Jersey's External Relations Minister has agreed to put an international agreement between Jersey and the United Arab Emirates on hold until a proposal by Reform Jersey has been voted on.
The Jersey/UAE bilateral investment treaty, which governs investment flows, was signed in November 2021 after more than three years of negotiations.
Following discussions by ministers on 20 December, approval was given to Deputy Philip Ozouf to complete the necessary steps to bring it into force.
However, a proposal lodged this week from Reform Jersey leader Deputy Sam Mézec called for these kind of agreements to be considered by the States Assembly in future, and for the UAE treaty to be delayed.
Pictured: The Jersey/UAE bilateral investment treaty is the product of more than three years of negotiations.
Deputy Ozouf said: "The Jersey-UAE Bilateral Investment Treaty has been discussed in detail with the Privileges and Procedures Committee regarding the procedure for entry into force, and with the Economic and International Affairs Panel on the content of the treaty. All States Members were invited to a briefing on the BIT prior to its presentation to the States Assembly.
"Nonetheless, the Chief Minister and I, being concurrently responsible for the conduct of Jersey’s external relations, have agreed to pause the entry into force of the agreement until such time as the Proposition can be debated."
Deputy Ozouf added: "I note that Proposition p.6/2023 was lodged by Deputy Mézec on Tuesday 7 February, during the 14-day-period in which States Members were invited to raise any views regarding the conclusion and entry into force of the Jersey-UAE Bilateral Investment Treaty."
Pictured: A proposal lodged by Reform Jersey leader Deputy Sam Mézec called such agreements to be considered by the States Assembly in future, and for the UAE treaty to be delayed.
In the report accompanying his proposition, Deputy Mézec stated: "No instruction on how States Members may “raise views” has been given."
He added: "Given the workload of the Assembly it is also likely that Members may not read the details within the 14-day working day period and many may not be aware that the 14-day period is in effect or that it signifies any form of consent process."
Deputy Mézec said there was no provision within the Assembly’s standing orders to cover the principle of "negative consent" – where a matter is considered to be approved in the absence of objections.
The report adds: "The period given by the minister does not give States Members sufficient time to lodge and get a proposition debated, and States Members do not currently have the same mechanisms available to question or object to a treaty as parliamentarians do in the UK, Canada or Australia."
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.