15th October - Senators & Constables Elections
26th November - Deputies Elections

Constables Hustings Meeting - St Lawrence

Traffic issues dominated questions during last night’s hustings meeting in St Lawrence when the two candidates vying to become Constable addressed electors.

Deputy Deidre Mezbourian and parish Chef de Police Centenier Tim Tindall are standing for the post to be relinquished by Geoffrey Fisher, who is retiring after six years in office.

About 90 parishioners heard the candidates answer a variety of questions on subjects that included their financial experience, whether the public should elect the Chief Minister and how would they offer support to St Lawrence Football Club.

Centenier Hugh Gill asked what the candidates considered to be the future of the honorary police in the parish in view of the current low numbers in the force.

Deputy Mezbourian said that many of the parishes struggled to find new recruits for the honorary police and during the six years in which she had served in the force recruitment and retention had been a headache. ‘My experience served me well and has led to me understanding the needs of officers and allowing me to explain to potential recruits what is involved,’ she said.

Centenier Tindall said that the parish currently had a very hard-working team. ‘But the honorary police needs to continually evolve, and we are currently going out to talk to company bosses to encourage them to support their employees joining the force,’ he said.

Lawrence Carter asked if it was fair that growers should suffer the ‘double whammy’ of bearing the costs of cutting hedgerows for the branchage while paying a commercial Islandwide rate on farm buildings.

Centenier Tindall said he believed the branchage was a tradition that should continue and said he was prepared to discuss the extra costs being incurred from the higher rates. Deputy Mezbourian also said that she would be happy to listen to the case and said that farmers were the guardians of the countryside.

Luke Jouault asked if the candidates believed that the Chief Minister should be elected by the States or the public.

Deputy Mezbourian said that she believed that the Chief Minister should be elected by States Members because he or she needed the respect of those Members to be successful in leading the Island in the way it should be led. Centenier Tindall said that he agreed that it should be States Members who elected the Chief Minister. ‘They know what fellow Members are like to work with and are able to see how effective they are in practising politics,’ he said.

Parish Procureur du Bien Public Mike Ethleston wanted to know if the candidates had the financial experience necessary to run the parish.

Mr Tindall said that his career included international banking and a family insurance business, and he said that he was currently an administrator of 15 companies. Deputy Mezbourian said she had experience in fund administration and unit trusts and could prepare accounts, so she felt able to manage the parish’s affairs.

Sheila Coutanche asked what role the two candidates would seek in the States.Mr Tindall said he would be looking for an education position and Deputy Mezbourian said it was important that all politicians had either a job on Scrutiny or the executive.

Former Deputy Maurice Dubras asked their views on the role of the Comité des Connétables. Both candidates said it was an important body and agreed that its agendas and minutes should be open in the name of transparency.

However, Deputy Mezbourian said that if she became a member of the body, she would not accept being coerced into supporting decisions she did not agree with.

Norman Le Riche asked if the candidates would consider the introduction of a penalty points scheme on the driving licences of motorists caught continually speeding in the parish, including along St Lawrence Main Road.

Deputy Mezbourian said that one of the ways of addressing the speeding problem might be the use of portable speed cameras. She said that she would not dismiss out of hand a penalty points system, although it would need consideration. Centenier Tindall said that he believed it was more effective for speeding offences to be dealt with at the parish hall instead of by way of penalty points. ‘That way we can meet the speeding motorist and find out why he is driving in that way,’ he said.

[ Source : This Is Jersey ]