Assisted Dying Debate Planned For Next Year

A States debate on whether to introduce assisted dying in Jersey is planned for the second half of next year.

It’ll happen after a Citizen’s Jury has been formed to discuss the issue, and make recommendations to the Health Minister.

They are due to meet three or four times online from next Spring after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the process.

The news comes as 65.2% of New Zealanders voted to legalise assisted dying in a country-wide referendum.

Government officer Anna Hamon says the jurors will be representative of the whole island:

“Rather than people being selected for their views, we’re selecting them in terms of the demographics of the island.

“As part of that process, we’ll also screen them in terms to understand their backgrounds and where they’re coming from, to make sure we do have a range and we don’t only pick people who are ‘pro’ or ‘against’ it, for example.”

Scrutiny heard that there are benefits to moving the Citizen’s Jury meetings online, like being able to invite experts from around the world to give evidence and help inform decision making.

Channel 103 News

Sustainable transport plans ‘significantly impaired’ by Covid

The implementation of Jersey’s Sustainable Transport Policy has been “significantly impaired” by the coronavirus pandemic, the minister for infrastructure has said.

In December plans were announced to develop “healthier and greener travel options” in the island.

A new report published by the government aims to provide an update on their progress.

It said the introduction of cycling lessons to school children was one of a number of areas that had been delayed as a result of Covid-19.

However, it added that the pandemic had seen “record numbers” of islanders take up cycling.

Part of the plans set out by the government include a “fast track installation” of cycle parking spaces in St Helier, which were currently being “rolled out”.

Events would also be used to encourage active travel in islanders.

Deputy Kevin Lewis said answers to the “big strategic transport planning questions” would soon become available as the government develops its long-term plan.

BBC Jersey News

Dead dolphins washed up on Jersey beaches

Two dolphins have died and washed up on beaches in Jersey.

One of them, a common dolphin, was found near Millbrook on Friday morning with a rope wrapped around its tail.

Therese Kennedy, who found it while walking her dog on the beach, said the animal was bleeding from its mouth as well as being tangled in the rope.

Marine scientist Francis Binney explained fishing trawlers accidentally catch, injure or kill dolphins when chasing shoals.

He confirmed a second dolphin had been found in St Ouen’s Bay.

Mr Binney said Jersey sees around six marine mammal strandings every winter, due to the scarcity of food driving them inshore and likelihood of pups becoming separated from their parents.

Common Dolphins are found all over British waters, with most sightings being seen off the south and west coast of the UK, according to Wildlife Trusts.

They generally weigh around 150kg, grow to up to 2.7m in length and live between 20 and 30 years.

BBC Jersey News

England lose 54-47 to New Zealand in second match of three-Test series in Hamilton

England’s series against New Zealand is their first competitive action since March

England have lost their series against world champions New Zealand after a 54-47 defeat in the second match of their three-Test series in Hamilton.

The Roses led 25-23 at half-time, but a dominant third quarter helped the Silver Ferns take control.

Serena Guthrie, on her 100th England appearance, was forced off in the second half with an ankle injury.

“I’m really proud of the girls,” said England acting head coach Kat Ratnapala.

“There was some learning we took into this game and still some learning to take, that third quarter was costly for us.

“But we went in at the end of the first half leading and won a quarter, so there’s massive positives we will take.”

England made one change from the side that was beaten 58-45 in the first Test on Wednesday, with Sophie Drakeford-Lewis coming in for Kadeen Corbin.

They made a strong start, taking the lead for the first time in the series and holding that two-point advantage at the break.

But the hosts made a flying start to the second half, rattling off six straight points within five minutes of the restart to move into a lead they never relinquished.

England then suffered a further blow when Guthrie rolled her ankle and had to be carried off court by her team-mates.

Eleanor Cardwell, who switched from goal attack to goal shooter to accommodate the return of Drakeford-Lewis, top-scored for England with 19.

“When it comes to crunch time we need to nail it and that’s where we fell short today,” said Roses co-captain Laura Malcolm.

“It’s more discipline in those critical moments, but we are pushing to get better.”

The final match of the three-Test series, the 100th meeting between the two sides, is on Sunday (06:00 GMT).

