A new chapter has opened in the States of Guernsey as our Deputies are now holding virtual meetings using Microsoft Teams.
Emergency regulations made by the Civil Contingencies Authority last week were ratified by the States in its first ever virtual sitting, which started yesterday and is continuing today.
It means that HSC’s temporary authority to license suitably qualified medical professionals and other emergency powers, which had already been granted by the CCA, have now been done so democratically with the full backing of the States.
Deputy Laurie Queripel wanted assurances about HSC's newfound authority and the wording of the regulations, stressing it is iimportant to see proof of suitable qualifications and experience before people are licensed to practice.
Making history today, the States first virtual ‘sitting’ pic.twitter.com/jJCRFbC9fl— Barry Brehaut. (@BrehautBarry) April 14, 2020
"I understand where Deputy Queripel is coming from," said HSC President Heidi Soulsby. "We will be advised by the medical director and others within human resources on whether someone is ready and able."
The first half of yesterday afternoon's debate was mainly taken up by legal questions from some Deputies over the new regulations, some answered by CCA Chairman Gavin St Pier but most by HM Procureur, Megan Pullum.
Once they were all passed without any dispute - with Deputies voting in a private chat box on Microsoft Teams - the Deputy Bailiff steered debate onto the proposed deferral of the 2020 election.
Ahead of tomorrow’s momentous @Govgg decision on postponing the Election, I’ve put together a few thoughts on how I hope it will play out, and why. It feels incidental to the crisis right now, but this stuff matters. https://t.co/Gb86DKmtE4 pic.twitter.com/rL2wCdNkgL— Emilie (@emiliemcswiggan) April 13, 2020
Sacc President Neil Inder started debate by explaining how the corona virus has overwhelmed all of their best laid plans for the island's first ever island-wide election.
"Covid-19 has create an environment in which a free and fair election in June is impossible to hold," he told States members.
His committee's majority view is that the election should be rescheduled for October, with a further go/no go date in July if its looks like it will not be safe to hold the election this year.
The backstop date is next June. However, Deputies are currently debating whether to approve a Policy & Resources amendment to defer straight to June 2021, which would provide certainty over when current States members terms would end.
There were only a few glitches with the virtual arena in which the debate took place, with Deputy John Gollop disappearing a couple of times and several Deputies choosing to turn off their webcams. However, it went smoothly for most of the debate and it continues this morning.
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