No need for parishes to pay Constables

From Hugh Gill. MR Bellows’ letter (JEP 2 April) alleges that Constables would have to be paid by their ratepayers if they were not in the States. I think he misunderstands the situation.

From Hugh Gill.

MR Bellows’ letter (JEP 2 April) alleges that Constables would have to be paid by their ratepayers if they were not in the States. I think he misunderstands the situation.

Constables are paid for their States work, not for their parish work. So if they are not doing States work, there is no need for them to be paid by the parish. Seems simple to me.

The parish system works because there are people ready, willing and able to give their time and effort to serve the community. The fact that the Constables are paid politicians causes a potential problem, as they are also the head of the (honorary) parish system.

The return of the Constables to the parish halls in an honorary capacity will, I believe, greatly enhance the chances of the system surviving. Of course, under Option A, if any Constable feels they can manage both jobs, there is nothing to stop them standing as a Deputy in their district.

It is easy in this debate to forget that every parish is managed efficiently anyway by the paid staff who give support to those involved, whether they be registrars, rates or roads committee or police, not to mention the Constables, in an honorary role in the parish.

The last time there was a major change to the electoral system, 65 years ago, the States met once every two weeks or so, and the budget was about £3 million. Now they sit more often and have to find £650 million to keep our services going and pay all the ancillary costs of infrastructure, salaries and wages, not to mention facing up to challenges from the outside. It’s quite a different world and we need to change to face the challenges.

I would encourage your readers to consider the benefits of Option A in the forthcoming referendum as a starting point of making the meaningful changes we need.

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Comments for: "No need for parishes to pay Constables"


There never has been more need of the Constables to remain in the States Assembly as now. Parishes stand to be merged together in the larger constituencies to be created in the revised voting system. Constables are chosen on merit and not on their political views and ARE the voice of individual parishes, which often have different issues. Option A has no benefits, other than to remove that voice and leave parishioners with no voice and no hope of a say in an assembly of local councillors, dominated by divisive politics. Mr Gill not only wants to remove constables but says "if they are not doing States work, there is no need for them to be paid by the parish. Seems simple to me." Thank you Mr Gill, I will not be voting for your Option A. You have made it much easier for undecided voters, as they now have only two choices to consider, B or C.

Davey West

Sorry Realist you have chosen the wrong avatar.

As another poster says, should they feel like the ex Minister for TTS that he had enough time to head and be available for a large Parish like St Brelades and run TTS then nothing would stop him her standing for both.

The reality " realist " is judging by the discontent of parishioners who rarely saw their Constable but did as TTS minister in the news, he would not receive their vote at the next election which is what happened. So much for looking representing your parish in the States when you are otherwise engaged.

The parishes being merged together with no voice is a complete red herring. Each parish will still have its staff, church, parish hall Constables and deputies at the end of a phone. The merging will only be for elections to stop Jersey's Mr unpopular running back to his / her small parish to be voted in by friends and family, then using their vote for all island residents.

A it has to be, the best of poor choices.



It is only a red herring to those who wish to dissolve parish representation.

The other flaw in your argument is that the Option A leaflet makes great play of "strengthening the parish". Apart from the fact that this is a laugably incorrect nonsense (you would think that the Option A team could at least credit the voters with some intelligence), there is also the point that if, as you say, the parishes are a red herring, then why does the option A leaflet make such a song and dance about them- who do they think they're kidding?

I would vote for c on the basis that the other two will be very damaging. A vote ofr c could open the door to a better set of choices next time. a vote for a would spell disaster in my view.

Equal representation

"Of course, under Option A, if any Constable feels they can manage both jobs, there is nothing to stop them standing as a Deputy in their district". Or any other District.


Option A is effectively a no option to retain what is needed in a balanced States assembly for the future. No wonder that previously passed over failed Deputy candidates are amongst its most prominent supporters. What is needed in this reform is a better more able and streamlined Assembly. "Of course, under Option A", says Mr Gill, if any Constable feels they can manage both jobs, there is nothing to stop them standing as a Deputy". How condescending of you Mr Gill. The electorate will be the judge of that.

Unreal Engine

How condescending of you, It is one of the points of Option A that it gives the electorate the ability to judge if a Consable can do both jobs.

that ability is not there under any other option.

Ivor the Engine

But Option A creates an inbuilt conflict in the office of deputy-constable in all parishes save St Helier.

Iva avingalaugh

What office of "deputy-constable", There is no such thing, therefore can be no inbuilt conflict.

Why single out St Helier? The Constable for St Saviours can stand for election in District 1 and be in conflict? How can the Head of a Parish be in conflict with the seat of a District in the Government?

You are saying that EVERY constable right now is in Conflict!

Ivor etc

No. There is no office of "deputy constable". It is a shorthand term for something which will arise under Option A.

I am surprised that the concept eludes those who support Option A, because they do like to tell us how a constable can simply become a deputy if he or she wishes to retain a seat in the house.

The term refers to a person who is constable but who has no seat in the house (Option A) then getting returned as a deputy. He will be a constable and a deputy, hence the term constable-deputy.

Why single out St Helier? Well, the districts of St Helier under Option A will both be within the parish of St Helier. No other parish will have this.

