Readers will recall that I have said that I would be keeping an eye on the progress of the Historic Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry and the Electoral Commission. Apart from a question without notice from Deputy
Shona Pitman to the Chief Minister on 6th December who said it was a priority matter, nothing else has been forthcoming. I had anticipated that either a question on the matter would have been lodged for yesterday’s Sitting or perhaps the Chief Minister would have made a statement updating everyone on the steps taken to get the ball rolling. It is apparent that for many Members and the Council of Ministers that the Inquiry is not a priority. Hopefully someone will be lodging a question for the next Sitting.
True to form States Members considered the Electoral Commission to be the priority. This is not only evident from the media coverage given to the Members who seek to overturn a States decision but also (thankfully) to the fact that two questions were lodged and asked in the States yesterday.
During yesterday’s Question Time Deputy
Trevor Pitman called for the resignation of Chief Minister because of his apparent U-turn and support for Senator Bailhache to chair the proposed Electoral Commission. I believe Trevor should have been calling for the resignation of the Chairman and his PPC Committee for failing to comply with the decision made by the States last March.
It might be a bit tough on
Simon Crowcroft, Judy Martin and Monty Tadier because they have been ambushed by two Members that Simon proposed for his Committee, namely Len Norman and Sarah Ferguson. One wonders whether before nominating them they were questioned about their support for the Electoral Commission as both had voted against it last March.
Daniel Wimberley’s proposition P15/2011 which called for an Independent Commission was approved by the States on 15th March. It is important to note that the States also approved parts (c) and (d) of the proposition which are as follows;
Part (c) requested the Privileges and Procedures Committee, after consultation, to bring forward proposals for debate ahead of the debate on the Annual Business Plan 2012 detailing the proposed composition of the Electoral Commission, its anticipated costs, and how it was to be funded;
Part (d) requested the Privileges and Procedures Committee to take the necessary steps to identify, through a process overseen by the Appointments Commission, the proposed membership of the Commission for subsequent approval by the Assembly on a proposition lodged by the Privileges and Procedures Committee.
It is quite clear what PPC was requested to do and in my view it should be complying with the States decision. If some PPC members do not wish to comply it is perfectly acceptable for them to record their dissent and if they choose to they could lodge their own amendments to the proposition. I listened to yesterday’s question time and heard Deputy Judy Martin say that she is working on amendments to PPC new proposals. Thankfully Judy is drafting the amendments but they should be drafted by the dissenters.