Monday, December 29, 2014

The People's Parliament Westminster 16 December 2014 "Holding the City to Account"

John McDonnell MP was due to chair the latest meeting of the People's Parliament in Committee Room 16 at the House of Commons on 16 December 2014 but was initially delayed by a debate in the main chamber.
So Austin Mitchell MP chaired and introduced speakers reporter Richard Brooks of "Private Eye"  (and author of "The Great Tax Robbery"), Robert Palmer of "Global Witness", Richard Murphy of "Tax Research UK", John Christensen of "Tax Justice Network" and Professor Prem Sikka of the Centre for Global Accountability...some video recordings of the proceedings follow;

Firstly Austin Mitchell's introduction;

Richard Brooks below;

Robert Palmer (Global Witness) part One;
Robert Palmer Part two;

As a footnote the following short video shows the office of the Jersey Government in London just a few minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament and very centrally situated for all the important offices of the UK administration....


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The medical use of cannabis in Jersey - Two of the three petitioners interveiwed - who could possibly vote "Contre" in the States?

Three Individuals have petitioned the States of Jersey to be allowed to have prescribed Cannabis or manufactured derivatives.
All three are seriously ill and experience severe pain and many other discomforts.
Other treatments are largely ineffective.

They will meet with invited  States Members on Monday 8 December at a private meting . Their petitions will be discussed, debated and voted upon in the States' Assembly on Tuesday 9 December 2014 in public.

The newly appointed Health Minister Senator Green has already expressed his view in opposition to the granting of the petitioners' wishes - but why?

Here below in a two part interview Ann and Evelyn (two of the three petitioners) express some of their views on the matter.
Previous interviews with Evelyn have appeared on this blog-site.

Part one - runs about 7.5 minutes

Part two - also about 7.5 minutes

Sunday, November 30, 2014

If only Jersey Cows could talk....

The Jersey agri-community gathered At La Mare Wine Estate for this year's annual Farming Conference on 28 November.
Its very much an event for agri- people plus a few politicians and planners to get together and pretend that Jersey has a "sustainable" agricultural economy. Its a bit of an exclusive affair because the general public is not generally invited and hardly attends. It seems that what goes on north of St Helier does not really concern them.
This year's theme was  hopelessly optimistic since it was "Growing the Rural Economy".
What a dream!

Like the previous conference I only managed to stay for the morning session until the sarnies were served.
Twelve months ago there were enthusiastic speakers on robotic tractors and GM potatoes and a dose  of tub-thumping for a bright future from a few in the audience. The tub-thumping is still here.
But the underlying message that agricultural activities are dying in Jersey does not seem to be one that this audience wants to accept - and there was some vigorous selling of optimism from Senator Farnham (Minister for Economic Development) and two salesmen from the now UK controlled Jersey Royal Potato Company...

Scott Meadows "Assistant Director of Rural Economy and Head of Plant Health" had more or less buried the Royal's future when he outlined that the fight to control its pests was all but lost and the ground could not take any more chemicals - even if the EU was prepared to allow it.
(This was of course already spelled out by the Jersey Water Company recently...)

Last year's message about GM spuds was also buried in answer to my questions (the audience is remarkably silent when it comes to asking questions) - GM Royals are dead so far as Jersey is concerned because of public perceptions. In spite of the fact that this would probably solve the pesticide problems...besides which they would lose the protected Royal name.

This loss of the name "Royal" might not be so bad because only a minority of UK customers actually recognise it and the competition from other early brands is beginning to bite...but this is an Island desperate to preserve agri-activity because it is a part of the mysterious "Jersey way" and "protects the countryside"...but why is this so important in an economy dominated by Finance and the pollution problems are just simply ignored year after year....

Cows didn't feature in the morning and it would have been good to hear what young Becky Houze had to say about this since she is from one of the 20 or so dairy farms left in Jersey....who will carry on?...where is the workforce with knowledge to keep this industry sustainable etc etc? Bearing in mind that spuds are worked  by 2,000 or so mostly Polish men and women. Where is the "local" skills base there?

