Friday, 10 December 2010

French Asylum for Maurice Kirk.

Not since the French Revolution have Brits been granted political asylum in France - but Maurice Kirk tells us that he has been given sanctuary at Rennes today.


According to the information, the dangers that he might be shot, or sectioned, in Wales were enough to convince the French authorities to offer him their protection.

It’s a modern “Tale of Two Cities” - between Rennes and Cardiff.

Maurice’s attempts last week to gain protection in Guernsey (where he stood for election many years ago) or Alderney, were not successful and we interviewed him just before he left Jersey.

Perhaps the Prince of Wales, and his good wife, should seek protection in France too?



Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

JERSEY PLANNING can be bad for your wealth


We have posted a number of blogs on planning and related matters in Jersey and we have looked at the administrative board appeals process.


Here we speak with Peter Grainger who was the senior Planning Officer in Jersey and has been involved in the planning process here and in the UK, for a lifetime.

He is somebody who should understand planning law and practice but he expresses some substantial criticisms of the Jersey system. In particular he is concerned at the weight of bureaucracy that bears upon the ordinary planning applicant besides the cost and difficulty of appealing against planning decisions.

Why is the planning process becoming such a burden - why is there so much antagonism in our dealings with the planning department - and does the Jersey planning appeals system contravene Human Rights standards?


Submitted by Thomas Wellard



Thursday, 11 November 2010

Power, the Butcher and the cruellest cuts….

So, the cold wind of austerity has claimed its first 11K victim. The Minister for Housing has revoked the licence of a 11K who has fallen on hard-times and has ordered him or her to vacate the Jersey up-market home.


Shall this family be debarred from joining the queue for social rented accommodation? Or can they make an application for G category “hardship” status and carry on living in the same dwelling or something smaller?

Similar decisions are made every day by many other people in Jersey. Not usually in the 11K super-rich class of course, but the harsh reality of living at the lower levels in this Island need to be much better understood and discussed.

The fact is that there is no obligation on Jersey government to house anybody and the Housing Law is designed to prevent people occupying accommodation rather than enjoying it. Since its introduction in 1949, the housing problems in Jersey – the “shortage” is just one aspect – have become worse. Yet, Deputy Power says that the law will stay in force because it is the main tool of “population control”- and States policy is based upon an annual growth of 150 new households per annum. There must be some logic there somewhere?

Of course, the housing department knows very little about the largest part of housing accommodation in Jersey – the private sector – because it has no need to interfere in this except insofar that it determines who shall or shall not have “quals.” Beyond that, the private sector is more or less left to manage itself under “market-forces” rules. Unfortunately, the old game of catch-up is still being played out between private and public housing costs. If private rents are increased (and many are linked to cost of living rates) then the public sector wants to follow-suit in case it is perceived as “subsidizing” tenants with public money.

Deputy Power’s limited knowledge is mostly based on the 4,500 publicly owned (States) flats and houses that his department administers out of 38,000 total households in the Island. Housing department properties are mostly one bedroom units and the majority of tenants are economically inactive.

Of the 4,500 States households (13,000 people), about 70% receive Income-Support (including reduced rents) and the other 30% pay full rents but it is not known how many can actually afford to do so, because most do not give details of their income etc to the housing department. This is where Graeme “the Duke of Cumberland” Butcher aka Assistant Minister comes in, because he has been tasked to find out.

It is not just out of curiosity either – because the Minister and “the Duke” are desperate to raise money in extra rents where possible and also to invite tenants to leave, if they can afford to rent “in the private sector.” Thus, they hope to free up some accommodation for the 1200 or so household believed to be “on the waiting list” – although nobody has really got a clue about the actual levels of housing need in Jersey because nobody asks the right questions of the right people

.This simple failure was fully exposed at the recent Draft Island Plan public examination but it does not seem to stimulate a more enlightened look at the whole question of housing provision in Jersey.

To his credit, Deputy Power would like to reduce housing “quals” to 5 years residence in parity with the employment laws of Jersey. But he knows full well that the 60 years of institutional discrimination and prejudice supported by the 1949 Housing Law cannot be shifted from the insular mentality. That over £30 millions in “rents” are paid by the “non quals” workers of Jersey each year into the pockets of lodgings landlords does not seem to be critically considered. Yet, that is virtually the same sum that is denied the housing department each and every year, preventing it from providing the social housing that the Island population – as a whole – desperately needs.

Quite how the broken 11K family came to Deputy Power’s knowledge is not clear. Presumably a little bee rather than a large Butcher discovered and disclosed the information upon which the Ministerial power was applied. Whether this family can, in fact, be forced to vacate their property would make an interesting challenge under Human Rights rules – as will the threats of expulsion for the 30% of States tenants who pay the full “fair rents.”

Deputy Power has a bag full of wish list reforms lined-up for the Housing Department which include its virtual scrapping or amalgamation with the Planning Department, the creation of a Housing Association (run on the lines of Jersey Post or Telecoms) and a separate Regulations body... He already favours a 5 – 7 years residence period in granting certain “G” category hardship consents, is against the granting of “J” category permissions to buy but favours 3 years “to lease” only deals, and he is against selling off any more housing stock (except for the 40 deals already agreed) and he has reduced his staffing levels in accordance with CSR cuts…..

Sadly, his plans to widen the criteria of people that can enjoy “social housing” are unlikely to be realised on the basis of post-war Jersey housing history. He acknowledges that there is no longer a category of “affordable housing” for people to buy and he is looking at reviving the States Loan scheme or breathing new life into “shared equity” (but not “shared ownership”) developments….

…..And he wants to be able to borrow money to finance his schemes because his department is sitting upon a £billion of assets yet is starved of funds to do virtually anything. Even if there was time to implement any of his ideas before next summer – as he proposes – the lack of money must surely scupper his and many other departments’ plans. The failed 11K household should be a lesson to us all.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Shenton (or "accredited" media) Exposed.

So Senator Ben (P9-26) Shenton believes that States Members should be paid by what title they hold, Minister, Assistant Minister etc. It is no wonder that he doesn’t want States Members to be paid by adhering to the oath they take, part of which says “ the greatest responsibility as an elected representative is to be in the states chamber and vote on behalf of their constituents.”


St Saviour Deputy Jeremy Macon has (in my opinion) completely exposed Senator Shenton and his “populist” propositions regarding States Members pay, for what they are…….”populist.” So who now is going to bring a proposition that States Members get paid by the amount of votes they are present for?………………..Not Senator Shenton that’s for sure!

Deputy Macon has published a Press Release along with the statistics of those present, or not, to do what they are supposed to do, and that is, to vote in order to “represent” the people who put them there.

Just as revealing is how Deputy Macon’s statistics expose (in my opion) the inadequacies of our “accredited” media. Why have they never worked out these statistics, or if they have, then why have they never published/broadcast them? I’ve come to learn that it took the Deputy less than an hour to compile these statistics, yes that’s less than an hour.

I’m quite sure BBC Jersey will come out with the old “we haven’t got the budget or resources” sketch, that’s why they don’t publish or broadcast such revealing statistics about our elected “representatives”. Well I’ve got a solution to that. The next time they send Roger Barra half way across the world to report on a minority sport like cricket, after he’s checked in at the airport (an hour before the flight) he could spend that hour gathering statistics about our elected “representatives” from the States website, just like Deputy Macon did, problem solved!!

Deputy Macon Press Release.

Press release - States members who are not present in the chamber to vote

During the debate over States members remuneration where by Senator Shenton was arguing that states member should receive remuneration according to their title (Minister, Chairman, etc) arguing that these were roles of greater reconcilability.

Deputy Jeremy Maçon revealed the number of times that all states member had not been present to vote. He argued that because of the oath of office taken by states members that the greatest responsibility as an elected representative was to be in the states chamber and vote on behalf of their constituents.

From January 2009 (when the current house began to debate public business) to October 2010 there had been a total of 520 votes. (Not including the votes taken beginning the week 19th of October)

Out of the 53 three member those at the bottom were

49. Connétable Graeme Buycher of St John not present for a total of 126 votes
50.Senator Freddie Cohen not present for a total of 136
51.Senator Ben Shenton not present for a total of 139 (over a fifth of all votes taken in the time period)
52.Connétable Simon Crowcroft of St Helier not present for a total of 142 votes
53.Deputy Geoff Southern of St Helier not present for a total of 192 votes

Out of the 53 member those at the top were:-

3.Deputy Rob Duhamel of St Saviour not present for a total of 6 votes
2.Deputy Bob Hill of St Martin not present for a total of 2 votes
1.Deputy Jeremy Maçon of St Saviour not present of a total of 1 vote

Notes to the Editor:-

All of the voting records can be found at www.statesassembly.gov.je

All votes are a matter of public record

When votes are recorded illness, being excused and being away on states business are recorded as such. Thus, a not present vote in only recorded when a member has been present for the role call and left the chamber not to return in time for a vote. A not present vote is recorded only when the appel is called for (the electronic vote where member have to push their buttons). Standing votes do not record who is and who is not present.

Any question can be directed to Deputy Jeremy Maçon

Senator Le Gresley was exempt as he came in on a by-election and had not served the same term as other members - but for the record he has also not been present for 1 vote in his 4 month term.

The information of all member is attached in an excel spread sheet.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

DRAFT ISLAND PLAN – examined in public – decided in private?


Messrs Chris Shepley, Alan Langton and their helper Helen have gone away to read through boxes of papers and transcripts of hearings submitted to them over the past few months from Jersey.


They are the “outside planning inspectors” appointed to consider Freddie’s legacy – the Draft Island Plan – which will serve the Island for the next ten years or so if approved by the States next year.

Unfortunately, it is a bit worrying that the final submission to the inspectors was a 7,000 word statement from Planning Officer Peter Thorne in defence of the proposed plan delivered after lunch on the last day of the public proceedings.

Throughout the hearings the inspectors had maintained a strict timetable and admitted nobody to speak before their scheduled time. They usually enforced a guillotine too on talking once the Planning Office had responded to any verbal representations made around the discussion table. Thus, Peter Thorne had already finished the proceedings before lunch on the final day with the official policy line – so why was he allowed to sum up at such length after the final bell had been rung for everybody else?

