Senators - Ian Le Marquand
Former chief magistrate Ian Le Marquand is also standing for Senator. He believes his work as an advocate and magistrate has made him an expert on social issues and law and order.
His proposer said Mr Le Marquand has a keen sense of justice and can communicate with people from all walks of life.
[ Source : BBC Jersey ]
Former Magistrate and Judicial Greffier Ian Le Marquand is standing for Senator.
Mr Le Marquand (56), who retired as Magistrate earlier this year, will be campaigning under a banner of 'fair and accountable government'. He qualified as an Advocate in 1977 and spent eight years as Magistrate. He is now campaigning on a platform of better controls on States spending and tighter political oversight of the police, Transport and Technical Services, and the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
He said: "The issue about oversight of the police is based on a growing concern over a lengthy period of time that the police were increasingly operating as if they were a politically independent organisation. That predates the Haut de la Garenne investigation by about two years. It is a long-standing concern that they are operating without effective political oversight."
He said: "I have areas of expertise in Home Affairs, and in terms of legislation, and I also have areas of expertise in terms of budgetary management because of my days as a chief officer at the Judicial Greffe. Those are the areas of expertise that I would bring to the States if I am elected. It would be up to Members to decide where my expertise could be best used."
[ Source : This Is Jersey ]
- Sarah Fitz
- Deidre Mezbourian
- Jackie Hilton
- Ian Gorst
- Nicola Santos-Costa
- Anne Pryke
- Renata Puczek
- Thomas Perchard
- Sarah McClelland
- Richard Dupre
[ Source : Channel Online ]
Advocate Sarah Fitz said that Ian Le Marquand had all the qualities that Jersey needed from a Senator. She said that as an advocate of 31 years’ standing, as a former Judicial Greffier and as Magistrate he had displayed an understanding of financial management and the law, as well as a passion for the Island, its future and its people.
In nine years as Magistrate in charge of the Magistrate's Court and Petty Debts Court, she added, Mr Le Marquand had seen daily the effects of poverty on people’s lives. And Advocate Fitz said that the former Magistrate had shown a strong instinct for reform. She said he was honest, objective, hard-working and totally committed, with a keen sense of what was right and wrong. And she added that as a former Magistrate, he was used to the pressure of making decisions that affected people's lives in the public spotlight.
[ Source : This Is Jersey ]
Politics has always been an interest and a passion for me but my role as a judge has prevented me from getting involved before now. Over the years I have gained a great deal of experience as an advocate, a chief officer (Judicial Greffier) and a judge.
I have worked in business and in government, but I have also seen the problems which ordinary people face and their struggles. I believe that all this has prepared me for a further career in politics and that this is the right time for me to offer my skills and experience to the Island in this new way.
I have for some time had growing concerns, which I think that many people share, about the quality of our political leadership. I realised some time ago that 2008 would be a challenging time for the Island, although I did not expect that this would be in so many areas. The issues of GST, house prices, income support, public expenditure control, Haut de la Garenne, global economic problems etc. will require good judgment. I believe that I can help my Island home at this time and this is what I wish to do.
[ Source : This Is Jersey ]
A video of Ian Le Marquand's election manifesto is available on Channel Online
Most of you will know that I am an advocate and have worked in the public sector as a chief officer as a judge for 18 years, and that I have recently given up my post as Magistrate to stand for election.
Over the years I have gained a great deal of experience as an advocate, a chief officer (the judicial greffier that was), and as a judge.
I have worked in business and in government, but I have also seen the problems which ordinary people face and their struggles.
I always listen to people and try to be fair, open and honest, and I speak up when things are going wrong. I’ve always brought gradual but positive change and would intend to do the same in the States.
I now believe that the time is right to offer my skills and experience to the island in a new way. I have had growing concerns, which I think that many of you share, about the quality of our leadership.
Some years ago I realised that 2008 would be a challenging time for the island, although I did not expect this would be in so many areas; GST, house prices, Haute de la Garenne etc. I believe I can help my island at this time, and that is what I want to do.
But you’ll want to know what I stand for. Here is a brief summary of some of my policies:
I am in favour of GST exemptions for all food, drinks and utility and heating bills for homes, with GST to be gradually phased out as other States income allows.
I am in favour of better control of public expenditure with firm but realistic financial targets.
I am in favour of ministers being made accountable to the public and to the States.
I am in favour of better control of immigration to avoid the recent large increase in population and a corresponding damaging increase in property prices.
I am in favour of the courts having the right powers to deal with youths who keep offending, I was of course the magistrate for a number of years.
I am in favour of firmer enforcement of licensing laws and new provisions to deal with knife crime and the problem of youths drinking in public places.
I am in favour of finding the best and fairest way to provide residential care for the elderly.
I have looked recently at the income support system and I believe that there is a need for their to be a greater incentive for people on income support to find work.
And I am very much in favour of ensuring more training and job opportunities are available for young people in practical areas of work.
For more information about me and my policies please look at my website www.ianlemarquand.com.
To summarise I am a new face in politics but I have had a lot of experience and a proven track record for serving the island. Thank you.
An audio version of this election manifesto is available from BBC Jersey
[ Source : BBC Jersey ]
A video of Ian Le Marquand's election manifesto is available on Channel Online
Taxation and GST
The tax issue is complex and whatever would have been decided would have been unpopular. GST is administratively very difficult and its full introduction all at one time was bound to have and has had a major effect on inflation.
