Stay out of our affairs, says Alderney President

Guernsey has no right to interfere in how Alderney is represented in the new-look Guernsey States, according to the Alderney States President.

Guernsey has no right to interfere in how Alderney is represented in the new-look Guernsey States, according to the Alderney States President. Sir Norman Browse told islanders that the consultation process embarked on in Alderney by Guernsey's Procedures and Constitution Committee exceeded its mandate and should be ignored. Sir Norman wants to keep two representatives chosen by Alderney members themselves in the States of Guernsey. He feared that the role of Alderney representatives directly elected by the public, possibly with no recourse to the States, could 'rapidly be diminished to a nuisance value'. In a letter to Roger Berry, president of the Procedures and Constitution Committee, Sir Norman said that Guernsey had already asked the government of Alderney whether it wished to change the existing method of election. He said the answer was a robust no. 'We consider this action by the committee to be an unwarranted intrusion by one government into the affairs of another, unconstitutional and a covert serious criticism of the integrity and status of the States of Alderney,' said Sir Norman. Postcards have been sent to the people of Alderney asking them if they want to continue with the current system, whereby the States elected representatives, or to change to a method of direct election by the people. Sir Norman said they should be put in the bin. He said that the committee had gone beyond its mandate and 'wilfully and unjustifiably interfered with Alderney's internal constitutional affairs' in going over the head of the States of Alderney with its consultation. He claimed that Guernsey could change the system of Alderney representation only if both islands' States agreed. Once the office of douzaine representative is abolished, in April 2004, the two Alderney representatives will be the only members of the States of Deliberation not directly elected. However, Sir Norman said that democracy functioned by the elected representatives making decisions on behalf of the people. 'It is therefore perfectly proper and democratic for the people of Alderney to be represented in Guernsey by two of the States members elected to make that choice and essential that Alderney States members decide on behalf of their electorate what changes, if any, should be made.' He claimed it would be impractical to elect a representative who did not sit on the Alderney States. With no recourse to the States, individuals could follow their own agenda. 'We do not need a Guernsey committee to question the way, or to tell us how to govern or represent ourselves,' he said. Deputy Dave Jones, a member of the Procedures and Constitution Committee, disagreed with Sir Norman's advice. He said the consultation exercise followed recommendations in the Harwood report that Alderney representatives should not remain the only States members not directly elected by the public. 'As far as I understand, our mandate is to look at all issues to do with the constitution and procedures of the States. 'So as far as I am concerned, we are mandated to ask the people of Alderney.'

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