Guernsey Press

Bailiff advised replacing DPA vice-president was against States’ rules

THE Bailiff and the States’ senior legal adviser told Development & Planning Authority president Victoria Oliver back in January that States’ rules did not allow her to oust vice-president Andrew Taylor.

DPA president Deputy Victoria Oliver. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31934223)

But she failed to share their advice with the rest of her committee for more than six weeks while she continued to try to replace him with John Dyke.

On 18 January, Deputy Oliver narrowly won a ballot of DPA members to elect a new number two, which she has since insisted was a valid vote.

She admitted yesterday that HM Procureur Megan Pullum advised her on 23 January that the vote was not allowed and that Bailiff Richard McMahon provided her with the same advice on 31 January.

She kept Mr McMahon’s advice away from other members of her committee until last Friday.

And one DPA member said Ms Pullum’s advice was unknown to the rest of the committee until yesterday.

‘While I have made mistakes and apologised for them, I have never intentionally misled my colleagues or the community,’ said Deputy Oliver.

‘I have tried only to resolve this matter in a way that is fair to all members, but reflects the majority of the committee’s preference for who should be vice-president.’

Mr McMahon confirmed last week that he still recognised Deputy Taylor as vice-president.

It was following questions from the Guernsey Press that Deputy Oliver admitted keeping the rest of her committee in the dark about the Bailiff and HM Procureur’s advice.

‘I appreciate the media have a duty to report the actions of elected members, but I believe some of the reporting has unfairly portrayed my handling of this situation,’ said Deputy Oliver.

‘I hope I have been clear and comprehensive in this response, as I have nothing to hide.’

Deputy Taylor said he was staggered by the latest revelations.

‘It’s pretty clear to me why Deputy Oliver decided not to share this information with the committee,’ he said.

‘This issue could, and should, have been resolved two months ago. Sadly, Deputy Oliver has not allowed this to be properly discussed in our last three committee meetings, despite my repeated attempts to raise it.’

Deputy Oliver said that before the vote on 18 January, advice was taken from HM Comptroller Robert Titterington and other States officials.

She explained yesterday why the Bailiff’s advice of 31 January was not shared with the rest of her committee until 17 March.

‘Before reverting to my committee with the Bailiff’s view, I wanted to seek clarification on the response from the Bailiff given we had previously received conflicting advice from other senior officials,’ said Deputy Oliver.

‘I responded with further questions on 16 February.

'Having not received a response, I followed up again on 26 February and 9 March.

'A response was received on 16 March, whereupon the committee was advised of the Bailiff’s view via email on 17 March.’