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Nine are elected to head Scrutiny panels

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THE politicians who will spearhead the scrutiny of government, departments and ministers have been elected by States Members.

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During a States sitting nine heads for Scrutiny panels and committees were appointed, with three political newcomers taking on roles.

Each panel will be responsible for reviewing and reporting on the work and policies of certain government departments.

The Economic Affairs panel will be chaired by new St Lawrence Deputy Kirsten Morel in one of only two appointments that were contested – the other being for the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel. He defeated Deputy David Johnson by 29 votes to 16.

Deputy Morel said the value of economic growth went beyond the money it generated but also included industries such as tourism and agriculture which had ‘come to shape the Island’.

He added that he would ask ‘probing questions’ and seek to make sure the views of business were taken into account.

St Helier Deputy Rob Ward – a former teacher and NUT Jersey union leader – will take charge of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel.

He pointed to his first-hand experience of the Island’s education system and said the role of Scrutiny was to ‘keep to the effective workings of government’.

The third newcomer appointed to chair a panel was Deputy Mary Le Hegarat. The Health and Social Security panel proved to be the most difficult position to fill with no Members initially seeming to want to take the role on.

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Deputy Le Hegarat admitted that she would probably have preferred to have initially sat as a member on the panel rather than chair it but was ‘honoured’ to be asked to fill the position.

Former Transport Minister Mike Jackson will be in charge of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel. The St Brelade Constable returned to the States having lost his seat in 2011.

He is a former Infrastructure Minister – when the department was known as Transport and Technical Services – and said he did not want to ‘sit back and watch our Island spoiled’ as he spoke in favour of protecting green areas.

The final appointment of the sitting came when Deputy Carolyn Labey was elected to continue in her role as chairwoman of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. Deputy Labey, who was recently appointed as an Assistant Chief Minister, first took over as chairwoman three-and-a-half years ago, having previously served as a commissioner.

The States will meet again next week to decide which Members will sit on the Scrutiny Panels.

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