The States were faced with a need to change the tax structure in relation to companies (0 - 10) and as a result of that a large gap (‘the black hole') was anticipated between States revenue and income if the current level of public services were to be maintained.
The strategy which was decided upon included ITIS, some growth of the economy, some savings in expenditure and the phasing out over 5 years of some income tax allowances (‘20 means 20'). However, a gap of about £45 million was still left.
In reality there were only three options in order to fill the gap.
Option 1 – an increase in the 20% rate of income tax
I am not aware that anyone was seriously suggesting a change to the 20% tax rate that has been a part of the Island's tax strategy for a long time.
Option 2 - a wages tax of some description
Guernsey introduced a subtle form of wages tax by increasing Social Security payments. They had a smaller "black hole" and they worked out that they could find the £35 million required by means of balancing the Social Security fund. In order to do this they raised the total percentage of Social Security payments from 11.5% to 14% and increased the ceiling figure for payments from £35,000 up to £60,000.
This was a subtle form of wages tax with the amount of the tax being 2.5% (namely 14% minus 11.5%) on wages up to £35,000 and now 14% on the part of wages from £35,000 to £60,000. As a result of this, the Social Security fund is paid for by contributions alone and the Guernsey States no longer have to put in the £35 million per year that they put in before these changes occurred. This approach has not proved popular in Guernsey.
If a similar system had been introduced in Jersey a further problem would have been that the middle earners, who are the people most affected by ‘20 means 20', would also have been the group most affected by such a scheme. It is also inevitable that such a wages tax or any wages tax would work through eventually to the general public in terms of increases in the cost of goods and services.
Any reasonable wages tax system would have to have a lower rating for the lower paid and so would have the greatest effect on middle earners and higher earners. In principle, there would not appear to be any reason why a wages tax could not continue to apply at higher levels of salary.
However, there are two major disadvantages of a wages tax as compared with GST.
- The first is that it may well be seen as a hidden income tax upon wage earners, which would be very damaging to the perception of the longstanding stability of the 20% income tax rate in Jersey.
- The second is that it only directly affects wage earners and employers and does not directly affect visitors or wealthy retired people or directors of companies who could take out profits in terms of dividends and thus avoid the tax. It would only affect these indirectly through resultant increased prices. This latter point is often referred to in terms of widening the tax base.
Option 3 - GST of some description
My position is that GST is probably the least of three evils as compared with a change to the 20% rate or a wages tax.
However, I would have opposed and intend to oppose its imposition upon essentials such as food, drinks, children's clothing and utility and heating bills for homes. I also believe that, if revenues from other sources rise in order to allow this, GST should be phased out as soon as possible.
Problems with GST
- The main problem with GST is that although provision has been made for those on income support, very little has been done for the lower paid who are above the income support level. The effect of this has been to expand the poverty trap, with little or no incentive for low paid workers with families to go out to work.
- The timing and method of the introduction of GST came at the worst possible time because of the recent increases in food and fuel prices. The June 2008 Cost of Living figures showed that during the last year food had increased in price by 13% and fuel and light by 26%. The percentage increase in the Cost of Living Index due to GST is put at 1.9%. I would have supported the delaying of the introduction of GST for some months. An alternative idea, in order to avoid the initial inflationary effect, would have been to introduce it in two parts with half one year and half in the next year.
Accountability of Government
Ministers should be more accountable to the people of Jersey and to the States.
Unfortunately ministerial government has not worked as well as I and many of the people of Jersey had hoped. This is due partly to the fact that some bad decisions have been made by individual ministers and partly due to the lack of accountability of ministers to the States as a whole and therefore to the electorate.
I do not believe that we can long continue with the present situation in which the people of Jersey have no effective say as to who will be the next Chief Minister and other Ministers.
The present electoral system means that once individuals have been elected to the States (which includes Senators for 6 years) they do not have to pay much attention to the views of the public until just before their next election date (if they are standing again). Furthermore, it is the members of the States who decide who will be the Chief Minister and the other ministers and the public have almost no say on this. It cannot be right that a person can be chosen as the Chief Minister without their popularity having been tested at a recent election.
On the other hand, a system in which the people of the Island would directly elect the Chief Minister would not work because the Chief Minister under a parliamentary democracy must generally command a majority in the States. Such a system belongs as part of a presidential system as exists in the U.S.A. and in France. I do not think that the people of Jersey would want such a system because it gives much too much power to one person.
Ultimately, if the people of Jersey want to have more say as to who actually governs them, they will have to start supporting a form of politics which has room both for independent members and for group or party politics.
I am standing as an independent candidate and am very happy to work within the existing system, however, I would be equally happy to work under any system which included groups or parties.
Effective system for the removal of ministers.
There is a further problem in that it has been made too difficult for the States to remove from office individual ministers who are not performing well.
As the States appoint individual ministers, the States should also have the ability to remove them from office. At present individual ministers can only be removed after a complex process and with the consent of the Chief Minister. This needs to be changed.
In order to safeguard against repeated or frivolous no confidence motions, there could be a requirement for a minimum number of proposers and seconders for any such motion.
Economic Growth / Population / House Prices
Although some economic growth is generally desirable, this must be properly controlled.
