “I told you so” to those politicians. Now – we need to undertake that work more urgently – and more comprehensively - than ever.
Protection of Employment Opportunities for Resident People:
Jersey faces many serious economic challenges, not least growing unemployment. We have the ability and right to introduce a system of work-permits, to protect employment opportunities for those already resident in Jersey. Such a policy has always been resisted by the traditional political establishment, but it can no longer be avoided if we are serious about tackling unemployment.
A Public Inquiry into Jersey’s Child Protection Failures:
The States has recently agreed to ask the Council of Ministers to establish an inquiry into the decades of child protection failures on the part of the States. Whilst credit must be given to those States members who drove that decision – the reality is, it’s too little – too late. And any meaningful and robust inquiry cannot involve the Council of Ministers, or the Law Officers in drawing up the terms of reference. Those two bodies are the two most culpable authorities in Jersey for the gross failures of governance, oversight and the application of the rule of law that lies at the heart of the systemic problems. The child protection issues will remain a source of injustice – and of division – until finally examined properly.
A Revision of the Island Plan and the Planning Law:
The States has recently approved an Island Plan. Whilst it has good aspects – it does not protect our environment well enough. It needs improving and refining. Our Planning laws, too, are inadequate. The Planning Minister has too much power. We must revert to a Committee which works in a transparent manner.
A Public Inquiry into Jersey’s Accommodation Industry:
When Jersey’s economy is discussed, it is usually in terms of sectors such as finance, tourism, retail, agriculture etc. What we never hear discussion of is the accommodation industry. That whole sphere of economic activity – which includes property speculation, construction, land-ownership, housing, home-sales, the rental sector, re-zoning, estate-agents, building supplies etc – is - after the finance industry – the second largest economic sector in Jersey. But yet – remarkably – the States has never undertaken a strategic appraisal of that whole industry – and the economic and taxation polices that are associated with it. I believe we must finally get to grips with, and fully understand, the accommodation industry, and its role in Jersey’s economy and society.
A Separation of Powers:
Virtually every respectable, functioning democracy in the world has a separation of powers. That is – a clear separation between the legislature, the executive, the prosecution system and the judiciary. Those necessary powers are separated – so that they be independent of each-other and capable of acting as a check and balance on each-other, to protect the public good from the excesses and failings of any public authority. Jersey does not have an effective separation of powers. The result has been disastrous for this community. For example – the extent of the child protection failures – and the failure to hold the public sector to account – is a direct result of our present, conflicted system. We must have a separation of powers.
A Review of Policing in Jersey:
Events of recent years – such as the illegal suspension of Police Chief Graham Power – and other examples of corrupt, politically motivated interferences with policing – have shown that law-enforcement in Jersey needs protecting improper pressures and corrupt manipulations. We must have a judicially empowered, external inquiry into policing – to ensure the great majority of ordinary, decent people are protected from illegal acts by the powerful, the influential and the States.
A Public Interest Disclosure Act:
One of the most important methods of ensuring that public authorities are acting reasonably, effectively and lawfully, is to ensure that there is robust protection for whistleblowers. Jersey has no such protection – indeed, the opposite is the case – with it being the standard practice of all of Jersey’s public authorities to unit in the persecution of anyone who has exposed wrong-doing. The island must introduce a Public Interest Disclosure Act to give protection to those who reveal failures and crimes.
A Public Inquiry into the Role and Conduct of the Media in Jersey:
In a functioning democracy like the United Kingdom, the established media often exposes failures and wrongdoing by the powerful and the government. In Jersey, the mainstream media acts in the opposite way, frequently helping to conceal failures and criminal acts by the island’s public authorities. In the UK, a major public inquiry is underway into the conduct of the media and its relationship with politicians and business. Jersey must undertake the same exercise.
Citizens Juries: Involving the Public in Contributing to Policy Formulation:
In Jersey, we don’t embrace party politics. Some people see that as a good thing. However, the consequence is that we, the voting public, have no control over the actual policies our government pursues. We have to change that. A system of Citizen’s Juries would enable representative cross-sections of the community to contribute to the formulation of States policies.
In addition to an understanding of the policies your politicians will pursue, it’s also important to have an understanding of the personal qualities of those who would be your representatives. And in the absence of party-politics in Jersey, it’s even more important for voters to choose people of high integrity and personal calibre.
These are the personal qualities I possess:
I am honest.
I am intelligent.
I am sincere.
I am ethical
I work hard.
I bring a degree of intellectual rigour to researching political polices.
I do not come from a privileged background – so I genuinely understand the day-to-day realities faced by working families.
I am empathetic.
I am principled.
I am fearless.
Today we are participating in Jersey’s first general election. I hope as many islanders as possible use their right to vote.