Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jersey First Scrutiny Podcast - WORLD EXCLUSIVE

JERSEY ROYAL GREEN SLIME saves the day and the Jersey economy….

Architecturally speaking we always used to say – if it’s a mistake then make a feature of it.
Thus we have Le Carbuncle on the Waterfront whereas the world at large has the legacy of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier to grapple with (and if you saw the size of his nose you would understand why he was nick-named after the crow)…

Meanwhile today was full of excitement (or was it excrement?) and it was so handy because of the launching of the new Pod-Casting of Scrutiny hearings (but not meetings) so that we can all enjoy the Scrutiny experience from the comfort of our own armchairs.

First up today was Deputy Green the Housing Minister trying to justify his Housing Transformation programme in the context of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFR).
He batted bravely for an hour but it is obvious to anybody that his grand plans (that have already been kicking around for years), are virtually dead in the water.
As he kept saying, we have had discussions with the Treasury minister aka Ozo le Crocquodile and the funding is there!!!! Oh yes – pull the other sausage and in spite of some very deep and consistent probing by Deputy Reed he would not confirm that Le Crocque had confirmed as much in writing.  And he also needed the Planning Minister to re-zone more land for urgently needed building sites too. Some hope!

Wonder why he is called Green…

Next it was the Assistant Minister for Health – who looked so much like Constable Refault the Assistant Housing Minister who had appeared with Deputy Green - that they must surely be twins? Anyway relationships did not matter very much because it was his Finance Officer “Jason” who did most of this team’s talking on the MTFP and once again it was more about faith than factual evidence of funding for the famous “White Paper” proposals.

The role of charities aka the “Third Sector” was a strong undercurrent theme because of recent reductions in grants and the supposed need to “purchase services” with SLAs (aka Service level Agreements) after “robust tendering”…but it was evident that nobody wanted to utter the words SILKWORTH LODGE because that was still a weeping sore.

Also it was clear that the true cost of providing private services in the hospital was sensitive because it seems that there are long waiting lists for the general public needing surgery but private patients are a better earner.
So good in fact that the operating theatres may be running at 90% capacity which not only exceeds the UK average of only 60% (what a load a shirkers) but also creates a risk of nasty infections (oh dear)…

Once again it was pretty much apparent that the creature with the teeth was in control behind the curtain and that all these grand plans for a new hospital “needed in 10 years time” are just a dream or something to talk about during the long winter nights….

Next it was Deputy Duhamel’s turn again and we have watched him defending his little Planning & Environment Department on a previous occasion. This was his Quarterly grilling before the Environment Scrutiny Panel and the heat was turned full up for an hour’s thorough basting. He must enjoy it.
Deputy Young was in a surprisingly aggressive mood for an ex Planning Chief Officer (did he leave under a cloud harbouring a grievance?) and wanted all the muck exposed – and there was certainly plenty of it.  Excrement – human and animal – ash – fly and bottom – asbestos - nitrates and pesticides - you name it and we have it in Jersey in abundance and there are hidden leeching wonders buried at Mont Mado that we have not yet even dreamed of.

What are you going to do about it? Was the main questioning line as can be imagined.  In fact, it transpires there are all sorts of interesting options and some of them might even comply with International Conventions, which was nice to hear….

Unfortunately yours truly had to leave at this point to attend Royal Court No 2 where Harcourt Ltd (under various names) was due to challenge Le Crocquodile in legal combat!

It was great pity because Deputy Duhamel was just about to explain that it was the new CEO of the States who – in a former role – had made the decision to dump tons of asbestos waste in steel containers on the reclaimed land near La Collette industrial zone and the corrosive sea.
Quelle horreur!!! Who shall pay for this folly? Let’s hope he will accept his £500,000 severance pay in instalments because the treasure chest must be nearly empty by now…

The Court proceedings were a disappointment.  Neither Harcourt nor their lawyers (Ogier) appeared – much to the dismay of Commissioner Clyde-Smith who even asked yours truly if I was representing them. I declined the offer although the pay would have been nice and after a short recess (when we gather that some hasty e-mails were exchanged) the decision was to adjourn the hearing until 27 September in order to allow for Mr Power or his company to appoint fresh lawyers. In the meantime a fixed sum of £600 towards costs was payable within 7 days.

