Bob Hill has a good blog posting on
In it he describes how the "unanimous" vote came about because those States members who had been critical of the historical child abuse enquiry were simply not present for the vote; in his words, they had "deserted" their post.
"11 members of various ranks jumped ship and retreated no doubt to the safety of the Members' tea room."
"Fortunately following several broadsides from the lower ranks both Messrs Gorst and Le Gresley remembered that they were supposed to be at the helm and agreed to provide the musket balls. However it was apparent that neither could persuade the 11 deserters to return to their posts."
"What is known is that 4 of the absentees were also among the 6 absent when the vote was taken on the proposition as amended. The 4 were Senator's Bailhache and Ozouf along with Connétable Rondel and Deputy Rondel. No doubt each will have their own reasons for not being present but given the importance of the vote one would have expected each to have given reasons for their absence, particularly as they could have been valid."
Well, I've been following this up, and two of the members who were not present - both coincidentally with the surname Rondel - both had valid reasons for not being present at the vote. I'm not sure why they should necessarily give reasons for their absence; it would be more important for them to give reasons if asked why they were not there.
In the case of Constable Phil Rondel, I've been reliably informed that it was a sudden personal family matter which occasioned his absence from the States; these kind of emergencies do happen from time to time, and that couldn't be helped. He probably didn't feel the need as the decision was unanimous to explain his absence, which, after all, was a private matter. I've been given a few extra details, but a blog is certainly not the place to write them; suffice it to say that I am wholly convinced his absence was both unplanned and necessary.
In the case of Deputy Richard Rondel, I was told by Carrie Modral (of Jersey Care Leavers) that he had missed the vote by minutes, and was dashing back, just too late. He was out at another meeting. Remember that the debate on the inquiry had already been delayed and postponed, so when it moved to its current position, it was not wholly surprising that it clashed with other appointments. Those already had other people committed to them, and couldn't all easily be moved; this was one of those.
Deputy Rondel was gracious enough to reply to my query about his absence, and allow this to be made public:
"Hi Tony - thanks for that - I was in the States for most of it but had to leave to attend a Bailiffs Panel meeting where I was presenting details of the Fete de St Helier Street Party which I am organising. When I got there they were running 20 minutes late - after the meeting I rushed back as fast as I could but missed the vote by a few minutes - yes I was gutted that I missed it but I fully supported and always have supported the enquiry - I have hardly missed a vote and commit myself totally to my role! Tony if you would be willing to post I would appreciate it and/or if anyone would like to contact me I would be more than happy to explain!"
So there we have it - two entirely legitimate reasons for absent votes on that day. This is not to criticise Bob, who is probably right in his surmise about some of the other absentees, especially Sir Philip Bailhache - a Senator who does not strike me as especially keen on the inquiry.
It would be interesting to know the reasons for the other absentees. Perhaps as a follow up, Bob Hill could ask them why they were not present, and also let us know if they decline to reply, which I suspect might well be the case.
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