Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jersey's hollow Holocaust Memorial Day - 2013

98,000 Jersey residents failed to turn out for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day.
Mostly the small usual crowd did.
I bumped into a friend there with his mother. Her father (his grandfather) was one of the 22  sent from Jersey in the 1940s to a cruel end in the death camps for some trifling offence.
Of course this family has a personal reason to remember a lost relative but why do the vast majority of Jersey residents show such little interest?
Furthermore,  why is our governemt still dragging its feet when it comes to signing the most basic international human rights standards and  has still not actually implememnted anti-discrimination laws as promised by Chief Minister Ian Gorst one year ago, at last year's Memorial Day.

See that interview, along with similar interviews on this blog for previous years during the relevant January
Sorry, but I still do not do links....

Jersey's official attitude towards anti-discrimination laws is a disgrace. The Channel Islands were the  only area of the British Isles to be occupied during the Second World War so have a special reason to lead the way on implementing the highest human rights standards. Yet Jersey is going in the opposite direction with ever more discriminatory anti-immigrant rules and regulations on work and housing etc being currentlyapproved or contemplated.
Tragically, these absurd laws are to be exempted from challenge as discriminatory because they are introduced by the government!

Yes - I know - the wind gets into the camcorder and spoils the sound on these recordings. It's the winter weather and I have only a simple machine and limited ability - but try to live with it. You won't hear or see this stuff elsewhere.

I declined to interview Brian Keenan - this year's special celebrity speaker - for several reasons. Notably that the official sound system was so bad and he spoke so quietly, that I was unable to hear what he had said. This was a pity but I am also concerned that Jersey's Memorial Day is being turned into yet another "official event", dominated by the usual government crowd and promoting the same unchallenging views, year after year.

If anything warrants challenge - then it  surely is "holocaust" - and the millions of people who allowed it in the past,  continue to allow it now and will fail to stop it happening in future.

I mean of course you and me and our governmental institutions.

Doug Ford follows here in my second part of today's posting on the Holocaust Day's proceedings.
He has an educational role at the Jersey Heritage Trust and is a really nice bloke - but  is surely missing the point here...

Of course, I am linking Holocaust Day to Jersey Reform Day which is to be celebrated officially for the very first time this year on 28 September. This is a belated response to Jersey's very own revolution against the despotic government of the 18th cnetury - and should be full of human rights lessons - but Doug Ford seems to dismiss it as unimportant or not well enough understood or researched....

Such revolutions are the very breeding grounds for holocausts along with xenophobia and the blame levelled at minority groups for the ills of society.

Ignorance and apathy applies as much to the events of the Second World War as they do to the fight for democratic government in Jersey over 200 hundred years ago...

And finally I present the Dean of Jersey Bob Key and would contrast him with Canon Cohu referred to in his own address today. The Canon protested during the Occuptaion and became another of the brave  Jersey 22 who perished in the death camps.
The Dean spoke at a ceremony on  16 January 2013 to re-consecrate the memorial in Green Street cemetary to St. Helier's 19th century Constable Pierre Le Sueur (see the posting on this blog) and his words then are relevant today regarding holocausts past, present and future and what WE should  ALL be doing about them...

But,  I may be a romantic idealist because I don't believe that the argument needs martyrs (crucified or otherwise) to prove the point or that we should appear once a year on a cold windy day, just to remember - for a few minutes - those who have suffered so much. We really should be actively doing much much more on a daily basis...

The final image is of "our government and officials" laying their wreaths at today's Holocaust Memorial ceremony whilst so resolutely turning their backs against the call for proper democratic instutions with human rights embraced and promoted with enthusiasm for ALL.

Sorry again about the wind nuisance - but if you cannot overcome that  mild irritant to understand what is being said here, then there is nothing more I can do about it...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pierre Le Sueur - another hero to remember on Jersey Reform Day?

At a simple ceremony in the dark, on 16 January 2013, the memorial to 19th century Constable of St Helier Pierre Le Sueur in Green Street cemetary was rededicated.

Here is a video of the proceedings led by Constable Simon Crowcroft, with a brief historical background from Geraint Jennings and a few words and prayers from the Dean, Bob Key.

Below are some of Pierre Le Sueur's own words from 1847 as published by Norman Le Brocq in his little booklet "Jersey Looks Forward" in 1946 just a year after the Liberation of Jersey.

Pierre Le Sueur and Norman Le Brocq are among those who had humble beginnings in Jersey but went on to achieve important reforms and improvements for "working people".
The Dean referred to  "social conscience" and helping the disdvantaged as being the hidden side of so much that goes in Jersey society - largely unrecognised.

