Thursday, 23 December 2010

Faith, Finance and Archbishop George Carey

The former Archbishop of Canterbury (1991 – 2002), Baron Carey of Clifton PC.FKC aka George Carey was in Jersey recently and recorded a video interview with Paul Milbank, the verger at the Town Church.

We at The Voice are very pleased to be able to show this seasonal interview here because it links in very well with our series looking at Faith, Finance and related issues in Jersey.

Our thanks to Paul for the use of the recording and to Stuart of Impact Video for helping to post it on YouTube.

Lord Carey was born in the East End of London, failed his eleven plus and went on from secondary school to National Service in the RAF.

He became a Christian at the age of 17 going to church with friends and after leaving the RAF studied for his GCE “O” and “A” levels - then for a degree in divinity at King’s College London.

George served as a curate for many years in England and was appointed as Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1988.

He is married and has four grown-up children (one is in the clergy).

He is described as an Evangelical Christian, supports the ordination of women, closer links with Rome and is opposed to homosexual relationships between serving clergy.

This year he provoked some controversy due to an intervention in an English Court of Appeal case (re McFarlane) that had to consider religious rights issues.

Lord Carey suggested that such cases should be heard only by hand-picked judges with religious knowledge. So much for the independence of the judiciary!

The issues raised then are central to the theme of our series on this blog. If judges are expected to leave their own beliefs outside of the court room – what about the rest of us – shall we leave our religious (or political beliefs) outside of the office or workplace or even government?

Or, would it be proper for an employer to recruit staff “who had a proven sensitivity to religious issues?”  but as always, we invite your comments.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Faith, Finance and far away places…

Tim Nash knows about China and has advised Jersey on the setting up of the Island’s office in Hong Kong.

Here, in this two-part interview he carries on with our theme of looking at the role of Christians in the world of finance. He discusses human rights, Jersey cows, the extraordinary growth of Christianity in China and many more issues and he suggests that a China office established in Jersey might actually be a better deal than a Jersey office in China.

There is a great deal of information on this blog – do try to see it and understand that Chinese people have a very long history that makes Jersey seem a tiny, insignificant newcomer in this world.

Who shall benefit from doing business with the Chinese now – do we need them more than they need us?

Hopefully, the Chinese have forgiven us for our part in the British Imperial past when we supplied the opium that ruined so many lives and was so destructive of their ancient government and administration.

We wonder why the Chinese, long established in Britain and Jersey, have such a minimal political influence here (how many Westminster MP’s of Chinese origin can you name?) yet at the same time China is investing, on a world-wide basis wherever there is economic and strategic advantage?

As Tim Nash explains, Chinese National policy is based upon long- term aims and objectives – not just making a fast buck.

We try to consider the Christian, ethical implications of Jersey’s involvement in this vast country and as an afterthought here wonder whether selling bibles to the billion plus Chinese might be a better basis for honest trade rather than selling tax avoidance schemes…

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Faith, Finance and Freedom…..

We at The Voice here continue with our look at local faith based activities and the relationship with the finance industry etc.

On Sunday 5 December 2010 the Freedom Church organised a very successful and enjoyable event in Jersey’s Royal Square, within a marquee. We have tried to capture the atmosphere in our video.

We don’t know how many people attended throughout the six hours or so but there were always several hundred people of all ages present, so we guess that a couple of thousand might have dropped-in at some time. No doubt the organisers could tell us how many mince pies and hot-dogs were eaten to make a better calculation - but suffice to say that the event was very successful and popular.

Although the weather on Saturday was wet and miserable – we cannot ignore the simple fact that so many more people turned out for the Freedom event than the political, anti-GST meeting held then in the same Royal Square. We want to understand why a Christian based event can be so attractive whilst political concerns are not and we here continue with our questions about everyday faith in a political context.

Do Christians in Jersey turn into greedy capitalists on Monday morning when they arrive at the office or workplace or do they apply their Christian values and ethics all day, every day?

Is freedom-faith just for fun?

We speak here, in this two-part blog, with Pastors Andrew De Gruchy andTim Bond of the Freedom Church –

As always, we invite comments.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Faith and Finance in Jersey – Interview 3

Eric Dolan is a Deputy Director at the Jersey Financial Services Commission, the regulating body for finance activities in Jersey but speaks here in a personal capacity.

Of course, the central question in this series of interviews is whether faith can be worn like an overcoat at all? We are trying to understand if it is possible to present a different personality, according to context.

If the overcoat of faith becomes too uncomfortable at work or anywhere else – can it just be taken off?

This ethical problem is not a new one and applies just as much to so-called socialists working in a capitalist world too – or a vegetarian working as a cow-hand.

But, we must all resolve this dilemma for ourselves - no amount of regulation can make the decision for us.

At some time we all have to say NO on ethical grounds – but where is this acceptable or necessary in the international world of finance?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Do you have faith?

Curiously, although there is an established Christian church and it is an integral part of our national institutions and government – so many people are reluctant to discuss this most fundamental matter.

Here, in this next interview in our series we talk with Paul Milbank, a missionary and verger in the St. Helier Town Church.

He is a young man starting out on a “career” in the church and has already decided to reject life in the Jersey Finance world.

Of course, the St. Helier Church sits close-by all the institutional buildings and offices of Jersey’s own government and administration and the courts of justice. It is where almost all “official” services take place and so many of the decisions and actions of those with power are blessed or sanctioned “in the name of God.”

But, do we really mean it? Do people generally wear their faith like an overcoat and take it off at work or when it feels uncomfortable?

We at the Voice want to explore such issues but we need your comments to ensure a dialogue. Or, are you in fear for some reason, about expressing your views here?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

FAITH or FINANCE – which is the better investment?

We at The Voice do not know how many people in Jersey regularly attend a church or participate in worship. Obviously, there are many thousands.

Yet, during a recent States debate, one member was reprimanded for referring to the Christian beliefs of another. How strange – especially since the Dean joined in the same debate and of course, all States sessions commence with The Lord’s Prayer.

We have suggested to the appropriate Scrutiny Panel that the “the Church” is such an important part of Jersey life that it should be considered as part of the Cultural Strategy of the Island. After all, what would Jersey be without its twelve Parish churches besides the multitude of other places of worship for all manner of denominations and beliefs?

Here we interview Richard Syvret, who was the founding Director-General of the Jersey Financial Services Commission and has a strong Christian faith.

We ask Mr. Syvret about the ethics of the finance industry, the potential conflicts for those with a faith and wonder what the future might bring to Jersey.

In subsequent blogs we propose to interview others with strong faiths or views but who are not part of the Island’s traditional, political framework.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard

Friday, 29 October 2010

Don Mitchell CBE QC – blog hero

Corruption-free Anguilla (linked HERE) has been the blog site of Don Mitchell since December 2006 but it looks likely to be closed down.

