Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Meaningless Adverts

Deputy R.G. Le Hérissier in the 10th June 2008 States sitting, noted in a passing comment:

"It is a point I have been hammering on to no effect, it should be added, for several years, is the quality of the advertisements. We have got yet another one, a totally turgid advertisement for the Procureur de St. Clement in the press at the moment, which is absolutely meaningless to the public. It is a total mass of gobbledegook and there have been all sorts of attempts to improve the level of advertising to make it more relevant to the public, and we are spending hundreds of pounds every time on totally useless advertising. Is there any way we can deal with that?"


The actual advertisement reads:

Paroisse de St Clement Election for Procureur Du Bien Public In accordance with Article 22 of the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002, Electors are hereby notified that an election for Procureur du Bien Public will take place on Wednesday 2 July 2008. Proof of Identity - Electors are advised to bring with them to the polling station some form of identification as this may be requested before they are allowed to vote. The polling station at the parish hall will be open from 12 noon to 8 p.m. The candidates nominated for position of Procureur du Bien Public are as follows - ......

Wikipedia notes that:

A Procureur du Bien Public is the legal and financial representative of a Parish in Jersey. Procureurs are elected for a term of three years. There are two Procureurs for each Parish and their duty is to act as public trustees, maintaining an oversight of Parish finances and represent the Parish along with the Connetable in respect of property transactions of the Parish

Since 2003 (in accordance with the Public Elections (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2003) Procureurs du Bien Public are elected at a public election. Before the passage of the 2003 law an Assembly of Electors of each parish elected the Procureurs in accordance with the Loi (1804) au sujet des assemblées paroissiales.

It doesn't note that changes in the law coming into force will also mean the senior Procureur du Bien Public in a parish should be empowered by law to deputise for the Connétable in the event of the latter's incapacity or absence from the Island.

But how much does the general public understand of this? Indeed, what precisely are the tasks a Procureur has to fulfil? I think the public has some idea with a States Member, that their purpose is (ideally) to represent the people, to deal with legislation (in a variety of capacites), to be available to help their constituents, both in States sittings, scrutiny committees, other committees, and Government departments. Although if the JEP ever thought about it a "Day in the Life of...." would be a useful feature.

But does a Procureur actually do? How do they "represent the Parish"? What kind of oversight of Parish finances do they conduct (or should they conduct)? The BBC site has just "The Procureur du Bien Public is in charge of looking after parish accounts" which makes him look like a glorified book keeper. Or her, for that matter, but as far as I am aware, no woman has ever held that office.

No comments: