Friday, 24 July 2009

Deputy Tadier and the Battle for Jersey 2009

Deputy Montfort Tadier bravely broke rank today – he walked out of Scrutiny Panel meetings for both Education and Home Affairs – because they are “discriminatory” against the public of Jersey and in particular “Citizens Media” like “The Voice”.

At both meetings Channel Television were allowed to film without any restraint and nobody objected but Deputy Tadier said this filming was not acceptable, made his protest and walked.

Regular readers/viewers will know that our Government is plotting to formally legislate so that “non accredited” Journalists or Bloggers will not be allowed to video or record Scrutiny Panel Meetings at all see proposition P112 on the gov website and this is just the start because all so called “Public” meetings of our Government will inevitably follow suit.

“The Voice” challenged Minister of Home Affairs Senator Ian Le Marquand afterwards and he confirmed that he objected to non “accredited” people being allowed to record Scrutiny Meetings on the grounds that “lay people” must be protected. But there were NO lay people at the meeting and he refused to defend his own stance any further.
Such is the low level to which our “representatives” will sink in order to suppress FREE EXPRESSION and Government transparency.

Be warned such freedoms are too valuable to lose and once again the whole Scrutiny Process is called into doubt.

This is especially sad because some of the Scrutiny Panel Members work endlessly – but what is the point if the Tax Paying Public is kept in the dark and nobody takes any notice of Scrutiny Panel Reports.


Monday, 20 July 2009

Screw thingy or Useful Scrutiny?

We at “THE VOICE” have previously despaired at the Scrutiny Panel System.

Here Deputy Mike Higgins - who is in the firing line as chair of the Economics Affairs Scrutiny Panel over the Bank Depositors Protection Scheme - doesn’t quite defend the Scrutiny system. He says that when usefully critical Scrutiny reports have been produced in the past, it is the Council Of Ministers who have ignored them.

BUT we ask what is the use of Scrutiny reports at all if they can be ignored?

We have previously Blogged on the similarly inadequate Complaints Board process where decisions cannot be enforced either. What is the point?

In some countries Complaints Boards (as Ombudsman Tribunals) can strike down Government policies and decisions and even initiate criminal prosecutions where necessary.

So why can’t Scrutiny Panels in Jersey be given greater powers so that their decisions and reports MUST be taken notice of?

At a recent Scrutiny Panel Hearing Minister of Education Deputy James Reed refused point blank to answer any questions concerning Haute De La Garrenne and threatened to leave the meeting if he was pressed. He should have been encouraged to walk.

The recent threat of Scrutiny Panels to resign en masse was the best news possible.

The power still rests with the exclusive Ministerial Club in Jersey. The system must change soon!!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Readers will know that OUR government is clamping down on “The Voice” and others who might want to record and publish the proceedings of Scrutiny Panels and similar supposedly public meetings.

We aren’t therefore allowed to show you what actually happened at some recent meetings but we can understand why our government doesn’t want you to see or hear. They must be so ashamed of themselves. Their incompetence is so great. Their contempt for the public is just simply so enormous.

Today it was a special PAC Scrutiny panel meeting called to hear our Chief Minister explain about his role in the Incinerator Funding Joke. You know – the one about the agreement that everybody knew of to take account of currency fluctuations when signing the huge contract with the French builder – but NOBODY was responsible to actually do it.

So it’s pass the accountability parcel time again and it turns out that NOBODY is to blame and even if there was a culprit the matter has been dealt with in accordance with internal procedures and it is NO BUSINESS of the public.

Once again, a whole roomful of expensive civil servants and our so called elected representatives sat around talking politely amongst themselves and ate the sandwich buffet provided – but WE the paying public have discovered nothing except that the whole process is a total waste of time and expense and that this kind of SCRUTINY process will discover absolutely nothing at all.

WHERE oh WHERE is the desire to uncover the facts? The Chief Minister was a bumbling schoolboy and his Chief Officer was just simply not tested – talk about being savaged by a dead sheep!! Senator Breckon and Chris Swinson “the Comptroller and Auditor General” did not even speak at all – why were they there? Haven’t they got any real work to do?

Yet last week we heard the Education Minister and his Chief and Assistant Chief Officers actually threaten to walk out of their quarterly Scrutiny meeting if the Panel pressed any questions to do with Haut de la Garenne or Staff Disciplinary matters!!!!! So Deputy Le Herissier and his limp team of public scrutinizers simply backed down and found some other more polite questions to ask instead.

Once again the cosy relationship was maintained and no useful information was discovered except that the SCRUTINY process is a total farce and NOBODY can be called to account but the sandwiches were devoured eagerly as usual.

And that very afternoon it was the turn of that oh so new and nice soft talking Senator Le Marquand and his quarterly Home Affairs Scrutiny examination before the very same Panel - and Lo and Behold it is still a total mystery who instigated or researched OPERATION BLAST and NOBODY knows who it was - and if is left to this bunch of clueless Closeaux we never shall!!!

Just how much longer can this ridiculous procedure be allowed to continue? What a waste of time it is and how many £ millions are wasted each year in occupying so many hours of civil servants’ and politicians’ time.

And how significant it is that the general public shows virtually no interest in the proceedings at all and the public seats remain empty - but when a few bloggers like US do show an interest and try to publish something via CITIZENS MEDIA on the WEB. – our pathetic government reaches for the PANIC button and seeks to legislate to STOP US!!!!!!

AND they say that they want to ENGAGE with the public!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.