It is a great loss. The site was set up as “A discussion site for Good Governance and Corruption in Public Life issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla…”

What is especially unusual is that the blogger is a much respected lawyer, and former Magistrate and Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court circuit.  He is the equivalent of a Bailiff turned blogger.

Don Mitchell started as a lawyer in St. Kitts and worked extensively in the West Indies and has been based in Anguilla for many years in private and public practice.

He was awarded the CBE by the Queen in 2005 for his public services in the Eastern Caribbean and retired soon afterwards starting his extraordinary and brave blog site, twelve months later.

The vast range of his outpourings has been amazing and deserves to be studied and saved before they are removed from the net entirely. His writing is always well informed and his articles on human rights and constitutional issues are as relevant in Jersey as they are 3,000 miles away.

If you have never looked at Corruption-free Anguilla – DO SO NOW – whilst you still have the chance and bear in mind that even such a highly qualified lawyer as Don Mitchell can be forced off the internet by a complaint.

This is not the first time that Don has been threatened with legal action and it seems that the libel laws in the Caribbean are much more favourable to the complainant but, make no mistake, it can happen here too. All bloggers should realise that they run the risk of challenge even over simple and genuine mistakes.

Just a few months ago Gibraltar Vox (yes Voice) was closed after paying substantial damages as a result of a story posted re abuse allegations in a children’s home on the Rock.

In the UK there have been several cases where lobby/NGO groups have been taken to court and substantial damages awarded against them and the whole issue of blog-sites vulnerability is causing a great deal of concern to accredited and non-accredited journalists alike.

Proposition 100 in Jersey is our petty government’s latest attempt to target bloggers and to restrict free speech and expression. This will be discussed in the States in November and will no doubt receive approval because our so called representatives will fall for the lie that “bloggers” are immune to control or restraint.

In fact of course, we do not have a clue who is to be classed as an “accredited journalist” under the Proposition 100 rules. There is no list of journalists working in Jersey or any standard form of qualification or registration or process for discipline. Outside “journalists” can turn up here and undertake covert recordings at a local bank and nobody says a thing!

Bloggers like Don Mitchell or Team Voice would not dream of such conduct but our elected representatives in Jersey are seeking to control us – not the errant “accredited” media outlets that are regularly discredited at both local and national level.

We understand that Don Mitchell’s wife Margaret is from Jersey and that she is active in many Caribbean charities and good causes such as Animal Rescue and the Anguilla Soroptomists which has human rights and environmental sub-groups. We know too that Don has been teaching law in Anguilla and is a writer on Caribbean history and many other things but we have never met them and know else little about them.

However, we at Team Voice cannot watch the demise of this most important blog-site without expressing our profound regret and hope that any personal damage to Don and his wife is minimal and temporary.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Quite what motivated Senator Alan Breckon to try to reform the Scrutiny system is not at all clear. His proposals would have served only to make our government even more secretive and lacking in transparency so thank heavens they were defeated in the States.

But, has the experience woken up our so called representatives to the deep-seated malaise at the root of our government system and shall any more useful reforms be stimulated soon?

The Chief Minister’s support for Alan Breckon’s reforms should have sounded the warning bell that this was a dangerous plan. When Deputy Le Claire brown-nosed the CM’s tame utterances in a particularly fawning manner, the dubious escapade was fully exposed.
The attempted retreat back into the discredited ways of the long-gone Committee system was even too much for Senator Ozouf to support. He finally pressed the “abstain” button although 21 of our “reps” still voted for the madcap scheme.

Unfortunately, it’s not that scrutiny is proving so effective that the establishment is afraid of it. On the contrary, published scrutiny reports are already largely ignored even when they do offer usefully critical comments or suggest policy changes.

The 3 brief video clips here were all taken at Scrutiny meetings by Team Voice and they indicate just some of the problems. As the old sage would say “the medium is the message” – so don’t worry too much about the spoken recorded words here – it’s the failed process we want to focus upon.

Sadly, the general public has little idea of what goes on at Scrutiny meetings and don’t know where or when they take place or who participates in them. Very few people ever read a scrutiny report or the “Scrutiny Matters” glossy PR freebie that drops through letter boxes several times a year (£8,000 a time and likely to be cut under costs savings).

Yet, those States Members involved in the scrutiny system talk in glowing terms about “engaging the public” whereas we know that public participation is the very last thing that most of them want.

Our politicians are not so different from politicians elsewhere but they are a bit more extreme than some. They mostly want power for themselves and don’t plan to share it with the public. That is why there are no effective political parties in Jersey – our politicians simply refuse to be selected or mandated by a party membership. They are political prima-donnas although they prefer to describe themselves as “independents.” It’s the very same inability to share political power with the general public that makes scrutiny such an unfulfilled dream.
It is such a pity. If only our “reps” would encourage the public to sit in at the discussion table and join in with the government process - it could be so different – and at no extra cost either! The public is a repository of a great wealth of knowledge – why is our government so loath to have it expressed except at elections or under the most stifling and constrained circumstances?

These video clips commence with a recent Environment Scrutiny hearing chaired by Deputy Rondel where we were allowed to take opening pictures but not record the proceedings (relating to the sustainable transport policy) because witnesses Constable Jackson, Deputy Lewis and their team of civil servants, objected.

Thus, although we and the other media could help to make these scrutiny proceedings more accessible to the general public – permission was refused. Why?

The next clip shows the Minister for Home Affairs appearing before another Scrutiny hearing this week. Senator Le Marquand agreed that we could record him – as he usually does – and these are a few seconds from the proceedings, produced by us, as always, in accordance with all the scrutiny rules and protocols.
Yet, all the other witnesses – senior civil servants and police officers – at these topical and important discussions (on Succession Planning in the Police), refused to permit any recording.
How strange this is, whereas the hearings are supposed to be public? What are these public employees afraid of?

The third clip is from our archive and shows Minister for Education etc Deputy Reed appearing before a Scrutiny Panel with his Chief Officer. At that time we were able to freely record the whole proceedings, alongside the “accredited press” without hindrance but always in accordance with the appropriate rules and restraints.
Soon afterwards, for no apparent reason, the Chief Officer refused to allow any further recordings to be made and this is the policy that has subsequently been adopted by all civil servants and many politicians appearing at scrutiny public hearings.
Some Chairs of Scrutiny Panels have also decreed that we shall be refused permission to record at all times – no matter what witnesses might say.

Of course, the restriction on Team Voice’s participation at Scrutiny or other public meetings has been compounded too by a range of bespoke petty rules and “protocols” introduced under the stamp of Senator Shenton’s Scrutiny Chairmen’s Committee or PPC.

