Deputy Terry McDonald criticised the ‘smoke and mirrors’ and ‘spin’ that left him ultimately frustrated with the way the Assembly is run. And in a thinly veiled criticism of other Members, he added that he was not prepared to ‘play to the cameras’ and speak unnecessarily during States debates to simply repeat points which had already been made by others.
Deputy McDonald, known to many as ‘Rocketman’ after a cancelled world record firework attempt resulted in a legal battle with the States that left him with massive debts, was elected unopposed as Deputy for St Saviour No 3 in 2014, but has faced criticism from some for failing to make an impact in the Chamber.
However, the Deputy said a lot of the work he did was often ‘behind the scenes’ and that he gained the most satisfaction from helping to resolve Islanders’ day-to-day worries and meeting people face-to-face. He admitted that he may have ‘disappointed’ some people with how little he spoke during debate.
He said: ‘I have always been a talker, but for the first time I have developed some good listening skills.
‘It was very rare that I felt the need to talk during any debate – I watched and listened to people and weighed up the facts to decide what I was going to do, bearing my constituents in mind.
‘I don’t do smoke and mirrors – I was outflanked and outnumbered and I think a lot of backbenchers will feel the same. Trying to achieve anything is tremendously difficult.’
He added that he ‘didn’t feel the need to repeat things’ during States debates and that some were guilty of ‘playing to the cameras’.
Deputy McDonald, a former policeman, served as a member of the Health and Social Services Scrutiny Panel and on the Future Hospital Review Panel.
He added: ‘I have no regrets – I had to find out for myself what the States could offer and I’m afraid I have discovered it is not for me. That is mainly down to the smoke and mirrors – I wouldn’t change and I’m pleased I continued being my old self.
‘You can’t beat dealing with people – and governments don’t deal very well with people, unfortunately. The States is so detached from the people we are there to serve the people who pay our wages.’
He added: ‘I would like to thank all of the people who stopped me every day for a chat.
‘I also want to thank my fiancée for her patience, support and understanding.’
Three candidates have declared their intention to stand for the one seat in St Saviour No 3 – teacher Jess Perchard, property manager Andrew Le Quesne and centenier Mary O’Keeffe.