England starting seven: GK Quashie, GD Williams, WD Clarke, C Guthrie, WA Malcolm, GA Drakeford-Lewis, GS Cardwell.

BBC Jersey News

States CEO’s NewRiver Salary Going To ‘Range Of Charities’

The Chief Minister has released a statement setting out the reasons for why he says the Chief Executive’s non-executive director role with a UK real estate investment firm ‘doesn’t conflict with his role as the head of Jersey’s public sector’.

It was revealed earlier this week that Charlie Parker had taken up the role with NewRiver – prompting questions over how appropriate is given we’re still in a pandemic, the magnitude of his current job, and a possible conflict of interest.

Senator John Le Fondre says the Chief Executive’s new role entails four half-day board meetings a year and one strategy day – which are done online and during annual leave. There are also half-year and full-year results meetings, which we’re told will take place in Mr. Parker’s spare time.

He says NewRiver has no operational business interests in Jersey – and if this were to change, Mr. Parker has agreed to talk to him about how any potential conflicts of interest would be resolved.

Senator Le Fondre says the Chief Executive has agreed not to receive a salary for that work – with the money going instead to a range of charities, including some in Jersey.

“I want to reassure Islanders that as Chief Minister, I hold senior civil servants to account and expect the highest standards of integrity and commitment to Jersey throughout the public sector.”

The government says a further statement ‘will be released later’.

Channel 103 News

Day 5 Covid Tests Now Processed In Jersey

Day 5 coronavirus tests are now being processed on-island.

They were previously sent away to the UK which meant results took longer to return. 

Therefore people coming to Jersey from amber regions were often having to spend longer than five days in isolation.

Head of Health Improvement, Andrew Heaven, explains why these weren’t done in Jersey earlier.

“Previously, our passenger numbers were much higher and also the airport lab, we wanted to deliberately ramp that lab up in a controlled and managed way. What we didn’t want to do was throw too much capacity at it, whilst we were making sure that our processes were to standard and we had confidence in them.

“As capacity allows us, we will assign a test for direct contacts to the on-island laboratory. In essence, our airport lab is now doing what we commissioned it to do in terms of testing those tests around as quickly as possible under 12 hours.

“We are constantly now managing that mix of what we send to that lab and what we send away.”

The airport lab has been processing border tests, which has an average test turnaround time of around seven hours.

The hospital lab has from this week been returning results in an hour.

The Health Minister says letters will be going out to certain employers very shortly asking its workers to take part in a local workforce coronavirus testing programme.

Deputy Richard Renouf told Scrutiny that it will be mainly focused on workers who are more exposed to the virus.

Those tests, carried out at regular intervals, will be sent to off-island labs, which have a test turnaround time of around 29 hours.

“Those tests because they are a test of a whole workforce, they’re not testing people who might be symptomatic, we will largely use the UK testing laboratories for that.”

Channel 103 News

£9 Million Paid Out Through ‘Spend Local’ Cards

97,000 islanders have used their £100 spend local cards at least once, and have until Saturday to spend the rest.

Islanders are being encouraged to spend the rest of their card balance before this weekend in order to avoid a last-minute rush.

102,700 cards have been activated so far, with £9 million going back into the local economy.

Chief Minister John Le Fondre says islanders should continue to support local businesses once the scheme ends.

“I’d encourage Islanders to continue the spirit of the scheme, spending locally with their favourite businesses and playing their part to help support and stimulate our local economy.”

Any money remaining on the cards will be returned to the Treasury if unspent after 11:59pm on Saturday 31st October.

Carl Walker from the Jersey Consumer Council says there are options if you still haven’t spent your card yet.

“If you’re undecided and you want to wait a bit longer, you can go to a store or business and buy a voucher – it’s still spending it local, it’s still keeping it in Jersey and helping that business but it’s giving you that breathing space in terms of making that consumer choice.”

He says a lot of companies have been offering more beyond the spend local card.

“A lot of local businesses have been going that extra mile to really entice consumers into their business to spend their money, so whether that’s giving them a bit of extra money for that £100, whether it’s donating some money to charity, whether it’s giving them a bit of a refund back, there’s a lot of different incentives, so it’s a real win-win for the consumer.”

