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Monday, 17 December 2012

Has there been a breach of the Jersey Public Markets Trust?

Jersey's Central Market viewed from
the Halkett Place double gate 
Reading old laws is a fascinating business; there is a totally different feel to them and to that end I present the LOI (1885) TOUCHANT L’ADMINISTRATION DES MARCHÉS PUBLICS (the law regarding the administration of the public markets). English translations are mine and are included in brackets after the French.
1  ‎La régie, l’administration et la police des Marchés sont du ressort des États, et seront exercées selon les ordres et sous les directions de cette Assemblée, par le Ministre responsable pour Transport and Technical Services. 
(The governance, administration and policing of the markets are the responsibility of States, and will be performed in accordance with the orders and directions of the Assembly by the Minister responsible for Transport and Technical Services.)
The States of Jersey are solely the trustees of the Public Markets. 
2 ‎Les États ou le Ministre responsable pour Transport and Technical Services, par délégation des États, nommeront un ou plusieurs Inspecteurs dont le devoir sera de faire observer les Règlements qui pourraient être établis de temps à autre pour le meilleur avantage desdits Marchés et ce sous la direction dudit Ministre. Le Connétable et les Centeniers de la paroisse de St. Hélier sont également chargés de veiller au maintien de la paix et du bon ordre dans lesdits Marchés.
(The States or the Minister responsible for Transport and Technical Services by States delegation, shall appoint one or more inspectors whose duty is to enforce the regulations that may be established from time to time to the best advantage of such contracts and under the direction of the said Minister. The Constable and Centeniers of the parish of St. Helier are responsible for ensuring the maintenance of peace and good order in such markets.)
Les États auront le droit d’émaner des Règlements pour le bon ordre, la police et l’entretien des Marchés, et pourront, comme par le passé, louer les boutiques, étaux et emplacements dans les Marchés, afin de subvenir aux frais qu’entraînent l’administration et l’entretien des Marchés.
Les États sont également autorisés à établir des Règlements pour la régie et l’entretien des Abattoirs Publics, ainsi que pour réglementer le débit de viande de boucherie, tant en dedans qu’en dehors des Marchés.
Les Règlements émanés en vertu de cet Article resteront en vigueur jusqu’à leur rappel ou modification. 
(The States have the right to set Regulations for the order, policing and maintenance of the markets, and may continue to rent shops, stalls and markets sites in order to meet the costs that cause the administration and maintenance contracts. States are also authorized to establish regulations for the control and maintenance of Public Abattoirs, as well as to regulate the flow of meat, both inside and outside of markets. Regulations passed under this Article shall remain in force until their recall or modification.)
Les amendes imposées par les Règlements qui pourraient, de temps à autre, être établis en vertu de l’Article 3, seront au bénéfice de Sa Majesté.
(Any fines imposed by the Regulations which may from time to time be established pursuant to Article 3 shall be for the benefit of the Crown.)
Prior to the occupation Jersey did not have income tax per se, it was the Germans who established our 20% tax rate. So every law not only sets out exactly what the States are going to do, but also how it is going to be paid for. In this case the rents from the market stalls are to be used exclusively to pay for the administration and maintenance of the markets. 

How do we know that rents may only be used for this purpose, exclusively? There is a simple rule of legal interpretation which states that only those items listed apply (and it is for this reason the phrase including, but not limited to is included in so many statutes).

Therein lies the problem for our money grubbing modern day States of Jersey, they cannot fully exploit the site without changing the law and destroying one of the greatest examples of Victorian engineering in Jersey.

Everything from the cellars (which are cool in summer, warm in winter for meat storage) to the roof is an engineering masterpiece and designed for a purpose, even down to the central fountain which regulates the humidity. A structure designed to prolong the life of meat, vegetables, flowers and fish from the days before electricity and refrigeration.

The 1885 law makes it clear that the property belongs to the people of Jersey and the States merely administer the building, they do not have the right to sell or alter the property in any way. Maybe it is time to look into the rest of the properties before we (the beneficiaries) have our property sold by the States of Jersey (the administrators) to be used merely to pay their own employees. Maybe the time has come for us to appoint new administrators before our ancestors (the settlors) wishes (that the markets should be there to benefit the people of Jersey) are surrendered and the gift provided by the 19th Century residents of Jersey is stolen in a 'breach of trust' by the States of Jersey.

Many of the public markets have already gone, Sand Street is now a car park and the Cattle Market is now the property of Jersey Telecoms Ltd. Whilst you cannot object to much needed car parking, the Cattle Market has already been given away by the trustees when they had no legal right to do so. Trustees may not sell property held in trust except to benefit the beneficiaries and I don't remember receiving any part of the proceeds from the sale.