MORE than 200 parishioners packed into Communicare on Friday as eight States hopefuls set out their campaign stalls.
Voters were there to try to choose two candidates in St Brelade No 2, the most contested constituency in the forthcoming Deputies elections.
Just one sitting States Member, Deputy Sean Power, is seeking to retain his seat. The other current Deputy, Peter Troy, is stepping down after a failed Senatorial campaign. All the candidates were given five minutes to talk about themselves and set out their visions for the future before the meeting was opened to questions.
The order in which candidates spoke and answered the questions was decided by drawing names written on ping-pong balls out of a bag. They each had 90 seconds to respond.
For around 90 minutes, questions were fired from the floor on everything from the tax status of 1(1)K super-rich immigrants and kerbside recycling to the expense of consultants brought in from outside the Island and the issue of overdevelopment.
However, the question which probably provoked the most animated response from the audience was about the next Chief Minister. The candidates were asked who they would like to see in the top job.
Martha Bernstein and Jeff Hathaway said Senator-elect Sarah Ferguson.
Mervyn Le Masurier and Montfort Tadier said Deputy Roy Le Hérissier. Mr Tadier added that as the St Saviour Deputy had already announced that he would not seek the office, he would go for St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft.
Graham Truscott said Senator Paul Routier, and John Le Galle said that he would support Senator Freddie Cohen, and Richard de la Haye proposed Ian Le Marquand.
Deputy Power said that he would be happy to work under all three realistic candidates, Senators Terry Le Sueur, Ben Shenton and Paul Routier. When pressed by the audience to name just one, he said Senator Le Sueur.
The eight were also asked what their first States proposition or aim would be if they won a seat.
Mrs Bernstein said that she would halt the Waterfront development and force a rethink.
Mr Truscott said that he would act to get something for the young people of the parish, such as a place for them to hang out.
Mr Tadier said that he would address parking problems and improve lighting on the parish’s dark estates.
Mr Hathaway said that he had shown the sort of thing he would do by helping to launch and run La Baguette, the parish magazine.
Mr de la Haye said that he would propose ways to curb States spending and make sure that tax revenues were spent wisely.
Mr Le Masurier said that he would look into increasing the annual company registration fee for non-local companies as a way of affording GST exemptions on food and other essentials.
Mr Le Galle said that he would aim to sort out parking problems on housing estates.
Deputy Power said that he would carry on as before, but concentrate on getting new homes started and completed at Belle Vue and securing capital investment in Les Quennevais School.
The candidates were asked what they would do about the Waterfront development, and all said that they would halt the building of a financial district. Other questions were asked on addressing speeding in the parish, especially by motorcyclists around the La Moye loop past Corbière, and on what the eight’s views were on electoral reform.