Jemma Batten from Wilshire gave an interesting talk on how farmers in that county are being encouraged to share their land ( or 25,000 acres of it) with twitchers and butterfly fans etc from outside - even townies - and I tried to raise some issues relevant to Jersey. Such as how will Jersey green fields aver be truly opened to those with no working role in the agri-industry unless they own a £3millions mansion.... she uniquely would not let me video record her presentation ( I know not why).

But really the much advertised initial guest speaker from the UK - Robin Page - should have been afforded the whole day exclusively. This angry old man despises the BBC (who sacked him from "Countryfile") with almost as much anger as he hates the RSPB and other Taliban "conservationist" bodies and he described many - such as politicians - as spivs and much worse...
Of course this audience loved him for his entertainment value but if they had had the time to consider and discuss the issues he was raising on an all day basis they might have been less enthusiastic to receive his sombre warnings...

I managed to record all of his presentation. The sound is ok but farmers obviously prefer to work in the dark so the image - like his message - is very gloomy and runs in total for about 25 minutes. It is presented here in 4 parts. They are of unequal lengths because the editing suite refused to help me at all...

Robin Page Part 1 follows below...

Robin Page Part 2 below

Robin Page Part 3 below

Robin Page Part 4 below

....Well, that's enough baloney about farming and protecting the "countryside" now lets discuss how and where we might build housing accommodation for ALL those in need but especially the 10,500 working adults in Jersey who do not even have the right to rent or buy proper living accommodation at all....

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bath Spa - Aquae Sulis - the Roman City with "Tip" - but no Romanians....

Following my visit to Brasov in Romania recently I just happened by chance to be in Bath Spa for a few hours this week....
I was struck by the many similarities of the two cities. Both of ancient and historic origin, about 100 miles from the capital, sitting in basins of relatively flat land and surrounded by hills and both having busy tourism sectors...
Bath has a population of about 89,000 - so much smaller than Brasov's 250,000 - and I assumed that Romanians looking for work opportunities would have discovered Bath too. But it seems that I was wrong - no doubt there are some living and working in Bath, but during my brief visit I could find none or anybody who knew of any.
So no chance to ask them what they thought of England...or to compare notes on my impressions of Romania...

but I did find "Tip" the Big Issue seller from Manchester and he gave the interview below.
He is one of about 60 sellers of this magazine in Bath and has met a few Romanians selling the publication too but not the numbers that might be imagined from reading the Daily Mail or similar media outlets...

Not a very scientific study but the best I could manage.
Thanks again to "Tip" for his time.

First video - some views of the city of Bath below....

Second video - an interview with "Tip" - about 10 minutes - below...

Some years ago I did enquire about creating a Channel Islands edition of the "Big Issue" and the magazine publishers in the UK were keen enough. But alas local interest was mostly centred on the problems - so nothing came of it.
Perhaps its an idea worth looking at again...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Brasov, Romania ...the city, Mihal, two "Gypsy" girls, Miriam, the revolution, its politics and more...

Brasov, Romania is an ancient city of 250,000 people. It was formerly Kronstadt during its Hungarian era and is within Transylvania, about 100 miles from Bucharest and 230 from the Black Sea.

It is somewhat like an eastern version of Bath Spa and has a thriving tourism sector.

Many of the Romanians living in Jersey are from Brasov or nearby.

Some of my videos were lost due to a faulty memory card...

First video below shows mostly the city...

Second video is a two parts interview with Mihal with some vaguely relevant images added...
Part One below

Part two below
Interview with two "Gypsy" girls
Interview with Miriam below

Saturday, October 25, 2014

White Poppies are available too....

Peace Pledge Union - renounce war - death in battle is not glorious.

Wear a White Poppy instead of or alongside  the Red one...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Humble pie - main course on the States Members' Octoberfest served at St permission of the Bailiff

In true traditional style H.M. Bailiff of Jersey decreed that there should be a bean feast this evening (23 October) for retiring and not so retiring Members of the States and that the generous public should pay....

Fortunately, some members of the public - such as Sandra Bisson - were not amused and started a petition against it. They also proposed a demonstration of their discontent and so turned out this evening to confront the diners in the dark lanes of St Mary...

The Bailiff did not meet the demonstrators to answer to their grievances but several States Members did....