Not only were these final public proceedings a bit worrying because any “late” written submissions sent in prior to the public hearings were also barred although the Planning Office still seemed to be sending in controversial policy statements almost to the end. There was certainly a flurry of participants e-mailing discussion papers amongst themselves because these had been officially rejected as “out of time.”

The outside inspectors had also maintained a vow of virtual Trappist silence during tea breaks between the hearings and removed themselves from the room at every opportunity so as not to engage in conflicting conversations with anybody. They are very senior guys in the UK planning enquiry business so should know the rules.

Yet, their attention to such details did not extend to ensuring that an effective sound system was available so that everybody could be heard. Only constant nagging resulted in a somewhat reluctant response to install a sound system. As is so usual in Jersey – we expect public hearings where speakers cannot be heard – but we might have expected higher standards from such experienced people from the UK (where anti-discrimination laws rule).

Having attended the public hearings every day and participated in several group and individual discussions, this resolute and concerned citizen was nevertheless impressed by the general standards of the examination and the smooth manner in which it progressed.

Whether the inspectors were receiving the critical signals being transmitted by the public is anybody’s guess but at the end of the day, Freddie Cohen and his Department will not be bound to accept any proposals for modification. Soon after Peter Thorne had delivered his final 7,000 words statement, this citizen met Freddie on his way to meet the inspectors but whether they just exchanged Trappist silences is not known.

It wasn’t the final round either for the inspectors and Helen because your resolute citizen encountered them during the Sunday evening following supping in a local CAMRA pub. Alas, the omerta rule prevailed and they would not even exchange hellos or soccer incantations for fear of contamination.

Helen e-mailed later to explain that even such minimalist exchanges with the public were not allowed….

So we must await the outcome of their deliberations and we shall see whether the States will approve the Plan in any shape or form next year. If the whole process is of any real benefit to the Island is doubtful – the best buildings in Jersey were built long before planners were even invented. The worst buildings are the direct result of post-war planning professionalism and now the Jersey Development Company is about to be launched!

Whether or not Freddie will see it through to the end must be doubtful….during our brief street encounter he said “I shan’t be there much longer” or something similar. Was that an iconic or an ironic statement from the Minister?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Freddie Cohen’s Castle – under siege

The Reg’s Skips fiasco should have finished him off but the scandals seem to be coming thick and fast up at the Mount Bingham citadel.

Freddie promised that this was to be his last stand and that he would not contest the next year’s elections. There are fresh complaints every week about the planning permits that are granted or those that are not and the current Draft Island Plan review process is revealing serious shortcomings on a daily basis.

Last Friday Terry Le Main was arguing the case for the “CTV” green field housing scheme that had been approved up ‘til the very last minute and then rejected after local lobbying. He was shouting foul play and demanding that it should be re-instated into the Island Plan but the other complaints against Le Main himself and planning offices staff a la Labey will no doubt run and run….

We interviewed Freddie in his castle about eighteen months ago and its well worth looking again at the recordings.

Here we have Part Two (of a three part interview) and it is remarkable how the issue of affordable housing continues to be such a live issue in this tiny Island. Surely it cannot be so difficult to ensure that everybody is adequately housed – especially since the money was running so freely for most of the past thirty years?

Corruption in high places might be at the root of the problem – who knows –but the Planning Inspectors from the UK currently hearing the bitching at the review must wonder what sort of place Jersey is.

Of course, very few members of the public are able to attend the hearings and the accredited press hardly ever drop in.

Team Voice asked to be allowed to make video recordings but was refused. The accredited crowd were permitted – but what use have they made of the facility?
If there is corruption or just plain incompetence at the Planning Department how on earth shall it be exposed and those responsible brought to book?

If you care - look at the video(s).



Submitted by

Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

EMILLE COLLINS 21 September 2010

A brief biography of Emille Collins is published here. We have previously written about this extraordinary man and are pleased to do so again because he will be 98 on Tuesday when his lifelong democratic, political campaigning will be celebrated with a small reception at the Town Hall.


His bronze portrait (commissioned by Team Voice), will also be handed over for display at the Town Hall because we think that people such as Emille are so important in our history and should be acknowledged and remembered.

Please read the biography and realise that Emille’s own family history is typical of so many in the past. The hardships that we experience today need to be compared with those of the people who have lived in this Island before us. We need to be aware of their struggles and in particular, their bravery in fighting for social justice here just as we celebrate their participation in wars - often on foreign soils.

Emille is especially unusual because even at 98 he is still challenging the unfairness in Jersey society and he has not lost his faith in Trades Unions or the validity of political action.

He follows in the respectable tradition established by “ordinary” brave Islanders over eight centuries. Their history is usually not recorded and there are very few monuments to their memory and it is doubly appropriate that on 28 September 1769 Jersey experienced its own forgotten “revolution,” or Jersey’s REFORM DAY.

We have no doubt that Emille or his ancestors would have been there in 1769 just as he would support such a public demonstration today. BUT we do wonder where others like Emille, are in Jersey now?

Happy Birthday Emille – keep fighting and ‘phoning – your Island needs you!


Emille was born in a house behind the “Old England” public house, Cheapside, St Helier on 21 September 1912. His mother was originally a Rondel from St John but had married Emille’s father - also Emille - as a widow with three children.

Emille's mother

Emille Collins senior was a sometimes lamplighter with the Jersey Gas Company and gardener at St Saviour’s Church. He had fought in the Boar War with the Devonshire Regiment and was usually based at the St. Peter’s barracks. He also served in the First World War where an elder brother died. They had been sent to the Jersey Home for Boys at Grouville with another brother (until reaching the age of 14), after their father died.

Emille's father

Emille junior and his parents, moved to Hue Cottages in 1918. He attended the Old St Paul’s school, New Street until the age of 14.

On finishing at school he commenced working at 7a.m. on the first Monday following as a trainee carpenter for five shillings per week, with Reuben Le Feuvre in Ann Street.


Emille far left, front row.

Le Feuvre had such a regular clientele that he never had to give a price but was simply trusted to carry out his work.

There were no paid holidays and the working week was of 56 hours over five and a half days. A first class carpenter would earn £3/10s/0d (£3.50p) per week whereas an average pay was 35 shillings (£1.75p).

Emille remained with the same business until retirement in 1977 but he carried on working as a jobbing/seasonal carpenter for many more years. He was a member of a local branch of the T & G W Union for woodworkers.
He married in 1933 to Doris Le Maistre from St. Ouen and they had one daughter Pamela. Both died in recent years. Emille has one grandson.

Doris and Pamela


Emille remained in Jersey throughout the Occupation with his family. Emille had tried to leave shortly before the outbreak of hostilities but was told that he could only sail without his wife and daughter, so they all stayed.

During the war, when such activities were punishable by death, he was a founder member of the Jersey Democratic Union Party which met at a house in Stopford Road. He retains a lively interest in political issues to this day, attending meetings whenever possible and is a regular participant on BBC Radio Jersey Phone-Ins.

Emille

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Standard of Wiltshire Policing?

Regular readers of the Team Voice Blogsites will be well aware of the investigation carried out on former Jersey Police Chief Officer Graham Power QPM by Chief Constable Brian Moore of the Wiltshire Constabulary.

You remember the investigation, where the investigation into the investigation took longer than the original investigation that they were investigating? The one that went hopelessly over budget and missed just about every deadline set? It cost the Jersey Tax Payer in excess of one million pounds, although it is strongly believed to have cost closer to two million pounds if not more.

Well despite all that, in certain circles, the Report that emerged from this Investigation is/was hailed as the "Holy Grail of all Reports." Some of us thought, who the Dickens do Wiltshire think they are, judging somebody’s investigation when there own investigation appeared to be so flawed? but more of that in a later Blog.

So one could believe that the Wiltshire Police set a very high standard of policing….right? I mean they investigated our highest ranking Police Officer’s involvement of probably the biggest and most complex case ever to hit our shores. They believe they found fault in our most Senior Policeman’s Policing and could face disciplinary charges (under UK Policing regulations).

Then let us have a look at one example of the kind of policing standards “dished out” by Wiltshire. Somebody’s going to need a “bl--dy” Holy Grail Report to explain this one away.




Submitted by VFC.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Briefing notes.

Since Monday the 12th July 2010 Team Voice have been publishing a series of briefing notes, sent to ALL Jersey “accredited” media by recently retired Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM.

We know there are those, including some parts of our “accredited” media, who couldn’t care less what the former CPO has to say. However we also know that there are those that are following this case very closely and want to know every word that Graham Power has to say.

Naturally if this subject does not interest you, and if you haven’t clicked off already, then now is the time to do so.

For those who are interested in the briefing notes issued by Graham Power to our local “accredited” media in response to our Home Affairs Minister, making available to them the NINETY PER CENT REDACTED Wiltshire Report they are listed below in the order they have been published by Team Voice.

We are doing this for ease of reference for those who have a serious interest in studying, not only the sham that has gone on but an interest in how our local “accredited” media report.(or don’t)

First briefing note can be seen HERE

Second HERE

Third HERE

Fourth HERE

Fifth HERE

There are three more briefing notes to come, possibly four, but the “accredited” media might not know too much about the possible fourth!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

“LIAR”!




Today on BBC Radio Jersey we heard Senator Ian “Skippy” Le Marquand accusing our Chief Police Officer of being a “liar”. It was over the subject of who was dragging out the disciplinary process. “Skippy” claims it was the Chief Police Officer and vice versa. So I believe it is safe to say, one of them is a liar.

Here’s where it gets a little curious. As regular readers will be aware, CPO Graham Power sent out a series of 8 “briefing notes” to ALL local “accredited” media. And this was on the 12th July 2010 (6 days ago) so Christie Tucker would, or certainly should have been able to quote from them, can’t remember if she did or not, but I don’t recall her challenging Skippy with the briefing note below (but stand to be corrected).

Briefing note 8.

This briefing note has been prepared by Graham Power in an attempt to assist editors in reporting issues arising from the decision by the Minister for Home Affairs to abandon all disciplinary proceedings.

Topic:

“Running out of time.” What was said during the Judicial Review hearing.

In September 2009 the Royal Court published its verdict in relation to my application for a Judicial review of my suspension. My application was refused but the Court made strong criticism of how the suspension had been carried out by the previous Minister. The current Minister applied to the Court for the award of Costs. The Court refused his application.

