Google+ Followers

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The willing but unknowing pillage of the Public Trust by States Members.

The role of a States Member, as trustee of the Public, has not really been examined so I thought I would look into it for the benefit of our States Members to help to improve their performance and begin to re-build the trust of the Public in their representatives:

For inspiration I have looked at the duties of a trustee:
  1. Carry out the expressed terms of the trust instrument
  2. Defend the trust
  3. Prudently invest trust assets
  4. Be impartial among beneficiaries
  5. Account for actions and keep beneficiaries informed
  6. Be loyal
  7. Not delegate
  8. Not profit
  9. Not be in a conflict of interest position
  10. Administer in the best interest of the beneficiaries
As you can probably imagine, executing their duties as States Members is not going to be an easy task and requires selflessness.

So moving on to the Rights of every human, which existed before any government and will last beyond every government.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Article 1)
Therefore it is possible to conclude that government should only act to protect those rights. This view is one shared by the signatories to the Declaration of Independence of the Congress of the United States. Italics are added by me but stated in the previous section of the declaration.
"That to secure these rights [amongst which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their [the people's] Safety and Happiness."
So first I would point out the glaring inconsistency between the above and the fact of being the nation which most regularly deprives its citizens of life and liberty (the death penalty and having the largest percentile of people imprisoned).

The preamble to the European Convention on Human Rights looks to the UNDHR as follows:
"Being resolved, as the Governments of European countries which are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law to take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration;"
Then we can further look at Article 8(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights (italics mine)
"There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right [the right to a private life] except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
So from the above it is possible to derive the first basis upon which a vote for or against a law should be determined - IS IT NECESSARY?

Necessary to me means that there is no other alternative; it does not mean helpful, beneficial, useful, makes the conduct of government easier, the popular choice or even the best of all available options. If there is a way to achieve the same objective with less regulation rather than more, then the law should be rejected.

On that basis the vast majority of legislation enacted in what I like to call 'the Walker era' post 1980 would not have had my support.

This basis would also include the principals of SUBSIDIARITY, is this a matter which an individual could take responsibility for? If not, could this matter be dealt with by each Parish individually? Only matters which are island wide concerns should be dealt with by the States and those matters which cannot be dealt with by the States (such as Foreign Relations and Defence) should be left to the United Kingdom.

The second basis of determination would be IS IT PATENTLY ABSURD?

There are many patently absurd situations which have arisen in Jersey in recent years; the most glaring is the patently absurd situation whereby people are taxed to the extent that they then have to make a claim to income support to have some of their money back. Clearly the sensible option is not to take the tax in the first place.

The third basis of determination would be ACCOUNTABILITY

This would particularly apply to legislation through which monies were raised by the government, is it clear where the money raised is to be spent, who is to spend it and who (and I mean which Civil Servants) are responsible for the expenditure and who will be dismissed is the money is misappropriated.

Each contains a section on financial and manpower implications; however this section is usually inaccurate as they state there are no financial or manpower considerations and yet create additional responsibilities for the States. Any responsibility must consume some of the time of some civil servants somewhere and may well affect the grade of existing existing staff members. The idea that there are no implications can only be true if we have excess capacity in the system already, in which case the States are not prudently investing the assets of the Trust and thus are in breach of trust.

The Draft Social Housing Transfer for example which transfers Public Property entrusted to the States of Jersey into a States owned Company neglects to mention that this is essentially removing all the property from the Public Trust into a company and whilst the shares of the company will remain the property of the Trust it removes a degree of control from the public and into the hands of administrators who will be allowed to benefit from that property. The Human Rights implications therefore are that the owners of the property (the Public of the Island of Jersey and its Dependencies) may be denied the Right to enjoyment of their property in contravention of Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the ECHR.

The Waterfront which was paid for by Public money is likewise in a company and it is thus not owned by the Public, this similarly smacks of being denied the right to enjoyment of one's property.

THE UNDERLYING ISSUE WITH RECENT LAW

The underlying issue therefore is the gradual removal of public assets, which ensured that the duties of a Trustee applied to their administration have gradually been shifted into private ownership allowing the States of Jersey to generate profits. These profits have sat in the companies and because dividends have not been paid back into the Trust, the States of Jersey have been profiting not from the Trust but from commercial activities which I am not convinced the Assembly were aware of as a whole.

This process is continuing, and damaging the economy of Jersey.

So States Members are you really sure you know what you are voting for, the implications of the laws you are agreeing to? Are you really executing the instrument of Trust placed in you within the lawful duties that the position entails as stated above?

Jersey is being sold out from under our feet and you all have been willing participants, although I accept that not all of you have been knowing participants in the great robbery of the people of Jersey.