Ministers are still yet to release minutes of their covid meetings for scrutiny - despite pledging to do so nearly two months ago.
Express has been campaigning for many months for minutes of meetings of the Competent Authority Ministers’ (CAM) – those who, legally, had the final say on all covid restrictions - to be released.
Following challenges under the Freedom of Information Law, the Government decided that they should remain locked away, arguing that Ministers needed a ‘safe space’ for their discussions.
However, they partially relented on 3 November, when it was agreed by the States Assembly that they would be shared, in confidence, with politicians officially tasked with reviewing the Government’s response to the pandemic.
Pictured: CAM - External Relations Minister Ian Gorst, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, Chief Minister John Le Fondré, Health Minister Richard Renouf, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis and Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida.
The proposition was approved with 37 votes in favour and five votes against. Those who opposed releasing the minutes were Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida, Treasury Minister Susie Pinel and her Assistant Minister Lindsay Ash, Assistant Chief Minister Rowland Huelin, and Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur.
Since then, Scrutineers say they have made “multiple enquiries regarding the whereabouts of the CAM meeting minutes and when Scrutiny can expect to receive them” to no avail.
Expressing concern about the lack of clarity, Chief Scrutineer, President of the Liaison Committee Senator Kristina Moore, explained: “Transparency in Government decision-making is essential, particularly when such decisions impact the entire island.
”The failure to share CAM minutes with Scrutiny, even after this request was approved by the States Assembly, hinders Scrutiny from carrying out its core function as a critical friend which holds the Government to account.
“We recommend that this is rectified immediately so that Scrutiny is able to provide confidence to the Assembly and the public when it comes to emergency decision-making in response to covid-19.”
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