Monday, 25 May 2009

Childrens Rights in Jersey.

How much longer must we wait before our Jersey government ratifies the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

It is evident that Philip Ozouf has no motivation to ratify this Convention and on the most recent “BBC Talkback” made it clear that no funds were available to implement it or other missing international obligations.
Jersey is just one of a few countries – like Somalia – that have not ratified this most important Convention and Ozouf resorted to the same old scare tactic of suggesting that ratification might inhibit the employment in Jersey of children under the age of 16. This was the ancient pretext that the late Senator Rothwell used to kill ratification years ago and the thought that paper boys and girls might in some way be stopped from delivering the Financial Times was just too much for this uncaring community to deal with.

I wonder if Ozouf is so careful to ensure that none of his clothes are stitched together by children in the far-east for pennies and I wonder too if he has ever tried to discover whether the profits from such exploitation are remitted through Jersey’s Tax Haven business?

The fact is that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is accepted world-wide as the framework of minimum standards that should apply to children everywhere. Most countries that have signed up make a genuine attempt to try to ensure compliance and it is especially perverse that such a wealthy place as Jersey cannot even be bothered to try.

Of course, virtually every candidate during the most recent Senatorial elections declared support for ratification and the creation of a Minister for Children with responsibilities to implement the Convention and a coordinated and comprehensive Children’s Service. Did any of them actually mean it? If so, where are they now?

The text of the Convention was published as an Appendix in the Howard League review of Jersey’s youth justice system. Printed copies are available for free from the Greffe bookshop (few copies only left) or the Howard League at £10 ( or you can download a copy from the UNICEF site together with lots more information;

The newly appointed Minister of Health is Deputy Ann Pryke of Trinity and she is ultimately responsible for implementing the new Children’s strategy for Jersey. When she was asked in the States recently by Deputy Tadier about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she clearly knew next to nothing about it.

It will be necessary to push Ann Pryke every inch of the way if any progress on the Convention is to be made. Her telephone number is 86114 and her e-mail;

The Assistant Minister at Health is Deputy Judith Martin of St Helier No 1 District and she is specifically charged with implementing the half-baked ( and already watered down) Williamson report on Child Protection in Jersey. The recommendations of Andrew Williamson fall short of adopting the Convention and even if adequately funded – which seems unlikely – will still leave children in Jersey with an inadequate service.

For what it is worth you should lobby Deputy Martin too. Telephone her on 780641 or e-mail at;

What is certain is that Jersey children will not enjoy the protection of the UN Convention if we leave it to our so called elected “representatives”. We must lobby them and ask questions at every opportunity. Neglect and do nothing are the standards that have prevailed for centuries in Jersey and our government will not reform willingly or with any enthusiasm.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard

Thursday, 14 May 2009

bugged with conspiracy.

Yesterday “news” hound Gillian (Paxman) Maritindale got what would seem like the scoop of her career. Channel Television led with this world wide exclusive “revelation” It was headline news on the 6 o’clock channel report.

What was this major exclusive revelation, that deserved to be the lead story? Was it that the Attorney General had admitted to obstructing the police in prosecuting child abusers? Was it an interview with a top Civil Servant or Politician commenting on the allegations there is a possibility we had a mass murderer employed at our hospital who hasn’t been sufficiently investigated? Was it a senior Civil Servant or Politician commenting on the allegations we have a Senior Civil Servant in our Education department that could possibly be a child abuse suspect? Was it the Attorney General admitting our States members phones are being tapped? Was it a senior Civil Servant or Politician telling us why an ex cop, still employed by the States, has been arrested four times under suspicion of child abuse and been released without charge every time?

No, don’t be silly, this is Jersey and Channel Television we are talking about! None of the above is real “news” items. The massive scoop and revelation was a Parish Deputy has a couple of drinks and got his head down in the States building……. STOP THE PRESS, SHOCK HORROR!! This is on par with a newly elected (one of the youngest) politicians taking advice from his mother!! What are we to do? The General public will be horrified by all this and it is all groundbreaking investigative “Journalism”. We really must bring it to the publics attention in case they start worrying about trivial issues like a corrupt Government covering up for child abusers etc.

Personally I was a little more concerned that our elected “representatives” phones might be tapped and asked Gillian (Paxman) Martindale if she would be “grilling” the AG in the same manner in this respect. She told me she had filed a report the day before on that subject. I watched that report where she didn’t interview the AG and gave us, what appeared to be, her own view which was “the conspiracy theory lives to die another day”.

As you will see (above) Deputy Trevor Pitman gave me his interpretation of the AG’s “answer” to the very frightening reality our Politicians phones might be tapped. Can we as the general public afford to dismiss these possibility’s as conspiracy theories. Should we be more concerned that Parish Deputies are working late (drunk or not) in the States Building?

Monday, 11 May 2009

“OUR NATION” and whose “HISTORY”?

The Bailiff introduced a recent talk on Jersey’s occupation history saying such things as “history is a faithful record of historical details etc”. He took the opportunity to bemoan “the tide of misinformation about the occupation” that had been regurgitated as a result of Haut de la Garenne publicity and how the Island had been “an object of lies and distortions.”