We must be careful not to allow the short-term aim of economic growth to create long-term problems with large population growth leading to further traffic congestion and a corresponding increase in the need for public services and demand on the limited housing stock.
For the same reason I am cautious about the plans for the Waterfront due to concerns it may lead to uncontrolled expansion. If we are building a lot of new offices then presumably the intention is that they will eventually be filled with new workers who will in turn require housing, public services etc.
I am aware that the outcome of the Imagine Jersey 2035 meetings was a recognition that the aging population profile would require some net immigration during the next 25 years. This was estimated to require net immigration of between 150 and 250 heads of households per year which would correspond to between 350 and 580 people. However, in 2006 and 2007 the net immigration figures were 800 and 1,100 respectively. Presumably, this high rate of net immigration has been caused by a combination of the States policy of economic growth and the increase in the number of additional J categories granted. The figure for 2007 for additional J categories was, I believe, 500. These increases have significantly contributed to house prices going through the roof and the purchase of ordinary houses being no longer attainable for average families.
The States decided, as part of their plan for receiving increased earnings from income tax, to grow the size of the economy and at the same time grant a lot of new J category licences. This led to the predictable result that house prices have risen to the point where couples are struggling to buy family homes.
Young families who want to buy their own home must be able to at an affordable price. Although I support a shared equity scheme, this alone will not solve the house purchase problem. There will be a need to construct additional units.
The recent population expansion has created a problem. Although in general I do not want to see further building in the countryside, a policy which would require young families with children to live in flats in St. Helier would simply not be acceptable.
I know that this will be an important issue in the context of the new Island plan. The States must understand that further population growth will inevitably lead to a demand for further family houses and that will probably require further building in the countryside.
I strongly believe in a "safety net" approach to welfare issues, that is to say, a system which guarantees a base level of support to all those who are so entitled.
The impact of the new system has not yet been fully felt by those who will get less than they did under the old system, but this will start to be felt from next year. Those who will eventually receive less have been protected until January 2009 (with possible plans to put this date back further) against the loss of income. The protected nature of payments will be phased out over a period of 3 to 5 years (depending upon the category of person and with those who will eventually lose the most having the longer period of phasing out.) Some people will eventually receive quite a lot less than before.
The old welfare system had the strength of being a flexible system with a strong ability to show discretion when making decisions. Although the new Income Support law and regulations actually contain the necessary discretionary elements, I have real concerns as to the ability of the Social Security Department to immediately run the flexible system which is needed in order to meet people's real needs. My past experience, from my Court work, of the way in which contributions have been obtained and benefits paid out has been one of a very inflexible organisation. There will need to be a major culture change within the Social Security Department for the new system to work as it was intended.
There also appears to be a particular problem in relation to the operation of the new system in relation to medical appointments and this urgently needs to be reviewed.
I would like the States to be as generous as possible to people on income support whilst also giving people, who are so able, a good incentive to find work. At the moment the incentives consist more of "sticks" rather than "carrots". If a person is not seriously seeking work then they may have benefits reduced. On the other hand, if they find work then they effectively only get to keep 6% of what they earn above what they would get under the income support system anyway. I do not think that this is a large enough encouragement to find work.
It is very important that people who are on income support are encouraged back into work. Work is an important part of life. When people, and particularly men, are unable to work they can lose their sense of direction and self worth and become depressed or take to alcohol or drugs. Young people who have struggled academically at school urgently need to obtain suitable to work for similar reasons. Sadly, if there is no work ethic in a family, because parents have never worked, then it is much less likely that the children will see work as an important and natural thing for them.
Income support is one of the areas in which I am particularly interested and I believe that I have the necessary skills to make a significant impact here.
Control of States Expenditure
My past experience as a Chief Officer has taught me that States Departments do core activities (things which they absolutely have to do), desirable activities (things which are desirable or very desirable but not strictly necessary) and luxury activities.
We all want to see the maintenance of high quality public services, but in recent years the States, often under pressure from the public, have been doing more and more of the desirable activities and some of the luxury activities.
There is an important issue as to which services should be provided by the public sector and which by the private sector. The public sector is good at providing certain services such as the courts, hospitals and schools but historically bad at providing others, such as leisure centres and transport.
In order to control overall expenditure I favour:
- the setting of firm but realistic financial targets, with a degree of overall flexibility built in.
- Proper prioritisation across the board to decide on which of the desirable activities should be achieved.
- The annual reassessment of existing activities in order to see whether they are still core activities or sufficiently desirable.
The Auditor General has pointed out in his recent report Emerging Issues 2008 that the current method when trying to reduce budgets of simply slicing off a percentage of the departmental budget has less effect on departments with large budgets, who have greater flexibility, then it has on departments with small budgets. He points out that some departments have been making "savings" by delaying the maintenance of buildings, which are not real savings.
Because the program of making decisions about new capital projects is dealt with separately from the setting of normal departmental budgets, new capital projects are sometimes approved without full consideration of their financial impact. This can lead to departments being under-budgeted for the ongoing staff, day to day running and maintenance costs of these new projects.
The States will have to make difficult decisions over the next few years because money is going to be very tight in the public sector. This will be particularly so if the States approve the additional expenditure which is now being proposed by the Council of Ministers. The States have also promised not to seek any increases in GST for the next few years, food and fuel prices have recently increased, the British economy is going into recession and, at the same time, the public demand for new services continues. The difficult decisions will probably involve ceasing to do some worthwhile activities to allow more important activities to be achieved.
