Hustings: St Clement

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THE five candidates vying for the two seats in St Clement were asked about everything from airline subsidies to their favourite football team last night at the hustings.

A good turnout at the parish hall ensured that there was a range of topics covered when parishioners got the chance to question Deputy Gerard Baudains, Anne Dupré, Deputy Ian Gorst, Philip Maguire and Jeremy Strickland.

Around 15 questions were squeezed into the two-hour meeting, with parishioners airing their queries on subjects such as the Howard League report findings, the size and expenditure of the States, the Waterfront development and recycling.

Ian Cutter’s decision to end his question, asking how the candidates intend to improve on the work of the current Deputies, with ‘and what football team do you support?’ lightened the mood of the proceedings.

Mr Maguire, a Bolton Wanderers fan, wanted to see more people in the States using methods such as referenda and surveys because ‘the people are the power’.

Deputy Gorst, who declared himself a St Clement FC fan, warned the people that if they did not like what he had done in the last three years then they would not like the next because he planned to do ‘more of the same’, including defending the parish and being available for parishioners.

Mrs Dupré, pledging her allegiance to Hearts FC in order to ‘keep the family happy’, felt that sheltered housing was desperately needed and expressed concern about the ageing population and the fees which they had to pay.

Deputy Baudains, not a football fan, would push for pavements at Le Hocq and opposite the church, and he hoped that politicians would pay more attention during sittings to allow for more progress to be made.

Chelsea supporter Mr Strickland said he would apply a duty of care to everything, would hold surgeries to represent parishioners, and would like to see more research into States ideas instead of things being taken at face value.

Mike Dun wanted to know what candidates would do about housing in view of the fact that the Housing Law had been introduced in 1949 to alleviate the housing shortage and had failed.

Mr Strickland said that he would stop external buy-to-lets and introduce a population cap. Mr Maguire described the housing situation as ‘scandalous’ and said that we should look at building cheaper, more affordable property.

Deputy Gorst said that unqualified people should not have to live in second-class accommodation and that a reduction in achieving qualifications to ten years would need to be analysed to see what effect that would have on the market.

Having worked in the Housing department 38 years ago, Mrs Dupré said that she did not think that the ‘waiting list’ would ever be cleared. She added that many people in Europe were very happy to rent property.

Deputy Baudains said that the current situation had been caused by an imbalance between supply and demand, and he thought that the idea of solving the pension shortage with economic growth was an ‘illusion’.

Other questions included the following topics: whether Senator Syvret should be allowed to deliver a traditional Christmas speech, why a 16-year-old should vote for each candidate, and changing the day on which Islanders vote.

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