As 2014 brings us a New Year, SOSJ reports on the most worrying issue before islanders in environmental, social and financial terms. This is the hurried and unethically arranged development currently being rushed through by the States of Jersey Development Company (SoJDC) on the site that is now the Esplanade car park.
What is happening?!
Over the past few years, the public have become increasingly bewildered and confused by exactly what is happening, why the consultation and promises that happened in 2007/2008 was not followed up, and the consequences thereof.
In an effort to untangle the web of spin and confusion that prevails, we have summarised very briefly the sequence of events that is most pertinent to this unauthorised development. For unauthorised it surely is given the promises made to the States by the former Chief Minister and the former Planning and Environment Minister.
We begin with a forward by Ben Shenton, former Senator and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who commented on a recent post about the development on our Facebook pages. We believe that Mr. Shenton has summed up the situation very well.
What Ben Shenton had to say
Ben Shenton, former Senator and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee says:
I was in the States when the original master plan was debated and passed by the States Assembly. There was no doubt that any amendments to the master plan would have to come back to the Assembly for approval. This was clear throughout the debate through its structure, verbal assurances, and wording.
The problem is there no body to police States ‘decisions and ensure that propositions as passed are adhered to.
It may well be inconvenient for the SoJDC to have to go through a lengthy master plan debate but if the States Assembly are to demonstrate that they have ultimate control over Ministerial Departments this must be done. The world is very different from when the Harcourt/underpass/bond proposal was passed and the construction of the development will help at these difficult times.
However, the wider implications of ethical government should take precedence and the new master plan should be put in front of our elected representatives. Any delay in development in doing the right thing would be due to the fact that the SoJDC and their masters have bypassed an important States Assembly by cutting corners.
The Planning Department and the Planning Minister have been put in a very difficult position through this unethical and undemonstrative approach.
The Council of Minister’s policy is to kickstart the economy and Waterfront scheme so they will be going against economic policy and political policy if they turn the scheme down. However ,deep down they know that this is not the master plan passed by the States assembly and will know that passing the scheme will not be to ethical standards.
The public would have a much greater respect for the States if they applied the laws and standards that they inflict on members of the public to themselves.