Soon, Proposition 100 will be discussed in the States and this seeks to further inhibit us (the proposed legislation is designed specifically to curtail our activities) under the pretence of “setting out how members of the public who are not journalists working for an accredited media organisation will be permitted…to make visual and audio recordings etc.”

Of course, Proposition 100 is the predictable response of authoritarian government to the latest technology that threatens the status quo. The Internet and blogging are seen as threats to the established order so Jersey politicians have reached for the control and restrict buttons. It is especially sad that well meaning people like Alan Breckon have apparently been seduced by the controlling instincts of more conservative political colleagues.

Senator Breckon serves with Senator Shenton on the Public Accounts (Scrutiny) Committee and we fear that some of his former reforming motivation has become eroded. We have observed Senator Breckon at recent hearings of the Committee and note that he hardly participates at all in the questioning of witnesses.

We also note that this Committee sets out to be different from other Scrutiny panels because it tends to examine senior Civil Servants rather than Ministers and claims that;

“The PAC is neither political nor adversarial in its approach to questioning witnesses at hearings. This is particularly important since the witnesses are normally public employees without the power of public reply.”

Such an approach, if applied across the whole field of scrutiny activities, would suit the secretive purposes of the Chief Minister and many of his close colleagues very well.
However it is a great pity that Senator Breckon sought to give that dull policy a wider application.
The entire scrutiny process in Jersey needs a much keener adversarial approach and the direct involvement of the general public.

There is no place for the cosy club approach to Jersey government in the 21st century.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

OZOs International status recognised at last and cultured too!

Yes – little Pip is at it again, this time he has been in the USA showing-off his international dimension.

We interviewed him following his trip to India and we have previously commented upon his ambition to be Jersey’s very own globe-trotting Foreign Secretary hob-knobbing with the international glitterati.

Of course, in the Frank Walker - Pip Bailhache tradition, young Senator Ozouf is very keen to boost Jersey’s International profile and he wants to sit at the top table with the rich and powerful at Davos and other trendy places (see our voiceforprotest posting from November 2009). HERE

Well, we all have a dream! – though, whatever happened to the two new banks that were due to open in Jersey following the India and Chinese promotions, is anybody’s guess. Recent figures seem to indicate that two banks have actually gone missing from the famous and exclusive Jersey list…although that’s another matter.

But what a pity that none of this international awareness and profile raising is evident in Jersey.

Here, adherence to international obligations remains a farce and we just cannot afford to sign up for the most basic standards that apply in other places. Except, of course, for those agreements that suit the Finance centre agenda.

We have previously reported on some very basic UN agreements that have been ratified for Jersey – but are still ignored by Ozo and his chums.

We wonder if he managed to call in at the UNs HQ in New York to check on our record of non-compliance with the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?

Team Voice has previously focussed on this obligation especially since we (Jersey) have to send in a report to the UN every few years to show how well we are doing and we posted on voiceforjersey on 19 May 2010 on this very subject HERE

Then it was the Public Accounts Scrutiny Panel chaired by Senator Ben Shenton (plus Breckon and Perchard) that was considering Jersey’s hopeless Cultural Strategy.

Nobody mentioned our international obligations during the discussions around the table under the Blampied paintings. We noted the irony of it all and Senator Shenton left a single word comment – “noted” – to our criticisms on the vfj blogsite.

Sadly, nothing has changed or improved, because this Monday we attended the latest Scrutiny hearings to consider the same six years-old Scrutiny Strategy.

This time it was Deputy Le Herissier chairing a sadly depleted Education, Home Affairs scrutiny cultural strategy review. Only Deputy Macon was also there for most of the three hours of talking. Deputy Trevor Pitman turned up later but Deputy Tadier gave it a miss.

The Scrutiny process is desperately unchallenging at the best of times since the questions are usually submitted to the witnesses beforehand. Thus, it is usually nothing more than a polite chat among friends and the same witnesses seem to appear with monotonous regularity before different Panels answering the same unchallenging questions. Deputy Le Herissier assured all the witnesses “we are not the public accounts committee” and this is only “like a health check.”

Why don’t they protest we wonder and tell scrutiny to stop wasting their time? Surely these good people have real work to do?

Thus, whenever our scrutiny politicians want to spend a few hours of discovering nothing new it’s easy enough to call in the Arts or Heritage Trust management, or those nice people from the Societe Jersiase or the Opera House to tell how they all get on so well together but could do with more funding.

We at Team Voice seem to remember that some of these same witnesses have been heard recently before Senator Ferguson and one of her Panels discussing CSR implications – but its all becoming a bit of a blur…

By way of a change, the latest polite chats took place across the corridor under the paintings of Jersey artist John Le Capelain. He is of course long since dead so there is no danger that he might be asking for any funds or facilities to further his cultural activities.

Team Voice and the general public are not allowed to speak at the hearings of course – but when the official proceedings cease we do attempt to put forward some well meaning observations – like why does nobody ask about international culture obligations – and why is it the same “culture and arts” groups that are always consulted – why not the Jersey Live organisers or Island motor clubs or even the churches of Jersey…..

Surely, we try to suggest, there is more to culture in the 21st century than this? - but the room soon empties….

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Monday, 27 September 2010


At about 5.30 p.m. this Tuesday, following the States meeting and weather permitting, there will be a meeting and celebration in the Royal Square.

The occasion is organised to recognise those brave Jersey people who protested in 1769 and initiated reforms that are still significant today.

28 September 1769 should truly be recognised as JERSEY REFORM DAY and we invite everybody to join us and hear about this most important day in Jersey history.

Bring a brolly just in case - but if you have an interest in our historical and political development and how it is relevant today - please join us

On 28 September 1769 up to 500 islanders marched on St. Helier from the country parishes and halted the proceedings at the Royal Court house in the Royal Square.

The corrupt Court was in session as the ancient Cour d’Heritage which still meets today. This was Jersey’s own revolution against oppressive government and pre-dated those in America and France but it was a peaceful affair and the reformers returned to their homes at the end of the day.

The reformers demanded many changes. They wanted regular elections, consultation before laws were changed or adopted, a comprehensive book of Jersey laws, restrictions on the export of foodstuffs and cattle and a properly regulated market, standardised taxation through the feudal wheat rentes system with an appeal process, import taxes to pay for a harbour, the appointment of a King’s Advocate, a general all-Island rate and the release of several prisoners from jail. Some of the reforms are still outstanding.

The corrupt Jersey government, which was centred around the Lt. Bailiff and other Crown Officers, appealed to London for military support to prevent further trouble and arrested many of the reformers.

Since they faced potential charges of sedition, for which the sentence was death or transportation, the action of the reformers was courageous.