The very youthful looking Solicitor-General Sharp had acted out his call for the action to be struck-out and the Judge condemned Mr Power’s lack of courtesy for non-attendance but due to the substantial amount of Harcourt’s claim and the complex nature of the case felt that there should be another chance to appear to justify their action.
Ogiers were criticised for failing to answer to the SG’s letters (which might even be against be against the Law Society’s Code!) and the SG was mildly rebuked for failing to include all his legal authorities in “the bundle” but quite why Ogiers had fallen out with Harcourt was unknown… ….perhaps it was all a result of the infill pollution that was still troubling the Planning Minister when I returned to that hearing which had at least attracted a public audience of 15 concerned about the Green Slime…after all, there have been instances of death caused by the rotting stuff near St Malo.

Also revealed was that the water we receive through our taps from Jersey Water is actually more polluted by nitrates than the stuff that flows into St Aubin’s Bay to feed the algae that turns everything green! The figures are apparently 50mgs per litre max for drinking water but only 10mgs per litre for all that excrement polluted waste water that pours out from Bellozanne every day under TTS rules.
Of course this does not include the entire chemical and excrement polluted run-off from agri- activities etc that finds its way into the Island’s foremost bay to such a visible and smelly result.

By 3.55pm, other dire tales of heavy metals and sludge being spread on fields or put into the new incinerator to create yet more fly ash had just about put the tin hat on this Minister’s future career. There was simply too much bad news being revealed here – the States PR machine would have to be working overtime for months ahead if this continued…

But the Minister had a trump card yet to play – the Slime was a valuable commodity.
Not only did the Japanese want it by the ton to eat but it was also good for cleaning teeth (after a bit of modification) and a multitude of other uses besides spreading it on spud fields as every Jerseyman knew already.
So out of adversity there was good news – the day’s proceedings ended on a happy note. Punch loves Judy. The economy is sound. The future is GREEN…

Mr Punch….Deputy Duhamel
Ozo Le Crocquodile….himself
1st sausage….Deputy Moore
2nd sausage…Deputy Reed
Other sausages….themselves
Judy…..Deputy Martin
Clown…Deputy Hilton
Invisible man….Senator Gorst
Sound effects and unsound affects… Constable Refault

Next instalment will feature the “Man from Mars” on space travel at speeds in excess of 40 mph and managing economic development.


  1. Hi Tom.

    Very good. That puts us up to date then, more then that paper does!

  2. The Harcourt action v Treasury Minister returned to RC No2 today 27 September before the Bailiff - with a new legal team acting for Harcourt.
    A couple of weeks ago their chances looked slim because neither the Client Company nor their lawyer had turned up in court and Commisioner Clyde-Smith was not too impressed.
    Neverthess they were thrown a legal life-line and reappeared today to argue on the merits of the Order of Justice as already tabled.

    The new lawyer - Advocate James - must have been studying different law books to the others in court today because he managed to rescue Harcourt's case yet again. At the commencement Harcourt were visibly dead in the water and the SG must have anticipated an early tea with another notch on his gun and the case "struck out". The Bailiff seemed to be looking forward to his sardines on toast too but the new brief was determined to rescue this lost cause and pin the Treasury Minister to the failed "contract". His skills were impressive and he eventually convinced the Bailiff that the case was not so hopeless if properly presented.
    If only the 249 or so other Jersey lawyers were so articulate.....

    He has not yet succeeded but has one month to prepare an amended Order of Justice with revised pleadings in order to resume this adjourned hearing.

    The Treasury Minister should take note...this case could yet prove very expensive for somebody.