Reform Jersey accuse government of overruling democracy on key decisions

In an open letter, Reform Jersey say that ministers cannot overrule choices made by the States Assembly without going back to them to justify the changes. Credit: ITV Channel TV / PA Images

Jersey's Chief Minister is being asked to urgently clarify why key decisions made by the island's elected parliament appear to have been "disregarded" by her government.

In an open letter to Deputy Kristina Moore, Reform Jersey write that ministers cannot overrule choices made by the States Assembly without going back to them to justify the changes.

It outlines three issues where they say propositions will not be carried out as agreed by politicians.

The key concerns are as follows:

1. Options for taxing empty properties were not published before the end of September. Jersey's Housing Minister Deputy David Warr wrote to Deputy Montfort Tadier who lodged the original proposition to say the deadline would be missed, but Reform Jersey say this has not been fully explained to the Assembly and there has been no chance for members to question him on the delay.

2. Detailed proposals were expected for a debate on assisted dying in October but this has now been pushed back to March 2023. Jersey's Health Minister Deputy Karen Wilson told the media it would be inappropriate to move onto the next phase so soon after the Queen's death but Reform Jersey say they have not seen any details about the delay being given to States members.

3. A draft law to remove Goods and Services Tax (GST) from period products was expected from Jersey's Treasury Minister Deputy Ian Gorst. Deputy Moore has pledged to make these items free which Reform Jersey supports - but they argue this should run alongside the other proposition that she originally put forward to cut GST as some businesses may still choose to charge.

The party's leader Deputy Sam Mézec explained: "The government must accept the will of Jersey’s democratically elected Assembly, and not overrule it behind the scenes.

"States members must have the final say whenever the government either fails to or chooses not to abide by States decisions ... Democracy must prevail."

Reform Jersey is calling on Deputy Moore and her Council of Ministers to give official statements and take questions on these issues in the States Assembly sitting on Tuesday 4 October.

In response, Jersey's Chief Minister said: “I will be replying to Deputy Mézec in respect of the propositions he has raised and their current status.

"The Government fully respects the sovereignty of the States Assembly and its status as the authoritative decision-making body in Jersey.

"States decisions must be implemented and can only be reversed by a further decision of the Assembly."