Fortunately, the London government intervened and demanded that the Islanders should submit their complaints in the form of petitions. Eventually, all the brave reformers were released with full pardons by order of the Privy Council – but there is no memorial to them in Jersey now.

The gilded statue of King George II which still overlooks the Royal Square, was already there in 1769. The existing Royal coat-of-arms over the doorway to the Royal Court/States Building was also in place then over a doorway to the old, long since demolished, Royal Court building.

The reforms achieved by the brave Islanders in 1769 included the removal of the corrupt Attorney-General, the appointment of a new Lt. Governor and other Crown appointees, regularly elected representatives as the basis of a future democratic States Assembly and the publication in 1771 of a Code of Jersey Laws.

But – who now remembers Philip Alexandre, Philip Luce, Clement Gallichan, Francis Le Boutillier, John Coutanche, Amice Le Vavasseur Dit Durell, John or Edward De Ste Croix, Nicholas Arthur or Thomas James Gruchy and the several hundred others who fought for our rights & freedoms on JERSEY REFORM DAY

28 September 1769?

Friday, 10 September 2010


Access to adequate and secure housing is a basic human right.
The UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has defined this human right as:

“The right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.”

This applies to Jersey just as much as any other place.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948 states under Article 25(1) that;

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing……”

The right is supported by many other international conventions and agreements – some of which have been ratified for Jersey – such as the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) under Article 27 (Para 3).

According to General Comment No 4 adopted by the ICESCR Committee in 1991, housing to be adequate, must provide more than just four walls and a roof but, at a minimum include; legal security of tenure, availability of services, affordability, accessibility, habitability, location and cultural adequacy.

Older people, those with disabilities, minorities and migrant workers are among particular categories recognised and protected under specific international obligations.

According to Agenda 21 from the Rio Conference and Earth Summit of 1992, Jersey was supposed to draw up a plan to provide that ALL inhabitants of the Island should be adequately housed. No such plan has been produced.

Jersey has had a Housing Law since 1949.
Without a proven “housing shortage” there is no purpose for that law because its primary purpose is to “prevent further aggravation of the housing shortage.” It follows, therefore, that there is an inherent reluctance to end that housing shortage because that will remove the pretext for discriminatory “anti-immigration” laws and policies which are built around the Housing Law and Regulations. No shortage = no discriminatory laws.

The extent of the “housing shortage” has never been precisely defined.
Successive Island Plans have never attempted to end the “housing shortage” or to determine how many people live in inadequate housing.
There has never been a plan to house all those residents (in excess of 10,000 working adults) who do not have “housing qualifications.”

The Planning Department has, since the 1960s, sought to present a sham, distorted and professionally inadequate succession of Island Plans before the public.

The resident Island population was about 60,000 in 1960 and is now in excess of 92,000 but whether the “housing shortage” is diminishing or expanding is not clearly explained.
No planned date is offered when Jersey will cease to have a “housing shortage” even on current population statistics. Yet, the official economic plan for Jersey is based upon a population expansion to 100,000.
Such bland figures say nothing about specific housing type needs – such as accessible homes for people with disabilities or for resident carers.

The “housing shortage” is the basis of a substantial business for those who own properties for rent, lodging houses, rooms to let etc and accommodation tied to employment.
Jersey has a significant, permanent under-class of inadequately housed residents – contrary to international human-rights obligations or the Mission Statement of the States of Jersey.

Discrimination and unfairness under the pretext of a “housing shortage” is not just manifested under the Housing law qualifications system. The obsession with brown cows in green fields is another form of prejudice exploited by Jersey’s planners and others. Although agriculture and horticulture are ever diminishing activities and almost insignificant in Island economic terms, they enjoy an absurd preference so far as the use of land is concerned.

In spite of providing some of the worst housing accommodation in Jersey for their own employees (Portakabins and suchlike), the agriculturalists of Jersey have enjoyed an absurd planning priority for decades to develop their lands, to construct enormous sheds or glasshouses and receive all manner of subsidies. Other, more beneficial businesses, trades or activities receive no such help or little encouragement and the agriculturalists, by their animals and crops, pollute the land and water supplies too with impunity. They are also, likely as not, to receive planning permissions to redevelop old glass for houses or to convert empty sheds into data stores or mini-industrial centres.

The only desirable policies under the former Housing Law and Regulations were attempts to control the price of all housing transactions and to fix that of land for housing to £1400 per vergee.
These policies were abandoned in the 1970s because the more privileged in Jersey society (the property owning class) objected to the constraints upon their freedom to make money – although others could not afford or were not allowed to buy (sometimes even to rent), property at all.

Senator R. Shenton entered politics and the States, because he was unable to sell his house at St. Aubin for the price that he wanted and a potential buyer had agreed to pay.

Thus, “affordability” has been an aspect of Jersey’s so called “housing shortage” for a very long time. The former price control policies were intended to keep housing affordable.
This is not a problem that has suddenly arisen due to the current banking difficulties, or availability of loans, as our planners now falsely claim.

The “Zenzele” community project in 1980s Bristol afforded an opportunity for a group of unemployed persons to self-build for themselves a small block of flats. Many similar projects have been completed at various UK locations whereby people in receipt of social security benefits have been enabled, not only to become housed in their own homes but also to be enabled to find long term employment.

“Affordability” in the UN sense is not to be confused with the interpretation promoted by Jersey planners and the money-lenders.
As the self-builders have demonstrated, “affordable” has much more to do with enabling practical, socially desirable things to happen rather than helping bankers, financiers and property developers to achieve profits.

As “Zenzele” shows, even the poorest in society can afford to own decent homes, given appropriate support.
More generally, there is no excuse for any Jersey residents being denied the opportunity to occupy adequate housing - in accordance with international obligations.

According to Para 2.5 of the 2002 Island Plan and 1.3 of 2009 Draft Island Plan;

“The Island is subject to more than 350 international treaties, conventions and protocols, which carry legal and moral commitments as well as rights and obligations under international law….There, are other agreements covering social and economic matters, such as Human Rights law, which will impact indirectly on the planning system and thus need to be taken into account.”

Hardly any further information about these 350 treaties etc is offered in the current Plan beyond a few safe references to environmental issues under Ramsar conventions.
There is no attempt to list the 350 treaties or even to outline how the most important ones might have been considered in drawing up the Draft Plan.
There is no attempt at a “rights” or “compliance” audit to confirm that the Island is within existing international obligations. Nor is any guidance offered on likely international standards that might apply, during the future lifetime of the Plan.

Without such information, the Draft Plan must be viewed as substantially defective and not ready to be seriously considered.
The Island Plan of 2002 was similarly flawed yet was, nevertheless, agreed by the States.
It must not happen again.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Spending a penny at BHS….

