Thursday, December 29, 2011

New States of Jersey - New Year - but same old Scrutiny Secrecy and keeping the public at bay...

Why is this Agenda so badly presented here? Part of the technological problem is that Scrutiny web site information appears in a format that is only used by the States of Jersey and the planet Mars - so it is virtually impossible to download and use it. It is all part of the official inability to meet with the public and communicate. If the States want to have the latest programmes or IT gadgets they just go out and buy - mere mortals are not so fortunate and have to make do with ancient technology! This had to be scanned from a paper copy and then posted here - it would be so much better if it could be downloaded direct from gov.je.......maybe somebody knows how?

Before 2011 is put into the political trash box it is necessary to consider just some of the secret decisions that Scrutiny Panels have been making during the closing days of the year. No doubt other big decisions have been made around the Council of Minister’s table but we can learn very little about them because these are ultra secret.
Certainly not suitable for the eyes and ears of mere voting plebs – unless of course Ozo can put a safe spin on them first.

However, the bare bones from Scrutiny meetings are made public in the published Agenda which have all – to date – been held in secret too.
As somebody who has submitted a long list of potential scrutiny topics I also have some knowledge, not generally made public, about matters which have already been discussed and rejected.

Technology willing, the Agenda of the secret Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel for 21 December 2011 should appear on this blog (yes above). It was held in Le Capelain Room and closed to the paying public (under Standing Rule 138(6) of the SOJ Law for those who want to look up the feeble thinking of our past or newly elected Scrutineers).
In this case there were some important decisions to be made – not least the choice of future scrutiny topics.
This Panel is now constituted under Deputy Stephen Luce (Chair) with Constables Stephen Pallett and Michael Paddock so is brand new, through and through.
Although one item on the Agenda was the matter of the creation of the new “Jersey Business” (to replace both “Jersey Enterprise” and “Jersey Business Venture”) it is not known what was decided. Yours truly had also submitted a scrutiny topic on this matter too but what happened to it is not known and it usually takes months for Scrutiny minutes to be published.
Of course, if the public had been admitted to the meeting this would all be public knowledge – along with the Panel’s reasoning - and I could also have asked to address the Panel on the matters that I had written about. A member of the public might also have asked why it was felt necessary to have a day out in London to visit the House of Commons as the very first jolly of the new States?

In fact, this was not the first of the newly constituted Scrutiny Panels to meet because HSSH (Health, Social Security & Housing) had already met in secret on 13 December to consider such things as video recording by bloggers, the conduct of meetings, communications and correspondence from a Mrs Brand and yours truly.
We the mere public cannot know what Mrs Brand’s subject was but this new Panel rejected my topics;
1) Suicide & Self Harm 2) Respite & Care facilities 3) Pensions public & Private and
4) Discrimination & Human Rights
Suggestion number 4 had been passed on to HSSH by Corporate Services at a previous secret meeting (already discussed on a blog on this site) because nobody but nobody wants to grasp the Human Rights nettle.

An attempt to claim that my suggestion re Respite & Care had been accepted was in fact not correct because a much more limited scrutiny topic to consider respite for children and young people only had previously been embarked upon. This new Panel had already been milking the PR good message from this and ensuring that their visit to several “young persons” respite centres was fully announced in the established and unquestioning media.
This new Panel now consists of Deputy Kristina Moore as chair – so it will know how to milk the media to maximum effect – with Deputies Jackie Hilton and James Reed.

The next day – 14 December – the new Environment Scrutiny Panel met under (ex Planning Chief Officer) Deputy John Young as Chair, Deputy Stephen Luce Vice-Chair and Constable (ex Deputy) Philip Rondel (who formerly chaired this Panel). This meeting was in secret too of course to reject my scrutiny proposals as follows;
1) Provision of Public toilets and 2) Low Emission Transport.

So there we have it – the new super rejuvenated Scrutiny System has ended the bad old year and welcomed the New Year with much the same secrecy, non–engagement policies that have already brought the whole scrutiny process to its knees.

It is no coincidence that so few established States members are serving on the new panels because they have chosen to boycott the whole rotten system.

Just to let the public know – yours truly has submitted many more possible scrutiny topics and will publish the outcomes in due course. Don’t hold your breath as they say but my suggestions with regard to public hearings that cannot be heard – at election hustings, in scrutiny meetings, the courts etc etc – could find no home with any scrutiny panel so it was passed on to the Greffier of the States Mr Michael De La Haye to play with. He was also fobbed of with a whole bundle of my suggestions for improving the scrutiny process, better information about so many States Departments, access and the whole Complaints Board process (which also ought to include the fast asleep Trading Standards Department hidden away in the Market)…

Of course, at the Senatorial elections Jersey’s very own favourite Knight in shining “amour” aka  Philip Bailhache promised to reform so much that is wrong with our government and scrutiny in particular. We shall see - but yours truly will try to monitor any progress that is recordable with my most basic of devices in 2012.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jersey's developing international identity - a Polish view from Leo Adamowicz

Not so many years ago polish pilots were flying Spitfires against a shared enemy. Then Poland became a part of Europe behind the Iron Curtain. Now Poland is part of the EU and Germany is the saviour of the European economy with France.
The world is constantly changing - little places like Jersey have to adapt and benefit from the opportunities that are presented. Currently immgration is a source of Jersey's well being and here Leo Adamowicz explains something of his life here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

To STRASBOURG FOR THE JERSEY WINTER SPORTS?


