Guernsey Press

A full day of debate but no decision on P&R until December

The embattled Policy & Resources Committee lost two members before debate even began, but live to fight another day.

P&R president Peter Ferbrache said he would have preferred the debate to have concluded on Friday. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32749454)

After more than 20 speeches in a day-long debate, and more wanting to speak, deputies decided at 5.30 last night that debate would continue on Wednesday 13 December.

‘What can we do, we’ve just got to wait for two-and-a-half weeks,’ said P&R president Peter Ferbrache.

‘It’s imperfect. Would I have preferred to have it dealt with today? I think so.’

He said he believed that the final vote on the remaining three members of the committee – Deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney resigned before 9am – was ‘still too close to call’.

‘I’m not a machinator, I don’t go around twisting people’s arms, but I imagine some will be doing that in the next two weeks.’

  • Listen to a round-up of Friday's debate on our Shorthand States podcast

With Deputy Lyndon Trott intent on cutting debate short at 4pm, Deputy Ferbrache rose to speak at about 3.45, and continued for an hour, giving rise to allegations of filibustering, which he denied.

‘I didn’t know I was going to speak for an hour. I just started and I couldn’t stop.’

Deputy Trott said the day’s debate had been ‘absolutely bizarre’.

‘The consequences of this are now that the motion of no confidence, laid on 1 November, could potentially not be decided until the end of January.

‘This matter should have been completed today or we should come back tomorrow morning to get it done. It’s farcical, this is panto season stuff.’

Deputy Carl Meerveld was equally frustrated and said he had foreseen likely delays. ‘This matters for how we are perceived that we cannot deal with this in a prompt and professional way.’

Deputy Charles Parkinson, leading the motion, said he was unsurprised by the debate and the result. ‘It was entirely possible that this could take a long time and I’m not surprised by that.’

Deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney both resigned from the committee after an early-morning P&R meeting. Deputy Mahoney explained they had decided to go in a bid to secure continuity for the committee and the States as a whole.

‘We’ve got Moneyval [financial crime inspection] coming up, and it doesn’t look good when you start changing top committees. It’s an attempt to ensure some continuity at the top table.’

Debate included a number of complaints and allegations of misbehaviour and bullying within the committee raised by several deputies.

The P&R deputies denied them.

‘There are various accusations but no evidence, it’s all hearsay, nobody has made any complaints against myself or Deputy Helyar.

'Nothing from the civil service, or States members, so where’s the foundation for it?’ Deputy Mahoney said.

  • Read our complete States coverage in this weekend's paper