In recent years, despite some efforts, States expenditure has continued to rise in real terms. This is partly because of the public demand for new services, partly because of some bad decisions on expenditure and partly because the public sector has to compete for staff with a healthy private sector.
If this pattern is allowed to continue then, at the end of the current promised period without increases to GST, the public will face ever-increasing rates of GST or other taxes. The States must not see increased taxes as the easy way out of having to make difficult decisions on expenditure.
This is one of the areas in which I have a particular interest and I believe that I have the necessary skills to make a significant impact here.
Law and Order
This is my specialist area due to my work as a Magistrate. This is a very complicated area and there are no simple solutions. All effective solutions require that problems be tackled by a number of agencies working together.
It is very expensive to keep people in prison and if they do not receive appropriate skills training whilst there and support when they leave prison they are very likely to re-offend. Many of our most persistent offenders have experienced very sad family backgrounds and carry some of the damage from this into their adult lives.
The two main aims of any criminal justice strategy should be the rehabilitation of offenders and public protection rather than punishment. On the other hand, the public must be protected against persistent offenders who refuse to change their lifestyle.
We need to ensure that the Prison, the Probation Department and the Drug and Alcohol services are properly resourced in order to be able to effectively assist offenders in their rehabilitation.
Drug and alcohol addictions are major issues in our society, as is the binge drinking culture that leads to much of the violent street crime.
We need better enforcement of the existing licensing laws and we also need new laws to deal more effectively with the possession of knives on the streets and with drunkenness on licensed premises.
The key issue here is family life and early intervention is required when serious problems arise. I support the idea of a Minister for Children and Young People and support the excellent work of the Youth Action Team.
Although nobody wants to see young people locked up in Greenfields or in the Young Offenders' Institution, the sad fact is that there will always be some young people who will keep on offending until some firm action is taken to stop them. A system that allows them to continue offending with impunity leads to them acquiring a habit of wrongdoing, which is difficult to break later on, and fails to protect the public (including other young people) against their crimes.
I have long advocated that the criminal courts be given the power as a last resort to:
- Sentence both male and female 15 and 16 year olds who are persistent or serious offenders to an appropriate wing of Greenfields instead of the current unacceptable system. At present boys are sent to the male Young Offenders‘ Institution where they are mixed with male offenders aged up to 21 years. Girls are currently placed in the adult women's prison, which is totally inappropriate and not acceptable.
- Sentence 12 to 14 year olds who are persistent offenders to Greenfields. Presently the only real sentences available are probation or binding over orders and these can become meaningless to such persistent young offenders who know the Courts cannot give them a custodial sentence.
In relation to the issue of underage drinking in public places, I believe that it should be made a criminal offence for youths under a certain age (and I would choose under 17 years old although I am open to persuasion that under 16 would be more appropriate) to consume alcohol in a public place whilst unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. I would expect such cases to be dealt with, in the majority of cases, by a caution at Parish Hall level, however, it would set a clear boundary line. The existing power of police officers to take away alcoholic drinks from young people has not proved sufficient to deal with this problem.
There is a need for the Home Affairs Department's excellent policy document to be put into practice. I was able to sit on most of the working parties that led to the current recommendations. If I am elected to the States then I would hope to be able to play a part in seeing these recommendations being energetically implemented.
An Aging Population
I am conscious that all future policies will need to be shaped by the need to provide for an aging population. This raises a mass of complicated issues and possibilities. Consideration will have to be given to:
- whether people should be required to pay an increased amount by way of Social Security to cover the costs of their care in old age;
- what additional support services will be required in order to help elderly people to remain living in their own home if that is their preference;
- the difficult question as to whether or not elderly people will be obliged to sell their home to pay for care which is required in a nursing home or whether some other provision can be made to avoid this;
- where the additional funding required by the Health and Social Services Department in order to provide medical care for an aging population will come from; and
- whether the care required can be provided without bringing in many more younger people from outside the Island with the resulting effect on population growth etc.
Climate Change and Transport
We must act on the expert advice on the effect of carbon emissions on climate change. That advice confirms that human activity is the major factor in relation to the rapid speed of climate change. If no action is taken then the effect on low lying countries and on poorer societies will be catastrophic.
Although the major issues will need to be dealt with at an international level by treaties and by new technologies, that does not absolve Jersey from the need to do what we can here. As we have no major industries, the issues here relate to energy generation, waste disposal and transport.
For better or for worse, the States have decided upon a new incinerator and the contract will probably have been signed before the elections take place, although there will be a further attempt to delay this. The main issue around waste disposal concerns the amount of recycling which can be achieved.
It is very inefficient, if not contra productive, for individuals to make frequent journeys in a car to take their recyclable waste some distance to a recycling centre. Attention therefore needs to be given to increasing the number of local recycling points and/or to considering the curbside collection of recyclables. I see that the Council of Ministers is now proposing some additional funding for recycling iniatives, which I welcome.
Although our ability to buy electricity from French nuclear power stations appears to reduce carbon emissions, I suspect that this means that the French have to use more fossil fuels to generate the electricity which they would have had if we had not bought it from them. Alternatively, pressure upon the French system may eventually mean that this source of supply ceases. Both tidal movement and wind power are possible sources of renewable energy although the initial capital costs would be high.