The Minister when challenged has sometimes been heard to say that the Royal Court found that he was “right” to maintain the suspension. That is not strictly true. Courts rarely pass a view as to whether a Ministerial decision was “right” or “wrong.” Courts are concerned with whether decisions are lawful or unlawful. In particular a Court will determine whether a Minister acted within his powers. That is not the same as deciding that the Minister was “right.” A Court could, for example, come privately to the view that a Minister had acted unwisely or even foolishly, but that he had not exceeded his powers. That is not the same as deciding that the Minister was “right.”

My application to the Court was wide ranging but one feature is now particularly relevant. This was the part of my submission which invited to the Court to consider whether the Minister was drawing out the process to a point at which there would be no possibility of a return to work, and that there was a diminishing probability that I would get an opportunity to present my defence at a fair hearing. In my submission to the Court I said “The applicant invites the Court to consider whether the Minister is in fact engaged in a process of ‘dismissal by stealth’ which would effectively by-pass the need for an evidence based assessment and a fair hearing.” (Skeleton Argument paragraph 91.) The Minister opposed this submission. It was said on his behalf that a report from the Chief Constable of Wiltshire would be available soon and, should disciplinary issues arise, the Minister had every intention of arranging a fair hearing at which evidence on my behalf could be heard. Having considered both arguments the Court found in the Ministers favour. In the published judgement the Court states “Judging from previous precedents, he (Mr Power) maintained that the suspension of a person of Chief Officer rank was normally a career ending event and in perpetuating the suspension the Minister knew full well what he was doing. The longer the suspension, the less the probability of the Chief Officer successfully resuming a career. As it transpires, Mr Power is due to retire in any event in 2010.

We can sympathise with anyone in Mr Power’s position and can understand the deleterious effect of a lengthy suspension. However, there is no evidence that the Minister is engaged on a cynical exercise of his powers to bring about a constructive dismissal without a fair hearing.”
(Court Judgement.Paragraphs 51 and 52.)

The judgement was of course delivered in September 2009 and a good deal has happened (and not happened) since that date.

With the benefit of hindsight Editors may feel entitled to form a view as to whose evidence to the Royal Court on this issue has proved to be the more accurate.

Submitted by VFC.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Proper Job (2).

Following on from Chief Police Officer Graham Power’s Briefing notes to the media the first one being HERE. Team Voice are happy to bring to our readers, the second in this series.

One must remember ALL island “accredited” media have copies. As the story is unfolding, we are more, and more able to become aware as to how Senator Le Marquand, and others, have been “operating”.

Briefing note 2. July 2010.
The following briefing note has been issued to Editors by Graham Power in order to assist with the reporting of issues relating to the decision by the Minister for Home Affairs to abandon all disciplinary proceedings.

Topic:

How did all the delays happen?
There is already a lot on this subject in the public domain regarding missed deadlines and commitments which have not been kept. (Remember that the Minister originally stated that he expected to be in a position to take decisions in respect of the Wiltshire investigation in March 2009.)
This briefing note will seek to set out some additional information which may not yet be in the public domain.

Key to the issue is paragraph 2.1.2 of the Disciplinary Code for the Chief Officer of Police which sets out the processes which must be followed before there can be a disciplinary hearing. All media organisations have previously been provided with a hard copy of the Code. I do not have an electronic copy available at this time but will search further and forward one if it can be found.

Three features of this paragraph of the code are relevant for the purposes of this note. The first is the requirement that the Chief Executive (in this case the Deputy Chief Executive) conducts a “Preliminary Investigation” (in this case assisted by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire.) The second is that the Chief Executive prepares a report on his investigation, which has been referred to as the “Preliminary Report.” The third is that the Minister and the Chief Officer are provided with copies of the Preliminary Report and meet to discuss its contents along with the Chief Executive and representatives as appropriate. It is at this meeting that the Minister has to decide whether the matter goes any further, for example to a disciplinary hearing. It is probable that the authors of the Disciplinary Code saw the meeting as an opportunity to settle matters without further formal process. We cannot be sure of that. What is however certain is that there can be no disciplinary hearing until both parties have received copies of the “Preliminary Report” and a meeting has taken place. It may therefore be worthwhile exploring the history of the “Preliminary Reports” in this case and the meeting which did not occur.

On 11th February 2010 the Deputy Chief Executive wrote to me and said that he had received the information he needed from Wiltshire to produce a Preliminary Report in relation to the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry and that he expected the Minister to arrange a meeting “as soon as possible” in order to progress matters under the Code.

It was however not until 19th April 2010 that received a copy of the “Preliminary Report.” This nevertheless appeared to clear the decks for a meeting with the Minister under the Code and for the process to move forward.

However, at this point an issue arose which was the subject of correspondence over the following months. Namely, was the proposed meeting about “Haven 1” (the abuse enquiry) alone? Or would it also cover “Haven 2” (Operation Blast?) It was hard to get a clear answer to this question but eventually it emerged that the Minister appeared to want to deal with both issues together. That being the case he then had to comply with the requirements of the Code in relation to “Haven 2” and provide a further preliminary report. But by that time “Haven 2” was seriously behind schedule. It did not get off to a good start. The investigation was announced by the Minister in June 2009 (source-Hansard) but no Investigating Officer was appointed until September 2009 (source – letter from the Chief Constable of Wiltshire.) Even then it was clear that the estimated timescale of “three to four months” (source-letter from Chief Constable of Wilts) was seriously over-running.

An exchange of letters took place in April 2010 in which the Deputy Chief Executive spoke of his intention to arrange a meeting under the Code. I replied reminding him that the meeting could not take place until the Preliminary Report in relation to “Haven 2” had been received and studied by the parties. I also asked for a draft agenda for the meeting. I did not receive an agenda and I did not receive a Preliminary Report. A similar exchange took place in May 2010. Again, I did not receive an agenda or a Preliminary Report. It therefore remained impossible for a meeting to take place in accordance with the Code.

Running alongside these exchanges were discussions I was having with the HR Branch of the Chief Ministers Department, regarding the administrative formalities associated with my retirement. As part of this exercise I asked that Department (who I should add have been courteous and professional throughout) to designate my “last working day.” Most readers will be familiar with this process but I will give brief details for the benefit of any who are not. In order that retirement can be a “clean break” it is necessary to identify any outstanding entitlements, such as untaken leave, and to resolve these before the actual retirement date. This ensures that after retirement neither party has a claim on the other in respect of untaken leave or related issues. The Chief Ministers Department applied this process and identified Tuesday 15th June as my “last working day. I was told that I would thereafter be on leave until the end of my service. Having been given this written assurance I made appropriate leave arrangements with my family.

Subsequently, the “Preliminary Report” in relation to “Haven 2” was delivered. It was sent to my home address by courier and was received and signed for by a family member who was at the house at the time. Its receipt is therefore a matter of record. The delivery of the Preliminary Report took place on the morning of Wednesday 23rd June 2010 over one week after my “last working day.”

My professional representative, Dr Timothy Brain, learned of the delivery and wrote to the Minister pointing out that my “last working day” had been and gone and that matters were effectively at an end.

While I am not an impartial judge in these matters, the sequence of events does appear to raise some questions regarding the extent of the Ministers commitment to allow a hearing of my case. Why for example did he not proceed on the basis of “Haven 1” when he was in a position to do so? Also, what was the thinking behind providing a copy of the Preliminary Report for Haven 2 after I had effectively retired? Was it some sort of token gesture or had the Minister simply lost sight of the passage of time?

Whatever explanation is correct there is some irony in this sequence of events. The whole saga began in November 2008 in a confusing exchange in the midst of a family holiday.It appears to have ended the same way.

I hope that this note is helpful. Other notes will be circulated as issues are identified.

Submitted by Team Voice.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Let’s “play ball”?

After the Sates and their Communications Unit have repeatedly refused to accept “Team Voice” as “Media” and after Team Voice have played along with all the daft “rules” of the establishment, as in the completely un-workable three day notice for filming Scrutiny Hearings and abiding by all media embargoes we have become very tired of it all.

We have repeatedly been leaked documents, and not reported on Court Cases that have been embargoed, and adhered to these restrictions. However after once more not being "included", this time in the distribution the “cherry picked” Wiltshire Report, by the Communications Unit, although in fairness we believe it was the decision of the Home Affairs Minister or his Department. We explained that as they refuse to treat us with any kind of recognition, then that would inevitably result in us not “playing ball” any longer, but that is their decision not ours.

The absolutely disgraceful decision of the Chief Minister’s Department to furnish the “accredited” media with a copy of the cherry picked Wiltshire Report, without supplying CPO Power with a copy and then “refusing” States Members and Team Voice a copy, “the inevitable” is about to happen.

Team Voice were leaked a copy just hours after it was released to the media and as we are not recognized as “accredited” media, we have no obligation to adhere to the “media” embargo.

Nonetheless to further prove, we are trying to work “with” the powers that be we will not breach the embargo but will publish a “cherry picked” paragraph from the cherry picked Wiltshire Report. We will do this for two reasons. That is to give our readers/viewers a “flavour” of this almost laughable Report and also to let the powers that be know that we are not bluffing.

It is time for the powers that be to start playing ball, we’ve proved that we are willing to!

Excerpt from Cherry picked Wiltshire.

"During the course of our investigation, thousands of States of Jersey Police e-mails relating to CO Power were assessed by Operation Haven Personnel. Two, in particular, are noteworthy for their inappropriateness. One on 23 February 2008 (the day of the significant “find” at Haut de la Garenne) indicates at best, a flippant or dismissive attitude or at worst, a contemptuous attitude towards some elected politicians, but which on either interpretation set a poor example to DCO Harper who read it. However, one dated 29 February 2008 contains “joke” comments which are considered simply inexcusable by this inquiry. This e-mail was sent from the Force e-mail system to a friend and former colleague of CO Power in the United Kingdom. The appropriateness of the e-mails is reflected in the charges suggested against CO Power."

Submitted by Team Voice.

Monday, 5 July 2010

CARSWELL that ends well…..

The panel of 3 lawyers, a lawyer’s wife and a nurse, has ended the first part of its look at the Jersey Crown Officers.