Jersey’s government could soon be appearing in Strasbourg, though not to enjoy the fine skiing opportunities around this city in Eastern France.

This time it is the Island’s international reputation that will be exposed yet again to scrutiny. Now Jersey could be on trial as an alleged abuser of Human Rights before the
European Court
at the Council of Europe (which has nothing to do with the European Union although they used to share the same building).

Guernsey has appeared here already. I am delighted to have helped Gerald and Yvonne Gillow to present their successful housing rights case here when the snow was thick on the ground in 1986. Alas, they are now deceased and sadly missed.

But this will be a first for Jersey (no previous complaints having reached the Court) and it is the UK Government that has to share the international shame as the High Contracting Party for the backwards looking Crown Dependencies.

In fact, this will make the complete set because the Isle of Man was taken to the Court decades ago over its birching policies (see re Tyer 1978 v UK ECHR).

The process is especially important because the decisions that arise from such disputes in small places like these can have international implications. As we all know, even insignificant little dots on the map like Sark can harbour grievances that, once exposed, can cut down the ancient office of Lord Chancellor or even shake a Bailiff’s constitution – not to mention reforming local feudal institutions or government forms.

Now, Jersey is heading for the European Court of Human Rights because of defects at La Moye Prison. The particular case arises from the detention in 2008 of a 17 years old Jersey girl at HMP La Moye lacking proper and separate facilities for young males and females.
This youngster had been sentenced to11 months detention but there was no separate young offenders’ accommodation for females - unlike males.

Therefore, all female children served their sentences in an adult mixed prison.

During her detention this young female was bullied by other females, she shared a cell with an adult drug user and was harassed by an adult male prisoner.

She appealed her sentence before the Island courts and argued that serving her sentence in an adult prison was unlawful, ultra vires and in violation of Articles 5 (liberty and security) and 14 (discrimination) under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case is now being supported by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe Centre) as “interveners”.

Some people may remember the Human Rights conference I organised in conjunction with Highlands College many years ago at which AIRE Centre lawyers were the principle presenters.
The Howard League takes its name and purposes from John Howard the 18th century penal reformer who visited prisons all over Europe and campaigned for many years.
It is significant that the UK Lottery fund gave £2.6 millions to the League in 2009 specifically to establish a national programme of support for young people in custody.
John Howard’s work thus carries on after more than two centuries.

The Howard League produced a major report (2008) on child custody in Jersey at the instigation of (Senator) Stuart Syvret which made many recommendations; not least that Jersey must ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) like virtually every other territory in the world.
Of course, Jersey has still not done so and this issue, plus many more, was discussed with Senator Le Marquand – Jersey Home Affairs Minister – in the extensive (6 part) interview posted on this blog on 9 September 2011.
They will also feature prominently if the case is heard at Strasbourg where affluent places like Jersey are not given the same special dispensations as poverty stricken communities on other continents.

Clearly, Human Rights compliance was not a priority with Senator Le Marquand in previous administrations.  
It remains to be seen whether Senator Gorst as Chief Minister will demonstrate a keener interest in the subject but he will probably find that the Strasbourg experience will strengthen his enthusiasm for ratification and compliance.

The Jersey youngster – now a young woman working and living in the Island – has had the benefit of some very experienced lawyers.
In Jersey it is understood that Advocate Caitriona Fogarty of Ogiers was initially instructed - with Samantha Knights of Matrix Chambers in London advising
The legal arguments between Jersey Government and the litigant would now seem to have ended in stalemate. There has been no “friendly settlement” of this dispute – the usual preferred option at Strasbourg, which seeks to resolve disputes as far as possible, out of court.
Now all the legal arguments could be heard and Jersey’s penal, human rights and child welfare inadequacies subjected to international scrutiny. The papers will now be considered by a Judge at Strasbourg and if “admissible” proceed to the full hearing - but it is still possible that the matter will be dismissed in private.

This case will probably be discussed at a Jersey Human Rights Group meeting in the New Year. The legal arguments are complex and probably not yet in the general public domain so do not lend themselves to further analysis here. But if any of Jersey’s 250 lawyers or 51 States Members are tired of too much Xmas opulence, their comments would be especially welcomed here.

Meanwhile – Yippee…Strasbourg here we come!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

MORE SCRUTINY or just MORE SCROTUMS?

The new scrutiny season is underway. On 12 December the first Chairmen's Committee meeting took place - in secret of course - so nothing new there and the Agenda is published here (technology willing).
It is this Committee that lays down the procedures et al for the running of the other scrutiny panels and under the control of former Senator Shenton it became ever more bitter and twisted.

Praise the Lord, Shenton has now left the States and the Committee is now composed of;
President Deputy Vallois, Vice President Deputy St. Luce and Members Senator Ferguson with Deputies Macon, Young and Moore.