Both Pierre Le Sueur and Norman Le Brocq receieved some recogition within their lifetimes and afterwards but there are many hundreds of people who do not.
Jersey Reform Day on 28 September has now been officially recognised by the States of Jersey in response to the actions of a largely forgotten group of Islanders who campaigned for change during the 1760s.

That day should be an annual celebration and memorial to ALL those people who have fought for reform in Jersey over the years.
Nobody is perfect - we all have our flaws and it is necessary to see people within their own context and history is open to contradicting interpretations.

Pierre Le Sueur was not a saint but he clearly deserves to be remembered as part of the struggle for reform.

18 May 1847
Another Jersey day to remember!

Constable Pierre Le Sueur of St Helier issued this proclamation at 7.30am to the hundreds of starving protesting workers:

“To the Working Class,

All workers are commanded to return to their work immediately.
Measures are being taken to assure the distribution of bread to the working class at a reasonable price and to guard against all scarcity of essential foodstuffs.

A public assembly will be held in the near future to open a subscription for poor relief; but all aid will be refused to those who do not immediately return to work and severe measures will be taken against them.

Imprisonment with hard labour or banishment for five years is the penalty ordered in our Riot Act for all those who take part in riotous gatherings and who do not disperse when ordered to do so by the police.

If necessary, the military will be called out to reinforce the police.

The deserving poor will receive help; but all those who take part in any uprising will be severely punished.

Pierre Le Sueur
Constable of St Helier.”

Source “Jersey Looks Forward” by Norman Le Brocq published 1946

By all means remember Constable Pierre Le Sueur but who now celebrates the memory of the anonymous working Jersey people who bravely protested against terrible working and housing conditions and their starvation levels of wages in 1847?

During the 1847 protests, many hundreds - perhaps thousands – of working people joined in the marches and public protests associated with the strikes and food riots.
These protests took place over several months.
The protestors risked severe penalties. They had little protection against arbitrary dismissal from employment or their slum housing accommodation. Trades Unions were virtually non-existent. Democratic representation in government was unknown.

Similar protests took place with monotonous regularity in Jersey as in other places, over the centuries.

Similar conditions prevailed on 28 September 1769 when hundreds of protesting Jersey people overthrew the Royal Court.
That date is now officially recognised as JERSEY REFORM DAY and will be celebrated for the first time this year.

But where are the memorials to ALL the brave working peoples from the past who have risked their lives and property to improve social, employment and political conditions in Jersey over many centuries?
Who remembers now?
Jean Picot, George Sargent, Thomas Cundy, William Holland, Thomas Connor, Thomas Anthony, Frederick Pyke, Stephen Wilkins, Jean Le Gresley, John Dunn, Elias Selous, George Minton, Joseph Baker George Carter, Thomas Mouldoun, Denis Daly, John Gernam, Pierre Voisin, Richard Tucker and many others.

Most of those named above were charged with “forming part of an illegal assemblage of persons and for having caused a tumult in divers parts of St Helier etc”
Many were imprisoned and five years banishment from Jersey was the ruinous punishment commonly handed down by the courts.

Pierre Le Sueur’s memory for resisting the protestors was ensured by grateful parishioners who erected the grand Broad Street obelisk which remains to this day.

This year, on Saturday 28 September we shall all have the opportunity to join an OFFICIAL day of celebrations as JERSEY REFORM DAY to recognise the efforts of ALL those people who have fought to improve standards of living and democracy in Jersey.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Senator Farnham on Jersey Justice and Electoral Reform

Video One of about 12 minutes features Senator Farnham discussing his Proposition 120 (of 2012) which outlines the possible creation of a Ministry of Justice for Jersey.
There is more to this suggestion than is obvious at first glance and such a Ministry could have wide-ranging benefits if set up with reform in mind.

Senator Farnham stops short of challenging the role of the Bailiff and other Crown appointmnets and he also discusses here the related issues under the "Troy Rule" if another Ministry is to be formed.
This is related to the electoral reforms which are discussed in the second video that follows here.

Video Two of about 7 minutes features the Senator discussing the final reforms as suggested by the Electoral Commission last week.
He is still considering what to do about the role of Senators in a reformed States and has it in mind to continue with a campaign to resist the changes as proposed or at least amend the public Referendum so that an option to "leave things as they are" is included etc.

The annoying background hum is from a fan (extract not supportive). Ars longa vita brevis...

Our thanks to Senator Farnham for his time.

We are pleased to consider any requests from States Members or others who have a point of view to express in a video interview.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Innovation funding and mental health in Jersey

Elizabeth Fry “the angel of prisons” came to Jersey in the 1830’s. She stayed at Caledonia Cottage in St Aubin.
As the daughter of banking parents (Gurney and Barclay) and married  to a banker and tea dealer – Joseph Fry – in the modern context of the finance world she would seem like the perfect immigrant in a community obsessed with recruiting “high net worth” newcomers.
In fact, her husband’s banking business went bust and he was left as the tea merchant side of the more famous and successful W.S. Fry empire.
But Elizabeth remained financially secure.

