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Bailiff referendum date debate

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THE date for a referendum on whether the Bailiff should remain as President of the States is due to be finalised at this week’s States sitting.

The States Chamber. Picture CHANTELLE MUNDY (21945738)

Last November, politicians agreed to hold a referendum on whether the dual role of the Bailiff – who acts as the Island’s top judge and President of the States – should be split.

Members are this week due to debate a proposition by the Privileges and Procedures Committee which proposes that the referendum be held on Saturday 20 October and that the question which should be put to voters in a ‘yes or no’ format should be: ‘Should the Bailiff as President of the States Assembly be replaced by a Speaker elected by States Members?’

However, the Constables’ Committee said they were not in favour of holding the Islandwide vote on a Saturday and have instead proposed a new date of Wednesday 17 October. They have also suggested that polling stations should open two hours later than usual at 10 am and remain open until 8 pm.

Meanwhile, the scope of a planning inquiry into the latest proposals for the new hospital could be widened to allow the inspector to comment on other potential sites.

Deputy Russell Labey has asked for the terms of reference for the inquiry to be widened to allow independent inspector Philip Staddon to review other site options if ‘deemed necessary and appropriate’.

Under the current brief, Mr Staddon has been asked not to look at alternative sites.

Fresh plans for the £466 million hospital project were submitted earlier this year after the initial application was rejected by former Environment Minister Steve Luce due to concerns over the scale and height of the project.

The States will also be asked to approve the buying of three St Brelade fields in order to build the new Les Quennevais School.

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A total of 47 questions have been lodged – 27 written and 20 oral. Among them, Chief Minister John Le Fondré will be asked to reflect on his first 30 days in charge and what his priorities for the next two months are by Senator Kristina Moore.

Health Minister Richard Renouf and Education Minister Tracey Vallois will face questions without notice.

It will be the last States sitting before the summer recess, with Members due to reconvene in September.

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