Use your freedom to get out and vote, says Bailiff

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Before an audience of many hundreds in Liberation Square and thousands more listening to the speech being broadcast around Jersey, Sir William Bailhache criticised the Island’s history of low turn-out rates at election time.

On a day focused on looking back at life under enemy rule, he said that it was more important than ever to ‘remember our freedoms, to treasure them and to exercise them at the polls’.

And he added that those content with life in Jersey today had as much reason to vote as those wanting change.

The Bailiff also called on people to educate themselves in order to use their votes on 16 May.

‘What a good time to remember the words of Sir Winston Churchill that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others,’ he said. ‘The turnout in our elections during the last 30 years or so has not been very good – on the whole pretty consistent, but never very good. Liberation Day is a time to remember our freedoms, to treasure them and to exercise them at the polls.

‘For those of you who are not sure it is worth the effort because things are pretty good, or because you think things will not change, or because you simply do not feel you know enough about those who are standing, I say that all those reactions are understandable but a little negative.

‘If you think things are good and should not change, go out and vote. If you think things are not good and should change, go out and vote. If you do not know enough about those who are standing, there is plenty of information about – seek it out and go out and vote.

‘That is part of our fundamental freedom, indeed guaranteed by the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, an instrument which arose out of the very conflict which led to the Occupation and to Liberation Day itself.’

Next Wednesday, Islanders go to the polls to elect the 49 States Members who will make up the next States Assembly.

A total of 14 Members already have their places assured, having been returned unopposed, among them 11 of the Island’s 12 Constables.

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