Sir Philip Green the ninth richest on the British wealthiest list will not be aware that his store in King Street Jersey has closed its toilet facilities for customers.

The Jewish boy from Croydon made good, with his luxury pad in Monaco, the £32 millions yacht, the £20 millions Gulfstream private jet and 2,300 stores in the UK to worry about - will hardly even know about the toilet needs of his customers here.

“Modern living made easy” might be the BHS slogan but it is just advertising agents jargon. They don’t really mean it.

So in the Jersey store – one of the largest and busiest shops in central St Helier – the first floor restaurant (where you could get a £2.99p breakfast) has been closed and the space turned over to retail use.

That is a simple commercial decision of course. But the popular restaurant on the ground floor with seating for 60 plus - remains in use. Yet, there are no longer any public toilet facilities because these were on the first floor and have now been closed.

Anybody who has altered a café will know that public toilets are a mandatory requirement and even the smallest restaurant has – quite properly – to make provision for disabled people. Yet here in the centre of St. Helier this most important store can apparently just remove such facilities without any permission being sought or required. Furthermore, nobody complains about it!!!!

Unfortunately, it is not just the loss of toilets and a baby changing cubicle because the emergency escape route was also sealed off. The double doors were actually secured with a cable tie!!!! Just suppose there had been a fire and people could not escape – even Sir Philip might have been concerned at the cost of such an event. Yet, nobody seems to have asked the relevant questions, not the Store’s own Health and Safety officer or any of the multitudes of public officials who are supposed to monitor such matters on behalf of the Jersey public.

Of course, Team Voice has made a fuss. We have asked questions and we have received limp and contradicting replies from 5 different officers at the Jersey Planning and Building Control Department.

According to these people the toilets are variously closed or not closed. The disabled toilet will be made available on request or it is being used as a store. There is no legal requirement for BHS to seek permission to carry out these alterations or we are still investigating the matter.

Very worrying too is the strange claims that the toilets are still available for the “use of genuine customers only” but “the toilets were required in association with the restaurant use only and not the general requirement of department stores.”
“The continuing ground floor use is regulated in such a way with the Economic Development Department that there is no requirement to provide any toilet facilities for customers.”
Make no mistake, there are very serious safety issues raised by this simple commercially inspired decision. Even with all the supposed private and public responsibility for such matters – nobody noticed or asked the right questions. There could have been a tragedy. Where was the Fire Prevention team?

If the public supervision is inadequate now – just imagine what it will be like after Ozuof’s 2% to 10% cost cutting exercise has been fully implemented!!!

The lack of provision of public toilets in large retail premises is something that needs to be addressed through legislation but the removal of existing facilities must surely fall within the scope of existing regulations? Children, pregnant women, disabled persons, people with illnesses are all groups that can have particular toilet needs but we all must have access toilet facilities. Even Sir Philip must need a toilet…..

There should be public toilet facilities provided on the ground floor adjacent to the surviving BHS restaurant/café. These should be available for the use of all at this store. In other places in the UK local councils are paying retailers and publicans to provide toilet facilities for anybody – whether customers or not – especially where “public toilets” are not available through vandalism etc.

At BHS in Jersey, somebody should also ask about staff facilities. Has anybody ensured that the current restaurant has adequate toilets for employees? No doubt the Health Department staff are monitoring the food hygiene implications here….after all we would not want any bad publicity for Jersey that a food poisoning outbreak might cause…

Submitted by Thomas Wellard

Thursday, 22 July 2010

More Scrutiny Secrecy…….but WHY?

The Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel consists of your Deputies Mike Higgins (Chair),
Carolyn Labey, Shona Pitman, Daniel Wimberley and Jeremy Macon.

The Rural Economy Scrutiny Sub-Panel appears to consist of your Deputies Labey, Wimberley and Roy Le Herissier.

Why do Scrutiny Panels bother to publish their Agenda for meetings at all if they are not open to the public, media and non-accredited journalists?

Why is this meeting the latest to be held wholly in private?

What do our so called elected representatives think they are doing behind closed doors? Whose government is this? What do they have to hide?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

No Southern Comfort in Scrutiny…..

Regular readers will be aware of the desperate attempts by this Jersey government to suppress bloggers like us. We thought that we had identified the most repressive censors in the system – but life is ever full of surprises.

We had also predicted that the Scrutiny system will become more and more restricted with access evermore denied to the general public.

That is precisely what has happened and the likes of Senator Shenton have dreamed up all sorts of instant, petty rules to prevent us video recording Scrutiny proceedings whilst the “accredited” press carry on regardless.

There has even been an attempt by PPC at defining what “media” is and to invent a set of rules, with States approval, to ensure that only the favoured few – JEP, BBC Jersey, Channel TV and 103 – are privy to the secrets of the government “press conferences” etc. This is still ongoing…

We had already predicted that the secret part of Scrutiny Panel meetings – the “Part B” on the agenda – would become ever greater in response to our attending and reporting on Scrutiny matters. In other words, those items that are discussed in total privacy – no “accredited” press, no bloggers, and no tax paying public allowed.
Just the sort of secrecy that you might find at GCHQ, the CIA or the Kremlin.

Yet, we never dreamed that a totally secret Scrutiny Panel meeting would take place so soon OR that it would be the very first act of Deputy Southern as the newly appointed Chair of the Health & Social Security & Housing to implement it!!!!!

Today, that Panel’s regular, advertised public meeting was scheduled to take place at 9.30am in the States building.
However, when your Team Voice reporter turned up to see and hear the proceedings we learned something very interesting….

Not only had the other Members of the Panel – Deputy Debbie De Sousa and Constable Mezbourian- failed to attend, so the meeting was inquorate and had to be cancelled…
And, not only had Deputy De Sousa already told us how stupid it was for Southern to call his first meeting as Chairman at just the same time that Minister Le Marquand was delivering his Graham Power “kangaroo court” statement in the same building to all interested States Members….

But, when Deputy Southern appeared at 9.36 a.m. (in a chic new safari-suit with matching white hunter hat and knobbly knees) to face an empty room and was challenged by Team Voice - he confirmed that the entire meeting’s bog-standard eleven point agenda was secret, to be considered as totally Part B and that this was a decision made by his entire Panel!!!!!

So, the leader of Jersey’s very own so called “Democratic” party has invoked a total ban by virtue of States Standing Order 138(6) in order that nobody can know what is discussed and both Deputy De Sousa and Constable Mezbourian supposedly support him!!!!

So there you have it – wave bye, bye to any scraps of Freedom of Expression, Right to Know or Public Interest under the ECHR – this is Southern country where SECRECY RULES OK!!!