The need to bring most of our imports in by sea is a problem. We need to encourage people to buy more food, where possible, locally and in season.
All previous efforts to encourage people to use public transport or to share vehicles have failed to achieve much change. Whether the recent increase in petrol prices will have much effect I cannot tell. Road pricing, in terms of a charge for going inside the St. Helier ring road, would be very unpopular. If there were more buses then some extra people would use them. However, people use cars rather than buses for convenience and not because it is cheaper. Buses would have to be very significantly cheaper than running a car before people would be attracted to them in great numbers.
It takes time for people to adjust their living habits, but the States must take a lead in encouraging and facilitating change.
Education and Nursery Care
We have an excellent education system that must be maintained. However, it has been identified that that the current drop in the number of school aged children is set to continue. This should lead to lower running costs of the schools and savings for the Education department. I would like to see these savings used to start to address the current unfair system for the payment of nursery care.
At present, some nursery places are provided free by the States or a Parish and other places are provided by nursery school businesses which require parents to pay the full cost. This can mean that, depending on the area where people live, wealthy people may get a free place whilst poorer people may have to pay the full cost. In an ideal world, the States would cover the whole cost of nursery care and it would be seen as an extension downwards of the education system. Unfortunately we are not in an ideal world and resources are limited.
The Council of Ministers has just announced that they will be proposing 20 hours of free nursery care for 3 and 4 year olds. Surprisingly this provision will not be dependent upon whether both parents are working and such care is required. I do not think that this is the best option for the following reasons:
- It does not make any provision for children below the age of three.
- The issue is being treated as an extension of the school system, i.e. everyone gets it, rather than in the same way as university grants, with means testing.
- As resources are limited, I think that there should be means testing.
- A provision of 20 hours per child as opposed to a grant towards the cost would not encourage a competitive market for the provision of nursery schools.
I would prefer a system in which the States and Parishes also start to charge for their nursery places but with the income from this, and money from the Education savings mentioned above, being used to provide grants to cover part of the cost of child care for 0 to 4 year olds. The amount of money that parents would receive towards the cost of nursery care would be means tested. This would put an end to the current inequality in the provision of nursery care.
The past performance of the Waterfront Enterprise Board (WEB) in terms of buildings and plans has not been good and there are problems with the way in which it was set up.
In relation to Harcourt Limited, there were problems with the tendering process because although competitive tenders were obtained for separate segments of the development, competitive tenders were never obtained for the whole project or for the cost of lowering and covering the road. The States should not deal with any particular contracting party unless they have confidence in the integrity and financial strength of that organisation.
I also have grave concerns about the size of the overall development. If we are building a large area of new office space, then presumably the intention is to fill the new offices with staff. This is committing the Island to further substantial business and population growth.
We have an excellent health system that must be maintained. However, this will always be financially challenging because of the constant development of new drugs and treatments. This means that the financial budget for health services will need to expand at a higher rate than the cost of living in order to maintain high standards of care.
Public health issues
There is a serious issue in Jersey in relation to alcohol abuse. We have a binge drinking culture in which young people are drinking excessively from an earlier age than ever before. We are beginning to see the health impact of this, with people in their 20's and 30's suffering severe liver and kidney problems as a result.
Alcoholism is having a massive negative impact on our entire community in terms of family life, law & order issues and the cost of health provision. Education as to the risks of excessive alcohol consumption needs to be improved but the task of changing the binge drinking culture will not be an easy one and must include both public and private agencies.
We also have a considerable drug addiction problem in Jersey. I fully support the work of the Alcohol and Drugs Service and the role of Silkworth Lodge. Both of these agencies need the necessary funding to be able to bring positive changes to people's lives.
The record of the present States on this is very poor. I believe that the people of Jersey want to see a reduction in the size of the States and a general election.
Almost 3 years of seemingly endless debates, have produced only one substantial change, namely that the 12 Connetables should be elected on the same day as the Senators. Even this will not now happen at the coming October elections. Three of the Connetables are now refusing to stand down prior to the election, as they say that they had only previously only agreed to do so, on the basis of having a four year term instead of the present three year term.
Electoral Reform is a complex issue but below is my analysis of the options which were available to the States and what the correct approach should be:
- The first question to be decided was as to whether the Connetables should remain in the States. The States decided that they should and I agree. If we removed the Connetables from the States, as happened in Guernsey, then the parochial honorary system, and with it parish community life, would go into irreversible decline.
- The second question to be decided was as to whether, with the Connetables aside, there should be one or two categories of States members, ie should Senators be abolished so that we only had Deputies.
As it currently stands, the role of the Senator with an island wide mandate balances quite well with the role of Deputies who are elected by individual Parishes or electoral districts. If Senators were to be abolished, then there would be the option of super constituencies as in Guernsey.
The issue comes down to the question of whether ministers would be able to do their job properly (which is on behalf of the whole Island) when it came to taking tough but necessary decisions that, although beneficial to the Island as a whole, might adversely affect their own electoral districts and so risk offending their electors.
I think that the States made the correct decision to keep Senators as there is still a need for politicians, with an island wide mandate, who will make the best decisions for the island as a whole. I also believe in the important role that deputies have to represent the needs of their individual parishes or electoral districts.