So, the constable of St Helier, if he also gets in as a deputy, will be constable of St Helier and one of the deputies of St Helier.

But take St John. Under Option A, St John will form a district along with St Ouen, St Mary and St Lawrence. So, if the constable of St John seeks a deputy seat and succeeds (a feat in itself compared to the ease with which the same will be achieved in St Helier), he will be constable of St John, but deputy of St John, St Ouen, St Mary and St Lawrence.

Now, while I appreciate that Option A is all about forgetting parishes (except St Helier), there must nonetheless be a possibility for conflict.

For example, if a contentious issue arises between St John and any of the other three parishes on the Option A ward, the Constable of St John will be unable to represent any of the other three parishes that he will be deputy of. Yes, I know that "it is not about parishes", but that will be the perception and the legal actuality in some cases.

I know that there are those who don't want to see this, but it is clear enough.


There is no such thing as deputy constable.

One aspect of Option A, however, is that a constable may also be elected as a deputy. We are not, according to the Option A zealots, allowed to refer to this combination of offices as constable deputy.

Instead, we presumably have to refer to it as a "constable who also holds a states seat by virtue of having been elected to the office of Deputy of the states of Jersey".

In much the same manner, Option A will give rise to 14 deputies within the parish of St Helier.

we are not, however, allowed to refer to them as such.

We have to call them "Deputies of district number one or district number two, both of which, by some strange coincidence, correspond exactly with the parish boundaries of St Helier".

I dread to think how long "Hansard" or any official reporting will be if Option A gets through.

The Option A obsession with terminology seems to be almost as pervasive as the hamstrung approach to text book voting numbers.

Option A; Orwell

I guess that it is like anything else. Politics is what the people make it.

If Option A gets through, what will people call a constable who is also a deputy (it sounds like there is a punchline coming!)?

A constable deputy perhaps?

Similarly, what will people call one of the 14 deputies from number 1 or 2 district within St Helier under Option A?

Is it not beyond the bounds of possibility that they may refer to them as St Helier deputies?

Of course, those who advocate Option A don't like this. It seems clear that Option A may well represent a tip of a rather unsavoury iceberg, the remainder of which will remain concealed unless and until Option A succeeds.

Perhaps one of the concealed aspects of Option A will be a law banning anyone from using the term "constable deputy" or committing the ultimate apparent crime of calling a St Helier deputy a St Helier deputy. Only then might the instict of the people be artificially supressed! :)

Thatchers Cider

You lots are just like babies!!!

“St Helier has 14 deputies, and that’s unfair, because somewhere else that is a tenth of the size doesn’t have 14 deputies!”

“The small parishes has to "Share" deputies with other small parishes and even though together, they will be less than half the size of St Helier, they will only have half the deputies!!!”

“Thats not fair!!!”

“St Johns must have 14 deputies to be fair!!! St Helier cant be treated as equals!!!!”

“Constables might no longer be states members, but I want mine to be, but I think getting elected as a states members will be harder for them than for any other person in the entire world, Even Zombie Hitler will be elected easier in a country parish than a Constable! That's Not Fair!!!”

“Except for the Constable of St Helier! That's Not Fair!”

“Constables have to get elected by other parishes, but other people would only get elected by districts!”

“St Helier isnt fair because its so big its split into two so the Constable has to be elected by so many people and that’s soooo easy compared to a couple of hundred! Waaaaaaaa!!!!! NOT FAIR!!!!

“Its so hard to be elected by 200 people, and so easy to be elected by thousands!!”

"What will a Constable-Deputy be called? I like Constables, I dont like Deputies! Its not fair that the will be called Deputies! Just like anyone else who has the job"

"Constables are special and should be treated as special and shouldn’t be treated like any one else! Its not fair if they are!"

For goodness sake, Grow up. There is no bias. Stop being childish.!

Its no wonder the option A supporters get fed up of your winging rants at stupid things. You just will not listen to sense when you have jumped to a conclusion without looking at facts.

Why does it matter that St Helier has 14 deputies, if any other area with the same population has the same number of deputies! The nine smallest parishes don't have the same number of people in it than St Helier, Of course that parish should have more representation, as long as it is equal!

Why does it matter what someone with two jobs are called? their title is in relation to what they are doing.

Why does it matter if a person can be elected to two roles in one place easier than another? Its the electorate that decide that, not you, Everybody who can vote has that decision, and if its harder, then it's the electorate that make it harder! That's democracy.


I guess the answer to your diatribe, TC is that something as important as a referendum and possible electoral reform shouold be debated.

What does it matter if there is a St Helier bias? What does it matter what will happen if and when someone becomes a constable-deputy under Option A?

Well, with your approach I see not only no future for you, but also no future for anyone else either.


Realist, I believe that there is a real place for Constables, and it is to run their Parish. There is a real need for States level representation and that falls to the Deputies, the current mixture is confusing those two tasks and by the addition of Senators (and times past the clergy) and Constables produces a lack of clarity. I believe now is the time to simplify both at States level, and at Civil Service level, because at the end of the day the Island is really the size of a small town. It is only because we have had riches beyond a small towns expectations that these confusions have been afforded, those riches are a thing of the past.