During January and February 2017, the Social & Community Development Committee held public consultation meetings on various pieces of legislation.
Along with the public meetings, the Committee issued a questionnaire to the public as an insert in both newspapers, specifically to gauge views on the proposed amendments to the Elections Legislation. The Social Media platform, Facebook, was used to gauge the views of the wider public and Sixth Form students from Prince Andrew School were also engaged.
The following are the results from the public consultation:
A total of 83 questionnaires were returned on the Elections Legislation and a good debate was also generated at public meetings and on Facebook.
The overall results from the Questionnaires, Social Media, Written Feedback and Public Meetings were as follows:
1.Should only those persons with Saint Status be allowed to register?
125 respondents were in favour
15 respondents were not in favour
2.Should the minimum age for registering and voting be lowered to 17 Years?
72 respondents were in favour
57 respondents were not in favour
3.Should it be made compulsory for people who meet the criteria to register?
65 respondents were in favour
74 respondents were not in favour
General Amendment (Gender Equality) Bill
All members of the public who provided feedback felt that it is necessary to change various laws to provide for equal treatment of the population regardless of gender.
Employment Rights (Amendment) Bill
1.Should businesses be allowed to sell liquor on Christmas Day and Good Friday?
26 respondents were in favour
- respondents were not in favour
2.Should businesses be allowed to open on a Sunday?
20 respondents were in favour
3 respondents were not in favour
Chairman of the Social & Community Development Committee, Councillor Brian Isaac, said:
“The consultation meetings held around the Island were not well attended but the discussions that took place were informative and helpful in terms of understanding the different viewpoints that were put forward. The General Amendment (Gender Equality) Bill together with the Employment Rights (Amendment) Bill will now be presented as Government Business at the next sitting of the Formal Legislative Council meeting on 14 March 2017.
“The Elections (Amendment) Bill will be presented as Government Business at the formal Legislative Council meeting on 24 March 2017. This Bill seeks to lower the voting age from 18 years to 17 years and allow only those persons with St Helenian Status to register to vote. It also makes provision for persons already on the Register of Electors who do not have St Helenian status to remain on the Register until 2020, by which time they will have had opportunity to apply for such status.
“Once again, members of the Committee thank all those who made the effort to attend the meetings and thank those who completed the questionnaire and also voiced their concerns on how they felt the matters that could affect them are being addressed.”
Social & Community Development Committee
9 March 2017