The first “open to the public” Scrutiny hearing of 2012 and the newly elected States of Jersey took place on Friday 27 January.
This also happened to be world-wide Holocaust Memorial Day and the scrutiny panel hearing with the Minister of Health, two Assistant Ministers and several most senior civil servants of the Health Department did not have human rights on its collective mind.
In fact, although the whole hour of scrutiny talk was taken up with discussions about the latest external report to condemn Jersey’s Children’s’ Care services nobody mentioned international obligations such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This was especially strange, not just because this was Holocaust Memorial Day and most of the politicians present were keen to finish the talking in order to attend the ceremony on the quay – but such international safeguards as the Convention on the Rights of the Child have featured so prominently in previous reports...not to mention strategies. Besides which, the letters HDLG may yet be concealing an even greater Jersey scandal concerning the welfare of children and those who should ensure it.
So we had another hour of talk and promises of action from Deputies Pryke, Martin and Constable Refault for the Health Department supported by their painfully complacent officers whilst Deputies Moore, Hilton and Reed asked predictable scrutiny questions.
Deputy Tadier sat in the public seats along with a couple of bloggers to witness the proceedings but no other elected States members were there and neither was the accredited press.
Probably a couple of hundred people turned out on the cold quay to remember the fallen of the Second World War and to catch a glimpse of special guest Michael Portillo.
Another 98,000 Jersey residents neither attended the scrutiny hearing nor bothered to pay their respects at the ceremony to the 50 millions who perished in the war.
Interviews with Deputies Moore and Tadier appear here.
Words and images from Michael Portillo and Chief Minister Gorst can be seen and heard HERE where pictures of wreaths and flowers must speak for the rest.
Submitted by Tom Gruchy.