Video one below...the demonstrators captured for the historic record and a short interview with Sandra Bisson;

Video Two below...Chief Minister Gorst being grilled;

Video Three below...Senator Ozouf's humble fayre without relish;

Video Four below...Constable Le Troquer...serving the States before his Parish;

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Romanian Ambassador Dr Ion Jinga and team in Jersey....8 September 2014...

Following a suggestion from Andreea Ghisoi and with support from Senator Philip Bailhache and his staff, the Romanian Ambassador in London - Dr Ion Jinga - and his diplomatic team visited Jersey this week.

There were several meetings - including an open one held at the Town Hall - so that matters of mutual interest could be discussed and explored in public.

Below are some video recordings of the public part of the proceedings posted here so that local residents, whether Romanian or otherwise have a chance to know what took place etc.

It is hoped that an Association might now be formed in Jersey to further promote the links with the London office of the Romanian Embassy etc. This could be useful in the encouragement of all sorts of links between Romania and Jersey and the eventual appointment of a local Honorary Romanian Consul....

The public meetings commenced with a lively discussion in the overflowing Committee Room of the St Helier Town Hall....

Part one

Part two

Dr Jinga and Constable Crowcroft introductions in the Town Hall

Interview with Cosmin
Interview with Gabriel a visiting Romanian Orthodox Priest

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ANDIUM HOMES - rents still going up even when the lifts do not...aspects of Jersey "social housing" ....

This is a picture of the Lifts at Ground Floor level in a Le Marais High Rise block now administered by ANDIUM HOMES with a UK based Chairman who takes £40,000  for just 30 hours work per annum.
There are others on the  board who takes similarly inflated payments for very few hours too...

Only one of the two lifts here is currently working.

As we all know, ANDIUM have taken over the so called "social housing"  portfolio from the States Housing Department and plan to turn this into a money generating asset as part of the Ozouf Master Plan with the one dominant objective of USER PAYS....all rents are being increased across the board to achieve 90% parity with "Private sector" rents although we all know that there can be no such parity...

These lifts are essential in a high-rise building of 14 floors and it is inevitable that they will be out of action briefly on occasions for repair etc.

However, due to long term lack of maintenance under the late Housing Department, the lifts are now undergoing major rebuilds over several months.

Here the "odd floors" lift has been sealed off for about two months and is not now expected to be back in service until 8 September.
The "even floors" lift is therefore having to carry all passenger and goods traffic until it too is taken out of service for repairs which will probably take several months too.

Obviously this activity causes  inconvenience to residents - especially those with disabilities or their disabled visitors who are currently forced to use the stairs if their floor is an "odd " one.

Deliveries  and removals of large items of furniture have also been disrupted... YET... ANDIUM have just announced a 2.35% increase in rents for the flats at Le Marais (and presumably other properties in its care) from 6 October.
Service charges are also being increased  (heating, hot water and water) in line with utility company rises.

It seems that the interruption of lifts provision is not considered a SERVICE by ANDIUM .

Would a private landlord be able to increase rents in such circumstances? Does inconvenience to tenants have no price?

In theory, Jersey still has a Housing Minister in Deputy Green - but he has already declared his plan to become a Senator and seeks the Health Department Ministry after the election.

It is very likely that the Housing Ministry will be scrapped in the near future too (and absorbed into the Population office under the CM) with ANDIUM being given almost total control over the 3,500 "publicly owned" social housing units of accommodation entrusted to it...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creeping SECRECY - the enemy of democracy and freedom of expression - alive and well in Jersey

The States of Jersey is currently recruiting people - medical practitioners only  - to serve on Social Security Appeal Tribunals besides “side members” for Employment Tribunals and the newly created Discrimination Tribunal.

Only “doctors” are being recruited to sit on the panels that consider Income Support and Medical Board Appeals. They are paid at the rate of £220 per half day and are to be available for about ten half-day sessions each year.

“Side Members” for the Employment and Discrimination Panels need have no professional qualifications and will be paid at the rate of £97 per day and should be available for about 20 days each year.

According to current adverts the Social Security Minister “is legally bound to ensure that claimants to benefits have access to an independent Appeal Panel”.

But as is becoming ever more obvious, that Appeal Panels composed of three doctors are hardly independent when considering awards of benefits that have been made on the basis of a medical board decision from a fellow doctor. Especially when that doctor is sitting alongside the Social Security Officer during the hearing, defending the decision previously made….