Of course, as a lawyer – with or without the autocratic powers of a Bailiff - he likes the certainty of words and meanings and the idea that there is “an official history of the occupation” (written some years ago by Cruickshank) would no doubt suit his viewpoint.
It is also a disturbing thread in concepts of “nationality”.
The ever present problem that different people with different agenda might come to totally different conclusions after studying the same historical “facts” is at the root of free speech and expression – but it does not suit those who believe in an “official line”.

Indeed, the worrying notion that “Jersey is a brand” was the concluding theme for the evening’s talk and the main speaker, historian and marketing man Prof Paul Saunders seemed to think that there was much work to be done in “managing the brand” and “monopolizing public opinion” and he referred to the obscure application of “threshold dynamics” at the point when old certainties are about to be replaced by new ones in the public mind……….and the Bailiff likes to refer to Jersey as a “Nation”.

The “Prof” also explained how the media can damage a brand image and that even campaigning NGOs could make the largest commercial organizations vulnerable when they mounted a campaign on an ethical or environmental basis. Thus he explained how in a Europe where post war agenda changed – and writers had access to fresh archives notably from the East – yesterday’s heroic Resistance fighters could soon be re-branded as Collaborators and the Jewish ownership of the Holocaust might have to be shared with millions of Slavs who were also to be exterminated in the Nazi plan……..

It was especially significant that Freddie Cohen was seated next to the Bailiff because the “Prof” emphasized how it might be necessary to promote the annual Holocaust Day at the lighthouse memorial in future as a counter-balance to possible changing views on the monumental presence of German bunkers et al in Jersey. It might also be desirable to emphasize how Islanders had helped escaped “slave workers” and how the distant historical “memory” would be modified as modern Eastern Europeans settled in Jersey and brought their own perspectives of reality whilst the local “memory” might be neglected.

So there it is. If we thought for a minute that the interpretation of history was casually left to the vagaries of fashion – we could not be more wrong. Everything is marketed to suit market-place demands – just like Jersey Fresh Milk and the sacred Jersey Cow – it’s all part of a “Jersey Brand”. Historians are not expected to be impartial tellers of stories that need to be told – they are just another cog in the official misinformation machine.
The Finance Industry is beneficial;” Tax Havens” are Finance Centres; “Tax Avoidance” is good “Tax Evasion” is bad; German bunkers were not built with the help of Jersey collaborators because they were too busy helping and hiding escaped “slaves”…….

And it’s all part of the process of making and breaking “myths” too – like the ones that now must show that civilian populations played their glorious part in history too as well as being the dead bodies near the battlefield.

Of course “working class heroes” have never really featured in the official view of Jersey history unless they are supportive of the official historical line. It would be difficult to imagine any Conscientious Objectors’ names being placed alongside those heroes awarded the VC in the Victoria College stained glass. But soon (for example), those unfortunate civilian individuals who perished abroad during the 2nd World War are likely to have their memories lionized as part of the latest Jersey “re branding” process.

(It’s probably too early yet though to see pre 2nd World War Trades Union activists or militant political reformers being cast in bronze….!)

The Bailiff apparently wants Jersey to be an independent “Nation” in the future and that is a cause he can pursue during his retirement from office if he chooses but it’s a pity that he and others seem to want official ownership of Jersey’s past history too.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Press Pass Club – “Media” LATEST! Channel want to Televise the States.

So PPC had their May Day public meeting but only dumb animals need have attended.

Our jolly team of elected so called representatives Gallichan, Le Marquand, Fox, Tadier and Martin kicked the talking ball around the table for about an hour with Greffiers De La Haye and Harris acting as rather expensive goalies – but it was really all the usual waste of time and money. The result was to defer to another day, to carry out research and to consult (in other words find some other country’s restrictive policies to follow) but the blogging public in attendance were not allowed to speak or share their extensive knowledge.

“Sit down and shut up” was the order of the day and the existing rules stand – so no improved access to States sittings for the plebs – and maintain the status quo and the special privileges that the “accredited press” already enjoy.

But it’s obvious where PPC are heading – more controls and another layer of bureaucracy to give only selected bloggers a badge so that they can join in sometimes provided that they “behave” themselves and are subject to a code of discipline.

It’s amazing that our representatives ever allowed electricity into the States building so we should not be surprised that the potential role of the internet is seen only as good PROVIDED that the establishment maintains control over it. Thus, the cheap option of putting so much essential government information on the often useless and confusing website has been embraced - rather than publishing it in paper hardcopy form through the Greffe and Parish Halls and other public user points – and make sure that blog journalism is kept firmly under governmental control by REGULATION in future.

BUT we on “The Voice” know that Channel TV have attempted to blow the whole fiasco wide open by applying to televise States meetings LIVE! (if that’s the correct word!) and of course if they are given permission to bring in their cameras – how will PPC keep out the bloggers too and all public meetings will be in the same boat……..

AND won’t Denzil Dimwit and his team at the Boring Brainwashing Corporation really be so annoyed…….Open a bottle Hamish the end of the world is nigh.

Watch this SPACE – you saw it here 1st!

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.