Last month, I formally tendered my resignation from the Privileges and Procedures Committee (the body which is responsible for the internal running of the States Assembly).
Yesterday, in the States, I made the a Personal Statement detailing the exact reasons for my resignation. I have published that statement below:
Personal Statement made by Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade
on 11th may 2010.
I would like to take this opportunity to make a formal statement regarding my resignation, last month, from the Privileges and Procedures Committee.
My decision to resign was not one that was taken lightly or hastily. There is not one single reason that has brought me to this position, but several contributory ones, occurring over a period of several months.
The first time I was lead to question the actions of PPC and my position on it was early in January this year, when I received email contact from several members of the public asking about correspondence that had been received by the Chairman of the Committee from the suspended Chief of Police, in which he stated that he wished to make a complaint about his suspension process and alleged misconduct on the part of certain individuals (politicians and civil servants) in relation to the said suspension.
Both I and other members of the Committee were not aware of the existence of the letter and it was only due to the fact that it had been published on a local media blog site that I became aware of this. This was embarrassing because members of the public were in possession of material which was intended for the Committee and yet the majority of the Committee had not seen the material in question. In turn, this led to speculation in some quarters that the material was deliberately withheld from the Committee. At a last minute meeting of PPC held on Monday 18th January 2010 (the day before the year's first States sitting), concern was raised by more than one member that the information was not shared, and the issue of public perception was again aired.
At this point, I did consider, in consultation with other members, whether or not to resign. I was not entirely happy with the explanation given by the Chairman to do with the decision not to share the letter with other members, however I decided that I could still make more of a positive difference on the Committee than off it, and so remained on board.
What led me to reconsider my position was what I would call the debacle that led to the deputy of St Martin being called in to PPC on what should have been instantly dismissed as a 'frivolous' complaint, in that the comments that the Deputy had made were quite obviously, as was later found by the majority of the committee, simply fair comment. Meanwhile, the media had been leaked confidential information about the fact that the Deputy of St Martin was to attend PPC and 'might be suspended', according to one accredited media source. Deliberately or otherwise, a frivolous complaint which should have been dismissed there and then by the Committee, was allowed to become a political football. It was at this point that I realised that I was no longer willing to embroiled in such machinations of the State, in which the Privileges and Procedures Committee was a pawn.
Aside from this, I have been frustrated with the lack of action and progress of the Committee on many fronts, including a lack of willingness to stand up for and speak out on the rights of States Members, particularly following seemingly illegal raids and alleged harassment; there has been a lack of support for backbenchers in the pursuit for parity on issues relating to the provision of Blackberries and use of laptops. Most significantly, I was disappointed that the Committee was unable to make any significant progress on electoral reform. I acknowledge that, ultimately, it was the Assembly that decided on this issue of reform, but I do feel it would have been more effective lead by a Committee committed to reform. If and when this is the case, I will be more than willing to resume my place on PPC.
Nonetheless, I would like to thank the Chairman for having given me the opportunity to work on the Committee, and the 5 other members for having the chance to work along side them. It has been interesting, if at times frustrating, and I have learned a lot.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Greffier, the Deputy Greffier and the Committee Clerk, Anna Heuston, and thank them for their help and professionalism in all contact and correspondence we have had. I know that whatever the composition of any future PPC, the Committee will continue to be served well by their commitment and hard work.