Thursday, 8 May 2014

Deconstructing A Comment

"THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to request the Minister for Transport and Technical Services to take the necessary steps to cease the provision of free car parking for States Members, Jurats and Law Officers at Snow Hill car park with immediate effect so that, upon completion of the Transport and Technical Services North of St. Helier Flood alleviation scheme in the car park, the 11 spaces currently reserved for States Members, Jurats and Law Officers can be amalgamated with the 84 public spaces currently provided at Snow Hill subject to the continued provision of adequate parking for Jurats at an alternative location as required."

Eddie Noel's proposition seems eminently reasonable. The States still have free parking at Pier Road - they don't lose free parking. They have been used to not being able to park at Snow Hill for over a year. Why not keep the status quo, and let shoppers use Snow Hill?

But PPC decided to make a number of critical comments on that proposition. I've deconstructed these below, by giving a somewhat cynical translation of what they mean, in plain English:

PPC Comments and Translation:

Under the provisions of Standing Order 128(d) and (e), the Committee is required to review the services, facilities and remuneration packages provided to elected members.

Translation: this is part of our remit, and we will have our say. We haven't done anything, but that's not the point.

The Committee is of the view that the current car parking provisions afforded to States Members should be reviewed and proposals brought forward in relation to alternative areas that could be utilised instead of Snow Hill.

Translation: We haven't done anything yet. So we are calling for a review. A classic delaying stratagem.

Any such review should take into account all parking provision extended to States Members, including the spaces provided for Ministers and Assistant Ministers at Cyril Le Marquand House and elsewhere.

Translation: If we say the review needs to be very wide ranging, and list one or two other parking areas, it looks as if we have been thinking about it.

Any proposals for change should provide for members who may have a permanent or temporary disability and therefore need spaces located near the States Building.

Translation: ... and for good measure, let's state the obvious.

The Committee accepts that the public need for accessible and convenient spaces in St. Helier overrides that of States members' needs; however, it also acknowledges that States Members have a civic duty to perform and should not be hindered in doing so.

Translation: States members need perks. They are important people, you know.

The Committee considers this to be a peripheral matter and is disappointed that Deputy E.J. Noel of St. Lawrence has seen fit to raise it by way of a proposition, when it could be resolved without the need for a States debate.

Translation: We could have simply done nothing, and fobbed him off with talk of a review needed until it was too late, and Snow Hill was free for States members parking again. No need for a debate!

The Committee would also be interested to know whether Deputy Noel consulted with any of the users of Snow Hill car park before lodging this proposition.

Translation: Aha! We spotted a weakness in his case. Of course, we didn't consult with any of the users of Snow Hill before preparing this comment either. But let's hope no one notices that.

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