The email from Julian Blazeby, which has been seen by the JEP, says: ‘The Minister for Home Affairs, Constable Len Norman, has asked me to continue to work on supporting the agreed objectives of integration, collaboration, early intervention and prevention across the department, while honouring the decision of the Assembly.’
The decision in question refers to the States’ adoption of a proposition this week for civil servants to cease restructuring the Island’s emergency services without States approval.
But Constable Norman said that the email had simply been misconstrued.
‘The States decision is absolutely paramount, no question about that,’ he said. ‘But do we carry on working to make the department as efficient, effective and responsive as possible? Of course we do.’
However, the president of the Fire and Rescue Service Association, Craig Channing, said that, even if the email alludes to honouring the States’ decision on this matter, Mr Blazeby’s undertaking to continue work on integrating emergency services betrays a ‘gung-ho attitude without regard for States procedures’.
‘The worrying point is that, even though the States vote was unanimous on this issue, the email seems to show disregard for the decision of the Assembly,’ he continued.
‘Also, how much knowledge would States Members have if this integration work were to continue under the radar?
‘We have requested an urgent meeting with the Home Affairs Minister and with Mr Blazeby, so that they can hear our concerns.’
A spokeswoman for the Ambulance Service echoed Mr Channing’s point, saying that they had felt ‘ignored’ when they had read Mr Blazeby’s email.
‘The States debate really made us feel like we had been listened to, and then to come in the following morning and read Mr Blazeby’s email, it just seemed like actually we had been ignored, after all,’ she said. ‘That is very much how we read it.’
Former Home Affairs Assistant Minister Constable Deidre Mezbourian, who had been one of the politicians behind this week’s successful proposition, said that Justice and Home Affairs staff had been ‘demoralised’ by Mr Blazeby’s email.
‘They were ecstatic after the debate, when the proposition to cease work on restructuring was adopted, and then to receive this email the very next day, it has really demoralised them again,’ she said.