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Government 'Can't Disregard States Decisions'

Reform Jersey has written an open letter to the Chief Minister reminding her that ministers cannot abandon decisions made by the States Assembly.

Party leader Deputy Sam Mézec says he's concerned several decisions made by the States Assembly are being disregarded.

In a letter to Deputy Kristina Moore, he says that ministers are 'not entitled to unilaterally abandon decisions made by the Assembly' and reminds her that if the government wishes to change policy, it needs to ask for permission to change course.

"It's the States Assembly that is ultimately the sovereign decision making body for Jersey  Governments don't have the rights to simply disregard decisions of the States Assembly if they don't like them."

Deputy Mézec says there are three examples of decisions being seemingly overlooked.

Before the end of September, the Minister of Housing and Communities was required to tell the States about options for the introduction of a tax on empty properties.

The Minister wrote to Deputy Tadier, who proposed the original idea, to explain the deadline would be missed, and then told the Assembly at a later date, with no full explanation.

Reform has since heard that update in due in this week's States sitting (4 October):

 

The second instance Deputy Mézec has cited is bringing forward plans to introduce assisted dying.

The debate which was meant to happen this month has been moved to March 2023.

Deputy Mézec says States Members were made aware of this via the media, rather than directly by the government.

Health Minister Deputy Karen Wilson says delays were due to the death of the Queen, and that there is no delay to the overall time-frame that was set out to present the matter to the Assembly.

But Deputy Sam Mézec says she needs to come before the Assembly and explain as much to States members.

"It's not right for a government minister to unilaterally decide that the timetable that was given to her by the States Assembly is too inconvenient for her."

Another decision of the previous States was to remove GST from period products.

The Chief Minister has since announced she wants them to be made available for free.

Deputy Mézec says she has not yet disclosed what would happen in the instance a business still selling them as they would be charging GST, which is not what the States agreed.

"We want to make sure in the future, if instances like this come up, where the government doesn't want to, or doesn't think it can abide by a States decision, in the exact terms that were prescribed to it...

...instead of changing plans and hoping no one notices, they should just be a bit more transparent about it." 

In response, Deputy Moore says she will be replying to Deputy Mézec in respect of the propositions he has raised and their current status.

“The Government fully respects the sovereignty of the States Assembly and its status as the authoritative decision-making body in Jersey. States decisions must be implemented and can only be reversed by a further decision of the Assembly."

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