So apart from Sarah Ferguson (who also served as President briefly and was all in favour of secrecy and keeping the public and bloggers firmly in their place) this is more or less a new line-up of fresh faces.
Whether they will be capable of making fresh decisions and opening up the whole scruting process to full public participation and engagement will have to be seen. I have, of course, already written to the Committee and suggested many reforms that should be considered.

First on that list of reforms is of course that meetings must be open to the public. It is the usual farce that this discussion has now taken place in secret according to this agenda. Not a good start.

In fact it is a very important agenda. If there is any serious intent to make the scrutiny process effective then substantial reforms are needed throughout the system. These will only come into being if the named States Members here - speaking on our behalf - will  have the guts to standardize procedures and encourage more public engagement.

Scrutiny needs to be opened up so that it becomes an effective forum to examine critically the decisions and proposals of government. I have suggested too that scrutiny should also be opened up with a much wider terms of reference and be enabled to examine individual complaints against government behaviour. The existing Complaints  Board process for looking at States Administative Decisions is hopelessly inefective and cumbersome and should also be totally reformed too or scrapped.

So it will be interesting to discover what decisions this new Chairmen's Committe has made and what new initiatives these 6 States Members will offer us for Xmas from their collective £250,000 public payout?
 
Agenda
Date
Time
Venue
: 12th December 2011: 2.00pm – 4.00pm: Le Capelain Room
The meeting is closed to the public under Standing Order 145(5) of the States of
Jersey
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. To approve the minutes of the meeting of 22nd November 2011
2. To appoint a Vice-President
3. To consider the rôles and responsibilities within Scrutiny and the PAC and agree the
future working practices of the Committee
4. To consider whether Committee meetings should be held in public or private
5. To consider matters for regular consideration by the Committee
6. To consider guidelines for Panels for working arrangements to standardise the process
7. To consider the following public engagement issues:
(i) Scrutiny Matters Newsletter
(ii) Home Life Exhibition
(iii) Citizenship Programme
8. To consider purchasing of Blackberries for Scrutiny Members
9. To consider amending the Ministerial Response template to encourage Ministers to
focus on Panel recommendations
MATTERS FOR NOTING
10. To note opportunities for various working practices
11. To note opportunities available for scrutiny
12. To note outcomes of previous reviews into Scrutiny and the Code of Practice (excluding
R.118/2011)
13. To note existing protocols relating to Scrutiny:
(i) Standing Orders
(ii) Code of Practice
14. To note Chairmen’s Committee Legacy Report
15. To note Panels and PAC Legacy Reports
16. To note future training provision
17. To note matters in respect of the Scrutiny budget
18. To note meeting dates for 2012
 

Chairmen’s Committee

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jersey Census Analysis - Statistics Unit follow-up - RARE FILM

I am pleased to post this rare film of the Jersey Stats Unit at work although it is not certain where or when this was recorded. It is believed to be a follow-up after a Census at some time or other and almost certainly has been used as the basis for important States policy formulation.

Special thanks to Agents Charlie and  Derek with the Jersey Camcorder Club - http://www.jerseycamcorder.org/ - for making this clip available, technical advice and translation from the monochrome Jerriaise original.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ROSENEATH CENTRE not to benefit from the JERSEY SOUP KITCHEN

Today was the annual Soup Kitchen in Jersey’s royal square.
 
It has become an annual event to raise funds for Jersey’s homeless.

That it has become an annual tradition just before Christmas ought to say something about our little community. Should we be proud to care about homeless people in this Island in this way - or ashamed that they exist at all?

This year the problem is especially poignant because the ROSENEATH CENTRE will be closing at the end of December. This residential home caters for 30 adults and employs about a dozen specialist caring staff - but it’s being axed – for reasons which nobody seems to want to discuss.
It certainly was not a live issue around the square today where people were probably more interested in being seen among the right crowd doing the right thing.
Most of our politicians were there along with the Bailiff and others from the good and the great of Jersey with plenty of clerical collars on show.

We contacted Deputy Roy Le Herissier last week for an interview but he declined although he sits on the Roseneath Executive Committee that met last night.
He refused to say anything much more again today when we met him at the Soup Kitchen. He said that he was no longer on the Committee although he was at last night’s meeting (his membership is still listed in the Register of States Members Interests).
He blames the fact that the home was recently registered as the cause of its demise and could not afford to comply with improved and regulated standards. There is no hidden scandal he says – nobody has run off with the money because there isn’t any!

So, is it true that standards of care are so high that they put Roseneath out of business? If so, what chance for the Health Department’s grand plans for Care in the Community as published this year?
Who can afford to comply with such regulations and who could afford to be cared for?

We have also asked Roseneath management to speak with us but they have declined so far.
Everybody we ask talks about “resident confidentiality” when we ask where the 30 people are going after 31 December? We don’t want names of course – but we should like to know that they won’t be sleeping under hedges.

Even Senator Ozouf, the Treasury Minister came out with this same confidentiality line today at the Soup Kitchen when we asked. He said that it was not a question of money that the home was closing and that all residents were being re-housed. He had nothing to add regarding staff and their futures and was his usual smug self.

