F.J. (Bob) Hill, BEM, is Jersey born and educated at St Martin's Elementary School, left the Island and served for 31 years in the Metropolitan Police. He returned to Jersey in 1991 and in 1993 was elected Deputy of St Martin until 2011.
Monday 5 March 2012
As there are only 12 Oral Questions lodged for tomorrow, the States should begin its debate on the Electoral Commission, P5/2012 before lunch.
It was at the States Sitting on March 15th last year that Members by 29 votes to 18, gave its support to former Deputy Daniel Wimberley's proposition requesting PPC to come back to the House with the necessary proposals for the appointment of an independent Commission to undertake the review. It is now a well known fact PPC has decided to move the goal posts and to request the States to appoint three States Members to the Commission, one of whom will be its Chairman.
Of the 29 who gave their support last year, 5 are no longer Members, however of the 18 who voted against, 9 are no longer Members. Of the 6 who not present only 2 are current Members. It could be said that given the number of votes in support for the original proposition, the number of Members now gone and the support given at the two recent Parish Meetings, Deputy Le Herissier would be entitled to believe that his amendment which calls for a totally independent Commission will win the day.
However nothing should be taken for granted and as one can see from the Procedural note attached at the end of the Order Paper which is reproduced below, should Deputy Le Herissier's amendment fail almost everything will be done and dusted by the end of the day.
The following is the Procedural Note.
ELECTORAL COMMISSION: COMPOSITION AND TERMS OF REFERENCE (P.5/2012)
If the proposition of the Privileges and Procedures Committee is adopted at this meeting and the first amendment of Deputy R.G. Le Hérissier of St. Saviour (P.5/2012 Amd Parts 1 (a) to (c)) has been adopted, it will fall to the Privileges and Procedures Committee, in a process overseen by the Jersey Appointments Commission, to undertake a recruitment process to identify 7 people who will then be recommended to the States for appointment as Chairman and members of the Electoral Commission.
If the proposition of the Privileges and Procedures Committee is adopted but the first amendment of Deputy R.G. Le Hérissier of St. Saviour (P.5/2012 Amd Parts 1 (a) to (c)) has been rejected, paragraph (b) of the proposition requires the States to proceed immediately to appoint a States member as Chairman and 2 other members to serve on the Commission. Paragraph (b) is in the following terms –
"(b) to agree that the Chairman and 2 States members should be appointed by the States immediately following the adoption of this proposition, with the nomination and ballot procedures for these positions following the process set out in Standing Orders for the selection of the Chairmen and members of scrutiny panels except that –
(i) nominations for the 2 members shall be invited from all members without initial nominations being made by the Chairman; and (ii) voting for the Chairman and members shall be undertaken by open ballot and not by secret ballot;"
The procedure that will be followed in these circumstances is therefore as follows –
Immediately after the adoption of the proposition the Presiding Officer will invite nominations for the position of Chairman of the Electoral Commission. Each nomination must be seconded. If there is more than one nomination each candidate will speak for up to 10 minutes with a 20 minute question period. The candidates will speak and be questioned in the order in which they have been nominated. Other candidates must withdraw from the Chamber during the speeches and question period.
Following the speeches and question periods an open ballot or ballots will be held until one candidate receives an overall majority of votes cast. Members will be required to write their own name and indicate their vote on ballot papers to enable the manner in which members have voted to be read out after the open ballot.
Following the appointment of the Chairman, the Presiding Officer will invite nominations for 2 members to serve on the Commission. Each nomination must be seconded. There will be no speeches or questions but if more than 2 members are nominated an open ballot will be held. Members be required to write their own name and indicate their vote on ballot papers to enable the manner in which members have voted to be read out after the open ballot. The 2 members receiving the most votes will be elected.
Hopefully Members will not allow themselves to be persuaded by Senator Bailhache who has already stated that the Connetables should remain in the House. Therefore it might be helpful to remind readers why Deputy Le Herissier's task will be not be easy because last year only 2 Connetables voted in support of the independent Commission, 9 were against and former Connetable Yates was absent. Four of the 9 plus Mr Yates are no longer Members so it will be interesting to see which way the new Connetables vote.
What will also be interesting is that should Deputy Le Herissier's amendment be rejected, who will oppose Senator Bailhache who will no doubt have prepared his speech and selected the two Members he wishes to propose for the Commission.