In reality, the parochial contests spurred very considerable interest – which is just as it should be.
The Island’s Senators might be regarded as the senior cadre of politicians, but the full significance of a Constable’s role must not be underestimated. Father of the parish is an ancient, honourable and influential position.
In addition, by virtue of their ex-officio presence in the States, the Constables are a considerable political force, providing a body of experience and, it can be argued, a 12-seat stabilising influence. This is because hot-heads, those who promote single issues and populists are most unlikely to capture the hearts and minds of parishioners.
Of course, in the case of this week’s elections, father of the parish is an odd expression to use. Although only one woman – from a field in which she was the only woman candidate – won a Senatorial seat, two of the four new Constables could rightly be called mothers of their parishes.
The Constables-elect of St Lawrence, Deidre Mezbourian, and St Mary, Juliette Gallichan, have both proved their worth not only through long service to their parishes but also as States Deputies. Meanwhile, the Constable-elect of St Clement, Len Norman, is completing a course that has taken him through every level of political service. In addition, he is following a family tradition, his father having earned a reputation as a popular and able Constable.
The newcomer to the political aspect of parochial service is St Peter Constable-elect John Refault, though as a former honorary policeman and Procureur du Bien Public he could hardly be called a stranger to parish organisation.
Each of the four new recruits to the Constables’ ranks has the potential to run a tight ship in home waters. They should also strengthen the States Assembly when they take their new seats in the middle of the Chamber.
As well as deserving the heartiest congratulations on their election victories, all four receive our good wishes for success in this latest phase of their public service careers.