Barbados trip was 'good value' says Jersey politician

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache Senator Sir Philip Bailhache said the trip could not have been done over the phone

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A trip to Barbados was good value for money, according to the chairman of Jersey's Electoral Commission.

Senator Sir Philip Bailhache has been defending a trip to the Caribbean island to study how its government works.

Three members of the Electoral Commission researching the reform of Jersey's government system went on the trip at a cost of more than £6,000.

Deputy Geoff Southern condemned the visit and called it a "jolly".

He said it was "an unnecessary and outrageous waste of taxpayers money and time".

Deputy Southern said: "There is little to discover from a visit [to Barbados] that could not have been covered by an internet trawl or a Skype conference."

'Not the crown jewels'

But Senator Sir Philip Bailhache said the trip was important and could not have been done over the phone or online.

He said: "It is true that a certain amount of research can be carried out online and it is possible to have a conversation by telephone if you know what you want to talk about with a particular person.

"But we were on a much broader investigation than that and particularly with senior people whom one does not know, it is just not possible to get them to come to the telephone at a moment which is convenient for members of the commission."

Sir Philip added: "Six or seven thousand pounds is not an insubstantial sum of money but in the context of getting a system which is right for Jersey, it is not the crown jewels."

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