The potential conflicts must be obvious - but the doctors have now decided that these Tribunal hearings must be heard in private because their own “Trades Union” – the BMA – is concerned about the role of one doctor being critically examined – and possibly criticized – by a Panel of three others.

Of course the local doctors do not express it in these terms but the result of recent decisions is that ALL such hearings will soon have to be held in secret although the law requires that they are held in public, except in exceptional circumstances.

It is the Claimant who is supposed to be able to object to the hearing being held in public – but there must be more substantial reasons than just “feeling uncomfortable”.  Such principles apply to ALL public hearings where there is a “public interest “in the matters to be decided.

These principles have been argued in local and other courts of law and are well established and understood. It would be laughable for persons to be able to require that Court hearings generally are held in secret because they feel “uncomfortable”
…see for example  JEP v AL Thani and 4 Others etc 2002 JLR 542

Of course, claimants are entitled to privacy and there is no need for their identities or any confidential information to be released – but it is essential that the hearings are seen and heard to be conducted fairly and that the decisions of the Social Security Department are proper and consistent.

Appellants could be screened from view if necessary but public scrutiny protects the claimant as well as the wider public interest.
Ironically, I have yet to hear a Panel protest that an appellant is inadequately represented when he or she is trying to surmount the inequalities of  a professional lawyer presenting the case for the “other side” whilst they must speak for themselves and very often in broken English too. Equality of arms does not seem to be a priority with these panels.

If panels are truly concerned to achieve a “fair hearing” then they have, in my experience, a very limited priority for securing it.

There were 52 Social Security Tribunal Hearings held from 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2014. These dealt with a range of matters such as Cold Weather Bonus, Invalidity Benefit. Income Support with or without impairment Component, Incapacity Allowance etc.

Details of the appeals and decisions made are never published so that it is impossible for other claimants or the general public to gain useful, precise knowledge about the proceedings even though the Panels do submit their Appeal decisions in writing to the Social Security Minister.

Most appeals are rejected – “against the appellant” – viz 44 of the 52 referred to above.
No records are kept by the Social Security Department whether hearings are held in public or private.

Traditionally, the general public has not attended the hearings which take place in the Jersey Employment Tribunal (JET) suite behind the Ann Summers shop in Bath Street.

They are not advertised but a notice is stuck to the JET door (at first floor level) on the Thursday before the week in which they take place.

Recently the Panels have tended to exclude the general public from being present so that the hearings take place in secret.

The hearing re Mrs MP and the Social Security Department is such a case and took place on Thursday 10 July and was held in secret before Doctors Ford (Chair), Loane and Richardson.

The Appellant said only that she would be “uncomfortable discussing details of her medical condition in public.”

I objected to a secret hearing and argued on a public interest basis that the hearing should take place in public.

However, the Panel of three doctors retired to consider the matter and then returned to announce that the hearing would take place in private and added its own reason;

“The Tribunal was concerned that the panel might be limited in their ability to make enquiries of a confidential nature into the Appellant’s medical conditions, and thereby be unable to make a full and accurate assessment of the Appellant’s disablement.”

Of course, a similarly phrased reason could be used to ensure that ALL tribunal hearings – whether relating to medical, social security, employment or discriminations matters – are held in secret.

Such a degree of general censorship is very dangerous. It amounts here to nothing more or less than a professional desire to conceal its membership from scrutiny. It is the type of concealment that allows professionals to avoid responsibility for their actions and decisions.

It is wholly wrong that such Social Security panels are composed exclusively of doctors.

For the past few years I have been attending the various forms of Tribunal hearings – including some in the Courts – and there is a worrying trend towards increased secrecy. It even occurs in the management of Scrutiny Panel Hearings.

I have blogged here about the trend, especially regarding Social Security appeal hearings and how I am being ejected more and more frequently  – see the tom gruchy blog on 2 March 2014 – and I am copying below another blog about Secret Social Security Appeals from 24 June which ploughs a similar furrow….
This current posting picks up where these left off.

I have invited Senator Le Gresley, the Social Security Minister, to give an interview or offer any comments and am currently awaiting his response.

Deputy Tadier has already written to the Judicial Greffier about the management of Tribunals and his personal experience of the Social Security Appeal process. That response is also awaited.