Channel 103 News

Normandy Fisheries Back Jersey Over ‘Permissive Extent Clause’

The Normandy Regional Fisheries Committee has backed Jersey’s government in its decision to fight British attempts to take legislative control of Channel Islands waters.

The UK parliament passed a bill earlier this month, to give Westminster powers to set laws for the Channel Islands as part of Brexit negotiations – through a ‘Permissive Extent Clause’.

External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said it’s ‘unwanted and completely unnecessary’.

The Normandy Committee says it wants to continue the joint management of the waters independently, instead of a global agreement that would not take local issues into account.

Channel 103 News

Free masks to be issued at taxi rank

People queueing for and using taxis at the Weighbridge taxi rank will be issued with free disposable masks before their journey to reinforce new guidance on wearing masks in enclosed spaces.

Marshals will be at the Weighbridge taxi rank from 9.30pm on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 October, and Friday 6 and Saturday 7 November handing out the masks for people to use while they wait in the taxi queue, and when they get into a taxi.

The Weighbridge taxi rank has been chosen because it is often used by Islanders returning from a night out in town, and who might forget to maintain physical distance.

The new mask policy will help protect taxi drivers who service the night-time economy and who provide regular transport for high-risk and vulnerable Islanders who do not have access to their own transport.

Once the taxi journey is over, passengers should safely dispose of their mask by:
avoiding touching the inside of the mask, or the filter layer, when removing it;
disposing of the mask in a sealed household waste bin;
washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Deputy Medical Officer of Heath, said:

“This is the first weekend since we strengthened the recommendation to wear masks in enclosed public spaces where physical distancing and contact tracing is difficult.

“We are aware that the Halloween weekend can be busy for the night-time economy, and that people are likely to be more relaxed as the evening wears on and be less aware of maintaining physical distance.

“Wearing masks in these areas will minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the community as they reduce the spread of the droplets emitted when breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing, which is the main way that this virus is transmitted.”

First ‘Tiny Forest’ planting partnership

A project is underway between the Government and the charity Earthwatch Europe to plant the first Tiny Forest in the Island in response to the climate emergency.

A Tiny Forest is made up of densely packed native trees, the size of a tennis court and is planted in urban areas where space is limited. The Earthwatch concept, is designed to improve air quality, reduce noise from busy roads and create a space for people to connect with nature.

The Carbon Neutral Strategy, adopted by the States Assembly in December 2019, sets out how the Island will tackle the climate emergency and identifies the importance of activities such as tree planting in a move towa¬rds absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

The planting of the first Tiny Forest will begin at the end of November, in partnership with Jersey Electricity and Jersey Trees for Life.

Jane Burns, eco active programme manager said:

“We are delighted to be working with Earthwatch Europe along with local partners Jersey Electricity and Jersey Trees for Life. We all recognise the important role of trees in off-setting carbon emissions and contributing to biodiversity and a cleaner, healthier environment for all.

“The benefits of Tiny Forests include up to 30 times better carbon-dioxide absorption and they grow five to 10 times faster than regular forests. The initiative will provide more trees in dense areas supporting wildlife corridors and air quality making this joint project a winner on many levels.”

Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler said:

“Jersey Electricity has been hugely committed to sustainability and the environment for many years. Having now virtually completely decarbonised the Island’s electricity system, we are exploring all avenues to help the Island achieve its net-zero ambitions and believe that tree planting has an important role to play.

“Tiny Forests have been proved to have such a positive impact on carbon sequestration and biodiversity across the world and we are delighted to encourage and support their planting right across Jersey. We welcome the opportunity to work with Jersey Trees for Life, Earthwatch Europe, the Government of Jersey and Parishes – and we hope we can encourage others to get involved.”

Gerard Farnham Chairman of Jersey Trees for Life said:

“We have been looking forward to seeing the first planting of a Tiny Forest on the Island and we are confident that the impressive results seen elsewhere from this new way of planting woodlands can be replicated here. There are significant benefits to the environment, biodiversity and to our community all of which are in alignment with our charity’s aims and objectives.”

Following planting, Earthwatch Europe will lead an ongoing programme of scientific research to monitor the benefits of Tiny Forests. The aim is for Tiny Forests to be rolled out to each Parish in the 2021/22 planting season.