Thomas Wellard

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Thank you Senator Ian Le Marquand.

Once again this is where the phrase "never underestimate the stupidity of our oligarchy" comes into play.

The reason I thank Senator Le Marquand is because he is going to publish the cherry picked Wiltshire Report. He is going to show the world the prosecution case, after Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM has been denied the right to a fair trial. He must now be presumed innocent.

For a little while there some of us were thinking the Chief Police Officer was going to remain silent. Indeed this is where the "stupidity" comes into it. If Ian Le Marquand had have come out and said something along the lines that, disciplinary actions could not be brought because of time constraints etc. and left it at that, then Graham Power might have just slipped into oblivion and all would have gone quiet. But ah no good old Ian wants a show trial, and now he's bl--dy well going to get one!

For two years we've heard next to nothing from the CPO Power and within two days we get two Press Releases from him. Ian Le Marquand has "woken the beast" and personally I can't thank him enough for it.

I have it on good authority that this is just the beggining, are you ready for this Senator? After looking at the cherry picked Wiltshire Report I can't see that you would be feeling too confident!


“While I have been provided with little information in relation to the matter, it is my understanding that reports prepared by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire in respect of the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry are to receive some form of publicity in the near future.

It is known that the reports contain some criticism of the management of the enquiry. In effect they represent aspects of the “Prosecution Case” in the disciplinary enquiry initiated by the former Minister for Home Affairs in 2008. As well as the Prosecution Case there is also a Defence Case. Draft details of both cases are known to have been in the possession of the current Minister for Home Affairs since November 2009 at the latest, and possibly sooner.

At every stage it has been the position of myself and my defence team that there was nothing in the Wiltshire Reports which could not be successfully defended at a fair and impartial hearing. Had such a hearing taken place we expected the defence case to succeed.

In the event, the Minister has contrived to ensure that no hearing can take place and in consequence our case cannot be heard. In these circumstances we must settle for victory by default.

Nevertheless, the recent abandonment of the disciplinary case means that all allegations are effectively dismissed and can therefore be presumed to be false.

The Wiltshire reports are part of what is now a failed and discredited disciplinary investigation in which every deadline has been missed, every budget over-spent, and not a single charge has been brought after almost two years.

While it may be possible to provide some comment in response to whatever the Minister chooses to publish, I hope it will be understood that having successfully defended myself once against these allegations, I see no need to repeat the exercise for a second time.

I am pleased to be retiring from the Police Service having been totally exonerated from all allegations in respect of the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry”
Sunday 11th July 2010.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Press Statement from Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM

Well, well, well are the gloves ready to come off????????

Is Senator Ian (P9-26) Le Marquand ready for the reprecussions should he "prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and Jersey"? Notwithstanding he has already soured Jersey's relationship with Scotland Yard.Is he prepared for the Chief Police Officer's "reply" should he breach the confidentiality clause of Brian Moore?

Chief Police Officer Graham Power has remaind dignified and relatively quiet throughout this ghastly fiasco he has been subjected to. I would plead with Senator Le Marquand to breach the confidentiality clause, we need to hear what the Chief Police Officer has to are making history Senator!.


I have today been approached indirectly by a number of media organisations seeking comment from me in respect of the report prepared by Mr Brian Moore, Chief Constable of Wiltshire, who was, in 2008, commissioned by the Minister for Home Affairs to conduct a disciplinary investigation in relation to my role in the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry.

At the commencement of his report Mr Moore sets out an “Obligation to Confidentiality” which he supports on a number of grounds. One of these is the assertion by Mr Moore that “disclosure of information would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and Jersey.”(Moore report page 2 of 383.)

As the Chief Officer of the Islands Police service, and as a responsible person, I intend to fully respect Mr Moore’s wishes in respect of his report. I naturally encourage everyone else to do the same. Accordingly I will be making no comment at this time.

However, should there be a serious breach of Mr Moore’s confidentiality requirements by any other party I will re-consider my position in relation to this matter.

Graham Power QPM,
Chief Officer,
States of Jersey Police,

10th July 2010.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Cast in the Jersey political mould….

Emille Collins first joined a political party – the Jersey Democratic Union – in 1944, when it was an offence punishable by death to do so.

He and a few other brave individuals used to meet in a house in Stopford Road (at the St. Saviour’s Road end) which still stands. Then they had to dodge the German patrols and the curfew.

There is no blue plaque on the wall to mark Emille’s extraordinary conduct and, even more disgracefully, the fact that he is still politically active and a regular on BBC Jersey ‘phone-ins and in the pages of the JEP is not marked publicly in any way.

Emille Collins was born at St. Helier in September 1912. He has lived in the Island ever since – except for just one single day when he visited Guernsey. He still lives in St. Helier and unlike most residents of the Island – he always votes.

In the picture above, Emille and Constable Simon Crowcroft of St. Helier are seen with a bronze- bust portrait of “our hero.”

Of course, Emille does not consider himself to be any sort of hero or even unusual – never mind exceptional – but we at Team Voice believe that he is a most remarkable man and that this should be recognised.

We have chosen to commission this “one off” portrait because we want him recognised now and by future generations as one of the unsung people who have campaigned so that we all might enjoy the privileges of a democratic society. How sad then, that there should, at this time, be so many divisions in the “progressive” arm of Jersey politics.

The battle for reform continues. Jersey is not Utopia but we think that it is appropriate to acknowledge Emille’s contribution over so many years and we want to demonstrate that political activity is a most necessary part of Island life.
It is to be applauded not denigrated.

Emille’s portrait is now on display at Falle’s Fine Art gallery just opposite the States Building in Hill Street. We hope that a sponsor or group of people will buy it and make it available for public exhibition, in an appropriate place, for many years to come.

Team Voice.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Senatorial Candidate Patrick Ryan.

Senatorial candidate Patrick Ryan didn't speak to Citizens Media so we filmed him at one of the hustings. He is standing in the 2010 by-election to be decided on Wednesday June 16th 2010.

Submitted by VFC.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Senatorial candidate Gerard Baudains.

Senatorial candidate Gerard Baudains didn't speak to Citizens Media so we filmed him at one of the hustings. He is standing in the 2010 by-election to be decided on Wednesday June 16th 2010.

Submitted by VFC.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Senatorial candidate Gino Risoli

Senatorial candidate Gino Risoli didn't speak to Citizens Media so we filmed him at one of the hustings. He is standing in the 2010 by-election to be decided on Wednesday June 16th 2010.

Submitted by VFC.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Senatorial Candidate Geoff Southern.

After being approached on a number of occasions by people, for one reason or another, who are not happy with the coverage of the Senatorial by-election from the “accredited” media - and have asked Team Voice to do more - we have responded.