The international background to all this lies in the hysteria of governments to reduce their Social Security expenditure and obligations.

The current obsession with such initiatives as Bio-psycho-social assessment regimes is being discredited the world over. The French company that administered the assessment regime in England has resigned following the volume of criticism from those aggrieved and even suicides from the hardest hit claimants.

MPs in the UK have described those companies behind the regime as “running disability claims denial factories.” There has been immense criticism of the Cardiff University’s role in the scheme and the doctors who implement the “disability assessment regime” and the part played by huge insurance organizations as “outlaw companies”.

Locally, one UK-based consultant doctor has been leading the Social Security medical assessment team and training others in the Bio-psycho-social methods of assessment.

There is little or no scope here for dissenting medical opinions. The primary aim is to reduce costs and to disallow claims.

It is all the more essential that Appeal Hearing panels are composed of persons with genuinely independent minds and opinions. They must be prepared to challenge the decisions made at Medical Boards and by “Determining  Officers” of the Social Security Department.

The recruitment of doctors to sit on such panels exclusively is outrageous.

Jersey doctors should refuse to participate in the current system and the panels should be opened up to non-professional membership.

 The trend towards secrecy must be stopped.

 NEXT I am publishing below the posting prepared in June this year on the same subject;

Deputy Southern presented a Social Security Appeal for a claimant yesterday (23 June)  at the Tribunal Office behind the Ann Summers store in Bath Street.

The claimant did not appear and the hearing proceeded in private before a Panel chaired by Advocate Zoe Blomfield sitting with Mrs. Le Monnier and Dr Loane. Two Social Security officers also attended to present that Departments case.

I had attended to observe the proceedings at 11 am but Deputy Southern applied for the hearing to be in private and so I was required to leave – along with two Social Security trainees.

 The chair somewhat reluctantly allowed me to make a Representation as a member of the public and I argued that it was a matter of public interest that such matters of administration should be observed and reported upon. I emphasized that the claimant need not be named at the hearing and that the general public would have no means of knowing his or her identity.

Nevertheless the chair ruled that since the Tribunal deals with medical matters making them public would cause upset and embarrassment to the claimant - so I was ejected.

A few days previously, on Friday 20 June I had been similarly ejected from a hearing chaired by Dr Richardson sitting with Drs Ford and Loane. Then the claimant did not appear at all and was not represented but the hearing proceeded with two Social Security officers only present.

Then the chair was even more hostile to my speaking but I made an attempt at presenting reasons why I should be allowed to observe the proceedings – especially since the claimant had expressed no view on whether the hearing should be held in private or otherwise.

Nevertheless, the chair ruled that the claimant had not given permission for his personal details to be discussed in public and so I was required to leave.

These are the latest chapters in a long “public interest” battle and the rulings seem to defy the policy decisions previously given to me via the Bailiff’s Office and the Judicial Greffe viz
14 April from Judicial Greffe;
“The Bailiff’s Office has requested me to respond to your emails to him dated 1 March and 2 April regarding the complaint set out in your letter of 7 December 2013….. As you are aware each of the Tribunals shall sit in public unless it considers it necessary to sit in private. The general presumption is that a hearing shall be in public unless the Tribunal considers it necessary to sit in private.

I wish to inform you that in future each of the Tribunal will hear in public any application on behalf of an applicant that the matter be held in private and any member of the media or public present will have the opportunity to address the Tribunal in relation to that application. The decision in relation whether it is necessary for the sitting to be held in private is one for each Tribunal. The Chair of the Tribunal will express in a few sentences the reasons for its decisions to hold the sitting in public or private as the case may be.”

Further email 2 May from Judicial Greffe;

…”There is also a change to the way Social Security hearings are administered. As always the presumption is that these hearings are in public. In future if an applicant wishes the hearing to be in private they must apply to the Tribunal. The Panel will hear the application at the start of the hearing and after the applicant or their representative have stated their reasons why they wish the hearing to be in private any members of the public or media present will have an opportunity to address the Tribunal prior to a decision being made. The Chairman will give the decision with brief reasons. If the decision is for the hearing to be in private all persons not immediately involved with the hearing will be asked to leave.”

Bearing in mind that no information about Social Security Tribunals or the decisions made is published or released into the general public domain, the importance hearings taking place in public cannot be overstressed.