Your intrepid non-accredited reporter has attended most of the hearings which have largely consisted of lawyers and royal courtiers defending the status quo. Not too surprisingly, they did not have to defend too hard because the level of questioning seldom tested or stretched minds.

From the outset – when Deputy Bob Hill was in the witness chair – Lord Carswell made his bias in favour of his legal brethren and hostility towards most of the rest, abundantly obvious.
Lawyers talking shop – politely of course – has been the order of the day, so don’t expect too much change from this lot in September when their report is published.

The consultation process is not quite finished yet. Your reporter asked about the overbearing dominance of lawyers talking to lawyers and not enough plumbers etc taking part. Lord Carswell promised at least one general public evening session to come - so plumbers or plebs – there is another chance to express views.

However, it has been remarkable how little public interest has been shown in this most important process initiated by Deputy Hill (after a hard fought struggle).
The accredited media have predictably reported only the hearings with the Crown Officers plus a few other safe pairs of hands or VIPs.
The public have stayed away more or less altogether from the hearings – is this contempt for the Crown Officers’ system or the usual indifference and apathy?

The panel received about 45 written submissions according to those published on its website:
www.gov.je/crownofficersreview

About 13 are from the “lay general public,” but since these are often just a paragraph do not generally contribute much to the discussion. As Mrs. B. Murphy wrote “It is my belief that the Crown Officers fulfil their roles well, particularly in these modern times.”
Not exactly a major contribution to reasoned discussion.

Others were:
Jersey Lawyers 5 Non Jersey Lawyers 3 Acting Chief of States Police 1
States Members 8 Parish Constable 1 Ex-States Members 5

There is a degree of overlap because some ex-States members (like Reg. Jeune) are also lawyers and some Jurats have been States members or Honorary Police but the dominance of self-preserving Crown Officers (all Jersey lawyers of course), Jurats, lawyers and their establishment supporters is painfully obvious.

Thus the Bailiffs and Deputy Bailiffs, past and present, Attorney and Solicitor Generals (past and present) feature prominently and repeatedly along with the Viscount/Judicial Greffier and even the Dean.

Virtually all the serving dozen Jurats seems to have put their names to one or other of the submissions.
Group submissions from the Scrutiny Chairmen’s Committee (just single paragraphs from 4 Scrutiny Panels), the Chefs De Police (signed by Centenier Scaife), the Constables Committee (Ken Vibert) and the Honorary Police Association, purport to present a solid front of loyalty. However, the latter managed only to write that “The Honorary Police of Jersey support the role of the Attorney General and have no wish to comment further.” Again, not a very substantial or challenging point of view there.

The Jersey Human Rights group offered a unique submission from the more “progressive” side of the Jersey way of life but the more traditional, conservative “change nothing” lobby was overwhelming.

Lord Carswell had personally written to the Guernsey Bailiff inviting his comments. No harm in that – but did he write to any plumbers etc in that Bailiwick or even in Jersey, soliciting their views? The Guernsey AG and SG equivalents also responded as did an ex-Deputy-Bailiff.
Is this a case of all hands to the pump on an ancient sinking ship?
Even a UK Judge (Page) aka a Jersey Commissioner rallied to support the cause.
Adrian Lee, the UK Political commentator and BBC political pundit also offered. an academic analysis.

Those called as witnesses included only two “lay members of the general public” and one of those (John Henwood) had sat on the Clothier Panel.
All the other 30 or so called to speak were either lawyers (Jersey qualified or not), Crown Officers past and present, Jurats, States members past and present, Constables or Honorary Police, the Judicial Greffier and the Acting Chief of Police.

Can this really be considered as a representative slice of Jersey opinion on this most important subject? Especially since some of the Crown Officers have been called back to repeat much the same evidence repeated ad nauseum by themselves and others.
Lord Carswell’s panel, it seems, just so enjoyed chatting to them.

Strangely, the texts of the Bailiff’s and Deputy Bailiff’s oral hearings are not yet published on the website and some witnesses (e.g. Frank Walker and Senator Shenton) seem to have appeared as witnesses without having submitted written statements previously. Senator Shenton expressed some very interesting comments on the failures of the Scrutiny system – but who did he speak for and did he seek prior approval from the Scrutiny Panels?

Strange too that so few of Jersey’s so called “progressives” made any submissions at all or showed any interest in this panel’s activities, Why no JDA comment or participation, or the Jersey CAB or the States Greffiers, past and present?


Anybody interested in the future of democratic government in Jersey is urged to look at the website and study the written and oral submissions.

Note especially those from Bob Le Brocq, Advocate Kelleher, John Henwood, Mike Dun, Frank Walker and Nick le Cornu.

For a special treat read the written submission from Advocate Philip Sinel and wonder if he was invited to meet the panel!

For starters he wrote:

“Jersey’s legal system is, in its entirety, fundamentally incompatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention)” and

“The attitude of Jersey’s authority in relation to the non compliance by the Island with the Convention is one of calculated defiance.”

AND THERE’s MORE.!!!

Remember the public hearing yet to come. You can still have your say.
We cannot wait another 800 years for reform.

Thomas Wellard

Friday, 25 June 2010

NEWSFLASH! Vet Vet gets red card again…

Flying Vet Maurice Kirk has been grounded again by the red dragons of justice in Cardiff.

In court yesterday there was an alleged sighting of a levitating case file headed for the judicial bench but of course poor visibility at the time means that the particular circumstances are disputed.

As usual the judicial red dragon’s fire was stoked up and he was soon uttering the dreaded contempt of court fumings from every orifice.

Maurice was sent back once again to Cardiff Prison for 28 days.

He must be careful though because contempt for the high and mighty of the British judicial system is not for the feint hearted. When Maurice is released he is liable to be brought back before the fiery beast to show how he has purged his misbehaviour and demonstrate how he humbly accepts the majesty of the court.

This might be too much to ask on the basis of previous history – see Maurice Kirk Flying Vet’s own blog and interview here

Shall local Jersey Courts be similarly tested by our own enfant terrible soon?

Tom Wellard.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

There’s one born every minute……. 



Well, not at the former Maternity Hospital now known as the Le Bas Health Centre in St Saviour’s Road but……. 
This extraordinary structure appeared there recently and we thought that the public should know more about it in this time of belt tightening and austerity. 
We did consider running a guess what it is for competition but couldn’t decide on an appropriate prize so for those who think it’s a bus shelter or outside sun-tanning booth…. 
In fact it is of course a bicycle shed – except that it’s not really a shed at all because it has no walls and the roof is so high that it affords no shelter from the weather either. 
So, if it is wet bums that our Health Execs are worried about then a bit of plastic wrapping would have been a cheaper option to slip over saddles – assuming (if you will excuse the expression) that anybody will ever use this smart ass new feature. 
In fact, we seem to remember that there already is (or was) an existing bike shed around the corner of this very same building – perhaps somebody has happy memories of it and of the unhealthy activities carried on there….. 
 
Anyhow, we understand that this fine structure cost in excess of £10,000 to create and that designer’s fees alone (Morris Architects according to the Planning Department file although it was exempt from needing Planning or Bye Law permission) were said to be £1,500…….. 
 
Oh well - perhaps cycling is good for the leg muscles but rots the brain. If anybody knows more do please tell us – and also let us know if any bicycles actually use it?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Social or un-social housing. Who cares?

We are all entitled to decent housing. It’s supposedly one of the reasons we fight wars - homes fit for heroes and all that stuff.

Yet here in Jersey, amidst all the wealth, there are thousands of people who have to tolerate sub-standard housing conditions. They are not all temporary farm workers nor the ten thousand adults without housing “quals”

The interview below is with a Jersey born young woman who describes the conditions that have to be endured on one States housing estate by her and her family.

Why in 2010 does anybody have to put up with such treatment?
How many other States tenants are in similar circumstances?

With the appointment of Deputy Sean Power as the new Housing Minister can we expect a positive plan to end such conditions for all tenants?



Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The MET “Interim” Report DOES NOT exist.

That is the opinion of Deputy Trevor “Big Trev” Pitman, along with a growing number of politicians and members of the public.

Regular readers/viewers of Team Voice will know that we have been trying to verify the existence of the MET “Interim” Report for quite some time and will continue to do so. Big Trev is now convinced it does not exist, and who can blame him? Here is a crucial document alleged to back up the letter sent by acting Chief of Police, David Warcup, criticising his boss’s (CPO Graham Power) handling of the Haute de la Garenne Child Abuse investigation, which subsequently led to the (illegal?) suspension of our most senior Police Officer and only David Warcup, that we know of, has ever seen it!

Now it's (whatever it is) locked away in a bl--dy safe where no-one apart from David Warcup can get sight of it and he is supposedly on holiday. Team Voice believe a document does exist and we believe it is more of a “favour” from a mate of David Warcup’s sending him an e-mail to help him, or/and others to “nail” Graham Power.

Although we have no evidence to back that theory up, that is not our fault, until Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand, or anybody else can give us proof, to the contrary, what choice do we have?

You will notice that Deputy Pitman is “none the wiser” after asking a question in the States of Senator Le Marquand. Deputy Bob Hill also is “none the wiser” for asking a question of Ian Le Marquand in the States. Time to start making the back benchers and general public that little wiser Senator………it’s not only Graham Power's reputation that’s on the line, IT'S YOURS!!



Submitted by VFC.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

SCRUTINY SCRUTINY CULTURE and NO OBLIGATIONS in sight….


We all know that Jersey has an obsession with money. So it should come as no surprise when a Public Accounts Committee Scrutiny Panel looked today at the Jersey Heritage Trust and discussed little else.

Apart from a few references to Marilyn Monroe and a failed plan to bring (fellow American) John Singleton Copley’s painting of the 1781 Battle of Jersey here, there was very little mention of specific artistic or cultural activities at all.

Of course, the Heritage Trust is bust and we would hardly expect a room full of accountants and business worthies to be too concerned with the needs of local artists, composers, actors, dancers, writers, musicians, historians, designers and others.

That the artists and all were absent from the meeting also says a lot about Jersey too. But how ironic that it took place in the Blampied room of the States Building with pictures of Jersey’s greatest 20th century artist hanging ominously over the proceedings.