In Jersey, Elizabeth did what immigrants are generally discouraged from doing today – she interfered in local politics - particularly with regard to the appalling conditions in Jersey’s prison. Of course, prisons were her speciality campaigning cause in England and beyond, but she was from a family of Quakers and such reforming motivation was in her blood – and spirit.

By 1837 Elizabeth’s campaigning locally and at Westminster had resulted in the construction of a new Jersey prison – so she understood all about innovation, how to attract funds, gain support and to achieve results…

Today there were two scrutiny hearings taking place at more or less the same time.
On one side of the States Building corridor Senator Maclean – the Minister at the Economic Development Department (EDD) – continued where Senator Ozouf had left off a few days ago. They were both selling the latest “Innovation Fund” brainwave to the Scrutiny Panel of Deputy Luce and Constables Pallett and Paddick.
It was like a version of Dragon’s Den except that the game was to give away £10 millions of publick money
(with more to follow) to likely business ventures.

Except that Ministers Maclean and Ozouf and their supporting teams of civil servants stressed that the aim was to give loans for new ideas, new products, or new methods that would create “local” employment as well as a return on investments…

Nevertheless, it was admitted today, that in comparable schemes elsewhere, up to 70% failure rates could be expected. Only 30% of “new” ventures would probably succeed.

Across the corridor, Advocate C. Fogarty was appearing before the Education & Home Affairs Scrutiny Review Panel on the Mental Health treatment of Prisoners - and what could possibly be the connection you are no doubt asking?

Well, it was quite extraordinary – because Advocate Fogarty – a Jersey lawyer for 15 years and within the Jersey legal system mush longer and the daughter of a Jersey psychiatrist - also had awareness in her blood and she seemed to be speaking exactly the same words as Elizabeth Fry, nearly 200 years ago.
In fact, dressed in her severely black legal robes she actually looked like a reincarnation of the campaigning Quaker!!!

Now it seems, the facilities at La Moye and throughout the system of detention, care, custody, treatment and advice in Jersey are wholly deficient for those people with mental illnesses who might have been arrested charged and/or convicted of criminal offences.

“The lunatic cells are only suitable for violent, incurable or outrageous patients…an entirely different arrangement and mode of treatment is indispensable…it is a lamentable fact that in this enlightened age, there can exist in a Christian country possessing so many advantages …there is no public provision for the treatment and cure of persons labouring under that most melancholy of…mental aberrations… whatever their sex or condition, other than cells suited only for the worst criminals.”

So there is the challenge – are those the words uttered in 1833 or those mouthed today before the Scrutiny panel? Can you tell the difference? Has anything really changed? Do we as a community even know or care?

That Advocate Fogarty is engaged at Strasbourg (ECHR) regarding the detention of a female minor at La Moye (see previous posting on this blog 16 December 2011) should come as no surprise because the failure to separate adults from children (etc) was among Elizabeth Fry’s complaints too.

It is also somewhat startling to hear a Jersey Advocate in 2013 accusing the Jersey Department of Health for being in contempt of a Jersey Royal Court Decision by failing to remove a convicted person to an appropriate UK place of treatment and safety – as Ordered.
So what are we mere mortals supposed to make of such behaviour? What do the other 250 or so Jersey lawyers make of all this?

Meanwhile, it was a point of some curiosity across the corridor that “Innovation funding” might be available to public authorities – not just private applicants or “third sector” bodies. How might one government department award start-up funding to another?

When leaving the meetings (they both ended at about the same time) yours truly asked Minister Maclean if an application for funding for better “mental health provision” would be considered by the “Innovation Fund” managers.
He replied, why not give it a try or something similar.  
But, presumably since the defect has been known for over 200 years it would not pass the “newness” test.
Perhaps somebody can investigate further…perhaps Elizabeth Fry can make an application…perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Deputies MaƧhon, Tadier and Constable Le Trocquer constituted the Mental Health Treatment of Prisoners Review Board.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Electoral Commission Final...can't sleep? try this.

Senator Bailhache followed by Colin Storm and then Senator Bailhache again
32 minutes in total

 The whole presentation is included on the one video
Surely the proof - politics is boring.

