Election test move fails in the States

A PROPOSAL that would have seen a ‘Life in Jersey’ test introduced for non-British election candidates has been lost after a tied States vote.

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30220516)
Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30220516)

Islanders standing for election must have British citizenship or hold dual nationality.

Deputy Inna Gardiner’s proposal would have introduced a test based on the British citizenship test.

It asked Members that non-British citizens who passed this test should be able to stand for election, if they took an oath of allegiance to the Island.

The vote on the first part of the proposal regarding the test was split 22-22 at a Wednesday States sitting, meaning that it was rejected and votes on subsequent parts of the proposal were not taken.

Immigration, citizenship and identity were issues that Deputy Gardiner had ‘personally worked through most of my adult life’, along with a significant part of the Island’s population.

In her closing speech, Deputy Gardiner said: ‘This certificate will allow a wider selection of candidates to stand for election which can only be of benefit.’

Supporting the proposal, Deputy Jess Perchard said: ‘This is not about “Jersey-fying” non-British nationals. It is about inclusion and community.’

However, Social Security Minister Judy Martin said: ‘I don’t think this is an imperfect solution. I think it is an absolute terrible solution.’

Deputy Martin said she was also ‘very concerned’ about the timetable, which would have seen the test introduced by October 2021.

Deputy Montfort Tadier questioned the need to go through the ‘rigmarole of a test’. He has lodged three proposals in the past to remove the requirement that Jersey politicians be British citizens, with the last of these in September 2020 being defeated narrowly by one vote.

Some Members drew on their own experiences during the debate. Deputy Carina Alves, who has dual nationality, said she counted herself ‘very lucky that I was born here’.

She said: ‘I think it is completely wrong to be judged on your surname, and that shouldn’t happen.

‘I shouldn’t have to prove myself that I am worthy of being here or that I am capable just because my surname isn’t an English surname.’

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