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"If I had a magic wand, I would..."

Wednesday 18 April 2018

"If I had a magic wand, I would..."

Wednesday 18 April 2018

The crop of 17 candidates standing for eight senatorial seats were asked to use their imagination last night during the first Parish hustings of 2018, held in a packed St. Clement's Parish Hall.

Mark Godel, a local parishioner, asked candidates what would be the one thing they would change if they had a magic wand.

The first Parish hustings started on a good note in St. Clement, which Constable Len Norman described as "God's own Parish" after noting that the Parish Hall was packed. "Anybody would believe we are proposing to double the rates," he joked.

The 'magic wand' question was appropriate for the evening, as most of the candidates had mentioned the word 'change' in their opening speeches.

Senator Lyndon Farnham, the current Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, said that senators "don't need magic wands to fix education and housing", as they already have the powers to do so. He added he would use the wand to "cure all terminal illnesses in the world" before being interrupted by an islander who suggested he "fix Condor" instead.

Former St. Clement deputy Gerard Baudains, who is hoping to make a return to the States Assembly, also called for change saying: "Only a lunatic would keep doing the same thing and expect a different result."

Moz Scott said that change needed to start with the reform of the States Assembly and for it to become more representative.

St. Brelade's Constable, Steve Pallett, said the affordable housing market should be addressed. "It is not right that young islanders do not have the same opportunities we were presented with," he said. "We have at least failed one generation. We cannot fail another one".

While he didn't mention change, Anthony Lewis said the States needed something different. He explained that the stroke he suffered from 10 years ago had given him "courage, determination and a new insight" and that he wanted to see all talents flourish on the island. "We all have insights and abilities to help make Jersey a better place to live," he said.

Questions Mark Godel senator Hustings st Clement

Pictured: St: Clement resident Mark Godel (standing to the right of the door, next to Senator Paul Routier) asked Senatorial candidates to wave an imaginary magic wand.

Frank Luce made the audience chuckle when he started his answer, saying: "If I had a magic one I would like a big one, I don’t want a small one." He however adopted a more serious tone to continue explaining he would like to see more "respect and understanding" for islanders from the States, and vice versa.

Senator Gorst admitted his household had a magic wand, "a pink one with a flower at the end", before adding, "I tell girls that magic isn’t real, we don’t believe in magic but if we did I would use it to put it over all of those who suffered whilst in care of Jersey that they might find peace and healing."

Deputy John Le Fondré, who had said in his speech  that "the future belongs to the brave not the fainthearted", said he would use his wand to rebuild the public's trust in government.

Children were also at the heart of Deputies Kristina Moore and Tracey Vallois's wishes, who respectively said they would like to take "a little leap in the future to take us to a point where every child has the best start in life", and change the education system, "from the curriculum to the pressure put on children."

John Pinel Questions Senator Hustings

Pictured: John Pinel, Commander of St. John Ambulance asked what candidates would do to restore trust between volunteers and the States.

The candidates were also quizzed on what they would do to restore trust between the States and the voluntary sector by John Pinel, Commander of St. John Ambulance.

Senator Sarah Ferguson said that the States needed to be "more honest and upfront", while Deputy Simon Brée said that the very fact the question was asked showed the problem. "There is a lack of trust," he said, "and a lack of commitment for long term funding for voluntary sector... The government relies heavily on the voluntary sector to act as cushion... but they will not commit to support the voluntary sector for longer than three or four years."

Deputy Sam Mézec, who said he was amazed by the number of charitable organisations in the island, said he would extend the time funding is available for them so that they have the "certainty" of having money to spend on projects.

For Phil Maguire, the States rely too much on the voluntary sector "to do the work" while at the same time, people are being turned away when they "come along to help if there is not enough money in services."

Stevie Ocean mentioned the RNLI dispute, warning that when"voluntary organisations start demanding things, problems arise...The RNLI became dictatorial... People were laid off and the island was in danger because there was no lifeboat service."

Gino Risoli said: "Charitable organisations quite often exist because governments don’t fund public services properly because some people in society believe they are more special than people and that they don't have to pay GST... The richest people do not pay GST... We are producing mental health patients because the incumbent people are driving the island mad."

One suggestion however seemed to particularly gain the audience's approval: Gordon Troy's. He said he would hope to see all the money ever wasted in Jersey by the government come back. "That would be a really nice situation and the economy wouldn’t have a problem anymore."

The next Senator hustings will take place on Thursday in St. Saviour Parish Hall at 19:30 with all candidates: Gerard Baudains, Simon Brée, Lyndon Farnham, Sarah Ferguson, Ian Gorst, John Le Fondré, Anthony Lewis, Frank Luce, Phil Maguire, Sam Mézec, Kristina Moore, Stevie Ocean, Steve Pallett, Gino Risoli, Moz Scot, Gordon Troy and Tracey Vallois.


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