None of this lot had presumably been collecting vraic recently – or ever?

Just for the record, Senator Ben Shenton chaired the meeting with colleagues Senators Breckon and Perchard and Constable Refault.
Mario Lundy (Director ES and Culture), Nick Danby, Jon Carter and Clive Jones (JHT) answered their questions and several more men in suits also sat around the table and interjected about money matters from time to time.

Women did not participate - except as secretarial scrutiny officers.

Also absent was any mention of international obligations with regard to culture. No great surprise there – but in two and a half hours surely somebody could have acknowledged Jersey’s supposed commitments under the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)? Had nobody ever heard of it?

According the Jersey’s 5th Report under ICESCR to the UN in 2007;

“The adoption of the Cultural Strategy commits the States of Jersey to a strategic approach to the encouragement of cultural activities.”

Unfortunately, as the discussions sadly revealed, the infamous Cultural Strategy document was just so much eye wash. There was no money to back up the grand ideas and the lack of commitment to the arts for arts sake was everywhere apparent.

Even the UN must be despairing of Jersey’s failure to incorporate ICESCR into local law as it has requested (Jersey has promised to keep the matter under review!). Nevertheless, the UN has advised that even without incorporation, Jersey has an obligation to comply with it and “to give it full effect in the domestic legal order.”

Jersey has conceded that it is an international obligation and will be taken into account by courts of law (see Benest v Le Maistre JLR 1998 p 213 C of A) and “in addition the States of Jersey will not enact laws which would put the island in breach of its international obligations.”

Jersey has also promised the UN that;
“Jersey government takes this Covenant into account in the formulation of legislation and policies that bear upon economic, social and cultural rights.”

Somebody should tell Senator Shenton and his team.

Anybody interested in reading Jersey’s 5th Report to the UN can find it lodged between the Reports from Guernsey and the Isle of Man by Googling the link on gov.je un report icescr. (Jersey’s report is on pages 335-397).

The next report from Jersey is due soon. NGOs and other groups are supposed to be encouraged to participate in its preparation!
We wonder what whoppers will be told to the UN and the people of Jersey this time?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Stuart Syvret Returns.

Today saw the unexpected return of former Senator Stuart Syvret. Immediately after his arrival at Jersey Airport he was arrested airside so kept from the waiting media “accredited” and “unaccredited”. He was taken directly to the Magistrates Court for a special hearing where he was released on bail after refusing to stand on his feet for Assistant Magistrate Bridget Shaw, even after being warned he could be in contempt of court, to which he explained to Mrs. Shaw that he has nothing but contempt for the court.

Team Voice secured an interview, where we believe the “accredited” media were declined an interview despite their protestations.

As you will see in the (exclusive) video below, Team Voice will be interviewing the Senator, ex Senator, Mr. Syvret in-depth and exclusive to Citizens Media in the coming days.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

COMPLAIN!!!!!! You must be on re-play……


That annual Report of the past 12 months Complaints Boards has been published again by Constable Gallichan’s lack lustre PPC.

For an island with a population of over 92,000 people there were just 15 complaints against government mal-administration in the whole year of 2009!!!!!!!

Of those ONLY 3 complaints were upheld!!!!! Who are we kidding?

With all the discontent in Jersey about so many aspects of our government administration are we really supposed to believe that only 3 people had justifiable grievances in 12 months?

Look here – last year we published several blogs about this very same subject (see voiceforjersey June 3rd and 4th 2009) and responses from Deputies Bob Hill and Roy “the fence” Le Herissier.

We at The Voice also undertook a great deal of research into the subject and attended Complaints Board hearings and we submitted our own complaint against the unhelpful and discriminatory policies of the Chairman’s Committee of Scrutiny. This was not even allowed to be heard because that Committee is exempt – like so many other bodies in Jersey – from Complaint Board examination.
We cannot allow scrutiny of scrutiny!!!!!

As we reported before – in little Gibraltar with a population of just 28,000 – their equivalent (Ombudsman) Board receives over 400 complaints per annum and they uphold about 50 out of the 100 that receive a full hearing.
The main areas of maladministration in Gibraltar, according to their Board are;

“Bias, neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, inaptitude, perversity, turpitude, arbitrateness…..”

In the UK about 35% of complaints are upheld each year by the Government Ombudsman and there are several different specialist Ombudsman offices to receive specific complaints on such things as Local Government or Insurance (which should be very busy following the Icelandic volcanic ash).

In other places the Ombudsman will take up complaints without even being asked and will prosecute if necessary to achieve a satisfactory conclusion.
Our Complaints Board procedure is a disgraceful farce that won’t (according to Chairperson Carol Canavan – a Jersey Lawyer) even consider human rights violations!!!!!

We recently attended the two latest 2010 Complaints Boards – one versus the Planning Department and the other regarding the States Pension scheme.

These are supposed to be public hearings – but they are not advertised in advance and the “accredited” Jersey press hardly ever attends but waits for the official, ready prepared official “press release” before reporting anything.

We at The Voice have to make enquiries even to discover when Complaints Boards are due to take place – the Greffe will not tell us in advance.
In Gibraltar they give out details to the public on the street!

Thanks heavens Deputy Monty Tadier has had the sense to resign from the absurd PPC farce – but shall he be re-energised now to tackle this Complaints Board disgrace and the other 1001 issues that need addressing in this “paradise island”?


Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

JCLA Press Release.

The Jersey Care Leavers Association have issued the following Press Statement. Which is a stark reminder to us all that REAL people have suffered REAL atrocities whilst in the “care” of our government.

The one’s that are fortunate enough to still be with us, and the families of those who aren’t, carry on living this nightmare on a daily basis and deserve recognition and not least JUSTICE and AN APOLOGY.

To Carrie and the JCLA. The “good” people of Jersey recognise your suffering, even if we are not capable of comprehending the true extent of it.

I am sure Lenny Harper, his dedicated team of professionals and CPO Graham Power appreciate the full support of the Care leavers.



Press Release

From Jersey Care Leavers Association
For attention of Newsrooms
Dated: 2nd April 2010…For immediate release and action
Issued by: Jersey Care Leavers Association


2nd April 2010.

Over the past couple of weeks the subject of the suspension of the Chief of Police Graham Power has once again been prominent in the headlines and on the radio with conflicting reports.

Naturally, this impacts once more on all the care leavers who have been, and still are, part of the Abuse enquiry who are continually subjected to innuendo, doubt and having to re-live periods of their life that they would prefer to put behind them.
Until this whole Abuse enquiry, and Mr. Power’s suspension are finalised our emotions are once again brought to the surface, discussed in the media and furthermore ridiculed by our Home Affairs Minister on last Sunday’s BBC radio Jersey’s talkback programme when suggesting that 65 teeth ‘accidentally’ fell through a gap in the floorboards at Haut de la Garenne, a flippant remark which does not sit well with a lot of the Care Leavers and the general public.

Contrary to what has been suggested at no time were we given false hope of convictions by Lenny Harper and his team. We were invited to come forward with information as part of the ongoing investigation, and at all times were treated with dignity, respect and understanding in our dealings with the investigation team at that time. It is indeed due to the sympathetic manner we were dealt with that we felt at ease talking with this team, and thanks to that, some convictions have taken place.
It is indeed unfortunate that the resurfacing of the media publicity surrounding Mr Power’s suspension which now appears to relate to the historic abuse enquiry handling, has led to yet more trauma for the survivors.

May we request some respect for our feelings in this matter not only from the media, but from some politicians who make light of some of the evidence when asked for an opinion.

We have suffered greatly as it is – we do not deserve to suffer more.
Furthermore, we now have in the public domain the findings of the independent review enquiry by the JCPC which has highlighted a shocking case of abuse and neglect within a family situation which was allowed to continue for 12 years. This was due to a failure, lack of communication and action by all the agencies involved. A damning indictment indeed which would make us query how many other abuse cases have been handled in the same manner or glossed over.
Concerns over the failings and the failed were highlighted by Senator Stuart Syvret some time ago, and as a consequence he was sacked from his position as Health Minister in 2007
.
What does this say about our Government and the agencies concerned?
Likewise, when Senator Alan Breckon brought forward a proposition for an enquiry into child protection last year it was heavily defeated, and furthermore two former Health Ministers voted against it.

Again, what does this say about our Government?
We support wholeheartedly Senator Alan Breckon’s call for an enquiry and debate into the management of Health and Social Services and would ask all States Members to support this course of action, which is imperative to re-assure us that lessons have been learnt and will be acted upon.
Is this too much to ask?
Carrie Modral
Jersey Care Leavers Association

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bring back P145/2009

In early March 2009 Senator Alan Breckon, Deputies, Roy Le Herissier Trevor Pitman and Geoff Southern formed a Scrutiny Sub Panel to look into the “care” of vulnerable children administered by our States.

The sub panel soon become aware that not all was well, and in particular there were, how shall we put this? “failings” “misgivings” “malpractice” “short comings”? perhaps incompetence, cover up, corruption, and total neglect of our children might be too strong a phraseology but perhaps shouldn’t be ruled out.

So concerned were the sub panel that after some 18 - 20 weeks of taking testimony and collecting data that they felt it necessary to bring a proposition to the States (P145/2009) asking for a committee of enquiry to look into the management at Health and Social Services. They believed our most vulnerable children had been “avoidably” horribly failed by these people. But guess what? THIRTY of our States members didn’t want this to happen, that is THIRTY people who believe they are voting how we, the electorate, would like them to vote. I shall list the THIRTY below. Needless to say the proposition got defeated.

Subsequently the Jersey Child Protection Committee (JCPC) conducted a Serious Case Review (SCR) on a particularly troubled family. I believe, and stand to be corrected, that the SCR was forced upon the JCPC by the family’s Lawyer, Advocate Tim Hanson. The report that followed was nothing short of DAMMING and SCATHING of just about every department, and more, that deals with, not only “vulnerable” children, but children in general - as well as our Law Offices and one, as yet unnamed (unaccountable) Judge.
The full JCPC SCR report can be read here, and again it is another one of those documents that doesn’t make for comfortable reading.

Senator Alan Breckon must be encouraged to submit P145/2009 again, the people (highly paid Civil Servants) and others, that so tragically failed this family, and possibly many other families must be held to account.

