States Assembly Sitting Summary 20 October
20th October 2020
The States Assembly began another hybrid sitting today – this is when some States Members join via Office 365, and others are present in the States Chamber.
The Bailiff started the meeting by paying tribute to Arthur Philip Querée – a former Jersey politician who sadly passed away last week. The Assembly observed a minute’s silence in memory of him.
The Bailiff’s then announced that Senator Sarah Ferguson has resigned as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The PAC is responsible for ensuring public money is spent efficiently and assessing whether sound financial practices are applied throughout the public sector. Later in the sitting, Deputy Inna Gardiner was nominated by Senator Kristina Moore, and appointed by the States Assembly as the new Chair of the PAC.
Senator Sam Mezec asked the Chair of the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC), Deputy Russell Labey, to provide an update on progress made to implement the recommendations from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Election Observers Report of 2018, and the timetable for implementing any outstanding recommendations. The Deputy will provide an update regarding the implementation of the Report at the end of this week.
Deputy Inna Gardiner asked the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Kevin Lewis, to update the States Assembly on the current condition of the Nightingale Wing of the Jersey General Hospital. The Minister responded saying that his department is mitigating leaks in the building following recent heavy wind and rain. He added that there has been a small amount of ingress on the outer walls, but that this hasn’t affected the ward areas. Standard continuation oxygen work is also currently being carried out to reduce noise for those living in the vicinity. In addition, heating is being fitted in the hospital to prepare for the colder weather during winter.
Deputy Carina Alves asked the Minister for Health, Deputy Richard Renouf, to advise whether, and how, COVID-19 tests are prioritised – specifically whether inbound travellers to the Island are being prioritised over symptomatic residents. The Minister explained that PCR tests are carried out with the aim of identifying new cases and to prevent the spread of the virus. He went on to outline four different laboratories that Jersey uses for testing for COVID-19:
- The on-Island test lab in Jersey General Hospital is used to test hospital admissions. It has an average turnaround time of 1-2 hours for results
- The aero club lab is used to test in-bound travellers. It has an average turnaround time of 8-12 hours for results
- The off-Island lab is used to test symptomatic cases who are already in isolation. It has an average turnaround time of 29 hours for results
- The off-island lab run by Public Health England is used only for workforce screening tests. It has an average turnaround time of 35 hours for results.
Questions Without Notice
The Minister for External Relations and the Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, faced Questions Without Notice from States Members today (QWN). QWN are when Ministers have not been given prior awareness of what they will be asked. You can catch up on QWN and the rest of today’s debate by visiting the States Assembly website, here.
The Assistant Minister for Education, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, made a statement about the Higher Education Students Travel Survey. The aim of the survey is to get as much information as possible about the intentions of students to travel during the Christmas period this year in light of COVID-19.
READ THE STATEMENT IN FULL HERE.
Jersey and the Slave Trade: Amendment
Deputy Montfort Tadier proposed a rename of Trenton Square to Benin Square; to commission a report into establishing a permanent memorial to acknowledge Jersey’s part in the Slave Trade; and for an audit of all place names and memorials relating to former slave traders in Jersey.
Deputy Jess Perchard then made an amendment to this, requesting that Black Lives Matter Jersey put forward a new name for Trenton Square and to consult the public. The Deputy also asked the States Assembly to vote in favour of adding public art and public holidays to the proposed audit of all place names and memorials in Jersey relating to former traders in Jersey.
The States Assembly voted to REJECT both of Deputy Jess Perchard’s amendments.
READ THE FULL PROPOSAL HERE.
Jersey and the Slave Trade: Third Amendment
Deputy Montfort Tadier then proposed a Third Amendment to his original proposition. He asked the States Assembly to vote in favour of renaming Trenton Square as Trenton Lenape Square.
The States Assembly voted to REJECT the Third Amendment.
READ THE FULL PROPOSAL HERE.
Jersey and the Slave Trade: Second Amendment
Deputy Montfort Tadier proposed the Second Amendment to his proposition This was to mark 23 August as the annual International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The States Assembly voted to REJECT the Second Amendment.
Jersey and the Slave Trade: Fourth Amendment
Deputy Montfort Tadier also proposed a Fourth Amendment to his Proposition. This was to ask the Chief Minister, John Le Fondre, to commission work into the desirability and practicalities of establishing an Equalities and Human Rights Commission in Jersey.
The States Assembly voted to REJECT the Fourth Amendment
Jersey and the Slave Trade
The States Assembly then returned to debate Deputy Montfort Tadier's original Proposition. The Proposition asked the states to:
- agree to rename Trenton Square as Benin Square;
- agree to commission a report into establishing a permanent memorial to acknowledge Jersey's part in the Slave Trade; and
- agree to conduct an audit of all place names and memorials relating to former slave traders in Jersey.
The States Assembly voted to REJECT the Proposition.
Write off income tax liability for prior year if moved to current year basis
The States Assembly finished this week's meeting by holding an 'In-Committee' debate. An 'In-Committee' debate is when there is no vote at the end, and States Members can speak as many times as they would like. The debate was about whether to write off income tax liability for tax payers paying on a prior year basis, if their tax payments are moved to a current year payment basis. This was following an e-petition from a member of the public which reached 5,000 signatures. The debate continued for about 45 minutes.
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