The public must have a right to know what decisions are made by the Social Security Department and how public money is dispensed.

Furthermore the old principle that “Justice must be done – and seen to be done” must apply to these Tribunals just as any other court process. This is for the protection of claimants making appeals as much as any other more general purposes.

Since virtually all Social Security appeals will raise issues relating to sensitive heath or medical matters it is absurd that this might be a standard reason for the hearings to be in private. Virtually all hearings would be held in private on that basis and this standard could be extended to Employment Tribunals or Discrimination Tribunals when they are convened in the near future.

Following these two non hearings I have written to the Minister for Social Security under the FOI code requesting details of all Social Security Tribunal appeals since 1 January 2012.

I have also complained yet again to the Judicial Greffe about the procedures being followed at the Tribunals.

There is yet another Social Security Hearing scheduled for Friday 27 June and I will attend in order to observe the proceedings as a member of the public.


This posting will be sent to ALL elected States Members by e-mail and their comments or action invited.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Jersey celebrates war officially yet again - whilst Italian students celebrate life and LIBERATION...Jersey 4 August 2014

It may be my jaundiced view but I am sick of celebrations of "glorious death in war".
Today it is the 1st World war yet again. Last week it was the 18th century Battle of Minden. Soon it will be the Battle of Britain again and then The First World War all over again and the drum beating of Armistice and the 11th hour of the 11th day of the Remembrance etc...
and so it goes on. The constant selling of the absurd message that somehow death for King and Country is  the proper thing - the ultimate sacrifice and all that stuff...

This evening in St Helier the "official" manipulation of the historic record was played out for the umpteenth time. There were 1500 or so  empty seats when I video recorded the proceedings in the Royal Square under the long dead gaze of King George II's golden statute. That is about the same number of Jersey men who died in combat during  the war and it is no coincidence that the empty seats looked like a battle ground graveyard of tombstones...

But does it make any difference if we remember the fallen ? After all, the ghastly  killing continues as we all know in many locations across the world.
So just why did 16 millions die from 1914 to 1919 in recorded battles? What should we be really doing NOW in Jersey to help stop the murder of innocents in Syria, the Ukraine or Gaza? Is it really helpful to dress our young people in military uniforms? Does it serve any useful response purpose to dress aged combatants in the garbs of 18th century-like pantomime characters?

Is this "orchestrated tableau" just another event for our entertainment....

Part One of my video ( just over 2 minutes long) consists of images only. There is no commentary. If you don't get it than I can do no more...but just to point out that the twelve Jersey Parishes each had chosen 12 people to follow their Constables in laying wreath. That means a total of 144 people - or a gross as we used to say in olden times - yet I was unable to find any Portuguese, Polish,  Romanian, Thai, or other notably "foreign" names on the roll call. Although the Bailiff referred to the "community" in his foreword  to the official programme - the diversity of that "community" is hardly evident here...

Part One

As the evening darkened, my video camera followed the images as they presented themselves. I did not have time to plan and I forget to load that image which showed a "Portaloo" in Church Yard and another just around the corner - presumably because St Helier is so short of public toilets that these had to be provided at short notice to satisfy the "Bailiff's Panel" for the event.
What a shame that proper toilets are not available for the public 365 days....

I did not stay for the grand finale - so these Royal Square images cease at the commencement of the main theatrical event...but I did pass by Liberation Square on my way to catch the bus - and there encountered a much more enlightened and  spontaneous manifestation.  These are images  of a group of Italian STS Students making the liberation statue come to life in a way that I have never previoulsy experienced...what a pity that the official ceremonial originators did not employ these students to organise the main event...

Part Two

Monday, July 28, 2014

Evelyn's home raided by Jersey Police searching for her medicine - on the "Lord's Day"....

Evelyn should be undergoing yet more surgery today (Monday 28th)  at the Jersey General Hospital.
Some of the details are included in the interview that follows. This was recorded yesterday in the Hospital cafĂ© during a break from her treatments which were intended to put a line into her body so that she could receive intravenous antibiotics.

Attempts to insert a line at home had failed (yet again) due to the poor state of Evelyn's veins from years of such attempts within the medical system.