Below is an interview with Senator Breckon, although it must be remembered that Deputies Southern, Le Herissier and T. Pitman also put the best part of twenty weeks work into trying to unearth who or what allowed this tragic, unforgivable and avoidable chain of events to occur.

Although, as things stand it looks like our elected “representatives” and in particular Education Minister Deputy James Reed and H&SS Minister Deputy Ann Pryke, are not going to hold any of their Civil Servants to account. So we as voters, must make sure these elected “representatives” are held to account at the Ballot Box in the next elections.



Senator Terence Augustine Le Sueur
CONTRE


Senator Paul Francis Routier
CONTRE


Senator Philip Francis Cyril Ozouf
CONTRE


Senator Terence John Le Main
CONTRE


Senator Ben Edward Shenton
CONTRE


Senator Frederick Ellyer Cohen
CONTRE


Senator James Leslie Perchard
CONTRE


Senator Alan John Henry Maclean
CONTRE


Senator Bryan Ian Le Marquand
CONTRE


Connétable Kenneth Priaulx Vibert
CONTRE


Connétable John Le Sueur Gallichan
CONTRE


Connétable Daniel Joseph Murphy
CONTRE


Connétable Michael Keith Jackson
CONTRE


Connétable Graeme Frank Butcher
CONTRE


Connétable Peter Frederick Maurice Hanning
CONTRE


Connétable Leonard Norman
CONTRE


Connétable John Martin Refault
CONTRE


Connétable Juliette Gallichan
CONTRE


Deputy Robert Charles Duhamel
CONTRE


Deputy John Benjamin Fox
CONTRE


Deputy Judith Ann Martin
CONTRE


Deputy James Gordon Reed
CONTRE


Deputy John Alexander Nicholas Le Fondré
CONTRE


Deputy Anne Enid Pryke
CONTRE


Deputy Sean Power
CONTRE


Deputy Kevin Charles Lewis
CONTRE


Deputy Ian Joseph Gorst
CONTRE


Deputy Philip John Rondel
CONTRE


Deputy Daniel John Arabin Wimberley
CONTRE


Deputy Edward James Noel
CONTRE








 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A credible fictitious story?

Today Sunday the 14th March 2010, our Chief Minister, Senator Terry (P9-26) Le Sueur, along with Deputy of St Marin Bob Hill were “live” guests on our local weekly Radio Show “Talkback”.

The subject matter was “who is running Jersey, the Civil Servants, or the Politicians.”

One member of the public who phoned into the show was a member of Team Voice. Where he put it to Senator Terry (P9-26) Le Sueur that the Civil Servants are running the island, and in particular, the Head Civil Servant Bill Ogley.

The Team Voice member went on to explain, that no less an authority than our most Senior Police Officer, had sworn an affidavit claiming that Mr. Ogley had been involved in engineering the dismissal of a democratically elected member of our parliament namely the (then) Health and Social Service Minister Senator Stuart Syvret. Indeed CPO Graham Power had this to say in his Affidavit.

“I attended a meeting of the Corporate Management Board (C.M.B.) This is a body which brings together the heads of the islands public services to discuss policy issues and provide collective advice to Ministers.

T he feeling in the room was tense and there was general talk about the questions asked by the Health Minister and the need for some sort of action in response. I had the feeling that “something was going on” to which I was not a party. After the meeting the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley, asked me to stay behind. Also remaining were the head of States H.R., Ian Crich, the Chief Officer of Health, Mike Pollard and the then Chief Officer of Education, (Tom McKeon who has since retired.) The Chief Executive said that it was anticipated that the Council of Ministers would tomorrow be asked by the then Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker, to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Health Minister and that this could result in his removal from office. I was then told of measures that had apparently been put in place to facilitate this. I was told that the islands Child Protection Committee (C.P.C.) was due to meet at the same time as we were meeting and that arrangements had been made for it to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Minister. It was then suggested that as the heads of the relevant public services we should do something similar and that this would give support to the proposal that the Chief Minister would bring forward the next day.

I was shocked by this and initially did not know what to say. I eventually made two points. Firstly I said that the Minister was entitled to ask difficult questions. As I saw things that was his role and it was our role to provide a response, and secondly, even if that was not agreed, what was being proposed was civil servant and police engagement in political activity. I stated clearly that I did not see that as acceptable and that I would have nothing to do with it. At this point the Chief Executive asked me to leave the meeting which I did. I then made contact with a police colleague who had been at the C.PC. and discovered that this colleague had also had left their meeting for similar reasons. Shortly afterwards we both made brief notes in relation to what had happened. This was my first noteworthy experience of the formation of an “inner circle” of politicised senior civil servants loyal to the Chief Minister. The Chief Executive and the head of H.R. subsequently played a significant role in my suspension.”

Let us remember, this is a sworn affidavit submitted voluntarily, should there be any falsehoods contained in it the Chief Police Officer risks a perjury charge.

The Team Voice member went on to explain to our Chief Minister that contained within the same affidavit was an allegation from CPO Power that the Chief Executive Officer Bill Ogley had stated if “they” (presumably the police?) wanted to “get” a fellow Civil Servant who was a suspect in the ongoing historical child abuse investigation, (and remained in post, not suspended as a neutral act) then they would have to “get him first” (Bill Ogley). Chief Police Officer Graham Power had this to say in his affidavit.

“The third example I have chosen relates to a Strategic Planning Workshop held at the St Pauls Centre on Friday 24th October 2008. The Workshop was attended by a number of senior public servants including myself and the Chief Executive. At the commencement of the workshop the Chief Executive asked for silence and said that he had an announcement to make. He named a senior civil servant who was present. The person named is a suspect in the abuse investigation but has not been suspended. The Chief Executive said that the suspect had his total support and that “if anyone wants to get…….(the suspect)…….they would have to get me first”. This announcement was applauded by some but not all of the persons present. I took it as a further indication of the “in crowd” closing ranks against the “threat” of the abuse enquiry. The Chief Executive later played a significant role in my suspension.”

The Chief Minister replied by saying he hasn’t seen any evidence to prove any wrong doing by his Chief Civil Servant, and his Chief Civil Servant has denied the claims, and he (the Chief Minister) has every confidence in Mr. Ogley.

So this is how things work over here in good old Jersey. Our most senior ranking Police Officer, swears an affidavit that the most Senior Civil Servant has been involved in, what most would consider to be “illegal” and anti-democratic activity. The Senior Civil Servant denies it and that’s good enough for our Chief Minister. No investigation or inquiry into the claims made in the affidavit, there’s no need the Civil Servant has denied it, nothing more needed.

I believe it was Lenny Harper who first used this quote and it sums it up really and that is you couldn’t make up a credible “fictitious” story with this stuff.
For those who would like to view Chief Police Officer Graham Power’s Affidavit in its entirety click HERE

Thursday, 25 February 2010

What a difference a Child Abuse Investigation makes.

Back in early 2007 (not sure of the date) Chief Police Officer Graham Power and Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper were “the good guys”. They were rooting out the corruption in our “outdated” Police force and according to the Jersey Evening Post “ It goes without saying that in the police - beyond all other institutions - there is no room whatsoever for corruption or malpractice. If the professional standards section of our force determined that it was necessary to act with exemplary firmness, its stance deserves support rather than criticism.”

Below is that editorial published in, and by, the Jersey Evening Post early in 2007 where one would believe, after receiving glowing reports from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, Lenny Harper and Graham Power were doing this right. This appears to be endorsed by the Jersey Evening Post, hence their “positive” Editorial.

But along came a Child Abuse Investigation, and these two cops who had received glowing reports from HMI and others also the support of the Jersey Evening Post - before you know it - they’re the bad guys! Come on JEP you can’t have it both ways, at what point did they lose your support, when was it that they went bad?

Everything all seemed Hunky Dory until these guys started investigating institutional Child Abuse.

I should like at this point to throw out a challenge to the Jersey Evening Post.

In their Editorial of February 23rd 2010 (below) they have written “One is that Mr Power’s deputy, Lenny Harper, was not effectively supervised as he pursued with ever increasing public zeal his unsubstantiated suspicions that torture, murder and institutional cover-up had taken place at the former children’s home.”

Could you please point us in the direction where Lenny Harper has ever said there was any “murder” at HDLG?

JEP Editorial from 2007.

Police Chief delivers change.

Six years ago the States of Jersey Police were the subject of a less than flattering report compiled in the wake of a visit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. Since then, problems clearly have been solved and new standards have been set, the latest HMI report

having described the force as “modern and fast-moving”.
Police Chief Graham Power and his officers can be proud of this achievement. In common with forces up and down Britain, the States Police are a complex and many-layered organisation. Accomplishing the turn-around of the past six years can therefore, have been no easy undertaking. Nor can it have been particularly pleasant. The process of major change is always likely to upset those set in their ways or content to roll along in accordance with comfortable but outdated routines.

This process of transformation was undoubtedly at its most challenging when the professional standards department, led by Mr. Power’s deputy, Lenny Harper, embarked on a systematic programme to root out corruption. Mr. Harper’s determined efforts have been attacked - to the extent that they have been described as “out of control” by a prominent former politician - but the result of the latest HMI inspection would seem to justify the decision to probe as deeply as possible and to remove those officers who were less than a credit to their uniform.
It goes without saying that in the police - beyond all other institutions - there is no room whatsoever for corruption or malpractice. If the professional standards section of our force determined that it was necessary to act with exemplary firmness, its stance deserves support rather than criticism.

There are, of course, areas of the force where improvements can still be made. Indeed, the inspectorate has listed 78 suggestions for further change. With the combination of improved morale, high levels of confidence in the top echelon and firm political support, Mr. Power and his colleagues are in an excellent position to deliver that change.
We in Jersey are fortunate to live in a community where serious crime is mercifully rare. While important questions remain over the failure of the States to establish a new police authority , the force itself is organised and led in a way more than capable of maintaining this happy state of affairs.

Mr Power: Time to call a halt
February 23, 2010 – 3:00 pm

ALMOST exactly two years since the name of Haut de la Garenne hit the world’s headlines, Jersey is still dealing with the fall-out.

