We just spent the day in the Royal Court at the hearing of the well publicised case of the defective nomination form of Reform candidate Sarah Westwater.
After a full morning of testimonies from her proposers, seconders and party officials, it was found that Miss Westwater’s form had a number of defects and discrepancies. None of them were suspected to be malicious and the problem was whether to allow such breaches of the law and whether the court had the jurisdiction to consider them “not a matter of substance”.
After a lunch recess and the defendant’s statement, I was asked to make a contribution:
“I understand the problem of jurisdiction and the serious issue of not setting a bad precedent but I would prefer to face Miss Westwater in the polls”.
And I will.
In a surprise, but welcome, judgement, the Royal Court decided to uphold Miss Westwater’s candidature and the elections will therefore take place as planned in St Lawrence on the 16th of May with the three candidates myself, Kirsten Morel and Sarah Westwater competing for the two available Deputy seats.
The Judicial Greffe were very efficient at producing our Candidate Manifestos booklet and got it posted much earlier than expected. It is a good place to find general information about all the candidates for the upcoming election but please be aware of the following mistake:
Parishioners in St Lawrence can vote for 2 Deputies.
instead of 1 as mentioned. A link to the corrected version can be found here.
The first hustings in St Lawrence will take place tonight (Wednesday 25th of April at 19:30) with all 17 candidates for Senator answering Parishioner’s questions. Our first Deputies hustings for your three candidates running is scheduled for the 2nd of May at 19:30, with another one being planned.
Candidates have been invited by many special interest groups to listen to their problems and share their views.
So far, Digital Jersey, Plastic Free Jersey, the Jersey Construction Council, Chamber Connection and Jersey Sport have invited all the candidates, while the Jersey Chamber of Commerce invited a select subset of four, probably trying to guess who will really be running the government in six weeks time.
Agriculture also had a voice with the first Senatorial hustings having been held at the RJA&HS especially for farmers. The large number of candidates for Senator meant that only a handful of questions could be asked but they unsurprisingly revolved around the availability of temporary workforce and the declining States help for agriculture.
Similar issues were raised by the other groups who found it difficult to hire locally and struggled to deal with new taxes such as the proposed Waste Tax.
Plastic Free Jersey would like to see the Island take the lead in regulating single use plastics and Digital Jersey were promoting a project for delivering IT degrees in Jersey.
You can find my views on all of these in the Questions section of this web site.
The weather is making canvassing a pleasure and I would like to thank everyone for their warm welcome despite the fact that it seems I am almost systematically catching them at a bad time such as tea or the kids’ bath. My special apologies to one particular resident: I only heard your shower was on after I rang the bell!
Best tool for the trade: an electric bicycle. Carbon neutral and easy to park. As a bonus, riding through the beautiful countryside of St Lawrence is always a delight.
Attaching the very last poster. We were very careful to follow all the Department for Infrastructure guidelines (not everybody does..) but also tried not to annoy anybody with posters in front of houses or gardens. If one of our posters is posing a problem, just let us know.
Up all night putting signs up. Election campaigns in Jersey are very hands-on and it should remain that way. Keep the budget cap low!
The first step is over. We now have a formal race for the seats of Deputy for St Lawrence.
I was proposed by St Lawrence’s previous Chef de Police, Nicola Parker-Buckle but as she was off-island yesterday, Dave Pittom, one of my seconders, presented me by reading a small speech Nicola had prepared and adding some kind words of his own.
I felt this was not the time to start talking about politics as I had a lot of gratitude to express for my supporters and instead concentrated on thanking my proposer and seconders for their incredible help. They didn’t just give me a signature, their confidence in me and their encouragements were quite overwhelming. I also tried to show my appreciation to my fiancée Amy, without whom none of this would be happening but I am sure I fell short of what she actually deserved.
Our most defining trait is that we are a small community in an enclosed space and we should embrace this instead of trying to ignore it. There are only 3899 registered electors in St Lawrence and I hope to meet every single one of them face to face so they can present me with their problems and expectations as well as learn about me. It is not in me to make generic, wide ranging, and ultimately empty promises.
As an independent candidate I am hoping to uphold Jersey true democracy by bringing your voices to the States Chamber rather than the orders of a party chairman.
This is the choice for St Lawrence: Kirsten Morel, Gregory Guida or the Reform candidate Sarah Westwater.
We are organising hustings at the Parish Hall on the 2nd of May at 19:00 and at St Matthew’s Church Hall on the 5th of May at 15:00 (the latter to be confirmed).
My colleague and friend Deidre Mezbourian was re-elected unopposed yesterday night.
First, I would like to address the notion of being unopposed. Some make a lot of it by saying that it is somehow a failure of democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jersey is one of the easiest places in the world for members of the public to become politicians. All it takes is ten signatures and you can stand for whichever post you may like, including Chief Minister. There are 3899 registered electors in St Lawrence, any of whom could have stood if they wished to.
What happens is that we are just pragmatic and if somebody is doing their job well, we give them a vote of confidence by not opposing them. Being a Constable is a very demanding role and most of us understand just how difficult it is.
I met Deidre for the first time in 2012 and she immediately impressed me with her sense of fairness, her well researched and educated views and her absolute loyalty to her office. Just a few months later, she had persuaded me to become a Constable’s Officer and I got to know her better through our monthly Parish meetings and the many municipal events.
What I learnt over the years strengthened my respect for her. It is a function of my latin heritage that I will enjoy a good argument but through the volubility and waving of hands, we do listen and are receptive to actual data and logic. She always won with calm application of carefully curated information and impeccable reasoning.
She has my vote and my congratulations for winning the confidence of her Parishioners for another term.