- The third question to be decided was the overall size of the States. The reason that no decision on this has been taken is that there was never actually a debate purely on the number of States members required. The debates were always on overall schemes involving different numbers of different categories of States members. If the States had attempted to decide in principle a reduction in the number of politicians, then I believe that this would have been agreed upon.
There is a related question as to the size of the Council of Ministers and the number of assistant ministers because of the agreed principle that the total number of ministers and assistant ministers should be less than half the number of elected members. There is another factor in relation to the number and size of the scrutiny panels.
Taking these matters into account, I favour the reduction of the States from 53 to 49 elected members.
- The fourth question is as to whether deputies should be elected locally or by super constituencies. The States decided that the local system fitted best with Senators and with the Parish System and I agree.
- The fifth question is as to the length of the terms of the members. The States, having decided in principle that Connetables and Deputies should have a four year term, then backtracked on this because they were not happy with the Senators also having a four year term or having an eight year term.
Accordingly, the present system remains with Connetables and Deputies having a three year term and Senators having a six year term. I disagree with the States on this.
I would have gone for everyone eventually having a four year term so that we could have a general election. It would have taken some years to harmonise the dates. I believe that the six year term for Senators is too long. I suspect that the States were concerned at the number of Senators who would be elected at the same time with people having so many votes but I cannot see any great problem with this.
- The sixth question is as to whether unsuccessful candidates for Senator or Connetable should be able to stand as Deputies. Should the general election take place on one day or two? The advantage of the two stage general election is that good deputies with safe seats can attempt to become Senators without risking their seat. If the vast majority of ministers are to be drawn from the ranks of the Senators then it is vital that this occur. The States have continued with the present system and I agree.
- The seventh question, which the States never got to because they never agreed in principle the eventual size of the States, is how would my 49 members be made up? I would favour reducing the number of Senators by 2 and the number of Deputies by 2 with the reduction of Deputies being decided upon the basis of population in the electoral districts. This would leave us with 12 Connetables, 10 Senators and 27 Deputies and with all of these to have a 4 year term so that there is a two stage general election every 4 years.
Oversight of Enforcement Agencies
This is one of my specialist areas. I have been very concerned for some years in relation to:
- The way in which the Police have been increasingly operating as if they are a politically independent agency. Although operational independence is very important, there must be proper political and other oversight of policy. This is a fine balance, but it is essential that we get this right.
- The somewhat inflexible way in which Transport & Technical Services run enforcement in public car parks. In the parking court I was constantly coming across cases in which people who had committed very minor technical infractions were being dealt with in a heavy handed way.
This was particularly frustrating because this Department has for five years ignored failures in the law on parking on streets, which were exposed in the LJ Electronics case, and has ignored other court decisions in relation to the statutory duties of the minister to the proper placing of speed restriction signs.
I do not like it when public bodies seek to inflexibly apply the law to others but will not comply with it themselves.
- The unaccountable nature of the Financial Services Commission. I have contacts in various areas of the finance industry and they are all unhappy about unnecessary levels of bureaucracy which have been introduced into their area.
The problem is that the eventual recourse to an appeal to the Royal Court is too late and too slow. The Financial Services Commission wields vast powers, including the power to close a business down, and this makes it very difficult for individuals to disagree with them. There need to be better safeguards for those who are operating in financial services.
The finance industry is an essential part of our economic life and well-being. We must be prepared to robustly defend it and our constitutional rights. We must also maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. However, the finance industry is not what we are, it is what many of us do to earn a living.
There is a risk that recent States policy will allow a wedge to be driven between the finance industry and the general community, which would be very dangerous. The firm impression has been given for some time that if a new law is needed for the finance industry then it will happen very quickly but if it is a matter of social policy then it will have to take its turn in the long queue.
I understand the need to keep up with international standards in what is an international industry, but there must be a better balance here between the needs of the finance industry and the needs of the community. The recent classic example of this was the rushed through law on charities. As originally drafted, this was a very insensitive and bureaucratic document. As passed, it will still create a burden upon local charities which is not required for local ‘policing' of charities; and is only thought necessary so that we can assure international ‘inspectors' that Jersey charities are not being used for money laundering or other wrong purposes.
The States must ensure that the operational needs of the finance industry have the least possible impact on the life of the general community.
Price / Wage increases
Unfortunately, global economic conditions are driving up both fuel and food prices. This cannot be controlled by the States, but the decision to implement GST at the same time was very unfortunate and is giving people the impression that GST has increased prices by more than it has. According to the Jersey Statistics Unit, GST has increased the annual Cost of Living figure by an additional 1.9%. It is a pity that the States were not willing to delay the start of GST by some months so that we could take advantage of the later fall in world fuel prices.
However, we now have the highest annual increase in the Cost of Living index figure for many years at 5.6%. Civil servants received an additional 3.2% this year based upon the March 2008 figures. However, the manual workers have not yet settled the current pay round. If we are not careful, we face a period of higher wage increases and inflation which will throw out all the States financial calculations contained in the 2005 Fiscal Strategy document which was based upon estimated inflation of 2.5%. The next rounds of pay negotiations for public sector workers are going to be very difficult. States workers are being asked to accept a real cut of 1.9% in their standard of living.
