Guernsey Press

DPA meets today to try to sort out vice-presidency row

THE Development & Planning Authority is meeting today in another bid to sort out the chaos surrounding its vice-presidency.

DPA president Victoria Oliver. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31946055)

President Victoria Oliver has been trying since the middle of January to oust her number two, Andrew Taylor, and replace him with John Dyke.

But the Bailiff, Richard McMahon, and the senior law officer, HM Procureur Megan Pullum, have repeatedly advised that the move is not allowed under States rules and Mr McMahon continues to recognise Deputy Taylor as vice-president.

Deputy Oliver has admitted failing to tell her members about senior officials’ key advice for more than six weeks. She has apologised and said any errors were unintentional.

The DPA president has invited the president of the States Assembly & Constitution Committee, Carl Meerveld, to attend today’s meeting. His invitation was unknown to other members of the DPA until it was revealed during a Guernsey Press podcast.

‘The whole thing is unfortunate,’ said Deputy Meerveld.

‘I think most of the public and some deputies view this as an argument over deckchairs on the Titanic, when we really should be focusing on steering away from the iceberg.

‘I hope this is resolved and we can move on very quickly.’

Deputies Oliver and Dyke have been hoping to receive support from Sacc members.

Ahead of today’s meeting, Deputy Meerveld said his committee ‘has not in any way passed judgement or become an arbiter on what is happening in the DPA now’, though he added that it would propose a rule change later this year or next year to give committees authority to remove their vice-president.

Policy & Resources president Peter Ferbrache has suggested that Deputy Taylor should resign to resolve the dispute.

Deputy Taylor gave no indication yesterday that he was thinking of standing down.

‘It’s refreshing to hear Deputy Ferbrache acknowledge positive changes within the DPA this term. I and other new members have brought forward constructive changes which have been agreed by the full committee,’ said Deputy Taylor.

‘It was, however, disappointing to read Deputy Ferbrache’s comments about me and even more disappointing that he made no attempt to discuss this issue with me, yet is happy to state publicly that I have no intention of working with my colleagues.

‘I can say with absolute confidence that, in spite of very personal actions taken against me, I have continued to participate constructively on all aspects of our mandate.

‘Had I been disruptive within the committee, the rules allow for a majority vote to bring a proposition to the States to have me removed.

‘This has been explained to the committee, but to date Deputies Oliver, Dyke and Chris Blin have not raised any issue of misconduct on my part.

‘Even if their plans had been accepted by the Bailiff, I would still remain a member of the committee with exactly the same voting power.’

Some deputies are understood to be considering submitting a motion of censure in the DPA if it does not resolve the vice-presidency issue today.