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Plans for new bank holiday

Plans for new bank holiday

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Plans for new bank holiday


The Assistant Minister for Culture is calling for Jersey to add another bank holiday to its calendar to commemorate an uprising that saw hundreds of islanders storm the Royal Court.

For the first time this year, there will be an open day of the Royal Court and States Assembly building on 28 September, which marks the 250th anniversary of the 'Corn Riots'.

Marking the day, there'll also be tours and dramatisations, with music, speeches and poetry planned outside too, as well as music in Jèrriais.

But Deputy Montfort Tadier wants the celebrations to become an annual event.

He has therefore put forward proposals calling for 28 September to become a Public and Bank Holiday from 2021 and for the events of 28 September 1769 and the subsequent democratic reforms of 1771 to be added to the citizenship curriculum in schools.

On 28 September 1769, islanders stormed the Royal Court in their hundreds, with 13 demands to reflect the challenges they faced with food shortages, rising prices and the power structure in Jersey.

It wasn't a peaceful affair - many came armed with sticks and clubs, and an usher was even thrown over the court railing in the process.

Deputy Tadier wants up to £10,000 to be allocated to fund entertainment and commemorations on that day every year, including an open day of the Royal Court and States Assembly building.

The States Assembly agreed to officially recognise the day in 2012, but couldn’t agree on how to mark it so nothing happened. 

Deputy Tadier is proposing the day become a Bank Holiday from 2021, which will mark the 250th Anniversary of the Code of 1771 and the democratic changes that were implemented in the island, including the establishment of the States Assembly as the island's sole law-making body.

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Pictured: Deputy Tadier thinks Jersey should have a unique public holiday.

Describing the events of the day as an “uprising of the Jersey people” and a “a ‘coming of age’ for Jersey and its people”, Deputy Tadier said it had been an “effective protest which gave rise to the fundamental changes that laid the foundation for our modern system of democracy and jurisprudence.”

Deputy Tadier assured his proposition did not aim to “usurp Liberation Day – Jersey’s “de facto National Day” - or diminish its significance in any way, but said there were “distinct reasons” why Jersey should have a unique public holiday.

“It is quite common for countries to have one or more national day which is specific to their democracy,” he wrote. “It often commemorates independence or a popular uprising in which a dictatorial government was overthrown.”

He said he hopes the new public holiday will tie in with “a new drive to develop and promote Jersey’s unique cultural identity”, adding that the Corn Riots remain topical, “as we see a world-wide disconnect between political elites and the masse.” 

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Pictured: The States Assembly was established as the sole law-making body of the island in 1771.

Deputy Tadier said 28 September should become the day the island celebrates and thinks about its democracy and could even go some way to "re-engaging with the Public and seeing voting figures increase."

“By the time this is debated, I envisage that we will have seen a successful commemoration and celebration of our heritage, with many people having visited our Court and our Assembly for the first time, and many others learning about our history through talks, discussion, and the very good video that Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier (and PPC) have created for the occasion," the Deputy said.

The idea will be debated by politicians on 22 October.

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