Crime & Justice
There needs to be a wholesale review of crime and sentencing, particularly length of sentences.
Fundamental Rights including those to Free Speech and Expression should be enshrined into a basic Constitutional Law for the Island
Look into anonymity for the accused in rape cases
Investigate the legalisation or at least the decriminalisation of prostitution
We believe that the time is right to legalise medicinal cannabis and opening up a public debate on the full decriminalisation of recreational cannabis, informed by the experiences of Portugal, Holland and US States such as Colorado.
Freedom of Speech
We believe that a law on so called “revenge porn” should be welcomed, as should measures to prevent cyberstalking, however the current suggestions found in the DRAFT TELECOMMUNICATIONS (AMENDMENT No. 3) AND CRIME (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) (JERSEY) LAW as lodged with the States Greffe 1st March 2016 go far too far and should be dropped with immediate effect. We believe that these proposals, along with others being considered are an attack on basic and fundamental freedoms of speech and expression.
We believe that in a free society even the ugliest and most offensive speech should be protected. As the late Ronald Dworkin said;
“Freedom of speech is not just a special and distinctive emblem of Western culture that might be generously abridged or qualified as a measure of respect for other cultures that reject it, the way a crescent or menorah might be added to a Christian religious display.
“Free speech is a condition of legitimate government. Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic if government has prevented anyone from expressing his convictions about what those laws and policies should be.
“Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended. That is why cartoons and other forms of ridicule have for centuries, even when illegal, been among the most important weapons of both noble and wicked political movements.
“…If we expect bigots to accept the verdict of the majority once the majority has spoken, then we must permit them to express their bigotry in the process whose verdict we ask them to respect.
“Whatever multiculturalism means– whatever it means to call for increased “respect” for all citizens and groups – these virtues would be self-defeating if they were thought to justify official censorship.”
We believe that Jersey requires nothing short of the total reform of our immigration laws. We in Jersey desperately need that which has been denied to us by our political class for too long i.e. an open and honest dialogue on this issue. For many years, immigration has been of significant concern for the people of this Island and for many years our political class have hid behind the smokescreen of Protocol 3 and our relationship with the UK as excuses for not doing very much of anything about it apart from making the situation worse.
We believe that the theoretical position whereby; Jersey should apply both labour and immigration policies which respond to the needs of our economy, whilst ensuring that both housing and population development is sustainable, is clearly not working as intended where it matters, in practice.
We believe that an ideal immigration system should be based on the Australian skills-based system. This would allow Jersey to plan long-term and with much greater accuracy than the current approach permits. We believe this would open up Jersey’s job market to the very best and most capable from all around the world and deny access to those who simply turn up, “on-spec” with no jobs or accommodation and hope for the best.
We believe that a transitional system of 5-year work permits would allow those employers who have an overwhelming need to specifically employ foreign nationals, to make their case and then train up (or part-fund the training of), a local person so they may be suitably qualified and experienced to assume the role once the work permit has expired.
For too long a criticism aimed at certain employers in certain sectors has been that they employ foreign labour, simply because it is the cheaper option. This, we believe would present a golden opportunity for employers to put that accusation to rest once and for all as well as increasing the employment prospects for locals, reducing the unemployment numbers and increasing the tax take.
We believe that a suitable immigration policy would also take into consideration the Prime responsibility of any Government – the safety and security of the population.
We believe that Deputy Jackie Hilton, is absolutely right in that Jersey needs a much tougher screening policy for those visiting the Island or planning on settling here for any length of time. We believe it should be a matter of the utmost priority to employ a screening policy where those with convictions for serious criminal (sex, drugs, violence) or other serial offences (such as fraud and burglary) are barred from entering the Island, or prosecuted and removed permanently where they have entered the Island fraudulently.
We believe that there should be an inclination towards deportation at the end of a prison sentence for any serious criminal offence by a foreign national.
We believe that in light of various attempts to gain access to the Channel Islands by illegal immigrants based in France, Jersey needs to take its coastal defences much more seriously. We therefore, believe that while civil defence is a matter for domestic policy, the UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey (the constitutional responsibility also covers internal security as well as defence against external aggressors).
We believe that either;
The UK Government helps secure our territorial waters with a mandate to turn back anyone attempting to gain access to them illegally, or
We negotiate a coastal defence agreement with another sovereign power (e.g. France), or
We take responsibility for ourselves and, following the Maltese example, establish our own marine defence unit.
We believe that our ability to deal with illegal immigration is severely hampered by our current relationship with the UK (the UK is responsible for immigration matters) and the formal relationship between the Channel Islands and the EU. This relationship is enshrined in Protocol 3 of the UK’s 1972 Accession Treaty, and confirmed in what is now Article 355 (5) (c) of the EU Treaties. Under Protocol 3, the Channel Islands are part of the Customs Union and are essentially within the Single Market for the purposes of trade in goods, but are third countries (i.e. outside the EU) in all other respects. Both Jersey and Guernsey voluntarily implement appropriate EU legislation or apply the international standards on which they are based.
