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All change at the top of Alderney States

All change at the top of Alderney States

Thursday 16 May 2019

All change at the top of Alderney States

With both the President and Vice President of the States of Alderney resigning, a new Vice has been elected but it will be a few more weeks before a new President is chosen.

Stuart Trought had already announced he was standing down ahead of last night's scheduled States Meeting with a date set for the end of June for an election to choose his replacement.

In the meantime, the Vice-President, Louis Jean also announced his intention to resign because of family reasons. Mr Jean would otherwise have stepped up to act as temporary president while the post was vacant over the coming weeks.

Long standing States Member Steve Roberts and P&F chairman James Dent both put themselves forward as candidates for the Vice President post during last night's meeting, with Mr Dent arguing that the island was going through 'some difficult times' and that discharging presidential functions would require 'some effort'.

During the last two years he had proved himself to be hard working, diligent and 'not one to shirk from duty', making him ideal for the job, he told the States. 

Mr Dent said he had also cemented strong relationships with people and organisations on Alderney, in Guernsey, the UK and in France, experience which would assist him in the role.

Putting himself forwad, Mr Roberts noted that he was the most senior States Member after Louis Jean so he therefore felt it was his duty to stand for election, adding he would hold it in stewardship for when Mr Jean's family commitments became easier.

It  was 'inappropriate', he said, for the leader of the States, Mr Dent, to also serve as Vice President and he feared that might 'compromise government', however unintentionally.

States Members voted 5-3 in favour of Mr Dent and he said it would be a privilege to serve the island as Vice President and for five weeks, as de facto president. His duties will include preparing the June Billet, presiding over the June States Meeting and welcoming dignitaries to the island. He will stay on as chairman of P&F during that period. He insisted there would be no conflict of interest as the role of president was non political.

The Presidential elections remain scheduled for 22 June.

States of Alderney

Pictured: The May States meeting. 

The voting in of a new Vice President had required the lifting of several rules of procedure as the item, sparked by Mr Jean's resignation, came in too late to be placed on the Billet. Mr Roberts took advantage of this suspension of the rules by getting to his feet to make a speech of hearty thanks to the outgoing president.

He recalled how Mr Trought had turned up at his house after Mr Roberts' wedding with a drake under his arm – which, he assured him, was still performing his duties admirably.

"You have given this island continuity and consistency in civil leadership and in how the States works. Your contribution has been immense. You have worked tirelessly to build strong relationships with Guernsey, Normandy, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Ministry of Justice. You have raised our game."

He had also kept States Members in order when they had 'occasionally taken a wrong turn'. "We all have the scars to prove it," he added. "Firm but fair has been your motto." He concluded: "It has been a great honour and a privilege to work with you and serve the people of Alderney."

Mr Trought was later presented with an engraved crystal glass from members. Mr Trought, a keen sailor and former Merchant Navy captain, said the evening had been "very emotional".

"It was heartwarming to get those sorts of accolades from states members and to get a round of applause from the public. It's something I really didn't expect. I always considered if you pleased 60 per cent of the public you were doing a pretty good job.

"It's been a huge privilege to represent the people of Alderney. It's something which I didn't take on lightly, and I haven't given up lightly. Having completed two full terms, eight years, I think the time has come. There will be memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life from doing this job. It's been a huge privilege."

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