Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jersey’s VIDEO RODEO and the threat to FREE EXPRESSION

Thursday, just gone “The Voice” attended the “public” meeting of the Scrutiny Chairmens Chairman’s Committee.

Apart from that ridiculous title we endured (in silence) about one and a half hours of the largely meaningless jawing of Senators Ben Shenton, Alan Breckon and Sarah Ferguson together with Constable J. Refault and Deputies Roy Le Herissier, and (briefly) Mike Higgins and the Scrutiny officer, before we were invited to leave.

Of course, they think that their purpose is useful but if only they could sit in silence on the public chairs like us, they would surely soon realise just what a waste of time it all is although Alan Breckon did point out during their ramblings that the public of Jersey might be alarmed if they knew that the proposed Depositors Protection Scheme £100 millions was to be taken from the public’s own Strategic Reserve - rather than the Finance Industry itself!!!!!! Yes he might be right there…….

But we were then asked to leave because the “Part B” agenda approached and in spite of the fact that the matter under discussion would be US and our very personal battle over the video recording of Scrutiny meetings – we were to be expelled without making any comment or hearing what they said!!!!! Such is democracy in action in Jersey.

However, we protested and made our arguments and to be fair they listened and agreed – or most of them agreed – that the situation was ridiculous and that we should be invited back to a proper meeting together with PPC, and along with any other interested bloggers, journalists or members of the public.

So, before any more mischief is done we ALL have a chance to put the case for blogging or citizens media or just the general public’s right to know what goes on behind the closed doors of government in Jersey. AND YES we really must be prepared to make submissions and to argue the case against censorship and the perpetuation of the notion that there is some sort of accredited and privileged media class in Jersey.

If meetings are open to the public then we must ALL be enabled to report and record the proceedings on an equal basis. This is OUR government at work – it is not a private club.

However, as we left we noted that the luncheon buffet had arrived and that the crusts had been cut from the sandwiches. So nothing too tough for our “elected representatives” to chew on here either………….

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.


Senator Stuart Syvret said...


Last week, States members were subjected to a "presentation" from the firm of spin-doctors employed by H & SS in order to pretend to investigate a tragic, avoidable death of a patient.

Having been subjected to this kind of manipulation for nearly 20 years - I took the precaution of videoing the entire thing with my mobile.

A fascinating exercise, out of which two effects arise.

Firstly, knowing they were being filmed drew a range of more frank and honest answers than we might otherwise have received.

I know this - because the company's people said several things that disastrously contradicted some of the cobblers we've been told by the politicians during this episode.

Secondly, no matter how carefully and honestly one takes notes at these kind of presentations - when the debate comes around, and you quote what was said - the oligarchy politicians always stand up and say "No! That wasn't said; you're misrepresenting them."

Well - thanks to the wonders of video-capable mobile phones - they won't be able to do that this time around.

If Scrutiny refuse to allow filming of panel meetings - then, sadly, we have to regard the members as just another generation of oligarchy poodles - no matter that we once had high hopes for some of them.


Anonymous said...


Do you think that you are a States Senator - and not just "un crapaud ordinaire" - might have helped just teeny tiny bit?

voiceforchildren said...

The Srutiny chairman's meeting's are another surreal experience.

You have a group of our elected "representatives" supposedly trying to bring some openness and trasparency to our government by "scrutinizing" them. The Panel want the public to be informed as to what work Scrutiny is doing. A Civil Servant makes a complaint about us (The Voice) videoing, hence "informing the public" and we can no longer film!

Unfortunately, as things stand, the more I learn about Scrutiny, the more dissilusioned I get about the whole set up.

Effectively, we have States members supposedly bringing States members to task. They write reports, have lots of "very important meetings" and make recommendations to the States. And in reality, and in my opinion, very little, or nothing is ever achieved, the States just carry on regardless!

A senior Civil Servant at the education Department "might" be a suspect in a child abuse investigation, what does the Education Scrutiny Panel do or say about it? Nothing, Zilch sweet F.A. they have more important issues to be worrying themselves with, like how many pupils have been suspended in a year?

Scrutiny, along with PPC, in my opinion is just a fancy name with an excuse to have some "very important" meetings.