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Constitution Review


  

Harwood Second Report





A Government Review body Chaired by Advocate Peter Harwood presented their report to the Sates in December 2000. It calls for a major review of the constitution, including a reduction in the number of elected representatives from the current 57. Many people who contributed suggested around 30. Guernsey is at the top of the table when it comes to representatives per number of population. A sample from that table:

Population

Representatives

Ratio 1 per:

Guernsey

56,681

57

1,029

Jersey

87,500

53

1,650

Isle of Man

65,000

35

1,857

Monaco

32,035

18

1,779

Cayman Islands

33,600

15

2,240

Bermuda

58,460

40

1,461

Bahamas

284,000

40

7,100

New Zealand

3,781,500

120

31,512

United Kingdom

58,833,000

659

89,276





The Harwood Panel also suggests a reduction in Committees which currently number 52, of which 30 of these are regularly active.

Another significant finding of the review panel is that the parish system of voting produces an unequal number of votes per person. This system does not have deep historical roots and in fact goes back to 1948. "There can be no justification for a system that gives one elector twelve or even six times more votes than another". The initial report suggests two options

  • 8 electoral districts each electing 5 deputies

  • or 6 electoral districts electing 5 deputies plus 1o parish representatives.

The States asked the panel to come back with firm recommendations, which was not part of their original remit.

This further report has now been published. It has reported that the current style of government by committee is unable to deliver political leadership and this results in a state of chaos and confusion. It pointed out that the senior committee Advisory and Finance act as advisors but has no formal authority over other committees.

The recommendations on the future structure of the States are

  • a cabinet style government of 12 ministers

  • a reduction in States members from 57 to 42 but still including 10 parish elected officials

  • just six electoral districts of evenly populated numbers instead of the current 10 parish based districts.

  • members would also be paid £25,000 to £30,000 p.a. and ministers more than this.

  • fortnightly States meetings and finishing at 7pm where necessary rather than 5pm at present

The Panel do not see any conflict in the Bailiff's joint role of Head of Judiciary and President of the States. The States currently meet on the last Wednesday of each month but the panel suggests fortnightly to ensure better continuity. Electronic voting should be introduced. States members should also be given proper secretarial support, email internet facilities and a personal computer.

In Jersey, a similar review body, The Clothier Review panel reported in January 2001 and recommends separating the Bailiff's current joint role of head of judiciary and President of the States. It makes almost 50 recommendations including a cabinet style government of 7 ministers headed by a Chief Minister & reducing the number of Deputies. Reform is expected to take place within one year.

 
 
 
 
 
 

  

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