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States Reform

You are in: Jersey > Inside the States > States Reform > Constable reform

Inside the States Chamber

Constable reform

Should all Constables be elected on the same day every four years, or should elections be staggered?

Plans were put forward in 2007 to increase the term of office of Constables to four years. It was also suggested that election dates are moved so that all Constables are elected on the same day.

Following the very low turnout figures in the recent Constable of St Helier election, we decided to ask whether the proposed changes will make a difference.

With the St Helier Constable Elections done and dusted, voting figures revealed only around 19% of the electorate got out to use their franchise.

Part of the reform plans would see all Constables elected on a single day in October.

The Constable of Grouville, Dan Murphy has told us that the proposed plans would be unfair and wouldn't get more people out to vote.

Dan Murphy believes the one day system could play in to the hands of political parties rather than the individual candidate.

He told BBC Radio Jersey’s Talkback program: "If you have staggered elections, or elections coming up as constables are at the moment, as they fall in time, that man goes out and he knocks on every door in the parish and he talks to people and people get a much better idea of who they're electing not what they're electing."

There are also calls from some islanders for the removal of the Constables from the States of Jersey completely.

Constable Murphy went on to explain that Scrutiny wouldn’t work without the Constables being in the States of Jersey.

Constable Murphy explained that "if you are looking just to chop the number of members in the States you would be very foolish indeed just to chop twelve members who are probably the hardest working people in the States.

"The whole of the Scrutiny system would just collapse without the constables at the moment. I'm on two scrutiny panels that are dominated by Constables even though we have a Deputy or Senator in charge. Without the Constables you wouldn't have a quorum you wouldn't be able to operate."

Over to you

What are your thoughts on the Constables? Should they sit in the States of Jersey or should they just have the role of ‘father of the Parish’?

Do you think all Constables, and in fact all States Members, should be elected on the same day every four years – or do you agree with Constable Murphy when he says staggered elections are a better?

Do you think more elections would lead to a more democratic system as more people would have more chances to vote for members – or do you think fewer, regular elections are more democratic where you can elect or remove every member at the same time?

last updated: 14/01/2008 at 13:25
created: 14/01/2008

Have Your Say

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wake up its the 21st century, we are a laughing stock, you couldnt make this rubbish up, tinpot dictators calling themselves the 'father of the parish'- farsical

Dan needs a reality check - the Constables are the hardest working people in the States? What utter rubbish. The St. Helier job is certainly a very big one. Many of the other smaller ones could probably be done on a part time basis in comparision.

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