Thursday, December 27, 2012

A gallant Guernsey gander with Gollop...

Deputy John Gollop
Part 1
Explains the Guernsey system of government and much about Jersey's too...

Part 2

In this two part interview John Gollop expresses a great deal of useful knowledge about the relevant systems of government in the Channel Islands. It is essential viewing for anyone who  who claims an interest in the subject or in reform.
His interest in disability matters is also touched upon (as well as his status in the States as "Disability Champion") and a further interview will follow in a few days dealing with the Guernsey Disability Alliance and related matters.
There is much to be learned in Guernsey and from Deputy Gollop.

Talking to some Guernsey residents by chance later we heard more about the regular "parish surgeries" that now take place and how these are involving the general public in a very constructive way.
One couple said that they previously had no interest in political matters but by chance went along to a surgery to raise concerns about the new "roadsise refuse collection scheme." They we drawn into public discussions about a wide range of matters with the two Parish Constables and the seven elected States members present. It was an entertaining and enjoyable experience and they will be going again!

The point being that the Parishes do have a role in Guernsey which can be developed further and should be noted in the Jersey context. There will be life in the Jersey Parishes if the Constables cease to sit in the States.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Adieu Adriana - a seasonal Jersey tale...

Adriana interviewed shortly before leaving Jersey just before Xmas
A previous interview, recorded in May 2012, soon after her arrival was posted on this blog in June. Unfortunately, this machine won't let me re-post it here as intended...but you can refer to it there.

We have been following Adriana’s brief career in Jersey since she arrived from Romania in May seeking work and published a blog and interview on 13 June. 

Adriana has now left Jersey and returned to Romania. Her experience here was not a very happy one and we have not delved deeply into her private circumstance, in this posting.
Although thousands of shoe-boxes filled with toys and Xmas treats are sent from Jersey for the poor children of Romania each year – Adriana will be returning empty handed to her family.
She had no money for gifts but as a final insult, her over 20 kgs of baggage meant a hasty offloading of clothes and tin of sweets at Jersey airport (or find an impossible £120).
She is pleased to be heading back to snowy Bucharest.

Like the millions of migrant workers who trawl the world seeking any employment, Adriana had worked in Germany, Greece and Spain since the 1990s but never experienced such shortages of opportunities as in Jersey now. Of course it will get worse here and across the world and the new Jersey Population, Work and Housing controls, will make matters so much worse locally. Next year, the Jersey States will have yet another “population debate.”
The promised clampdown on the issuing or renewal of “licences”, the compilation and use of the residents “Register”, ID and “Residents” cards and fees, will act as a further discouragement to those seeking to settle here to work or just to trade.
Many in government want even more repressive controls on immigrants and greater punishments imposed on those who transgress the rules.

Blaming immigrants for society’s ills is nothing new or unique to this Island but the latent xenophobia that exists here, still unchecked by any anti-discrimination laws or regulations, already  makes life potentially impossible for so many who might otherwise find useful employment and a home here.

Unfortunately whilst realising that it is the immigrants who enable the Jersey economy to thrive, there is still a never ending inability to properly accommodate them, either in the “housing “or more fully integrated sense.
It is a great shame and loss because the varied talents and potential of so many keen workers coupled with their potential entrepreneurial ambitions and varied skills, are being so miserably overlooked or wasted. Besides which they are a potential conduit for new business and tourism links with other countries and locations.

Ironically, in an Island full of contradictions, Chief Minister Ian Gorst is himself a recent Tory accountant immigrant from Lancashire who moved to Jersey only after meeting his Jersey-born wife then training as a nurse in the UK.
No restrictions then on Mr and Mrs Gorst - but in an Island of nearly 100,000 people (of all ages) there are 10,000 working adults (immigrants often with children)) who do not even have the right to occupy or own proper, private housing accommodation (by virtue of the 1949 Housing Law and Regulations). The number of people without the “right to work” and to claim social security benefits (under the 5 years residence rule) is not currently known.
Yet another 20,000 adults who have full housing qualifications besides the right to work in Jersey do not even live in the Island.
Such is the perverse result of decades or discriminatory interference in the natural housing and employment markets – all in the name of giving some vague preference towards “Jersey born” people.

Soon all residents will have their details entered onto a central register with dubious data protection safeguards in place and be required to carry ID cards – a requirement unknown since wartime Occupation by the Nazis.
The recent “Plemont” debate afforded the nationalist and discriminatory lobby to vent many and extreme “anti-population increase” views whilst linking unlikely arms with environmentalists and liberals. Yet the one-vote defeat in favour of free market capitalist land development promoters exposed the fragility and uncertainly of Jersey’s whole political structures….

Such concerns are of little interest to Adriana and the thousands who have tried or will try to settle in Jersey in the near future. They seek only somewhere to earn a living, to provide for themselves and their families and live their lives in peace. It is a familiar tale with a sadly seasonal edge…

Thursday, December 20, 2012

JERSEY REFORM DAY 2013 Saturday 28 September

Ho Ho Ho! what fun we shall have  on Saturday 28 September the very first JERSEY REFORM DAY..

