Monday, April 19, 2010

When are you going to start working for us?

This was a genuine constituent's email! To which Shona replied in detail, worth quoting here for anyone else who has not noticed her four-and-a-half years of hard work.
Dear JDA

I am a resident of the Val Plaisant area an area which am informed has two JDA deputies. For a, and i use this term loosely, party, which is meant to represent its people i have yet to see any evidence. Im not talking about historic abuse of gst im talking about the everyday issues. For example the fact bins keep being removed, the fact you have to avoid dogs mess walking around the union rd val plaisant and st marks area. The fact that both the pavements and roads are in terrible condition the list goes on.

I am disgusted at the fact none of these long running issues have been resolved. I also believe that as elected members you should stop your Arthur Skargill impressions crawl out of the unions backside stop antagonising the senators who DO represent the people and put your parishoners first.

You attitudes would not be accepted anywhere else and as a voting tax payer i am bitterly dissapointed.

Thank you for your email. I have to firstly say that if a concerned resident does not contact one of us Deputies (there are 3), then how do we know that we should be acting on such problems - we simply can not spend our time walking around St Helier looking for dog poo on pavements and moving bins. So as you have now brought them to our attention, I would be happy to meet with you so you can show me.

Secondly, if you were to ask in your email what have we done or are doing in the District, then you would not have come to the conclusion and presumed that we do nothing.

Deputy Southern has brought more propositions and questions to the States than any other States Member in the last four years; he was Chair of the Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel for 3 years in the first 3 years of government scrutiny, which produced more reviews each year than any other Panel. He is now on 5 different reviews. He is also on the Town Park Working Group, and successfully won a proposition to maintain the £10 million to work on and construct the Town Park - I am surprised that you think this means nothing to you as a resident near the proposed park site. Deputy Southern is also well known for his work with constituents and the high number that he manages to sort out.

Deputy de Sousa is on the Housing, Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel and is also a member of 3 other sub-panels (Chairing a review into dental practise and cost). She also has the largest amount of constituent work of all the new States Members, and is on several Parish Committees, including the Battle of Flowers Committee, which she Chairs - she feels very strongly that this Jersey tradition should not cease - pretty impressive as a non-local and the only St Helier Deputy on the Committee.

As to me, well I invite you to spend a day with me so you can see how much I do. However, firstly I feel I have to brag a little to you: I am currently on the Economic Affairs Panel, and 2 other sub-panels. I have 33 live cases (most now in my district), which range from individual income support and incapacity benefit issues; to damp states housing and poor maintainance, inadequate housing and getting people moved, and poor insulation; and planning issues; child protection issues; fighting for people's housing qualis; anti-social behaviour; helping people with financial problems; parish utilities; maintenance of States sporting facilities. Since I have been in office, I have helped in my district people living in:

- Convent and caesarea courts- informing them of intentions of Housing's property plan.
- Convent and caesarea courts - a number of individuals
- Windsor road - provision of adequate bins
- Dorset street - a number of different individuals
- Oak tree gardens - provision of heating in houses
- Clos du Mon Sejour - got residents speed humps and helped them with issue with Bartletts potatoe packing factory
- Vauxhall Gardens - a number of individuals.
- Vauxhall Street - a number of indiduals.
- Hue Court - a number of individuals
- Val Plaisant - a number of individuals
- Springfield - a number of residents who live in and around the stadium
- Grands Vaux Estate - a number of residents
- Nicholson Close on Grands Vaux estate - the recent floods
- Victoria Road - a shop owner
- Journeaux Court - several residents
- Clearview Place - several residents insulation problems
- Clarendon Road - group of residents concerned at airtel mast
- Clarendon Road - a number of individuals
- Devonia Close (Devonshire Place - a number of individuals

and this is only what I can remember, and not to mention the people outside of my district. I have also brought propositions to the States: trying to get a direct public vote for the Chief Minister; exemptions on GST; ceasing the dual role of the Bailff; a vote of no confidence in a Bailiff (then Attorney General)who allowed a known paedophile to work as an honorary policeman and who subsequently, went on to abuse young women whilst in this role; GST exemptions; and tried to overturn the unnecessary pay-freeze on states workers, many of whom have had below inflation pay-rises for a number of years running up to the last pay-freeze without complaining.

Other tasks that I have not included that we undertake: attending all sorts of presentations; Parish Assemblies; preparation for States sittings; attendance on independant bodies and Parish bodies; and giving an ear to those who just want someone to talk to.

It is unwise to make presumptions when you know nothing about the subject you are complaining about!

As I said earlier, I would be quite happy to meet with you, to discuss and get the ball rolling on the issues you have raised. I am not free until about Thursday afternoon or Friday, as am in the States from tomorrow. Notwithstanding this, if you text me on: 07797 778561, I will answer it during lunch times.

Yours truly,

Deputy Shona Pitman


  1. I always find it very odd that the politicians who, to me, seem to do the most, and most valuable work, ask the most pertinent questions and genuinely care for the electorate seem to be the ones who are blamed for doing nothing!!

  2. GeeGee has it spot on. Shona is one politician who can rightly be proud of her record and work ethic.

  3. Breaking the postal voting law? Yer right.

  4. Whether one agree with Shona Pitman and the JDA's politics or not no one can seriously deny the fact that she is one of the island's hardest working politicans. Compared with many of our politicians St.Helier number two is lucky to have someone who puts in so much graft. As for the postal voting law - joke. Helping a couple of people with disabilities to fill out a form to get registered to get a postal vote - legal world over - something to be proud of. It is called representing the people. What the government is supposed to do.

  5. Did you advise this person to contact one of the Senators he so admires to come and collect the dog mess? Your constituent would soon find that the Senators he describes as truly representing the people and parishioners displayed a frosty indifference. (The now lapsed twelfth apostle would have been no different it should be noted). Given that all but one of the remaining eleven are Establishment Party members, care of those living in the quartiers populaires of central town, come very low down their priority. It would be interesting to know if this constituent was a wealthy rentier or someone not so rich? There are plenty of poor and working class people, especially “old Jersey” ones that ignore their objective economic interests and side with their social betters.

  6. Well answered Shona. Maybe it would be good if all those who moan about their Deputies could be made to work with them for a week to find out what they really do. I went along to rally last weekend and if the gimp who wrote the letter was there he will have noticed that there was a distinct lack of senators 'representing' the people showing there ugly mugs.

  7. I wonder if this woman/man is a Tory? Firstly, if it had been me I would not have even responded to such a rude, igorant and aggressive piece of correspondence. But I suppose if one is dedicated to their role as you obviously are then professionalism demands that you set aside such rudeness and answer anyway. Respect to you. Might equally just be someone with an axe to grind. Clearly doesn't like the political left! Certainly doesn't appear to have much idea about politics and the amount of work involved generally either the way I read it. As for Senators representing the people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion it must be said but I can't think of one Senator that represents me. Or who I would go to with a problem other than Senator Alan Breckon, and this is mainly because I know he built a good name as a deputy first. Keep up the good work.


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