In particular we have been approached by the youth who have friends at university who follow the Blog Sphere but don’t get to see much of the mainstream media (msm) and would like to know more about the candidates.

Team Voice is now offering ALL candidates up to five minutes air-time to put their message across to the online community and engage with a wider audience in the hope this might encourage people to the Ballot Box, and give the electorate a more informed choice of who to vote for.

Fourth up is Geoff Southern.

Submitted by VFC.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Senatorial Candidate Peter - Remon Whorrall.

After being approached on a number of occasions by people, for one reason or another, who are not happy with the coverage of the Senatorial by-election from the “accredited” media - and have asked Team Voice to do more - we have responded.

In particular we have been approached by the youth who have friends at university who follow the Blog Sphere but don’t get to see much of the mainstream media (msm) and would like to know more about the candidates.

Team Voice is now offering ALL candidates up to five minutes air-time to put their message across to the online community and engage with a wider audience in the hope this might encourage people to the Ballot Box, and give the electorate a more informed choice of who to vote for.

Third up is Peter - Remon Whorrall.

Submitted by VFC.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Senatorial candidate - Phillip Maguire.

After being approached on a number of occasions by people, for one reason or another, who are not happy with the coverage of the Senatorial by-election from the “accredited” media - and have asked Team Voice to do more - we have responded.

In particular we have been approached by the youth who have friends at university who follow the Blog Sphere but don’t get to see much of the mainstream media (msm) and would like to know more about the candidates.

Team Voice is now offering ALL candidates up to five minutes air-time to put their message across to the online community and engage with a wider audience in the hope this might encourage people to the Ballot Box, and give the electorate a more informed choice of who to vote for.

Second up is Phillip Maguire.

Submitted by VFC.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Senatorial Candidate - Nick Le Cornu.

After being approached on a number of occasions by people, for one reason or another, who are not happy with the coverage of the Senatorial by-election from the “accredited” media - and have asked Team Voice to do more - we have responded.

In particular we have been approached by the youth who have friends at university who follow the Blog Sphere but don’t get to see much of the mainstream media (msm) and would like to know more about the candidates.

Team Voice is now offering ALL candidates up to five minutes air-time to put their message across to the online community and engage with a wider audience in the hope this might encourage people to the Ballot Box, and give the electorate a more informed choice of who to vote for.

Candidate Nick Le Cornu is the first up.

Submitted by VFC.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Is WOOLworths being pulled over our eyes?

When Woolworths PLC UK went bust around Xmas 2008 all the 800 stores throughout the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the IOM) soon closed their doors and many thousands of staff became instantly unemployed. Thousands of businesses and all the relevant governments too became creditors.

Strangely, now that the dust of the initial shock of losing an old retailing friend has settled – we hear very little about what has happened since.

Is it all sorted? Is everybody now happy? Was anybody hurt in the collapse? What happened next?

In Jersey there was an initial fuss about the employees and the States were persuaded to pick up the financial tab for locals who might lose out because of the lack of a proper statutory redundancy scheme.
What of other local creditors (e.g. Jersey Income Tax for 2008 £315,000, GST £34,000, Treasury & Resources £123,000, Social Security £23,000 plus many private businesses, lawyers fees etc and the mysterious GMAC £160,218,543.12 – yes 160 millions)?

Eventually (in December 2009), proposals for an Insolvency Payments Scheme were published and legislation will belatedly be put in place. The Isle of Man had already adopted a scheme based upon a previous Jersey proposal, so employees in that island had some compensation underwritten by the Manx government. In Guernsey on the other hand, there was no such scheme and no fuss. Employees in that island seem to have just walked quietly away from any rights or monies that might have been claimed.

Of course, in all the islands there was virtually no Trades Union interest because there were hardly any members of unions employed. The position was different in the UK and battles continue there.

So what happened to islands’ creditors and any assets of the business arising “off shore”? To whom do the assets belong?

We at the Voice have been trying to focus attention on these matters from the very beginning around Xmas 2008 but the fog of obscurity has not lifted and we have pleaded with our “elected representatives” to investigate with very little result.

On 8 September 2009 Deputy Tadier asked the most relevant Minister, “Squeaky Clean” Maclean ;

“Can the Minister confirm if the administration of Woolworths Jersey is yet completed, whether there is likely to be any cost to the Jersey taxpayer arising from this, if the entire residue of local assets has or will be returned to the UK for distribution to creditors and whether he is satisfied that Jersey creditors are not receiving any unfair advantage over those in the UK?”

The answer was waffle, waffle, waffle - as we expect from Senator Maclean - but behind the question is a very big and potentially costly concern because financial assets of hundreds of £millions were registered with the Jersey Viscount for the winding-up process and there is some very fishy business going on here.

The deal that was cooked up by our “elected representatives” to pacify the former Woolworths employees and the public clamour might have seemed very desirable and necessary at the time.
But, Deloittes, the UK appointed Administrators were only dragged reluctantly into the Jersey Royal Court to apply for local authority to act, after we at the Voice complained.
We thought that Jersey had its own set of laws and constitution and that they are supposed to be the very basis of the whole Finance Industry and our unique way of life……..

At that Court hearing Senator Maclean was appointed as the elected Jersey public part of a tripartite arrangement intended to protect the interests of all those involved. The other two are The Jersey Viscount and Deloittes.

Of course, in Jersey, we are all now interested parties since our government undertook to interfere in the process and to underwrite the employee’s financial interests. We are all financially liable if the underwriting deal goes pear-shaped like the financing of an incinerator or the suspension of a senior consultant.

Unfortunately, neither the Viscount nor Deloittes are answerable to the public of Jersey like Maclean is supposed to be. But all three are answerable to the Royal Court and they are supposed to report back there with details of any deals that are cooked-up. Why is it taking so long?

In the meantime we really should be concerned about this matter because it is liable to become a major scandal.

We asked Deputy Higgins to initiate a Scrutiny Panel into the whole sorry business and he seemed keen at first but after a chat with the Viscount appears to have been persuaded otherwise.

We have undertaken extensive research and published many blogs on this subject but it is just like punching into thin air. Nobody wants to respond with answers.

From our enquiries, the money trail leads to Madoff and Merkin the multi-billion fraudsters now locked away for ever in the USA, the more or less busted General Motors Corp and the Barclay Brothers of Sark fame and their “Shop Direct” retailing business.

WE cannot believe that a business like Woolworths UK did not take full advantage of its presence in Finance Centres such as Jersey, Guernsey and the IOM to mitigate all liabilities and obligations throughout its British and world-wide operations. Our previous postings can be found on;
voiceforchildren Here and here and voiceforjersey here and here also on voiceforprotest here and here

We urge you to refresh your mind by reading these now. This matter has very profound implications for business relationships between Jersey and other jurisdictions and many other concerns too. You will not read about it in the JEP or on Channel TV.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

KIRK FLYING VET’s wings clipped….?