What about the buildings – who owns them?
Roseneath occupies two adjoining, large Regency houses in Springfield Terrace, Trinity Road.
One was donated free by the States and the pair are probably worth over £1.2 millions so Roseneath is at least asset strong.
No doubt the legal eagles aka vultures will soon be feasting on fees from this tasty legal morsel but what is the public interest in this valuable, useful property plus the missing 30 residents and staff?



Friday, December 2, 2011

SAM LALLY's Progress in Jersey, ANOTHER STEP...

We posted an interview by Thomas Wellard with Sam Lally on the voiceforjersey.blospot.com
on 7 January this year.

Now that the year is drawing to a close we have taken the opportunity to speak again with Sam Lally for an up-date on his life.

As he reveals here, he has now moved back to Jersey and will be moving into new housing accommodation soon – just as soon as it has been adapted for his personal needs.

We note too that the Health Department proposes to encourage people to care for themselves in their own homes as part of the far-reaching reforms outlined in the May 2011 Discussion Document.

These proposals which include such things as constructing a new general hospital for Jersey have huge implications for all people in this Island - but especially for those like Sam Lally who depend so much upon public facilities and support.

Sam is very pleased to have returned to his unpaid job with a local store on one day per week and is involved with such organisations as JET (Jersey Employment Trust) and SPEAK OUT which, as he says here, offers a voice to disabled people.

We hope to return to him again and to open up the discussion so that other members of SPEAK OUT will participate and we hope that the group might soon have an inter-active blog site of its own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Final question, Final hustings - but where is the Final Solution?

The final question at the last hustings of the October election was posed by a woman who clearly understood the inequalities and unfairness of Jersey’s housing market.

I was not able to speak with her afterwards because of the crush of the audience leaving the Radisson but whoever she was - would express my thanks for her question and the way in which she phrased it.

It was not the usual moan about the minority of people with housing quals who experience bad housing in Jersey but was an appeal on behalf of ALL people – with or without housing quals – who live in damp, expensive and sub-standard “homes” without any security of tenure. The 10,000 or so working adults without quals who provide so many of the services that are taken for granted yet are largely forgotten, year after year so far as their rights (and those of their children) are concerned.

Jersey’s international image is being dragged through the mud all over the world by reason of finance centre activities and such discriminatory housing and employment policies are further and wholly justified reasons for similar criticisms.

Whether the “Greek TV” team who recorded the final hustings and so much more during their stay in Jersey will focus on such problems is not known – but these are problems that need to be resolved - not hidden from international gaze.

I have campaigned about these very problems over four decades and the disgraceful and discriminatory Housing Law lies at the root of the problem. It is largely useless as a means of ending Jersey’s housing shortage because it actually perpetuates that shortage through discriminatory regulations that effectively remove £millions from the all Island house building funds. It does not give a real advantage to those with quals over those without because there is now no such thing as “affordable housing “and the only useful part of the law – price controls – was scrapped.

The new Migration control under the Chief Minister’s hand with registers of addresses and other details of all residents on an “identity card” is just the same existing bag of discriminatory policies dressed up as something different. In fact, these promise to be even more repressive and are the latest attempt to operate an immigration controlling mechanism through covert means.
I have petitioned the Pricy Council against the new laws being sanctioned.

The video here is a complete recording of the responses of all the Senatorial candidates to that most important final question. It is possible that the order of responses might be slightly different from the night because of my lack of edit skills – but nothing has been omitted so far as I know.

If you experience difficulty loading the video - try clicking the Youtube box.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

JERSEY UNTOUCHABLES

ITEM ONE

The statement of Sir Philip Bailhache to the BBC dated 17 April 2008

“This issue has of course been the subject of investigation by a Committee of Enquiry established by the States and the 2002 Report of that Committee is in the public domain for all to see.
I am afraid that it is easy to be wise after the event. My decision in 1992 not to refer the election of Roger Holland as a Constable’s Officer back to the
Royal Court
was made in good faith on the basis of the facts known to me at that time.
With hindsight it is certainly possible to say that a different decision ought to have been made, particularly given the harm done to the victims of some of his assaults. We owe it to those victims to make sure that the Island is alert to the problems which arose and to ensure that they do not arise again.”

The facts have been in the public arena since 2002.

Holland, aged 21, indecently assaulted a young girl then aged 14 but with a mental age of 10, by trying to put his hand up her sweater in his car in 1986. He was put on probation for twelve months and received psychiatric help. The Court lifted the Probation Order after eight months because Holland had responded well to it.

In 1991 Holland applied to join the Honorary Police of St Helier and declared that conviction to the parochial authorities. That application was not immediately taken forward. But in March 1992, the then Connetable indicated to him that, as a result of the conviction, he would not be accepted as a probationary officer.

In June 1992 the matter was reconsidered at a St Helier Honorary Police meeting. None of the officers present opposed Holland’s election and the view was reached that, if he was prepared to face possible rejection by the Court, he should be allowed to stand.

On 7 July 1992, Holland was elected unopposed as a Constable’s Officer. The following day, the Parish Authorities wrote to me as Attorney General to give notice, in accordance with standing practice, that Holland should be sworn-in before the
Royal Court
on 10 July.

