Committee to push ahead with Jersey referendum reforms
- 25 April 2013
- From the section Jersey
Jersey's privileges and procedures committee (PPC) will push ahead with government reforms despite some dissent among its members.
On Wednesday islanders voted to reform Jersey's government in a referendum.
Islanders chose option B, to cut politicians in the States from 51 to 42 by removing the senators.
Constable Simon Crowcroft, chairman of the group responsible for the make-up of the States, said PPC members needed to set their views aside.
He said: "We are not to tinker with the referendum or the results.
"If some States members have concerns about the validity of the process, the commission, the results, or the use of the second vote... those will all come out it due course.
"PPCs job is to allow the process to move forward. It is a tight timescale to get the changes made into the law before the election in 2014."
Option B won in a second round of counting, with option C rejected after none of the options gained more than 50% of the votes in the first count.
Voters were asked to indicate their first choice and second choice on the ballot paper.
Islanders could choose from one of three choices, option A would have seen 42 deputies elected from six large voting districts and option C would have maintained the status quo of eight senators elected island wide, 29 deputies and 12 parish constables.
The referendum is non-binding but if the States approve the agreed choice, Jersey will be split into six equal sized districts, instead of the current 12 parish system.
In total, 26% of the 63,945 on Jersey's electoral role voted in the referendum, with 8,190 islanders voting for option B and 6,707 for option A.
The Jersey branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) is urging the States to "swiftly implement the electorate's preferred option".
Jason Laity, its chairman, said: "While our members may have had differing views on the options put forward, I am pleased the referendum has now been completed and a preferred option has emerged.
"It is now important that the States adopts the preferred proposal as quickly as possible."
Constable Crowcroft said he hoped draft legislation would be ready in the summer.
The man who persuaded Jersey's States to set up an electoral commission said he was upset islanders had chosen the "least fair" referendum option.
In 2011 the then St Mary deputy, Daniel Wimberley, called for an independent electoral commission to examine government reform.
However last year, the States agreed to create the commission but with three politicians and three independent members.
He said: "As proposer of all this I feel betrayed it was not independent.
"It went wrong when the commission was hijacked... the States voted by a big majority for it to be independent and what happened was three politicians appeared on it and surprise surprise they all come out in favour of option B. How biased is that?"
Mr Wimberley added: "26% turnout for a solution that is totally undemocratic, I think the States should think very, very carefully about this.
"I personally would say go back to the drawing board, but I don't think that is likely to happen."