Following Deputy Trevor Pitman's successful proposition "JERSEY REFORM DAY" is now officially recognised as a day to remember and celebrate.
It is about history and democracy and much more.
It is no longer the "forgotten day" in Jersey history.
Now we have the official context to research and understand the real historical development of this amazing little Island and its government, commerce and way of life.

28 September 1769 is the equivalent of "Bastille Day" to France or "Independence Day" for the USA.
It is no coincidence that all these famous dates have their origins within a few decades of the eighteenth century when fundamental questions were being asked about the very origins of nature and mankind and the organisation of society.

Jersey's history books are stuffed with accounts of many truly brave people from the military  and colonial past besides a few rogues, and many establishment figures,  but the history of those residents who rebelled against the status quo, campaigned for reform, formed Trades Unions or suchlike, and worked without recognition and little financial reward for many good causes are often unrecorded.

JERSEY REFORM DAY affords the opportunity to celebrate a wider version of Jersey history and the full range of people who have toiled away over the centuries such as Thomas Gruchy, Abraham Le Cras, Norman Le Brocq, Rene Liron, Gary Matthews, and many many more. Some long dead - some still alive and active.
It is not just to celebrate their memory that is important - we must try to put on the record just what they achieved or attempted and preserve this in the official Island archives - but even more importantly - we must strive to make their aims and ambitions more generally known and understood.

We are especially pleased to close this year with news that the bronze sculpture portrait of Emille Collins has probably been purchased on behalf of the public of Jersey. We await final confirmation but this is great news about a man who campaigned from the Occupation until just two years ago and was a prolific activist on so many issues. He truly deserves recognition on such a day as "Jersey Reform Day" along with many others whose names and achievements have slipped out of sight or from the memory.

So we look forward to Saturday 28 September 2013 as a truly memorable, all island event, with official backing and support.
This is not a matter for this blog to organise - it is an officially sanctioned activity upon which departments of government and the Parishes must lead.
Bu all groups and individuals must be prepared to come forward too with ideas and initiatives to ensure that this event is a suceess in 2013 and for many years thereafter...

Happy New Year to All.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jersey's doomed Deputies - anybody care?

In this two-part video we present an interview/discussion with 3 Deputies - Tracey Vallois, John Young and Richard Rondel - and consider whether there is any purpose in this office, should it be preserved under the Electoral Commission reforms and ask who actually represents "Joe Public"?

We have previously considered the Scrutiny process (posted 8 December) and Electoral Reform with a Senator, a Constable and a Deputy (on 17 November).

As always we are trying to provide a forum for in-depth discussion and want your comments. Here we also look at the implications of the "Plemont" debate and the latest pressures for "indepenedence."

Sit back and leave it all to somebody else if you want but change is inevitable so we urge your participation in the democratic process for reform.

Don't forget either that 28 September is now officially to be remembered as "Jersey Reform Day" - so we want to encourage discussion and analysis of the whole process of government in Jersey together with an Island-wide celebration of benefits that started with the extraordinary events in 1769....

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Alan Collins, Jimmy Savile and Jersey child-abuse continued...

We posted a previous interview with Alan Collins, the English solicitor-advocate from PANNONE LLP on 25 August 2012.

He has continued with his representation of more than 50 clients arising from the Jersey Haut de la Garenne care home failures and related cases but the huge Jimmy Savile scandal has since been opened up and Alan is now the lawyer for two Jersey complainants.

Here he explains his current role regarding all these cases among many other related matters.
He repeats also his previous offer to share his knowledge gained over many years of dealing with child abuse cases with the Jersey government...

The current video plays for about 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jersey Scrutiny past, present and future...the questions that you always wanted to ask and more...

With 51 elected States members the Jersey system of government is already failing - especially when it comes to the scrutiny process.

The current proposal of the Electoral Commission to reduce the number of elected States members to just 42 will mean that scrutiny must inevitably collapse.

Here in a five part posting the whole scrutiny process is discussed with Deputies Roy Le Herissier and Trevor Pitman (parts 1 to 3) and Deputy J. Macon (parts 4 and 5).

Sorry we could not show the sibilant "c" and for any other technical failings but we hope that it does not spoil your ability to enjoy and learn from this extensive posting.

Thanks to all for participating and to the technical team....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Plemont, Puffins, Planning Policies, Public Participation and Paul Harding's views...

In a few hours time  there is a public meeting called by Jersey's Chief Minister at the Town Hall - 7.30pm Wednesday 5 December - in case you are not already aware of it.
The purpose is to discuss the proposal that Jersey's taxpayers should purchase the Plemont Bay Holiday Village site and return it to nature etc.

Paul Harding the Architect is interviewed here in a two part video explaining his participation over the past fourteen years in preparing many schemes for this site and recently obtaining Planning Permission for its partial redevelopment for the current owners.

Paul has asked to be able to address this evening's meeting but has been refused  permission so to do -although he will be present - and presumably as a member of the public might be allowed to say something.

We shall see.

Hopefully somebody else might be allowed to video record some of the discussions this evening - unfortunately yours truly has a prior appointment.