I was not advised of Holland’s previous conviction and at that time I was completely unaware of it.

Accordingly the
Royal Court
was not told of the existence of the conviction when the Oath of Office was administered to Holland on 10 July 1992.

I became aware of the conviction on my return from the
Royal Court
when an anonymous letter arrived at the Law Officers’ Department. The Parish Authorities were asked their views and responded that the Parish did not oppose Holland’s wish to join the Honorary Service.

It is unclear what jurisdiction in law the
Royal Court
could have exercised had these facts been brought to its attention the following week.

Whatever the position in law, the facts confronting me were a man who had expressed a wish to give voluntary service to his parish; had been honest with the Parish Authorities  about his conviction; had received psychiatric advice at the time of the offence and had been accepted by the Court as deserving of early release from a Probation Order on account of good progress made; had not apparently re-offended in similar fashion in the six years since; was standing for honorary office with the support of the Parish Authorities, and who had taken his Oath of Office before the Royal Court.

I had to balance all the factors when considering whether there should be a public reference to the Court.

I have said it is easy to be wise after the event. I quite understand the reactions of the victim’s father as reported by the BBC.

With hindsight, of course, I would rather a different decision had been taken at that time.
But in context, on that facts as known at the time – 1992, when not so much was known about the long term paedophile tendencies of those abusing children, and before the rash of child abuse investigations which took place in the UK in the 1990’s – I hope the decision seems more understandable.

I have served the Jersey public for over 33 years. During that period, I am sure that I have made mistakes. But I have always sought to behave with integrity, which I believe to be the case in this matter.
I have no intention of resigning over this issue.

17 April 2008                                                            Sir Philip Bailhache   Bailiff of Jersey



ITEM TWO

Letter from William Bailhache (Attorney General) to Connetable Robert Le Brocq, Town Hall, St Helier dated 13 July 2000

Dear Connetable,
                                                       Attorney General v HOLLAND

I refer to our telephone conversation yesterday in connection with the media enquiries into the appointment of  Mr Holland as a Constable’s Officer and subsequently as a Vingtenier. The context of my telephone call was that the proposition was put to me by Dianne Simon that the Town Hall had indicated that in 1992 details of Mr Holland’s previous conviction in 1986 were made available to the Law Officers’ Department, who clearly decided not to bring this matter to the attention of the Court at the time the Oath of Office was administered.

As I said to you over the telephone, I think there are a number of areas of potential embarrassment, which I may summarise as follows;

  1. How was it in 1992 that the Oath of Office came to be administered to Holland by the
    Royal Court
    , given the 1986 conviction?

  1. According to Mr Mahe, he contacted a member of the honorary police in about August 1993 to report the incident but was persuaded to take matters no further at that stage.

  1. In December 1995, Holland was re-elected as a Constable’s Officer. Again the Oath of Office was administered by the
    Royal Court
    .

  1.  In September 1997 Holland was elected a Vingtenier. Again the Oath of Office was administered by the
    Royal Court
    .

  1. A Complaint against Holland about these assaults was made in or about May 1999. However, he was not suspended until 11 August.

I think there is a legitimate public interest in these matters and in particular I think the public will want to have reassurance that in future the Oath of Office will not be administered to honorary police with convictions of this nature. In my view the right general approach therefore is to be straightforward about what actually took place and to emphasize the controls which now exist.

It is in this context that I have prepared a draft Press Statement which I propose to issue on an embargoed basis until the sentencing has taken place. I should be grateful if we could meet early next week to ensure there is no dispute about the facts.

As you said when we spoke over the telephone, you came to see my predecessor in July1999.
I note from the file that he was handed a bundle of papers by Centenier Gallichan on Monday 2 August. These were apparently extracted from the Town Hall records at Mr Birt’s request.
Mr Birt has made a note that the papers handed to him were to be kept separately from the other papers handed in by Centenier Gallichan on 2 August, because I understand from you that you do not have them.
You will see in particular that there are some letters in 1992 which make it plain that the Parish was well aware of the previous conviction. I confirm that these papers do not appear on the Law Officers’ file and were not available to the Attorney General of the day until handed to Mr Birt on Monday 2 August 1999.

Yours sincerely, William Bailhache, Attorney-General.

BRIEF NOTES

Philip Bailhache was Jersey’s Attorney General 1986 – 1993, later Bailiff and currently seeking election as a Senator. He is widely tipped to be Jersey’s next Chief Minister
M.Birt served 1994 – 1999 and is currently Bailiff
William Bailhache was Attorney-General from 2000 and is currently Deputy-Bailiff. He is Philips’s brother.

In 1986 Roger Holland was active in the St John’s Ambulance Brigade when aged 21 he was convicted of  indecent assault on a girl. A further offence against another girl was not pursued at the request of the parents. He was sentenced to one year’s probation.
He remained a member of the St John’s Ambulance service.
He was elected as a Constable’s Officer in June 1992 and sworn-in before the
Royal Court
in July. Fred Clarke was then Connetable of St Helier.
Bob Le Brocq was elected as Connetable and sworn-in on 31 July 1992.