One day perhaps we will publish a comprehensive account of Evelyn's extraordinary life, her years of life threatening treatments and the agonies of her body and her family circumstances...but now she faces yet more aggravation too for her "illegal" use of cannabis as her self prescribed medicine. The only effective remedy that she know to help control the pains of her many illnesses which allows her to do some of the things that most of us just take for granted....

Yesterday, early on Sunday morning, her home was raided by  no less than 5 States of Jersey Police Officers with a  Search Warrant under the Misuse of Drugs (J) Law.

The warrant was signed by Jurat Peter Morgan, a former Chair of the Samaritans in Jersey - which makes us wonder what knowledge he might have had to guide him about Evelyn's circumstances before he authorised this latest invasion of her life by "the forces of law and order."

He was also  an accountant and former chair of Abacus Ltd too before being chosen in 2004 by our elected States' representatives and other good and great people within this little community to serve as a Jurat. But whose interests are really served by such actions?

The interview that follows explains many things but Evelyn has much information stored up in her tiny six stones body and brain and some of it is truly illuminating the conviction for possessing cannabis many years ago when Ian Le Marquand - currently a Senator and Home Affairs Minister with responsibility for the Police in Jersey - was the Magistrate.

That tale must wait for another day - but it demonstrates just how the same few people seem to dominate the government and administration of this Island year after year - and they resolutely refuse to modify the rules on such issues as the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Whilst at the same time this 100,000 population community of Jersey has the highest known consumption of alcohol  per cap virtually anywhere in the world - and we suffer all the health, crime and social problems that stem from it...

Evelyn's interview follows:

Good luck in surgery today Evelyn.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alan Collins interview and the UK connection with child abuse Inquiries

We interviewed Alan Collins the UK lawyer just one month ago (21 June on this blog).
Today he presented an initial oral submission on behalf of the Jersey Care Leavers Association before the Jersey Independent Care Inquiry - which has now started its work to investigate child abuse in Jersey from 1945 to date.

Here we discuss with Alan matters mostly with regard to the many Inquiries that are taking place or are planned in the UK and we note that a group of UK MPs (including John Hemmings) has today tabled in an Early Day Motion (EDM) that the Prime Minister should extend the TOR of his Inquiry to include Jersey and St Helena.....

The interview that follows is in two parts of about 8 minutes each.

Part One

Part Two

The Jersey Independent Care Inquiry can be contacted:
Freephone from Jersey 0800 735 010
International +44 (0) 1534 828790

POB 551
St Helier

Anybody with any information about child abuse or related matters should contact the Inquiry.
There is a trained facilitator (Barbara) and the Inquiry offers free, independent witness support on or off the Island.

Friday, July 4, 2014

"Reform Jersey" - first political party since 1204 registered on 4 July 2014 in the Royal Court - (Samedi Division on a Friday)

Today was Independence Day for about 200 million citizens of the USA. They have enjoyed democratic institutions such as political parties since 1775 when they broke away from British Colonial control...
the process of reform moves more slowly in the Channel Islands but today - 4 July - the Reform Jersey party was registered in the Royal Court.
Apparently the first ever party to be officially recognised in this way although there were vaguely organised parties in the distant  past and some more recent attempts - and of course there are dozens of quasi-political organisations in Jersey today that campaign for or promote policies on many overtly political issues....

The following 3 videos of about 7 minutes each were recorded today. They commence in the Royal Square under the gaze of the golden statue of King George II and the Royal coat of arms that decorated the Royal Court on 28 September 1769 - now remembered by some as "Jersey Reform Day"...when political views were presented in a memorably direct way.

Deputies Southern, Tadier, Le Cornu and Mezec - the founding fathers of the new Party - posed for a photo under the Royal gaze with several supporters.  Three of the Deputies then entered the Royal Court (sitting in the States Chamber) for a simple registration ceremony before the Bailiff and two Jurats etc. along with other more usual Court matters such as the swearing of oaths by Parish officers and suchlike...

The accredited media is also seen interviewing Deputy Mezec with former States member Ted Vibert who was part of a previous, recent political party that existed and failed before the registration process existed...

