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Travel debate: The good, the bad and the long-winded...

Travel debate: The good, the bad and the long-winded...

Thursday 02 July 2020

Travel debate: The good, the bad and the long-winded...


A (very) lengthy speech, a guillotine motion, some digs aimed at Guernsey and a straight-talking Constable... Yesterday's 10-hour debate on borders opening was full of animation.

In case you weren't able to sit through the whole thing (we don't blame you), here's a round-up of the more amusing moments...

Don’t trust people!

Several States Members pointed out they didn’t believe all visitors would follow public health guidelines, such as avoiding crowds, maintaining physical distance or wearing masks in public.

Deputy Inna Gardiner went as far as saying that the investigation involving four people representing a nursing home company who travelled from Jersey to the Isle of Man and allegedly broke covid-19 restrictions was proof you can’t trust people.

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Pictured: Deputy Inna Gardiner.

“I’m sorry, maybe I’m not trusting much, but I don’t trust people to monitor themselves,” Deputy Inna Gardiner said.

“We have the example, our own people who are very educated and behaved really well in Jersey, whilst they are working in the Isle of Man and they broke their guidance and gone out and had a meal at the restaurant against the guidance. So to assume people from elsewhere in the world will behave better, it’s a dangerous thing to do.” 

 

We’re better than Guernsey!

Two States Members took a dig at our sister isle.

First, St. John Constable Chris Taylor aimed to prove “we here in Jersey have done significantly better than Guernsey” – which he repeated twice.

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Pictured: "We here in Jersey have done significantly better than Guernsey," Constable Taylor said.

How, you ask? According to the Constable, the infection rate in Jersey – “and these are facts, Sir,” he asserted - is less than three for 1,000 head of population, whereas in Guernsey it was over four per 1,000 head of population.

“So, their rates are over 35% than ours,” he added. Take that, Guernsey! 

Deputy Judy Martin, the Social Security Minister, was also having none of the comparisons with Guernsey – if you think the neighbouring island is better, she’ll even send you packing.

“And, Sir, to be quite honest, I am fed up… Please go and live in Guernsey if you think they’re doing everything better,” she said.

 

Saying it like it is!

She may be “one of those who’s gone past her sell-by date” – her words – but you can always count on the Constable of St. Saviour, Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard, not to shy away from sharing her true thoughts.

She pleaded for the borders to remain closed to allow islanders, especially those who have been shielding throughout the crisis, to enjoy a bit of freedom, from dining out to hugging their loved ones. 

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Pictured: The Constable of St. Saviour, Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard.

“Another lockdown isn’t going to help islanders, it will help the government,” she said. 

She also pointed out that if the government is telling people that “we’re free, we don’t have the virus and everything is safe in the island”, then States Members should “lead by the front and by example” and return to the States Chamber instead of holding virtual meetings rather than just give “lip service”. 

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Pictured: Deputy Montfort Tadier launched into reading an email he had been sent live during the Assembly.

But her most blunt contribution didn't come during her own speech, but a little later.

While Deputy Montfort Tadier was discussing with the Deputy Bailiff, Robert MacRae, whether the email he was reading aloud during the debate was relevant to the current matter – spoiler alert: it wasn’t – Sadie intervened.

“Could you just get on with it you think Monty please? Could you just get on with it and get to the point?” she said, to which Deputy Tadier responded that she should address him as "Deputy Monty". 

While the Deputy Bailiff reminded the Constable that it was "inappropriate" to interrupt another member’s speech, States Members and many others following the debate live on social media praised her for her intervention.

 

Filibustering 101!

Speaking of Deputy Tadier, his 55-minute speech against reopening the borders this Friday may not have won the debate... but it may have won him a night-time podcasting career in future.

While it looked like he had started with all the best intentions and a clear point to make, it was suggested that he lost his way halfway through. 

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Pictured: Deputy Montfort Tadier spoke for over 50 minutes.

Either tired of Deputy Tadier’s voice or the whole debate, Deputy Mary Le Hegarat invoked the guillotine – a fancy name for a proposal to end a debate which has gone for more than an hour.   

Her proposal having been accepted by the Deputy Bailiff, Deputy Tadier remarked: “That’s good, I’ve only half an hour left then."

He then continued for around 30 minutes, despite Senator Lyndon Farnham, the Minister for Economic Development, asking if he had any intention to let anyone else speak in the debate.

Ever diplomatic, the Greffier of the States, Dr Mark Egan, noted that, while this was not really a point of clarification of speech, he was sure other Members would be interested to have an answer.

Deputy Tadier launched into a reflection on the guillotine motion, but was quickly called back to order by Mr Egan, who reminded him he could either decline to answer the question or answer it, but not “go off into a discussion of the history of the guillotine”.  

Deptuy Tadier replied that, if other members wanted to speak, they should vote against the guillotine – something that was eventually adopted. 

Whatever Deputy Tadier’s motive for the lengthy speech, it drew a lot of – mostly negative – reactions on social media.

Some States Members also appear to have sounded off their opinion in the chat function of Microsoft Teams, which they were using to conduct the States meeting. This prompted a reminder from the Greffier that it wasn’t mean to be used for “argumentative comments”. 

Shortly after, one unknown voice remarked in the background: “I’m starving, I want my tea!”

Whoever this poor soul was, she had to wait over 40 minutes to finally get her dinner, suffering through yet more speeches and another digital vote.

 

Who are you talking about, Senator?

Rounding up before the crucial vote, Minister for External Relations Senator Ian Gorst commented that "every contribution – with the exception of one" had put islanders' interests at its heart.

The veiled criticism was later challenged by Deputy Geoff Southern, who asked Senator Gorst to name the individual he was talking about.

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Pictured: Senator Ian Gorst, Minister for External Relations.

Instead of doing so, Senator Gorst instead replied: "I didn’t intend to impute improper motives to any member, so if it was taken as such then I withdraw that."

This was followed by the key vote, which appeared to not work for all States Members, as has become the norm in the post-lockdown virtual editions of States Assembly meetings.

In the end, the travel plans were passed by majority vote. Read more HERE.

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