Constable ‘a bit surprised after last year’s success’

ONLY two parishes will have a contested election for douzaine seats next month.

St Sampson's douzaine room. (Picture By Rob Gill)
St Sampson's douzaine room. (Picture By Rob Gill)

St Peter Port and St Martin’s are the only parishes where electors will be called upon as the others will see uncontested elections.

In total there are 48 candidates – 33 men and 15 women – for 46 vacant constable and douzaine seats island-wide. There are a total of 76 parochial roles available at the meetings scheduled for next Wednesday evening, including schools committees, procureur of the poor and cemetery committees. A handful of those will be contested, and there are 43 men and 38 women registered as candidates across all the elections.

Local democracy was invigorated in the parish elections last year with record numbers of candidates signed up.

St Sampson’s and St Peter Port both hit double digits for their douzaine seats.

This year St Sampson’s only has an equal number of candidates and seats, and it will take nominations from the floor on the night of the meeting for an empty spot on its cemetery committee.

Paul Le Pelley, senior constable for St Sampson’s, was trying to look on the bright side.

‘I’m a little surprised, a little disappointed, after last year’s incredible numbers when we had practically everything contested, it was a surprise to find that we’ve just got the right number.

‘I’m pleased that we haven’t got to have any re-runs but it would have been nice to have had a contested election.

‘The candidates that have come forward are of good quality, so we’re not going to drop anything in standards, it would have just been nice to have perhaps a bit more public interest and people being endorsed by the public vote. But having said that, looking at the candidates’ CVs and knowing who they are, myself excluded, I’m very pleased with qualifications and standards of the people who have put themselves forward.’

Mr Le Pelley highlighted a couple of reasons why election fever appears to have cooled in the parishes.

‘Firstly there was a general election last year and there was a lot of encouragement to get involved, we’re a year down the line now and I think perhaps the heat has gone a little bit out of some of the debates.

‘We’ve also had another wave of Covid, on the Friday just before the nominations were closed there was a warning about wearing masks and spatial awareness, and that may have put a few people off.’

  • The full details of who is standing for election will appear in tomorrow’s Gazette Officielle in the Guernsey Press.

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