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Alderney reps election change

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THE days of Alderney's government choosing its own representatives to sit in the Guernsey States could be numbered.

THE days of Alderney's government choosing its own representatives to sit in the Guernsey States could be numbered. The House Committee plans to talk to Alderney's Policy and Finance Committee on possible methods of achieving direct representation.

But Alderney States members believe a change would be unconstitutional.

House Committee chief officer David Robilliard said his committee remained keen to speak with Alderney authorities with a view to taking the matter forward.

'As far as the House Committee is concerned, there are different ways in which direct representation could be achieved,' he said.

'But until the matter has been discussed with the Alderney authorities, it would be inappropriate to discuss any options publicly.'

Under the present system, Alderney States annually elects two people from within its members to sit in the Guernsey States.

Of the 484 cards returned, which represented about 21% of the population, 330 people (68%) wanted direct representation, 141 (29%) preferred the status quo and there were 13 (3%) spoilt papers.

Alderney States slammed the committee for not consulting them before the questionnaire was carried out, with President Sir Norman Browse branding it as 'unwarranted and unconstitutional'.

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He accused Procedures and Constitution of 'ignoring processes'.

Mr Robilliard said the heavy workload leading up to the changes in the machinery of government had been so great that the Alderney element had been put on the back burner.

But the House Committee now wanted to meet Policy and Finance to discuss the issue.

The latter's chairman, Colonel Peter Walter, said his committee had never been given the true results of the questionnaire and a lot of people had torn them up.

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'It was done with no reference to us whatsoever,' he said.

Policy and Finance would meet Guernsey authorities to discuss the matter, he added.

'Guernsey authorities never seemed to get to grips with the fact that any change would require a change to the constitution and would have to go before the Privy Council.

'But we have new States members now and we will be discussing it again as a States issue and not just policy.'

New laws were written into the constitution in 1949 that clarified the Alderney-Guernsey relationship, he said. Alderney would have been independent from its neighbour had it not been for its poor financial position at the time.

Sir Norman said the Guernsey committee had never dropped the direct representation issue but it had never come back to the Alderney authorities with any details about the survey.

'The way the survey was conducted was the wrong way to go about things and the right way to do it is to go through it with the relevant committees and governments of the islands.

'At the moment, we abide by the government of Alderney as its stands and it's not for me to make judgement at this stage.

'It's very much something for the politicians to discuss.'

*'Alderney States' annual internal elections take place next Wednesday when, among other things, members will elect their two representatives to sit in the Guernsey States during 2005.

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