States Assembly 27th March 2020

27th March 2020

The States Assembly met at Gloucester Hall in Fort Regent on Friday 27th March 2020.

The sitting was an additional sitting which allowed States Assembly Members an hour of Questions without Notice to any Minister regarding Coronavirus.

There were also a number of emergency propositions lodged in response to the ongoing situation.


Questions Without Notice  focused on Coronavirus and topics in question included response to e-petitions, the availability of protective equipment for frontline workers and processes to ensure backbenchers are receiving up to date information.

You can watch Questions without Notice here 

The Minister for Infrastructure, Kevin Lewis made a statement regarding emergency parking.

He stated that 600 hospital workers, police officers and volunteers are being given parking permits allowing them to park for free and close to work. He also added that Patriotic Street park would be limited to the general public as it will be reserved solely for hospital workers.

You can watch the statement and the following questions here


The States Assembly then moved onto public business.  

The Minister for Health and Social Services presented the Draft COVID-19 Law to the States Assembly.

You can read the proposal here 

The Minister outlined the proposal which would create temporary changes to the way laws are created and passed. The aim of the proposition is to allow the States Assembly to create laws quickly in response to Coronavirus. The Minister stressed that these powers are for a limited time only and that laws passed in this way would be limited to those created to respond to Coronavirus.


The proposal was ADOPTED.


The next proposition lodged by the Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois was presented by Assistant Minister Jeremy Macon.

You can read the proposal here

The Assistant Minister for Education Jeremy Macon presented to the proposal to the States Assembly which would give the Minister of Education powers to require the closure of school premises or day care premises in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Deputy Rob Ward outlined comments made by the Education and Home Affairs Scruity Panel and acknowledged the challenges faced by many parents at this time.

Deputy Kirsten Morel asked the Assistant Minister about plans to address the lack of social contact children are currently experience while being home schooled. The Assistant Minister acknowledged that we are social beings but highlighted that health considerations must come first at this time.

The proposal was ADOPTED.


The Draft Social Security Amendment was then presented to the Assembly by the Minister for Social Security, Judy Martin.

You can read the proposal here

The Minister outlined the proposal which would temporarily suspend  the payment of the States Grant into the Social Security Fund. The money usually allotted to the Social Security Fund would instead stay with Treasury and Resources to provide additional funds to help with the response to Coronavirus.

Deputy Geoff Southern urged States Members not to support the proposition as the believes the use of this ringfenced fund, which delivers pensions and security to everybody, is unsound.

Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked the Minister to outline the future implications of the proposed changes and Deputy Kirsten Morel asked the Minister to acknowledge the need for a plan on how this money will be recovered in the future.

Senator Kristina Moore requested the proposal be delayed until next week's Assembly to allow more time for thorough scrutiny while Senator Ian Gorst implored Members to support the proposal so that Treasury and Resources would have access to liquid funds, which would allow the Island to purchase the necessary equipment to battle Coronavirus.

The Chief Minister, John Le Fondré supported this call and stated that the delay of a week in this proposal being adopted could be crucial.

After the proposal being adopted in the first reading Deputy Mary Le Hegarat advised the Scrutiny Panel wished to review the proposal in more detail.

The proposal will return in next week's States Assembly where Scrutiny will present their findings.


The final proposal of the day was the Draft COVID screening, assessment and isolation  regulations.

You can read the proposal here

The Minister for Health and Social Services Richard Renouf presented the proposal to the States Assembly and stressed that the powers that this proposal would provide were temporary and would only be used in response to Coronavirus.

Deputy Kevin Pamplin spoke of the impact on Human Rights that this proposal would have and asked for that to be reviewed at a later date. Constable Len Norman said that no government would want to bring legislation in that impacts people on this level, but that it shows the severity of Coronavirus.

Deputy Rob Ward asked the Minister what considerations were being given to those who may be affected by domestic violence during social isolation.


The proposal was ADOPTED.

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