The States must be cautious in allowing price increases for its own services, particularly where these will affect the low paid and those on income support. It is very tempting, in difficult financial times, for the States to raise additional money by increasing charges or starting to charge for things which were previously free.
Rich and Poor
Since the 1950s Jersey has endeavoured to attract very wealthy people to live in the Island so that they will pay tax here. This policy has continued as a safeguard against the decline of the finance industry and is actually part of the attempt to diversify the economy.
However, as a result of this we have huge differences between the rich and poor. I do not accept the right wing philosophy that if the Island is richer then everyone is better off. In a small Island, with limited space and resources, people on modest or low incomes have to compete with the rich for the same limited services and resources. It is harder to be poor in a rich society. That is why a generous income support system is so important.
Good family life is essential to children growing up to become happy and useful adults. This is best achieved in stable, loving and committed families, but some families struggle and need greater support.
The most persistent young offenders who become long-term criminal offenders in adulthood very often come from very sad family backgrounds. I support early and positive intervention to assist such families where there are serious problems rather than expensive and possibly unsuccessful later intervention once things have gone seriously wrong. I also support the use of specialist foster parents and the reduction of the numbers of children in care homes. This will require more investment, but will bring long-term benefits to both the children involved and the community as a whole.
However, there is the wider issue as to the impact of decisions by the States or by employers, on family life. If I have to choose between increased prosperity and family life, then I will always choose family life first.
Family life is the basis and core of community life. In happy families children learn right values and self-discipline and parents provide good role models. Many of the serious problems which are experienced by children and young adults have their source in early unhappy experiences within the family and/or in the lack of good adult role models within the family.
Community Life and Identity
The family is the basic unit of community. Jersey is a community of communities each of which brings something to the whole. However, we need to have an increased sense of our identity as a small nation, not with a view to excluding people, but so that there is a common sense of identity, history, culture and purpose.
We need island symbols with which people can associate. We need a Jersey national anthem. We need an Island logo which means something to the people of Jersey rather than the ill-fated flying banana which means absolutely nothing to anyone. The new logo and motto "Jersey life enriching" might serve its purpose for the finance industry, but not for the Island as a whole.
I very much support community projects, whether publicly or privately financed, like the current photographic project of Island life, which is linked with schools, and is being supported by Mourants.
Recruitment of Senior Officers
We are told by the Chief Minister that the present policy is to recruit the best person for each senior post. However, the crucial question is as to how much weight is given in the selection process to local knowledge.
I came into the public sector in Jersey as a Chief Officer in 1990 and it took me about two years to find out how things really worked and I was a local person. In my experience it takes people from outside of the Island about two years to get to the point where they think that they know how things work in Jersey and the next three years finding out that it is actually totally different to that. I also know that when job descriptions are written decisions have to be made as to the level of experience and expertise which is thought to be appropriate for the post.
The current policy, which in practice is leading to the recruiting of many chief and other senior officers from outside the Island, is not right. It is leading to a high turnover of senior staff. The prime example of this has been Jersey College for Girls which has seen a huge turnover of headmistresses in recent years. It is also leading to ideas being brought in from the UK which do not fit Jersey's needs. What may be appropriate for a nation of 50 million people may not be suitable for an Island of 90,000.
We need to give greater weight to local knowledge. We need to identify local people who are potential future chief and senior officers and we need to ensure that they get the appropriate training and experience so they have a good chance of obtaining high posts.
On a wider theme, the Island needs to do better in keeping its local talented young adults and in trying to encourage local young adults to return to the Island after university so that the investment in their education and training benefits the Island. Some of these talented young people will eventually go on to be future senior officers in the civil service, successful business people etc. Again, I fear that the high price of Housing will discourage such young adults from returning or staying.
The level of financial support for farmers has been dropping in recent years and government appears to have lost interest in this area. We need to find ways of encouraging people to buy local produce. This will not only provide support for local farming but will also reduce carbon emissions from the transportation of food to the Island.
I am very concerned that the recent decision to allow the importation of semen from foreign bulls will lead to cross-breeding for the production of milk which will make it very difficult to justify the ban on the importation of foreign milk and will, therefore, run the risk of ultimately destroying the commercial Jersey milking herds.
The parish system is an essential part of our community life. If the Connetables are removed from the States then the parish system will decline. We must keep the role of Centeniers as junior prosecutors and the Parish Hall system as a low level legal system for minor offences. The Parish Hall system is very important for young offenders because it allows them to be kept out of the normal criminal court system and to be placed on voluntary probation, a deferred decision or cautioned. Visiting experts have all remarked very positively on the importance and effectiveness of this.
As the parish halls have lost the welfare function, we must find new ways in which to use the skills and local knowledge of the honorary system in the service of each local parish community.
St. Helier has particular law and order issues relating to binge drinking which need to be addressed. I support the efforts to revitalise the town and the principle of a new town park in Gas Place. The necessary funding has not been found and the size of the scheme may need to be reviewed. Rather than doing nothing, it would be better to start with a smaller less expensive park and then to expand it as funds allow.
Although I am very positive about the role and work of immigrant workers, who play such an important role in our community, we need to keep jobs for young local people who are not academically minded and who have more practical skills. We must not allow the growth of an underclass of local young people who cannot get work and who are at risk of drifting in drug or alcohol abuse and crime.
