From Senator Ben Shenton,
Health and Social Services Minister.
THE recent GST food exemptions debate marked a new low in Jersey politics – even though I should have been prepared for the ‘dirty tricks’ after the last attempt to exclude food from tax.
Assistant Treasury Minister Deputy Le Fondré’s proposition may be considered by some to be a valid way forward, despite its numerous flaws. What I object to is the under-hand dressing up of preferred treasury policy within a private member’s proposition in order to defeat a policy that the Treasury did not agree with.
The ‘Le Fondré’ proposition is actually the official government (civil servant) policy designed by the Treasury department with input from Senator Le Sueur and Senator Ozouf – which is why the Treasury Minister has not needed to amend any part of it. It was only when I entered the Chamber on the day of the debate and Senator Walker told me that both Senator Ozouf and Senator Le Sueur were now thinking of voting against GST exemptions that I realised that neither had been completely honest with their ministerial colleagues.
In order to confirm my suspicions, I sent a note to the duo pointing out a subtle flaw in the Le Fondré proposition to see if the information would be passed on to Deputy Le Fondré. Sure enou gh, an amendment (which I believe breaches Standing Orders) hit States Members’ desks late in the day on Friday rectifying the flaw that I had pointed out to Senators Ozouf and Le Sueur.
Incidentally, despite the amendment, the paragraph in the proposition is still worthless. I believe the public of the Island deserve more straightforward and honest representation. I shall not take part in the Le Fondré debate next week and shall remove myself from the Chamber at that time as I feel that the circumstances of its introduction make it unworthy for consideration.
It is my opinion that the current Council of Ministers are one of the most unprofessional and manipulative groups of individuals I have ever had the misfortune to work with. They represent the wishes of the senior civil servants rather than the people of this Island and their capacity to mislead their elected colleagues is breathtaking.
Grande Route des Sablons,