States Assembly 9th April 2020
9th April 2020
The States Assembly held a virtual sitting on Thursday 9th April 2020.
The Bailiff opened proceedings and the first item up for debate was the Draft Regulation of Care Amendment.
Deputy John Young presented the proposal, which was lodged by the Chief Minister, to the Assembly.
Read the full proposal here
Deputy John Young outlined that the proposed changes meant further safeguards were put in place relating to Care provisions. The proposed changes would mean that any new care facilities set up in response to Coronavirus could only operate under the proposed changes. The changes included that the Minister for Health and Social Services must approve the service is required and that the new provider would need to consult with the Care Commission.
Deputy Rob Ward spoke on the proposal and said it was important temporary Care workers were advised they may not be able to continue working in the sector after Coronavirus without additional training.
Deputy Mary Le Hegarat spoke on behalf of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny panel and advised that after looking at the proposed changes the panel was in support of them.
Deputy Kevin Pamplin raised that ensuring the public's confidence in the care being provided was vital.
The proposal was ADOPTED
The next item to be debated was the temporary amendment to the Draft COVID Residential Tenancy law.
You can read the full proposal here
The Minister for Children and Housing, Sam Mézec presented the proposal to the States Assembly. He outlined that the 3 main points of this amendment were changes that would temporarily prevent tenants being evicted due to financial hardship caused by coronavirus, the suspension of rent increases during this time to protect tenants and the right for renters to extend their tenancies during coronavirus.
The Minister added that the proposal was "extraordinary measures for extraordinary times."
Deputy Inna Gardiner and Deputy Lindsay Ash both said they supported the proposal but requested that a framework to help Landlords who may face financial difficulties also be put in place.
Deputy Rowland Huelin raised concerns that the proposed changes could alienate landlords who would be asked to provide housing for rental tenants in the future.
Senator Ian Gorst asked all States Members, even those with concerns about the proposed changes, to support the proposal to give security to tenants and support the most vulnerable at this time.
The first principle was ADOPTED
The Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Panel then presented an amendment to one of the regulations within the Residential Tenancy Law.
Read the proposal here
Constable Mike Jackson outlined the proposal, which would amend one part of the Minister for Children and Housing's proposed changes. The Scrutiny Panel asked that the regulation which would allow Senator Sam Mézec to make further changes without needing to bring them in front of the States Assembly be removed.
Senator Kristina Moore and Senator Sarah Ferguson both voiced support for the Scrutiny Panel's amendment while Deputy Mike Higgins was one of the Members who spoke against it. He said he believed Ministers should be given the 'benefit of the doubt' at this time.
The Scrutiny Panel's Amendment was REJECTED
17 FOR vs 27 AGAINST.
The Minister for Children and Housing, Sam Mézec then presented the rest of his original proposal to the States Assembly.
The proposal was ADOPTED
41 FOR vs 2 AGAINST
Members then moved onto an hour of Questions without Notice.
Topics covered included charges made to patients by GP's and plans for economic recovery.
Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked the Minster for Health and Social Services, Richard Renouf to publish the results of the crisis response exercise carried out regarding a severe flu outbreak at the end of 2019. He also asked for details of the amount of PPE on the Island then and now. The Health Minister Richard Renouf said he was unsure what details of the exercise he could divulge but would endeavour to get the details on PPE to the Deputy.
Deputy Geoff Southern asked the Minister for Health and Social Services, Richard Renouf about vulnerable patients who received calls from their GP's who were charged for the unrequested call.
The Health Minister, Richard Renouf advised that these calls made by GP's were made proactively and that no charges should have been made. He asked Deputy Southern to bring any such cases to his attention so they could be investigated.
Senator Kristina Moore asked the Chief Minister John Le Fondré what his plans were for the recovery period of the Island following Coronavirus.
The Chief Minister responded by saying the top priority was a recovery timeline and that the sustainable wellbeing of Islanders is his priority when seeing a direction for the recovery plan.
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