Blog 11 Nov 18Jersey – New Members’ Induction Programme

I received an invitation to be part of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation heading to Jersey on 26th October, which I was more than happy to accept as it gave me an opportunity to promote the works of Tynwald, the Manx Parliament.

Jersey held a General Election in May 2018 and they elected 18 new Members and the programme was targeted around sharing experiences and to strengthen technical skills to deliver their parliamentary responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

From my point of view, I was able to make new friendships and share my own personal experiences to date, along with getting to fully understand a different Parliament, but one that is very similar to the Isle of Man in many ways……

For those who don’t follow politics closely, Jersey has a very interesting political structure with 8 Senators that are elected island wide. They also have 29 Deputies, which are similar to our MHKs, and 12 Connétables, which are Local Authority figureheads or Captains of the Parish, and they also have additional roles to undertake.

Jersey also has one well established Political Party called “Reform”.

The Parliament meets every two weeks in one single Chamber, but they don’t actually have an elected Speaker or a President. Their Parliament is led by Sir William Bailhache, Bailiff of the States of Jersey.

However, Politicians in Jersey are continuing to debate the role of the island’s Bailiff, who currently holds a dual role…..

Our CPA Delegation is being led by the Rt Hon. Lord Haselhurst who served as a Member of the UK Parliament for 40 years, along with being the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons between 1997 to 2010 – so a very experienced politician.

As I mentioned in my other Blog this week, I landed in London late on Tuesday evening.

I was up from 6am on Wednesday as I couldn’t sleep, which is not unusual for me when I am away. I was meant to leave the hotel at 7.50am but my taxi didn’t turn up until 8.10am, which meant that I was slightly late meeting up with Lord Haselhurst and Felicity Herrmann who is the CPA UK Programme Officer.

The flight from London City to Jersey left on time at 9.15am and we landed in Jersey for 10.40am. From there we went straight to the Pomme D’Or Hotel, which was to be our base for the next two nights.

The actual CPA programme wasn’t scheduled to start until Thursday, but we only had around 30 minutes to settle into the hotel before meeting up with Dr Mark Egan, Greffier of the States of Jersey. From there we walked over to the Jersey Parliament to meet up with Carolyn Labey, who is Minister for International Development.

After a tour of the building and the Chamber and speaking to Deputy Jess Perchard, we met with Sir William Bailhache who invited us out for lunch.

That was followed by a further meeting with Amy Bryant, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Finance.

Jersey Finance is run as a not-for-profit organisation to represent and promote Jersey as an International centre, and it was definitely a very interesting meeting, especially with my finance background.

We then returned to the Jersey Parliament to meet up with Deputy Russel Labey and Jersey’s Chief Minister, John Le Fondré.

We finally got back to the hotel just after 17.00, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with correspondence and phone calls etc.

Before I realised it was 18.15 and time to get changed and head out for dinner, which was another invitation.

Then back to the hotel for around 21.30, which gave the delegation time to have a quick meeting about the programme, before finishing at 22.15.

Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday night. I was up and about from 5am on Thursday, but I was able go through my notes and make various amendments before the programme started.

I was also able to catch up with my Blogs.

After breakfast with Lord Haselhurst we headed over to the States Parliament building, which started at 9am with introductions, networking and photos etc.

The size of the group was smaller than expected, but the overall quality of conversation and discussion throughout the day certainly made up for any initial doubts I had over numbers.

Sir William Bailhache, Lord Haselhurst and I gave our opening remarks, and my own opening comments outlined the Parliamentary structure on the Isle of Man, along with giving an overview of Tynwald Day.

There were then six sessions over the course of the day, and these included Opportunities and Challenges for Newly Elected Parliamentarians, Representing Constituents (Expectations of and Responsibilities), Effective Chamber Business (Making an Impact), Effective Legislative Scrutiny (What can Parliamentarians do?), Beyond the Chamber (Parliamentarians’ Roles Outside the Parliament), Exploring Codes of Conduct and Parliamentary Ethics.
Each session included presentations, Q & A’s and Group Discussion.

The actual programme was meant to finish for 17.15, but given the quality of discussion and debate amongst the group the sessions didn’t finish until 17.45.

Back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes before the delegation and Jersey’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association went out for dinner.

I have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of the restaurants, just a shame I have been unable to see more of this beautiful island.

Finally got back to the hotel for around 22.00, which gave me time to send a few emails before calling it a day.

Up for around 6am on Friday, which enabled me to send a couple more emails.

The day’s programme started at 9am and it was slightly different than the Thursday course. I was also able to take part, as Kate Faragher from BeSpoke Skills delivered a couple of helpful sessions around Trajectory Mapping….

Given the pending weather in Jersey and the rest of the UK on Friday and the weekend, the attendance at a ceremony to unveil the St Helier WW1 Memorial at Parade Gardens in the afternoon was cancelled, which was disappointing…

We had a final meeting with Sir William Bailhache, the Bailiff, in his Chambers. From there we had a tour of the Samedi Court, Judicial Greffe, along with witnessing the sale of property, which involved raising your right hand and taking an oath…

At 15.00 we had a meeting with Sam Mezey, Senator and member of Jersey Reform Party.

Our final engagement on this wonderful CPA trip was afternoon tea with Sir Stephen Dalton, GCB who is the Lieutenant Governor for Jersey, along with the adorable Archie, a very large Labrador, who loves cake…..

From there we returned to the hotel to collect our bags before making our way to the airport at 18.30.

Unfortunately, things went downhill a little from there as Jersey was hit with strong winds and heavy rain throughout the day, which meant that my flight to Gatwick was cancelled.

After sitting in the airport for a few hours, we finally gave up and headed back to the Pomme D’Or Hotel for an extra night in Jersey, even though the flight-board kept saying that the flight was scheduled to leave at 23.30…

Details on Saturday’s activities, and whether I actually make it back to the Isle of Man will be given in next week’s Blog…

I am extremely sorry to miss the two remembrance events that I was scheduled to attend on Saturday, I will have to give my sincere apologies.

I genuinely enjoyed my CPA trip to Jersey and I met some fantastic people along the way….

With regard to costs, the whole trip was funded by the CPA and the States of Jersey, and I have no intention of claiming any expenses from the CPA or the Manx Parliament.

A final thank you to Lord Haselhurst and Felicity Herrmann for their delightful company throughout the trip, and to the CPA for the opportunity.

A real privilege to represent the Manx Parliament and the CPA on this particular trip.