Various complaints were made against Roger Holland whilst he served in the honorary police and his suspension was considered and agreed to by the Attorney –General in August 1995 for a 3 months period but, in fact his three years term of appointment had already lapsed.
He was re-elected as an officer on 5 December 1995 and sworn-in on 8 December.
He was next elected as a Vingtenier and sworn-in on 5 September 1997.
More complaints followed. The States Police advised the Attorney-General of offences and convictions of several honorary officers but no action was proposed because “no action could be taken in respect of those officers who had already been sworn-in.”
During January 1999 Holland was involved in an incident with a retired States Police Officer (Duffy) who complained about his behaviour.
Further complaints were made including an allegation that Holland had committed a sexual act with a girl in a police van during 1999.
Holland’s conduct was referred to the Attorney-General in July 1999. He was suspended by the Solicitor –General on 11 August 1999.
A further complaint against Holland was investigated by Centenier Hilton (now Deputy Hilton) which revealed information about Holland’s sexual convictions and she wrote to the Attorney-General on 29 July.
Roger Holland resigned on 17 November 1999 admitting to “conduct unbecoming of the office of Vingtenier prior to his election in 1992.”


Roger Holland was prosecuted in April 2008, he admitted assaults on eight girls and was sent to jail for two years by Deputy Bailiff Michael Birt (who as Attorney-General in 1995 had suspended him for three months). The offences included three that took place during his time as an honorary officer between 1992 and 1999 and he had asked for five further cases to be taken into account. He was aged between 15 and 34 when he committed the assaults. He had previously been jailed in 2001 for two years for two other counts of indecent assault before 1992 according to a BBC News item.
The States of Jersey Police said “ everything would be done to seek justice for victims, no matter how long ago the offences were committed”.

No action has apparently been taken against the Crown Officers for their conduct in these events and there is apparently no sanction that can be imposed on them, if it was justified,  from within the Island .

Connetable Bob Le Brocq and Centenier Gallichan were both prosecuted in December 2000 by order of Attorney-General.  They were found not guilty.

Deputy Le Herissier proposed the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry to be set up in order to examine matters related to Roger Holland’s appointment etc. The Report RC 48 was presented to the States in December 2002.

Deputy Bob Hill proposed a review of the Roles of the Crown Officers etc in May 2009 and this was undertaken by Lord Carswell and others, reporting to the States in December 2010.

Various recommendations for reform made in these two reports (like the famous Clothier Report of 2000 on the “machinery of government”), have not been implemented or even discussed by the States Assembly.



(For some reason this machine has a problem with the words Royal Court and does not let them appear normally within the text - if anybody knows how to correct this  - please advise!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Senatorial eulogies for the green countryside dream

The “Countryside Hustings” is now a part of the election process for Senatorial States Members in Jersey.
It’s an unofficial extra Hustings held at the RJAHS Royal Jersey Showground at Trinity and is a sort of homage to the agricultural industry but in reality is more like an Antiques Roadshow presentation where those with land and property interests make sure that their importance is recognised.

It would be tempting to compare this event as the country version of the ancient Cour d’Heritage which takes place every year at the
Royal Court
so that the Jersey Establishment – lawyers, the few remaining feudal Seigneurs and others - can renew their oaths of office and swear loyalties to the Crown etc.

At the “Countryside Hustings” all candidates without exception swear a sort of loyalty to the agricultural industry as the very essence of the “Jersey way of life” and to protect the 60,000 hectares of “green fields” from encroachment by the urban plebs. Building development – unless in the name of agriculture – is the ultimate threat to be resisted and he or she who dares to support that farmland might be built upon to provide homes for working heroes is likely to be shown the thumbs down.

Of course, the whole process is built upon very shaky beliefs and misinformation. It is curious at least that the Finance Industry does not feel the need to organise a similar hustings event. After all, it is Finance that provides the work for 23% of Jersey working population (12,500 people) whereas agricultural employees have diminished to just 4% (1,600). Thus the majority of “votes” are more likely to be found elsewhere. Also it is Finance that produces most of Jersey’s wealth - £1,550 Millions as against Agri’s puny £62 Millions per annum – so this event is clearly not related to the value of “agriculture” to Jersey in economic terms.

Here just three typical speeches are shown from candidates Mark Forskitt, Freddie Cohen and Philip Bailhache and are more or less similar to those delivered by all the other nine speakers ( Darius Pearce being absent for this Hustings).

Uniquely, Philip Bailhache alone made a one sentence call “to improve the living conditions and wages” of those employed in agriculture and he specifically mentioned Polish and Portuguese workers. It was the sort of progressive policy that might have been expected from others but they were silent on this - at least until yours truly asked a question from the floor.

The JEP censored the question from its report in true deferential style where the countryside power base is concerned - but it was “Why is it acceptable for some agricultural employees to live in portakabins but not for those in the finance industry.”

All the candidates agreed that it was not acceptable for anybody to have to live in portakabins in Jersey although Lyndon Farnham only went so far as agreeing with those who had spoken before. There were a few limp apologists for the poverty of agriculture compared with the wealth of finance or Planning Department policies, but none really tried to discuss this theme or the underlying reasons that cause such discriminatory housing standards in Jersey. None promised to do anything about it.

