Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Contender?

Senatorial Poll Topper Senator Ian Le Marquand has wasted very little time in getting to grips with his Ministerial Duties at Home Affairs.

He has inherited a huge backlog of unfinished business left by his predecessor - the HDLG scandal, (illegally?) suspended Police Chief, Operation Blast, staff shortages, budget constraints and who knows what else?

Besides which he came in (in the eyes of many progressives) as a right wing, authoritarian, ex Magistrate, Devil Dodger.

However despite these fears he has, in a very short time, knocked the long awaited Sex Offenders law into shape and will be presenting it to the States this coming week. Not only does he want the public to be in the States gallery to give him support, he has actively invited them/us to turn up and do so. He did this at a public meeting he chaired last night at St Paul’s Centre which he agreed we could video (below)

Previously he had also agreed to “The Voice” filming his Scrutiny Panel Meeting and at the same time encouraged members of the public to engage in discussion with him, and the Panel, on the proposed Sex Offenders Law.

The importance of this “democratic development” can not be overstated. Firstly we, “the public”, “Bloggers”, “Citizens Media” call us what you will, were allowed to video record the proceedings the same as the “accredited” Press and the world didn’t stop turning!! Secondly the “3 day notice” rule was once again shown to be a nonsense because prior notice was neither sought nor necessary. Thirdly the value of allowing the public to participate in the discussions with Scrutiny and the Minister was demonstrated (the Scrutiny “rules” state members of the public must remain quiet).

However we at “The Voice” do still have reservations. We are concerned at his expressed sentencing policies for young offenders and his lack of enthusiasm for anti discrimination legislation. We have been critical of the Senator in the past and no doubt will be again in the future, and some credit must go where it is due.

But we are pleasantly surprised at his willingness to engage with the public and his strongly independent Ministerial stance. If rumours are to be believed that there might be a vacancy for a Chief Minister in January then Senator Le Marquand must be a strong contender!


GeeGee said...

Yes, I must agree. Ian Le Marquand is proving to be all I thought he would not be and I believe if he carries on in the way he is, he will become a very serious and credible contender for a vacant CM post.

It is indeed refreshing for a politician to welcome the public's input, and for this he should be applauded. He has had a difficult task with the Sex Offender's law, but has dealt with it fairly and quickly.

No one will ever agree 100% with politicians/politics, but Senator Le Marquand deserves a pat on the back.

Anonymous said...

I did not vote for him.
However he has proved to be a very capable Minister.
Yes Le Marquand for Chief Minister.

Anonymous said...

I didn't vote for him either but would like to see him as our next chief minister.

Anonymous said...

The guy might be ok but the Sex Offenders Law and the Vetting and Barring Law that will follow are very worrying.
The simplistic idea that a Register of 150 sex perverts is necessary and that it will help to protect vulnerable people is an almost certain guarantee that these laws will be adopted. But sadly the likely result is that most sex offenders will simply be deported from Jersey by "stealth".

Where they finish up will not concern Islanders too much but they will be somebody's neighbour or work colleague somewhere. It's a bit like deporting cholera victims from Jersey in the 1830's.

Whether there is any realistic and fair system to protect the vulnerable as well as the abusers in a small place like Jersey is unlikely. But it's also a pity that Le Marquand and his officers have so readily copied solutions from large countries rather than trying to find a smaller country model to work with. But since the officers are mostly trained in the UK, that is almost inevitable.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that "abusers" won't have to be convicted to fall within either the Sex Offenders Law or the Vetting and Barring scheme.
Suspicion can be enough. But where will the information come from and who shall keep it safe? After all, it's the names of abusers and their innocent family and friends that we will be liable to be persecuted and who will ensure that victims' identities and sufferings are kept confidential too?

It's a pity that the Data Protection Officer in Jersey has not issued a report before the Sex Offenders law is debated next week.