The ramifications of how the police and politicians handled that dramatic escalation of the Island’s historical child abuse inquiry will once again tax the wisdom of States Members this week when they debate Deputy Bob Hill’s call for a committee of inquiry into the suspension of States police chief Graham Power.
We may never know precisely what arguments he will make because the debate is to be held in private, but they will need to be powerful ones to justify the protraction of an already extensive examination.

There seems to be little, if any, doubt over the two key points. One is that Mr Power’s deputy, Lenny Harper, was not effectively supervised as he pursued with ever increasing public zeal his unsubstantiated suspicions that torture, murder and institutional cover-up had taken place at the former children’s home. The other is that in suspending Mr Power because of that failure of oversight, the powers that be slipped up in one or more parts of the procedural minefield that now surrounds employer/employee relations in Jersey.
Unequivocally damning evidence in respect of the first of those points has already been presented by the States police’s own review of the conduct of the abuse inquiry, carried out by a suitably qualified senior officer from the UK. More expert comment on the whole affair is due soon from the Wiltshire Constabulary, who have been commissioned to take a further independent view.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur has offered a review of the way Mr Power’s suspension was carried out. All this has already taken longer and cost more than is reasonable, with the delay providing a field day for conspiracy theorists in the process.In reaching a decision this week, the States will have to balance a number of tricky questions, including, crucially, what is fair to Mr Power but also what is fair to Jersey and to the taxpayer.
Mr Power has been suspended for more than a year. He is now near retirement and, one way or another, will undoubtedly leave Jersey well rewarded for his ultimately disappointing time in the Island. There is, nevertheless, understandable sadness that a dedicated, respected police officer who has given long and distinguished service should find himself in this position at the end of his career.

Depending on one’s point of view, that sympathy will either be diluted or reinforced by the knowledge that Mr Power and Mr Harper co-existed as two sides of a triangular relationship with a weak Home Affairs Minister in former Senator Wendy Kinnard.
From any perspective, though, there is strong evidence that Mr Power has largely brought his troubles on himself through his failure to control Mr Harper. For that reason Deputy Hill, himself a former Metropolitan Police officer of the old school, will have a hard task convincing the States that there would be any overwhelmingly important purpose served by dragging out this whole grim process even further.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Who's Proposition would you vote for?

After reading the exchange below, who do you trust? who's proposition would you vote for?
Either Chief Minister Le Sueur, or Deputy Bob Hill, has something to hide and something to fear.
The Black text is the Chief Minister's comments, answered in red by Deputy Bob Hill.


P9 COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY:

SUSPENSION OF THE CHIEF OFFICER

OF THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE


Comments from the Council of Ministers


The Proposition calls for a Committee of Inquiry to be established to review the manner in which the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was suspended. Following the suspension of the Chief Officer, Wiltshire Police were commissioned to review the background to the way in which the investigation into the Historic Childcare Abuse Enquiry was managed by the States of Jersey Police and in particular, identify evidence of misconduct by the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police.

The Wiltshire Investigation is being undertaken in accordance with the Disciplinary Code of Conduct for the Chief Officer of Police which requires confidentiality to be maintained by all parties throughout the investigation. As a consequence, is not possible to discuss in open debate the background or context to this investigation, much of which might be required in a meeting the Inquiry’s overall objectives as set out in Part (a) of the Proposition.


Comment.

The Chief Minister is attempting to use the confidentiality requirement of the discipline code in an attempt to “close down” discussions about the suspension itself. This argument is flawed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it should be possible without too much difficulty to separate the two. The terms of reference for Wiltshire Police do not include any investigation of the actual suspension, only my proposition allows such an investigation to take place. Wiltshire has finished most of their enquiries and there should be no overlap. Secondly, the attempt to continue to enforce the confidentiality rule under the disciplinary code implies that some form of disciplinary proceedings are possible. The disciplinary process for the Chief Officer of Police envisages a long and detailed process which consists of an initial meeting, a subsequent hearing with witnesses, an independent appeal chaired by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and potentially a full debate in the States. Reliable estimates indicate that it could take up to a year to complete. At the time of writing the process has not even started. The Chief Officer is retiring from the service and is currently in his notice period. Allowing for leave he has a little over four month’s service remaining. He has effectively already been dismissed through a process which extended his suspension to a time when a return to work was impossible. If the Chief Minister really intends that there should be even more expenditure on a disciplinary process relating to someone who is leaving anyway, then he should explain how he would intend to progress this in the time available, and what justification he sees for the effort and expense this would involve, other than to provide a thin excuse for opposing the proposition. Finally, the States are fully entitled to have a view on which is the greater priority in these circumstances. Is it more important to pursue a pointless disciplinary process than to establish whether the States, the public, and others were wilfully misled by the statements and actions of those involved in the original suspension? Which would be the greater priority in the minds of the public and which choice would do most to restore confidence in the integrity of government?




Part (a) of the Proposition for a Committee of Inquiry can be split into four particular elements:-
The manner in which the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was suspended from his duties on 12 November 2008.


The procedures and the documentation used in the suspension process.


The grounds relied on by the previous Home Affairs Minister in taking his decision.


The role of the Minister and of other parties who were involved in the suspension process.


The issues covered in i, ii and iv above could be investigated by a Committee of Inquiry. However, item iii requires the background information that led to the Home Affairs Minister to take the decision to instigate disciplinary procedures to be available to a Committee of Inquiry. Under the Confidentiality Agreement in place with the Chief Officer of Police and given that this line of enquiry is fully covered by the Wiltshire Investigation as part of the Disciplinary Procedure against the Chief Officer of Police, it is hard to see how a Committee of Inquiry can gain access to, and use this information in an open inquiry whilst the Disciplinary Procedure is running that requires confidentiality to be maintained throughout.




Comment


The Chief Minister appears to be relying on two arguments here, one of which is invalid and the other which is a repetition of an earlier point. What is apparently being argued is that the grounds on which the previous Minister took his decision cannot be within the remit of a Committee of Enquiry because it falls in some way within the remit of the Wiltshire investigation. At the risk of being repetitious, the suspension itself is outside of the Wiltshire remit. What evidence was or was not available in November 2008 is at best a footnote. Wiltshire have been tasked to begin at the beginning and to review the management of the HDLG enquiry from their own perspective and to gather evidence on their own authority. What any other authority did or thought in November 2008 is not totally irrelevant, but it is hardly fundamental to what is essentially a completely new look at the evidence. On the repeated point of any potential conflict with the disciplinary process, the Chief Minister has it within his capacity to remove this alleged difficulty from the table at a stroke. It could be argued that it simply requires a public statement of the obvious, namely that there is now no prospect of concluding any disciplinary process in relation to the Chief Officer and that the process is therefore effectively at an end. This would then “clear the decks” for a proper examination of the conduct of government in this issue which is what my proposition is about. If the Chief Minister will not agree to “clear the decks” for this to take place then States Members, and doubtlessly others, will be entitled to speculate as to his motives.



Consequently a Committee of Enquiry, as proposed, could not commence activities until the Disciplinary Procedure had been completed.




Comment


As stated above. Ministers could “complete” the disciplinary procedure now by admitting that it has nowhere to go, and that all that remains is to examine “how we got into this mess” and to learn lessons for the future. The longer this is put off the greater the speculation, and the harder it will be to repair the reputational damage which government actions have caused.



The Chief Minister has reviewed all correspondence over the past few weeks and recognises that some Members are concerned at the way in which the management of the suspension process was handled by his Department at that time. As a result, the Chief Minister has given an undertaking to commission a review and report on specific areas as outlined in the attached Terms of Reference. This Review will be undertaken by an independent external expert qualified in Employment Law and the Chief Minister has undertaken to make the findings of the Report public.




Comment


I submit that the reason why the Chief Minister has performed a “u turn” is because I have lodged my proposition. In letters to me dated 13th and 22nd January (see pages 24 & 26 of P9) he stated that he was satisfied with the current arrangements and saw no reason to lodge a proposition in the manner I sought.


The problem which my proposition is attempting to address is that of confidence in the integrity of government and the possibility that Ministers and others may have colluded in a way which misled the States and then sought to cover up the truth. These concerns are hardly likely to be addressed by an informal review established by the very people whose actions must be examined.



With the recent publication of the sworn Affidavit by the suspended Chief Officer of Police, it is essential that the Review of the Suspension Process be undertaken in the shortest possible time frame, to enable all relevant facts from all parties to be fully investigated to establish the true position. However, the Proposition as drafted would appear to prevent this course of action being taken as a Committee of Inquiry will not be able to gain access to all relevant information. The Chief Minister is of the view that if the Committee of Inquiry were to be approved, the terms of reference would have to be amended in such a manner that allows it to perform its function before the disciplinary process has been completed.



The alternative, which is proposed by the Chief Minister, is that an independent expert should be engaged in the shortest possible time frame to undertake this review and report. The Chief Minister has requested Deputy Hill to assist him in the appointments process and has also asked JACS to assist in the selection and appointment process for the Reviewer to ensure transparency. Subject to the successful appointment, the Chief Minister will bring a Report to the States advising Members of the individual selected with their background and curriculum vitae.




Comment


Again, this argument is flawed and to some extent self contradictory. There is still the reliance on the illusion that the disciplinary process can be “completed” when it plainly cannot. It then goes on to argue that a Committee of Enquiry is in some way unable to gain access to the relevant information but that a less formal enquiry would. Nobody familiar with the facts could sensibly dispute that this situation needs intrusive investigative powers. Not some friendly review which relies on the cooperation of the people involved. All should agree that there should be no unnecessary delay, but it is more important that Islanders are convinced that everything possible has been done to get to the bottom of the matter. What is more important is that we get to the bottom of this matter and put it to bed once and for all. Otherwise, it will continue to be an issue which demands our attention. The concern of the Chief Minister for the achievement of a result in “the shortest possible timeframe” is touching, but does not sit easily with the history of a disciplinary enquiry and suspension which have lasted for 16 months without a single disciplinary charge.



The Chief Minister on one hand is complaining that I have not gone through an advertising procedure, yet he is intending to do the same. It should be recalled that he never advertised for a Chairman to review the role of the Crown Officers. If we go down the Chief Minister’s route it will be several weeks before a review could begin. He is also implying that my proposed Committee lacks credibility because its selection process lacks transparency. Yet he is entrusting me and JACS to assist in the selection and appointments process. In my speech I will explain how I was able to find 5 highly respected individuals and that I was assisted by JACS.



