Scrutiny Calls Out Government For 'Lacking Transparency'

Scrutiny has called out Jersey's government for not operating transparently by failing to publish the minutes from Ministers' recent meetings discussing Covid rules.

Calls to share up-to-date documents have been going on for months.

There was even a States vote on the issue in early November, which was overwhelmingly backed by politicians.

Since then, the Scrutiny Liaison Committee says it has made 'multiple enquiries' asking the whereabouts of the minutes from the Competent Authority Ministers' meetings, and when they would be shared - as the successful States proposition demanded.

Since the start of the pandemic, a small group of Ministers have been regularly meeting to receive advice from Jersey's medical advisers, STAC, and have the final say on which measures should be introduced to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

The group is chaired by the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, and also includes the Health Minister, Economic Development Minister, External Relations Minister, Home Affairs Minister and Infrastructure Minister.

The 'Competent Authority Ministers'
(L-R: Sen. Lyndon Farnham, Dep. Richard Renouf, Sen. John Le Fondré, Sen. Ian Gorst, Dep. Kevin Lewis & Dep. Gregory Guida)

While they aren't formal members of 'CAM', the Treasury Minister and Education Minister are also invited to the meetings which the government says is because of 'the importance of their portfolios to events around Covid-19'.

Senator Kristina Moore, who chairs the Scrutiny Liason Committee, says failing to share minutes from these meetings is the latest example of this government not operating transparently or respecting the scrutiny process:

"Transparency in Government decision-making is essential, particularly when such decisions impact the entire Island.

The failure to share CAM minutes with Scrutiny, even after this request was approved by the States Assembly, hinders Scrutiny from carrying out its core function as a critical friend which holds the Government to account.

We recommend that this is rectified immediately so that Scrutiny is able to provide confidence to the Assembly and the public when it comes to emergency decision-making in response to Covid-19."

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