The videos also feature Deputies Tadier, Mezec and Le Cornu in a three part interview...
1st Part follows below;

2nd Part;
 3rd Part;

Shortly after the Royal Court ceremony I bumped into two other Deputies - progressives by Jersey standards - in the Royal Square and asked if they might be joining the new Party.
The first thought it unlikely but he had not been invited.
The second, walking with his wife, was immediately and generously bombed by a pigeon - but nevertheless thought it unlikely too as he preferred to remain "independent"...whilst mopping up the excrement...

Anybody remember the late Mr Besson aka Bisson who used to hang around the Square some years ago feeding the birds in order to do just this very thing....I wonder if he was reincarnated as a pigeon...


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jersey Care Inquiry - is it already failing?

The following interview in two parts with Alan Collins the UK based solicitor-advocate is the latest in a series.
We think it important to be updated on his progress since he represents at least 59 victims of abuse in Jersey. He has been engaged over six years with these particular cases and so has a very useful knowledge to draw upon. Besides which he represents many other victims in other locations so has a most valuable insight into processes and proceedings in other jurisdictions.

Previous interviews were posted on this blog on 6 April 2014, 23 August 2013, 15 December 2012 and 16 August 2012.

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry is now underway but as Alan Collins reveals it is faltering due to lack of witnesses coming forward. This may be the result of poor advertising by the Inquiry or due to other reasons.

Significantly the Chair of the Inquiry has declared that no submissions will be treated as "private". All written submissions will be posted on the Inquiry web-site. There will be no secrecy. It was also significant to hear her ruling that the States of Jersey Police and the Health Department must produce the documents requested.

The Inquiry contact details are;
Freephone from Jersey 0800 735 0100
International +44 (0) 1534 828798
PO Box 551, St Helier, Jersey JE4 8XN

Part One above - runs about 6 minutes

Part two above - about 6 minutes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

CHOW - 11 June 2014 with God's Dissenters

CHOW - Church House on a Wednesday - is  a regular forum for discussion on issues with a Christian basis.
This discussion is the latest part in a series considering the "future of the Church in Jersey" - assuming that it has a future. The four main speakers are non-Christians.

Last week the Dean of Jersey addressed the CHOW meeting and his talk is posted on Tom Gruchy YouTube in four parts on 4 June.

The dissenters this week were Deputy Sam Mezec, Ramsay Cudlipp (JEP), Juliet and Deputy Monty Tadier:

Part One above and most of  Parts two and three below feature mostly Deputy Mezec
Part two
Part three
Part four above is mostly Ramsay Cudlipp
Part five above features Juliet
Part six is Deputy Tadier.

Some questions from the audience have not been included due to poor sound quality and lack of space here. The meeting was chaired by Paul Millbank.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jersey needs a political party....a lesson from the 1930's?

We recently recorded this interview with James - a Jersey man - shortly after Liberation Day on 9 May.
It is posted below in 2 parts or chapters with 2 parts in each.
Each video chapter is about 10 minutes.

Above - Chapter 1 part A
Above - Chapter 1 part B
Above - Chapter 2 part A
Above - Chapter 2 part B

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Evelyn's continuing fight, her latest trip, another locked toilet, a mystery gas bill and much much more - but WHY?

We are following Evelyn's progress in and out of hospital. Or last video posting was in January 2014 and appears on this blog added to the previous one dated 17 November 2013...

If you suffer from constant gut's ache and several severe illnesses you might just understand some of Evelyn's problems and complaints - and why she resorts to cannabis for physical and mental relief...

The video that follows is in five parts and commences with her return through Jersey Airport.
We have not yet managed to speak with Helen O'Shea the CEO of the Jersey General Hospital referred to nor to "Blue Islands" for their version of what happened on their early morning Jersey  to Southampton flight on Tuesday 29 April.
We had always found this airline most helpful and their City Airport flight a joy so are surprised that Evelyn's flight was allowed without a toilet etc...
If the helpful passenger who assisted  her to gain access to the toilet or any other witnesses would come forward or leave a comment it would be helpful...Evelyn will return to Oxford for more treatment in about one month....

There is a public meeting to discuss cannabis use at the Town Hall, St Helier this Thursday from 7pm and Evelyn hopes to be well enough to attend.

Part One above
Part two above

Part three above
Part four above
Part five above

Our thanks to Evelyn for participating in this - we hope that it proves helpful.
States Members and medical professionals are especially invited to comment...