Confusion over Jersey's first ever 'Minister for Energy and Climate Change' role

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CHIEF Minister Kristina Moore has admitted that some new political job titles – where assistant ministers are referred to as ministers – can be confusing and that she will be discussing the matter with the Privileges and Procedures Committee.

Earlier this week in a government press release it was announced that Assistant Environment Minister Hilary Jeune had become ‘Jersey’s first Minister for Energy and Climate Change’.

The announcement sparked criticism from Deputy Sam Mézec, who said the usual process for appointing a minister had not been followed.

Ministerial appointments must be ratified and voted on by the entire States Assembly, whereas assistant ministers can be appointed by the government.

Deputy Moore said that she ‘accepted’ the wording of the announcement should have been clearer to avoid confusion and agreed with Deputy Mézec that there was a distinction between the role of ministers and assistant ministers. She confirmed she would raise the matter with the Privileges and Procedures Committee, which oversees States processes.

Upon her election as Chief Minister, Deputy Moore said it was her intention to create a Cabinet Office, with assistant ministers taking on roles similar to junior ministers in the UK, having specific responsibility for certain areas. Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson was given responsibility for sport and has since been referred to as Sports Minister in official government communications.

Deputy Moore said: ‘As I set out in my nomination speech for Chief Minister, it is important that all members of the government have working titles which properly reflect their roles and responsibilities. This is the intention of Deputy Jeune being known as the Minister for Energy and Climate Change for the purposes of her work.’

A 14-day notice period must be observed before a ministerial appointment is agreed, as per the States of Jersey Law 2005.

Because this and other processes had not taken place, Deputy Mézec said technically there was no Energy and Climate Change Minister and that Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf still held responsibility for those areas of his portfolio.

Deputy Mézec said that for the government to call someone a minister without the correct process having been followed could be ‘misleading’ and could cause ‘confusion’ among Islanders about who was accountable for particular portfolio areas.

‘It’s a superficial role that doesn’t mean anything,’ he added.

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