We believe therefore, that it is wrong for Jersey’s political class to attempt to pursue the current Protocol 3 status quo either as a bolt-on to any new arrangements with the UK or “independence” simply as a smokescreen to provide cover for the same ends.
We believe that the economic theory of moral hazard can be applied to illegal immigration. Moral hazard was described by economist Paul Krugman, as “any situation in which one person makes the decision about how much risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly.” If illegal immigrants take the risk of entering (or attempting to enter) Jersey in order to access the UK where is the moral hazard if they then have their criminality supported for an indefinite period by Jersey’s tax-payers or further rewarded by deportation to the UK, the very place their illegal actions were designed to gain them access to in the first place?
We believe that Jersey needs to recognise that it is the 13th most densely populated country in the world. We have limited space and competing interests for that space. We have a population of over 100,000, 300+ pa inward migration and considerable stresses and strains in the provision of public services. We also need to recognise that Jersey has a limited stock of public housing and strict laws on who is allowed to come here, under what circumstances, where they may live and what jobs they may (and may not) do when they are here.
We believe that any changes to these rules, in order to accommodate the criminal actions of illegal immigrants would be both deeply socially divisive and politically unacceptable. We also believe that doing so would increase greatly the “pull factor” of Jersey as a destination for illegal immigrants and the criminal gangs of people smugglers who grow rich by exploiting them.
We believe that for at least the duration of the current “immigration crisis” all vehicles and passengers should be thoroughly checked before embarkation to Jersey from France.
We believe that Islam in its traditional, fundamentalist or Orthodox form is incompatible with the values of most people on the Island and freedom of religion laws because it holds that Islam is the only true faith and that all others are infidels.
We believe that, following the French and Swiss models, there should be a complete ban on the burqa and the niqab
The burka and niqab, by their very nature depersonalise women and assign them an existence different and separate from men, burdening them with social norms such as; a woman is the custody of her male guardians, strict gender segregation, non-essential conversation with men is prohibited etc. It is, by design, a device of exclusion and apartheid, and unlike almost any other garment it is the embodiment of a misogynist worldview that perceives a woman’s body as harmful.
Those taking umbrage on the grounds that, “we have no right to tell Muslim women what to wear”, should first look to the army of millions of proselytisers, preachers and self-serving “community leaders” who do precisely that: tell Muslim women what they must and must not wear, down to the tiniest detail.
To glibly try and pass this off as some harmless cultural or religious foible that we just have to get used to in pursuit of the mythical sunny uplands of “community cohesion,” is typical of today’s patriarchal “regressive left” mind-set. Indeed, many women who lived in once liberal and “westernised” Afghanistan and who were then forced into wearing these garments described the process as one of “physical and mental slavery”. This is something that no-one who believes in women’s rights should accept.
The Pakistani writer Binah Shah states; “Many people use blackmail to convince women to wear hijab or niqab: you won’t be a good Muslim, you’ll go to hell, you’re pleasing God, you’ll be subject to harassment and molestation if you go outside without a veil. By playing on women’s vulnerabilities, by bringing up the imagery of women being sexually violated or bringing shame upon their families by walking around unveiled, by implying a woman’s morality is linked to how she dresses, women are coerced into believing they are making a free choice in the thousands and millions, every day of their lives.”
We believe that in 2015, France’s Supreme Court – the Court of Cassation, in upholding the convictions of twelve anti-Israel activists on the grounds that promoting a boycott of Israel is tantamount to “inciting hate or discrimination”, was the right decision. We believe that Jersey should follow this decision and put into Law similar provisions.
We believe that freedom of speech and opinion must not be confused with anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and offering justifications for terrorism. We believe that the law goes quite far enough, perhaps too far in some of these areas especially in attempting to control freedom of speech and expression and believe there should be a presumption of hyperbole unless it can be proved remarks made constituted a direct and imminent threat to violent action.
We therefore, believe that threats of violence directed at a person or group of persons with the intent of placing that target at risk of bodily harm or death should not be afforded the protection of the law as free speech.
We fundamentally believe in the widest possible definition of free speech. However, we also believe there should be no room for the propagandists who delight in attempting to justify some of the most horrific acts of violence and terror, often against entirely innocent civilians, for their own perverse political and/or religious ends.
We believe tolerating such propaganda, usually spread by those who themselves are deeply intolerant, provides cover, behind which hide the men and women who commit heinous acts of violence.
We therefore, and with great reluctance agree with Christiane Taubira, the French Minister of Justice who said in 2013 that “…statements and actions, classified as anti-Semitic or justifying terrorism, must be fought against and pursued vigorously.