The Chief Minister is of the opinion that conducting a review as outlined in his Terms of Reference will be a much quicker and simpler process to that required in the formation of a Committee of Inquiry, but still provides the level of assurance Members are looking for.




Not so, if my proposition is approved the Committee will be able to make an immediate start.


It is important to recall that last August I lodged P131 seeking States approval to request Verita to investigate the events surrounding the suspension of a Hospital Gynaecologist. As with this proposition the Chief Minister intervened, lodged 11th hour Comments proposing that my proposition be rejected in favour of his external “Expert” which would conduct a review within weeks but no mention was made re costs.


Unfortunately when my proposition was debated last September it resulted in a tied vote which allowed for the Chief Minister to appoint his expert without seeking States approval. Six months have elapsed, although Verita has published its report which exonerated the Gynaecologist, the Chief Minister’s “Expert” has not published a report and the latest confirmed cost is £40,000.




Members will note however, that the Terms of Reference proposed by the Chief Minister contain a specific clause that asks the Reviewer to establish whether there are grounds for a full Committee of Inquiry. Should this be confirmed, the Chief Minister commits to bringing back to the Assembly a Proposition for a Committee of Inquiry and for the appointment of a panel of members through a formal advertising and selection process in line with best practice.


This appointments process is seen to be open and transparent for all parties and in contrast to the appointments process outlined in this Proposition whereby members are pre-selected by the proposing Member.




Comment


The Chief Minister acknowledges that a full Committee of Enquiry may be required but hopes to put this off until a more informal enquiry has reported. The issues in this proposition are serious and current. Hoping that they can be fobbed-off or will just go away demonstrates lack of vision and leadership. This is a situation which needs to be grasped in a way which is firm, decisive, and reassuring to the public and the outside world. The more the problem is allowed to fester the worse it will get. A firm decision which is decisive and reassuring to all sides is what is called for. The Chief Minister’s position represents none of these things.



Part (b) of the Proposition is unacceptable and should be rejected. For complex investigations such as this where professional reputations of senior ranking officials are at stake, the recruitment and selection process for individuals to form a Committee of Inquiry must be managed in an open and transparent manner. If Members are minded to approve a Committee of Inquiry, it must be subject to the input of an independent body responsible for the recruitment process, the outcome of which will be presented to the Assembly for final approval.




Comment


Standing Order 146 requires names to be put forward for States Approval, It does not prescribe how they are chosen, however it is open for any Member to propose alternative names, no one to date has done so.


I have been attacked and my integrity question by both PPC and the Chief Minister about the selection of the Committee of Inquiry. If both are concerned that Standing Order 146 does not meet a transparent recruitment process why has the Order not been amended? As it is, I have complied with the Order’s requirement and until it is amended both PPC and the Chief Minister should accept that I have done nothing untoward.


My report and proposition has been prepared by a backbench States Member without any of the professional support and advice which Ministers take for granted. The surprise is not that it may not have reached the highest standards in terms of the selection process. The surprise is that it got to this stage at all. If Ministers want to do something POSITIVE as opposed to rubbishing the good work of others, they should support the proposition. Otherwise it appears that once again they are in denial of the real issues and clutching at technical straws rather then address the legitimate concerns which have arisen.




Financial and Manpower Implications


The costs shown in the Proposition for the Committee of Inquiry appear to cover administrative costs only and, given the timescale for previous Committees of Inquiry these costs appear to be on the low side.


The main cost that is not identified for a Committee of Inquiry will be that of meeting the costs of legal representation for individuals called to give evidence. Providing an accurate cost for this legal representation is not possible but assuming that the key witnesses will be past and current politicians and employees, most, if not all of whom will be seeking legal support, costs could be in the order of £20,000, in addition to those costs identified in the Deputy’s Proposition. If individuals called to give evidence no longer live locally, travel and accommodation will also have to be factored in.




Comment.


It is a bit rich for the Chief Minister to concern himself with the provision of legal funding for those who may be called to give evidence. This is another “U turn” because his proposal is a reversal of the policy so far followed in this matter under which the suspended Chief Officer has been denied any legal support and in consequence has represented himself in both the Royal Court and the Administrative Appeal Hearing. In the former he was opposed by the then Solicitor General in person, and in the latter by a member of the Law Officers Department. The Police Chief Officer was even denied access to his office not only to retrieve personal items but documents to assist in his pursuit for justice. Had he been a criminal he would have been granted rights and they way in which obstacles were placed before him could certainly not be considered to a “Neutral” Act. The Chief Minister’s new-found regard for fairness in the provision of legal advice and representation is to be applauded but it is very late in the day.


The Committee of Inquiry are giving freely of their time and expertise. I have allowed for £15,000 for covering admin and incidental costs. If the figure below is between £5 and £10,000 then there will be very little difference in the costs. However I don’t know what sort of “Expert” the Chief Minister will get for the money and presumably if he considers that witnesses called to the Committee of Inquiry might require legal assistance, so presumably they too may require legal assistance when being interviewed by the Chief Minister’s “Expert” but no funding has been allowed.


There is of course one other legal aspect which distinguishes the two proposals. A Committee of Enquiry would be able to grant immunity to witnesses in a similar manner to a scrutiny panel. This protection would enable staff to give evidence which may be damaging to others with less fear of reprisal. The Chief Ministers proposal seeks to withhold that immunity. Witnesses would be required to give an account without the protection of legal immunity, and what they say would be reported to the Chief Minister and his Civil Servants. This is bound to have the potential to create a reluctance to say things which are detrimental to those in senior positions.




Based on previous independent reviews of this nature, the Chief Minister believes that the cost for the review as proposed in the Terms of Reference would be in the order of £5-10.000


Recommendation


Members are urged to reject this Proposition on the basis that it will become a lengthy process and as presented, does not provide the required level of transparency in terms of the selection of a panel to form the Committee of inquiry.


Members should instead support the proposal from the Chief Minister to commission an independent review, with the safeguards as outlined in this report and if the findings are of such magnitude, the Chief Minister commits to bring a Report and Proposition to this Assembly calling for a full Committee of Inquiry.




Comment
Lest anyone forget, this proposal attributed to the Chief Minister comes from individuals who, with all of the strength, finance, time and resources they could muster, have at every stage and with every sinew, opposed, obstructed and sought to deflect, any enquiry or investigation whatsoever, into the actions of Ministers and their advisors in November 2008. The Chief Minister now offers this concession, not because he is persuaded that it is a good thing. He does so through clenched teeth because he is now cornered and can think of nothing else. Why should anyone trust the Chief Minister to deliver anything which is impartial and fair now? He has opposed fairness, justice, and transparency at every turn. I regret to say that he does not deserve to be trusted, and nobody should accept his assurances. His ineffective proposal should be rejected and a proper, independent and robust Committee of Enquiry be established in accordance with my proposition.




APPENDIX

A review of the management process that led to the suspension of the Chief Officer of Police.



1. Commissioner



The Chief Minister wishes to appoint a Commissioner to undertake a review of the manner in which the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was suspended from his duties on 12 November 2008. Given the length of time that has elapsed since the Chief Officer of Police was suspended, and the concerns raised by States Members particularly following the publication of the Affidavit from the suspended Chief Officer of Police, the Chief Minister is proposing to commission an independent review to assure himself and States Members that the management of the process was conducted correctly.



2. Terms of Reference.




The purpose of the Review is to:-


a. Examine the procedure employed by the Chief Minister’s Department and the Home Affairs Minister in the period leading up to the suspension of the Chief Officer of Police on 12 November 2008.


b. Review the manner in which senior officers collated the information and presented it to the Home Affairs Minister that ultimately led to the suspension of the Chief Officer of Police.


c. Investigate whether the procedure for dealing with the original suspension was correctly followed at all times including:-


i. The reason for the immediate suspension of the Chief Officer of Police


ii. Whether there were any procedural errors in managing the suspension process.


d. Review all information relating to the original suspension procedure including relevant sections of the published Affidavit from the suspended Chief Officer of Police


e. The Report should highlight any areas where in the opinion of the Commissioner sufficient evidence exists that would support in the interests of open government a full Committee of Inquiry into the manner in which the Chief Officer of Police was suspended on 12 November 2008.



In the Chief Minister’s reply to me on 13th January (see page 24 of P9) He states “I am aware of comments made could be subject to challenge in terms of accuracy and these will be fully addressed by the Wiltshire Constabulary.” As Wilts Police is not investigating the reasons relied on by the previous Home Affairs Minister and the Chief Minister shares my view that there is some inaccuracy in the information disseminated, why does he need to go to the time and expense of employing some one to confirm a matter which we both agree on. Therefore it makes sense to support my Committee of Inquiry which will get to the heart of the matter in an effective and cost efficient manner.




3. Report


A Report should be prepared for the Chief Minister. The Commissioner must be aware that the entire disciplinary process for the Chief Officer of Police is conducted under his Terms and Conditions of Employment which include a Code of Conduct for Disciplinary Process. This Code requires confidentiality to be maintained by all parties throughout the disciplinary process. As such, the report should therefore be in two parts:-


i. Part I should consist of matters appropriate for immediate publication to States Members and the Public;


ii. Part II relating to those matters specific to the Chief Officer of Police which under his Code of Conduct have to remain confidential until the disciplinary process has been completed.




Comment


Apart from the general ineffectiveness of what is proposed there are two obvious flaws. The first is the fiction that there is some form of continuing disciplinary process which constricts the scope of any enquiry into the suspension. The second is that the report should be “prepared for the Chief Minister.” This requirement is made irrespective of the fact that it was the Chief Minister himself who, over a period of many months, sought to prevent access to the information relating to the creation of key documents, which is one of the key factors leading to my report and proposition. Any fair and independent enquiry must inevitably examine the actions and motives of the Chief Minister and his advisors in this matter. An enquiry commissioned by him and reporting to him will strengthen, rather than diffuse, the suspicions of a “cover-up” which have characterised this affair. The failure of the Council of Ministers to recognise this reality, even at this stage, is in itself a matter of concern and a further indication of their failure to grasp the nature of the situation to which they have brought themselves.