With average wages in Jersey agriculture being just £400 per week compared with £860 in finance and with the trend of ever reducing agricultural activity, the final crunch time cannot be far away. Who then shall look after the “green countryside” so that the wealthy squires from the finance industry can enjoy the rural idyll in the leafy northern parishes in future?

That question was not discussed at this “countryside hustings.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jersey's fragile dairy business 1763 - 2011

During the 1950’s there were over 1,000 dairy herds in Jersey. Now there are just 26 or so. That sort of change is dramatic but the general public knows very little about this farming business activity or how it is so economically fragile today.

Yet, the general public demands that Jersey must retain its “green fields” and that there should be pretty Jersey cows grazing in them – almost without any understanding of the harsh economic realities. There is still a nostalgic view  that farming might be much as it was in the 1950s.

Producing milk is one thing but what is the real cost? Not just of the milk itself but the cost of denying the land use to others with equal or even better claims?

If Jersey is to retain the “green countryside” – who shall pay for it? Can the “cultural icon” of the Jersey cow be preserved with public subsidies in the future or can dairying be self-supporting?

Here Jersey dairy farmer Paul Houzé speaks frankly in a three part interview about the past, present and future of dairy farming in this Island.

He is optimistic that the Jersey cow has a future although his own likely retirement is referred to among many other issues.

Vegetarian and Soya milk user Tom Gruchy thanks Paul Houzé for his giving his time and cooperation with this interview and for revealing some of the mysteries of the rural economy.

For some reason, the internal lighting was not to the camcorder’s entire liking or the recording skills were lacking so some images are a bit dark.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stuart Syvret's Trinity speech - just "water off a duck's back" says Philip Bailhache

After the Trinity hustings meeting I asked Sir Philip Bailhache for a video comment but he declined.  However, he did confirm that Stuart’s speech was “water off a duck’s back” to him and did not upset him unduly.

I e-mailed AG Le Cocq and invited him to comment on this blog before it was posted. His office responded “no doubt if he has any comments he will be in touch.”


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Missing ex-Bailiff on immigration and work permit controls...

Immigration and work permit controls - the suppressed Jersey agenda

Tony’s Musings for 6 July 2011 (tonymusings.blogspot.com) published an excellent account of recent attempts to control immigration into Jersey using work permits.

Since 1999 Paul Le Claire has led several attempts with propositions to firm-up the legislation but the Protection of Employment (J) Law 1986 is presumably still in force. It was intended as a “work permit” control to be enacted when needed - most likely when unemployment in Jersey reached a “high” though not prescribed level.

Here four of the 13 Senatorial candidates (Forskitt, Gorst, Le Gresley and Bailhache) express their responses to a questioner at the St Ouen’s Hustings on 28 September 2011 in between electrical failures.

The views expressed are quite typical. There is no BNP rhetoric nor any great contrary concern for human rights safeguards but the almost inevitable desire for repressive controls of one sort or another seem to be ingrained into the Jersey political agenda.

The Control of Housing and Work (J) Law and Names and Addresses Register (J) Law currently awaiting Privy Council approval should satisfy the repressive aspirations of most. Nobody in this election seems to be very critical and the lone petition of Michael Dun to the Privy Council (published on this blog elsewhere) has attracted no comment or interest…

Francis Le Gresley's Dark Forces at Jersey election 28 September 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

28 September 1769 - 2011 the Jersey States and Reform Day




1769 AND ALL THAT….

REVOLUTION was in the air in the1760s.
All the Western Empires were creaking following the latest European war and old values were being tested. Religion, politics, scientific knowledge and the social order were all being subjected to examination and reform.

Even in little Jersey, there were brave people prepared to put their lives at risk in order to challenge the established order. Then, all economic, social, political and religious life in Jersey was dominated by the all - powerful court.
This was a wholly corrupted body dominated by the Bailiff, and a dozen each of Jurats, Parish Constables and Rectors.
The same few privileged families controlled almost everything and the Island was divided up into hundreds of feudal fiefs which had to pay rentes to the seigniorial overlords. Most of the Island’s 22,000 or so population lived in precarious poverty.

Then, as now, the Crown Appointed Officers, reigned supreme. The office of Bailiff had degenerated into a hereditary sinecure of the UK based De Carteret family, who hardly ever even visited Jersey. In their place, over three centuries, substitute Lieutenant Bailiffs were appointed.
During much of the 18th century, it was the Lempriere family and their cronies who dominated the court, the
government and so much of Jersey economic and social life. It was against this group that the poorer people of Jersey rose up and rebelled on 28 September 1769 – but there is no memorial built to their memory.
Their leader Thomas Gruchy still lies in an unmarked Trinity grave.
Officially, these brave people did not exist. The record of their rebellion was even erased from the contemporary archive.
Then as now, dissent against the “Crown Officers” was treated as some sort of treason or sedition. The oppressive Lemprieres dismissed the dissenters as “some factions of jealous persons of a spirit of disrespect in some of the lower classes towards their superiors.”
The Lemprieres planned to hang as many as possible or to deport even more of the rebels, appealing to the King in London to send over troops together with authority to suppress the troublemakers.

