Tuesday, 4 July 2017
Senator Gorst's first challenge.
The Chief Minister did a decently statesman like job in his response to the publication of the care inquiry report. He apologised to survivors and victims up front and accepted all the recommendations. Chief minister shocked saddened sorry
In reality he could do little else. The findings of the inquiry were critical of pretty much every aspect they looked into. There were no straws to clutch at. Even the fig leaf of the Williamson report that has been used before to claim progress is being made was holed.
But that isn't the challenge I had in mind. His immediate problem is what to do about deputy Andrew Lewis. He is currently chair of the Public Accounts committee and a member of the Chairman's committee The purpose and role of the commitee can be seen at Public Accounts It is not trivial body having reported on such things as e-gov, the innovation fund, financial management and internal audit.
From the care inqury: "We find that Andrew Lewis lied to the States Assembly about the Metropolitan Police Service report, stating that he had sight of it when he had not. We can readily see why these acts have given rise to public suspicion that all or some of those involved were acting improperly and that they were motivated by a wish to discredit or close down investigations into child abuse.”
It simply isn't possible for him to continue as chair of the Public Accounts committee. A vote of no confidence could be brought to remove him, but I don't think that can happen before the in committee debate on the care inquiry report. And it surely isn't appropriate for him to participate in that given the statement made by the inquiry. Actually it goes further .
The phrase "these acts have given rise to public suspicion that all or some of those involved were acting improperly" is referring to States members and very senior cvil servants . Prima facie evidence that his actions have brought the Assembly and the States into disrepute. That is a suspension issue.
If the Chief Minister's words in response to the publication of the care inquiry report are to mean anything I can see no other option. If he does not act on that finding then he undermines the report and the inquiry. No confidence in Deputy Lewis as chair of the Public Accounts committee does not address the issues relating to the care inquiry and where he lied - to the Assembly and effectively to the public of the Island. If we had a recall mechanism I think this is exactly the sort of scenario it would be applicable. But we dont so it has to be immediate suspension.