Video recorded at the St. Helier Town Hall on Friday 11 January 2013
This is the final report and presentation of the Electoral Commission and it is now up to the general public to decide what to do with it....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dragon's Den - Ozouf style

We all know the TV prog – somebody has a great and original idea that will make them rich if only they had some start-up funding. They must make a sales pitch in a semi-derelict warehouse type building to a panel of tired old rich whiz-kids and try to persuade them that their crazy idea deserves to be financed in return for a share in the immense profits that will be generated…

It’s the classic greed is good for you and me and everybody else concept that fuels our capitalist system and Ozo of the Treasury has just come up with his very own localised version to be played out in Jersey.
It’s his latest cunning plan to follow on from previous brainstorming world-beaters, – namely Zero-Ten, The Agricultural Loan Scheme, Limited Liability Partnerships, the London Office, Tourism Development Fund, Intellectual Property Rights and the Fulfilment Industry – but this one he promises will beat them all – it’s a cracker!!!

So brilliant, that he has already been kissing frogs, Ozo told panel members today, because the sheer brilliance is that he already has the money - £10 millions in fact of public dosh – but his version of the challenge is to persuade the panel to let him give it away!! He actually does not need the money at all!!! And there is more where that comes from if necessary…

Like all brilliant ideas it’s the simplicity that is so amazing – almost scary – if I understood him correctly, as he gesticulated his way towards delirium and pointing vaguely towards Plemont.

Ozo outlined a specific example of the sort of dream that has been keeping him awake, so to speak. It’s an olde fashioned sweet shoppe called “True Innovation” - like he used to know as a kid - but in his modern version he plans to give away the gobstoppers and other sweet goodies in the form of grants and loans. Sweeteners by any standard and not without risks – but he was most insistent. There is no choice – if we want growth and diversity – then “innovation is the one measure to jump start that” and he promised very good measure to all his potential customers because we are a service based economy and we cannot risk our reputation…

Ozo was not alone. He had a team of slick talkers to promote his scheme – not that it needed much selling. Duggie and Jim were at hand to assist but it was mostly a Mr. King who explained the more technical stuff, like measuring “success.” But when he explained that the Shoppe might want some goodies back as part of a replenishment policy Ozo was not so keen and that seemed to please the Panel members who were reluctant to have used sweets re-circulated for some reason.

Nobody asked if Jersey Rugby was an example of a successful “Innovation” initiative but Mr King is Welsh and must surely know something about it…

Then Ozo warned that ultimate responsibility for the success of the venture would not rest with him at all but another chap called Maclean besides that Mr King’s head “was on the block to implement and manage risks” as CO.
The temperature certainly dropped a bit when he said that because on the public seats there were those who recalled what happened to a previous Mr King “on the block” in January 1649 and that was not very nice.
But then we remembered that Mr Pollard (another States CO) more recently  had a £250,000 plus pay-off packet when he was painlessly “resigned” and Mr Ogley (the States CEO) left with over £500,000 after Ozo’s everlasting acid drops finally wore him down and he lost his taste for the job.

Ironically at one stage, when asked about how things would be managed if anything did go wrong Ozo launched into a demi-lecture on “how things are run in the States” and that the Comptroller and Auditor General “will call in the papers.” He presumably did not mean the JEP.
There was certainly a slight hush at this point because it had been widely rumoured that the aged old gent with a beard was actually buried under the floor boards of the very room we were in since he has not been seen for months, having been so missed at the States’ Xmas party…

Anyway Ozo’s enthusiasm was such that he carried on talking long after the 5.00pm bell rang and he still had not managed to explain why the Jersey Business advice service which now cost £700,000 a year to fund was such better value than the former and very successful Jersey Business Venture which only cost £200,000 but he did suggest that his new wonder brainchild, “in his favourite phrase - was not - a self-service buffet.”

Jersey Dragons’ Den cast;
Economic Affairs Innovation Fund Scrutiny All-Male Sub-Panel;
Deputy Luce, Constables Pallett and Paddick.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Guernsey leading on disability issues and so much more....?

Shelaine Green of the Guernsey Disability Alliance is interviewed here about some very positive progress regarding disability matters in Guernsey which make Jersey's achievements look somewhat meagre.

Shelaine is not so critical of Jersey but the simple fact is that Guernsey now has;

An elected representative in the States chosen by public election as the champion for disability issues - currently Deputy Gollop (see previous blog posting).

A dedicated civil servant for disability issues on a 5 years contract.

An agreed comprehensive Disability Strategy - which includes international obligations - to be submitted to the States for approval in May.

Shelaine Green came to the Disaibility Alliance via Headway Guernsey and the Disibility Forum.
The Alliance represents 34 different disability charities of all sorts plus individuals. It aims to speak with one voice to the States.

Show me anything remotely similar in Jersey and I will eat my hat.

Please come back Gill Curtis MBE - Jersey needs you.

Will any Jersey States member  volunteer to be the champion for disabled people here?
Form a queue please....