In fact, the London government did not give the Lemprieres the authority sought and nobody was hanged or deported. Instead, the brave Island rebels drew up petitions expressing their many grievances and these were sent to London.

As was so often the case, the London government protected the inhabitants of Jersey against the worst oppressions of the local tyrants. It was the ancient responsibility of the London Parliament for the good government of Jersey – even though there were no elected representatives from Jersey in Parliament.

The immediate outcome was that some of the abusive powers were taken away from the court, and
more authority was confirmed for the States of Jersey.
It was the start of a democratic government in Jersey although very short of what the dissenters actually wanted.
In addition, a “Code of Laws “ was agreed and published by authority of the Privy Council in 1771 which was an attempt at providing a clear statement of the laws that applied in Jersey.

The Code was totally inadequate (to this day, clear commentaries on the obscure laws of Jersey are still needed), but it was very significant in the 18th century. It did make clear that neither the court nor the evolving States could pass new laws or amend existing ones, without prior Privy Council approval.

Following this mini- revolution, Philip Lempriere H.M. Attorney “resigned” and left the Island. A new H.M. Lieutenant-Governor was appointed following representations in London against the local oppressors.

The suggestion that Jersey people have enjoyed a democratic paradise since 1204 is just nonsense.
The true history of Jersey has not been recorded or written.
Islanders and the outside-world audience have been fed an official Pro-Royalist ( PR) diet of misinformation for centuries. The Inquiry (under Lord Carswell’s chairmanship) into the Roles of The Crown Officers brought out the queues of apologists for an official version of history and preservation of the status quo.
A legion of lawyers, Jurats, Honorary Parish officers, politicians past and present (and even H.M. Dean) presented a parrot-like recitation of wonderment in support of seven centuries of supposedly enlightened government, administrative excellence and judicial brilliance. Historically supported fact or evidence was noticeably absent from their written or oral contributions to the Inquiry Panel of five persons (unimaginatively composed of three lawyers, a Jersey lawyer’s wife and a nurse).

Most of all, it was the Crown Officers themselves, the Bailiffs, Deputy Bailiffs, Attorneys and Solicitors General who felt the greatest need to sing their own praises,  protect their own interests and resist any notions of reform or change.
Thus, the same 18th century style of Crown Officers’ resistance against reform continues to this day.
Deputy Bob Hill’s successful call for an examination of the Role of the Crown Officers was just a continuation of the same call for reform that inspired the events of 28 September 1769.
It is the same voice of the people against oppressive or undemocratic institutions.

For the Royalists, it was all hands to the pump trying to maintain the Crown Officers’ ship afloat. Even the Crown Officers from Guernsey were encouraged to give support in an effort to keep the progressive standards of the twenty-first century, at bay.

There seemed to be a desperate but concerted attempt to hang on to perverse powers that their Channel Islands ancestors enjoyed over past centuries.

Jersey’s 1769 mini-revolution pre-dated the American 1775 break with Britain. Yet, when the American colonists’ French allies mounted an expedition against Jersey’s “nest of pirates” on 6 January 1781, Charles Lempriere, the outrageous Lieutenant-Bailiff, was finally forced to resign from office. His slightly less unpleasant son was appointed in his place and H.M. Lieutenant-Governor Corbett (Charles Lempriere’s father-in-law) was court-martialled and dismissed, for failing to adequately defend the colonial outpost.

As always, such disciplinary decisions were made in London because the Island never had an adequate administration, or the powers, to deal with such matters.

It was the Channel Islands’ role as bases for smugglers, privateers and pirates that attracted so much critical attention in the 18th century - as does the finance centre business today.

Inevitably, the Islands based smuggling, privateering and “piracy” activities were defended as being beneficial to the British Imperial interest.
The business was a great training ground for navy recruits and many national and local heroes served on the vessels but they also incurred the wrath of others.
Invasions, such as that of 1781, were constantly threatened by foreign powers and so too were the calls on the British Government to curtail the abuses by imposing English Customs or other regulations.

Similar threats and pressures continue to this day from Britain the EU, the OECD, the IMF, the UN the USA and elsewhere. Now, the Crown Officers continue to defend their own privileged and anachronistic positions within a system of government and administration which must surely be condemned before an international tribunal soon.
The Crown Officers also continue to defend the finance industry - the 21st century equivalent of the nefarious smuggling and privateering – and seek to give credence to the myth of 800 years of democratic government and benign administration under their own or ancestors’ authority.

During the 18th century there were just six Jersey advocates (appointed by authority of the Bailiff of course). Now, there are over 250 (mostly within huge international partnerships) – yet, just a couple dared to express any dissenting views before Lord Carswell’s Inquiry on the Roles of the Crown Officers.
Jersey lawyers are the central and essential professional core of the whole Island based finance business and predictably, the Crown Officers are recruited exclusively from among them.

As in 1769, this is the latest manifestation of the great divide in Jersey between the general population and the non-elected elite who still retain such a stranglehold as lawyers and Crown Officers over Island life.

We in Jersey should remember the brave heroes of 28 September 1769 with pride every year, celebrate their achievements and continue to demand further reforms.