Minister Calls Government System 'Absolutely Poisonous'

The Children and Housing Minister has revealed that he's considered resigning several times after feeling 'stonewalled and sometimes ignored' by civil servants.

Senator Sam Mezec said there was one incident where a civil servant overruled elected politicians, which he had to fight to overturn.

In a scathing attack, the Senator called the system of government 'absolutely poisonous', and said it lets down the island they're supposed to serve.

"It leads us to waste so much time and money avoiding taking responsibility for the decisions that we ought to, we spend huge amounts on consultants and look where it gets us.

Ten years further down the line since we discovered we needed a new hospital and not a brick laid. We can't even get a decent shortlist put through our government system.

"We find ourselves with decisions made by this assembly still ignored by goings-on behind the scenes and we find Ministers unable to deliver on some of their own election promises even when they were clear about doing that."

The strong comments were made in a debate on whether to conduct a review into the current system of government.

Environment Minister Deputy John Young wanted an appointed independent panel to make recommendations by next July on the benefits and downsides of this system - so they can be weighed against a different one.

Suggestions included a hybrid system where more members would assist each Minister and a return to the Committee system.

However many politicians said a review just wasn't necessary and not what islanders would want to see and have money spent on. It would have cost at least £100,000.

Members of Reform Jersey said moving to a party-based system was the way to go, while others argued the opposite. Deputy Kirsten Morel said this system is designed for political parties, but the people of Jersey keep rejecting it because it's 'divisive and tribal.'

Deputy Young, in trying to convince members, said many islanders question whether its Ministers or civil servants actually running the show - which Assistant Social Security Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden took exception to.

"My Chief Officer does not lead me where he thinks that we should be going. I lead where and he follows.

"He gives me the information and what's going and asks me what I want to do about it and I give him my answer.

"I do not get led by any of the civil service and it's just a rumour that gets spread around far too much."

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