We need to encourage apprenticeships and training schemes for such young people with practical skills so that they can gain confidence and a sense of their worth and become valued and useful members of our community. In practice, the States will need to start apprenticeship schemes within its own departments and provide some funding for these in the private sector.
This is still the Island's second most important industry and it is vital that it be supported by government and yet, as with agriculture, government appears to have lost interest in it.
Without a vibrant tourism industry we would be even more dependant upon the Finance Industry. The current very high property prices make it very tempting for hoteliers to sell their hotel sites for new housing projects.
We must not allow a casino to be built or the substantial expansion of gambling as both are inconsistent with the Finance Industry as well as being extremely damaging to individuals and to their family life.
The Historic Abuse Investigation
The physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children is a terrible evil and the victims of such abuse deserve the sympathy, support and help of the whole community. As a Jerseyman, I am ashamed that such things have occurred in my island home, particularly where such things have occurred within the child care system.
It is imperative that we ensure that such things never occur again within the care system. In the aftermath of the abuse inquiry we must:
- ensure that the best possible systems are put in place in order to detect and prevent such crimes within the wider community.
- urgently set up a Sex Offenders Register and the accompanying powers to enforce this.
- ensure that the police and prosecutors are provided with the necessary resources in order to properly investigate complaints and in order, where the evidence allows, to take cases to court.
- recognise the need for specialist counselling for the victims of abuse. Many people are suffering greatly because old emotional and psychological wounds have been opened up without the necessary counseling and support being available. Experts in this field confirm that a special counseling and support service needs to be set up in which the victims of abuse and their representatives can have confidence. This must happen very soon.
- properly consider whether a system for arranging compensation payments for victims needs to be set up.
Other than expressing these things, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the investigation at this time.
[ Source : Ian Le Marquand ]
A video of Ian Le Marquand's election manifesto is available on Channel Online
Place of birth: Jersey
Family: Married to Doreen Le Marquand née Smith for 30 years with two married daughters, Advocate Anna Field and Rachel Spottiswoode
Education: Jersey High School, Victoria College Preparatory, Victoria College, The College of Law
Employment: Le Marquands Seed Merchants (my father) (1971 to 1973), Advocate J.J. Le Marquand (1973 to 1975), Partner of Le Marquand & Backhurst (1977 to 1988), Olsen Backhurst and Dorey (1988 to 1990), Judicial Greffier (1990 to 1997), Master of the Royal Court (1997 to 1999) and Magistrate (1999 to 2008)
Hobbies/interests: Member of St. Paul's Church (Anglican Reader), Lawn Bowls (Indoors), Chess, Bridge and Gardening
[ Source : This Is Jersey ]
Who am I?
I was born in Jersey on 18th September, 1951, the son of Bryan Le Marquand, a seed merchant, and Olivia Le Marquand (née Bertram), a piano teacher. I will be 57 at the time of the election.
I have been married to Doreen (née Smith) for 30 years and we have two married daughters, Anna Field (an advocate) and Rachel Spottiswoode (a physiotherapist).
I won an open scholarship to Victoria College and subsequently my uncle, Senator/Advocate J.J. Le Marquand, encouraged me to take up law, becoming an Advocate in 1977. I am an active member of St. Paul's Church, an Anglican lay preacher and a very enthusiastic indoor bowls player.
What have I done previously?
I have just retired as the Island's Magistrate after 31 years of experience as a lawyer and 18 years of experience in public service as a Chief Officer, a manager, a rules draftsman and a judge.
My legal career has taken me into public service in three distinct phases as follows:-
- I worked in private practice with Advocate Mike Backhurst as Le Marquand & Backhurst from 1977 to 1988, which led me into occasional work as a Relief Magistrate from 1987 to 1990.
- I was the Island's Judicial Greffier from 1990 to 1997 - here I was the Chief Officer of a States Department, the chief clerk to all the courts and a judge of procedural matters in the Royal Court.
- I was the Island's senior Magistrate, with oversight of the Magistrate's, Youth and Petty Debts Courts, from 1999 to 2008.
My previous work has involved me leading teams of people, managing projects, making difficult decisions, drafting rules of court and overseeing changes to laws and court procedures. Examples of these include the new Probate and Stamp Duty Laws, numerous improvements to the Royal Court and Petty Debts Court rules and procedures, Stage 1 of the computerisation of the Public Registry and involvement with the building of the new Magistrate's Court complex.
I believe that I have a reputation for fairness, honesty and directness. I am passionate about my Island home and community and its historic culture and traditions but I have always been a reformer, seeking to take what we have and improve it gradually.
Why am I standing for the States?
There are a number of reasons why I am standing in the Senatorial elections:
- Politics has always been an interest and a passion for me but the judicial role which I have followed has previously blocked this area to me.
- I have served the Island in various ways over the past 18 years and now believe that it is the right time to offer my services and experience to the Island in a political capacity.
- I have had a growing concern about the quality of political leadership in this Island, including in the areas which I have been most involved in such as law and order and related social issues.
- I realised some years ago that 2008 would be a challenging time for the Island. I had expected this due to the unpopularity of any new taxation measures made necessary by the tax “black hole”, but I had not anticipated that the difficulties faced by the Island would extend to other areas. I hope that my experience, gained in public service, can be of assistance to the Island at this time.
[ Source : Ian Le Marquand ]