Guernsey Press

‘Revenge for betrayal’ - Meerveld vows to fight move to unseat committee

Support is being canvassed for a motion of no confidence in Carl Meerveld’s States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee.

Deputy Carl Meerveld, the president of the States’ Assembly and Constitution Committee, claims that a vote of no confidence in the committee is in retaliation for the way he voted when Policy & Resources was ousted. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32994063)

It follows heated exchanges at this week’s States meeting in which Deputy Meerveld was accused of ‘hiding’ behind excuses after blaming a lack of staff for Sacc being unable to carry out more work.

Deputy Meerveld claimed yesterday that the move was an act of revenge against him personally for the key role he played in the removal of the former Policy & Resources Committee in a vote of no confidence just before Christmas.

He vowed to fight his critics on the floor of the Assembly.

‘I was originally a loyal supporter of Deputy Peter Ferbrache and his P&R and therefore my difficult decision to support the motion of no confidence against them is viewed by some as betrayal and they are now targeting me for retribution,’ he said.

‘I have no intention of resigning. I will argue my case. A motion of no confidence in SACC is completely unjustified.

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‘It is just retaliation for an earlier vote which I fully explained at the time and made only after a lot of thought, together with a majority of my colleagues in the States who could see that the former P&R could no longer provide the leadership the island needed.’

The group of deputies behind the move to unseat Sacc is largely made up of members or supporters of the former P&R and deputies who did not vote to replace the senior committee.

They are understood to include Deputies Sasha Kazantseva-Miller and Neil Inder, both of whom declined to comment, and former treasury lead Mark Helyar. who has said he would like to see how Deputy Meerveld would respond to facing a motion of no confidence.

Sacc is understood to have only one full-time permanent member of staff who is currently on long-term leave of absence, although it has some support from other parliamentary and senior staff.

‘We have done quite a lot this term, including simultaneous electronic voting and the new commissioner for standards, while struggling with lack of staff resources,’ said Deputy Meerveld.

But the committee’s critics believe he has either underestimated the staff support it has available or failed to secure the resources necessary to do the job expected of it.

In the States this week, Deputy Inder told the Sacc president that the Assembly had ‘concerns about his delivery of democracy’ and former P&R member Deputy David Mahoney accused him of offering a ‘litany of excuses’.

Two of the five deputies on SACC joined the committee only recently.

Vice-president Deputy Gavin St Pier was elected in December and Deputy Yvonne Burford this week.

The other members are Deputies Simon Fairclough and Liam McKenna.

Deputy Meerveld was certain that the deputies behind the move to launch a motion of no confidence in Sacc did not have the committee’s other four members in their sights.

‘I am always happy to be held accountable for my actions but it is regrettable that the rest of the committee has to get caught up in this,’ he said.

Despite the fall-out he believed it had caused, Deputy Meerveld did not regret supporting the motion of no confidence in the former P&R.

His vote, and the votes of a small number of colleagues with whom he works closely, were considered key to the outcome of the motion, which succeeded by 23 votes to 16.

‘I regrettably had to come to the conclusion, as did a majority of States members, that the style of leadership – a take it or leave it approach, not only on GST but generally – was failing our community,’ he said.