Both Jersey Telecom and the JEP apologised to the public of the Island for the embarrassing error, which came on the eve of today’s historic States debate on the controversial proposed £10m waterfront land deal with Les Pas Holdings.Originally Jersey Telecom reported that 21,779 calls had been made to the phone line urging States Members to vote against the proposed Les Pas deal, with 3,374 supporting the deal.
Those figures were used in yesterday’s front page report on the Les Pas issue.However, later in the day, and after the Jersey Evening Post had been published, Jersey Telecom issued a statement to say that the numbers they had issued were, in fact, the number of seconds that the phone calls lasted rather than the total number of calls made.The revised figures for the numbers of calls were 881 urging Members to vote against the deal today and 134 supporting a vote in favour of the £10m Les Pas land deal.Jersey Telecom managing director Bob Lawrence apologised for supplying the Jersey Evening Post with incorrect information for the Les Pas vote line.In a letter published on page ten today, Mr Lawrence says: ‘I write to apologise to the JEP, States Members and all others who are involved in the debate over the ownership of land at the St Helier waterfront for the error Jersey Telecom made in issuing incorrect results for the JEP vote line.’We fully recognise the critical importance of the decision that the States is being asked to make on this matter and we are extremely embarrassed that the information we provided was inaccurate.’Having learned of this error, it was important that the information was corrected as soon as possible, particularly in view of the impending States debate,’ he said.He said that a thorough review of internal processes has been instigated and and he fully expects changes to be made to procedures.
‘We have spoken to the individuals concerned and appropriate action has been taken,’ he said.Jersey Evening Post editor Chris Bright said: ‘We apologise to our readers, and to those directly involved in the Les Pas issue, for this very embarrassing mistake.
We very much regret the situation, but also appreciate Jersey Telecom’s prompt admission of error.’Mr Bright explained that the paper had asked Jersey Telecom to confirm the original set of figures before publication.
He added that, despite the major discrepancy in numbers, the ratio between Yes and No votes in both sets of figures remains the same.’There is some consolation in that fact that both sets of figures were consistent in showing that about 87 per cent of calls were against the deal and just over 13 per cent in favour,’ he said.Policy and Resources Committee president Senator Frank Walker, who has today proposed the Les Pas deal to the House, said that the result was ‘entirely predictable’.
‘While I understand the views of those who did call, the majority of people who did vote are not in possession of the facts as known to members of my committee and States Members as a whole,’ he said.