If the Policy and Resources Committee proposal to gift the company a prime waterfront site in return for Les Pas dropping its claim to the St Helier foreshore is accepted by the House, then it is expected that the deal will be concluded within days.However, if Members vote against the proposal, then the Les Pas issue will end up in the Royal Court next month.The Les Pas deal has been one of the most acrimonious issues in local political history.
The situation has been exacerbated by the need for secrecy in case any public statements damage the States’ case should the legal battle resume.Even today the arguments will be heard behind closed doors, although States Members did have the option of sitting in public session.
The Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, and three States Members who had previously declared an interest, withdrew from the Chamber before the debate began.
They were Senator Christopher Lakeman and P & R members St Ouen Constable Ken Vibert and Deputy Maurice Dubras.
P & R president Senator Frank Walker was expected to present the arguments explaining why Members should support the proposal.
The committee has consistently argued that the deal is in the public interest as the downsides of continuing to fight the legal battle are many and present significant risk.The committee say that even if the Stateswere to win the legal battle, it could cost as much as £7m in unrecoverable legal costs.
However, if the States were to lose and Les Pas won the rights to massive swathes of reclaimed and developed land, the bill could be hundreds of millions of pounds.