We interviewed Maurice Kirk in Jersey more than 9 months ago - see it here and now we have caught up with him again at his Brittany base. Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?

In the interim, Maurice has spent most of his days and nights in Cardiff prison or the nearby clinic where the UK authorities planned that he should be sectioned and detained for a very long time, under the Mental Health Law.

Maurice defeated the attempts to detain him in the clinic and in court and he fights on but his wife has now filed for divorce, his veterinary career remains curtailed, his assets are up for sale and the aircraft are grounded…

So what is the purpose of it all?

Che Guevara, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, JFK, Amelia Earhart, Marilyn Monroe, Norman Le Brocq…..YOU can choose your heroes – but must they be dead and buried before we can acknowledge their achievements?

Click here to view Maurice Kirk’s own website - if you do not already know about him or his lifetime of fighting the authorities across the world as a sole, independent campaigner.

Does he remind you of anybody? A Quixotic figure perhaps involved in politics or fighting the system in your own locality?

As we have observed, whole Governments can fall out of the sky so easily once their forward motion ceases. Shall we lament their passing or the demise of Gordon and his cronies? Or should we just rejoice at any change and embrace the opportunities that come our way….

Brittany looks very lush at this time of year after all…but what is the message behind these images?

Answers on a postcard please.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


A few weeks ago, the Health, Social Security & Housing Scrutiny Panel- aka Senator Breckon, Constables Mezbourian and Yates and Deputies De Sousa and Southern – discovered the existence of the SOCIAL SECURITY ADVISORY COUNCIL in a report.
Our elected reps wondered; what does it do? Better find out they said - in a jokey sort of way - because the Council did not appear to do very much at all.

So, this week our elected reps (the two Constables were absent) met with Sylvia Seymour the Chair of the Council, for a friendly half-hour chat at 11.30 a.m.

In fact, our elected reps had already been chatting among themselves for two hours with two scrutiny staff in attendance and there was plenty more coffee to be drunk and words yet to be spoken at this meeting.

But – what a breath of fresh air Sylvia Seymour proved to be. Without doubt one of the best witnesses that this Voice reporter has ever heard at a Scrutiny Panel. All questions were answered precisely, positively and on the basis of knowledge.
What planet was this person from your reporter wondered and if only……

It soon became clear that the SS Advisory Council, which consists of 8 volunteer members and meets at least once a month, is the personal and private scrutiny panel of the Minister of Social Security (currently Deputy Gorst).
It is established under the SS Advisory Council (J) Order 1992 – in other words it existed before Ministerial government and Scrutiny Panels were ever dreamed of.
The volunteers are appointed for terms of three years after a standard three interview selection process and can serve for further terms.
Our elected reps did not ask for any names or further details of those who currently serve on the Council whose terms of reference include “giving advice and assistance to the Minister in connection with the discharge of the Minister’s functions and performing such other duties as may be assigned to them under Art 42 of the SS (J) Law 1974…”

The Council it seems undertakes research and produces reports for the Minister on a very wide range of SS matters and the Minister can take or ignore any recommendations as he chooses ( so no difference with States Scrutiny there) and he could publish their reports too – but never seems to do so. What a pity.
The Minister asks the Council to look at all policy and legislation proposals and the membership also select other matters to consider. They have a budget of £5,500 p.a. out of which secretarial support is paid and all monthly meetings are attended by a (named) civil servant.

Thus Pensions, the SS Reserve Fund, Income Support, Care of the Elderly, Swine Flu Regulations, Insolvency Fund, Comprehensive Spending Review, updating the SS Law and even the provision of information by the SS Department to the general public are all matters that have or are ongoing Council projects among many more……

Maybe of course the Council reports are rubbish and if they are never published – except to the select few – who will ever know?

The obvious question that arises though is just why does this SS Advisory Council exist now at all if Senator Breckon and his team are doing their paid Scrutiny job – on OUR behalf – properly?

How many Scrutiny Panels do we need? Are there any other shadow Scrutinizing Councils in our governmental system? Do any other Ministers have their own personal teams of Scrutiny volunteers?

It costs about £150 to £200 per hour in salaries alone to stage an average Scrutiny Panel meeting with our elected reps and Scrutiny staff. The SS Council membership makes no charge and works within an annual budget of £5,500.

Once again, the need to look critically at the faults in the Scrutiny process was revealed very starkly by this friendly chat.
The whole Scrutiny process in Jersey is in need of a much more resolute, wholesale and searching examination with reform in mind.

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

RADON kills while Jersey sleeps.

Never mind the volcanic ash that might blow this way or the particles from the new incinerator that might get up your nose.
The certain fact is that RADON gas has been bubbling up through the very ground of Jersey for thousands of years and every year it kills people with very unpleasant cancers.

Should you worry? Should your government be more concerned? What can we do?

Radon gas occurs in a few areas of the UK and it is guessed that from 2,500 to 5,000 people may die from its effects there each year. Presumably, many thousands of others are treated and survive or are not diagnosed at all.

Does anybody have any data for Jersey? Who is at risk?

The matter was recently raised with the Environment Scrutiny Panel aka your elected representatives Deputies Phil Rondel, Paul Le Claire and Daniel Wimberley and Constable John Refault. They discussed the issues on 1st April 2010 but they were not very excited by the questions posed and don’t propose to do much about it.

As usual for Scrutiny they have passed the matter on for somebody else to look at and comment upon. Mostly of course, this will be the very same civil servants that have dreamed-up and implement existing Radon policies in Jersey.

In fact, under-floor Radon barriers have to be installed in any new homes built in Jersey (the whole island is a Radon danger zone) or when substantial alterations are made to existing ones - but not to any other classes of buildings like hospitals, schools, hotels, offices, residential care- homes.
Presumably Radon gas knows how to avoid such classes of buildings ….?

The dangerous radio-active gas also gets into water courses and is released into the lungs when affected water is atomised in showers and other like processes in laundries etc.

In Jersey there has been some ancient monitoring using simple stick-on patches which give readings over a few months – but nothing very comprehensive or recent. New “Dwelling Health and Safety Law” legislation now being considered might include some extra measures but it is not yet certain.
Apparently the international safety level is likely to be reduced soon (made more stringent) but nobody in Jersey seems to have any data on the numbers who might have died or been affected in the past 10 years or are likely to become ill in the near future.

Road kill and injury statistics are obviously not treated in such a casual way and the dangers of traffic or other safety hazards at work or play are also dealt with in a much more positive way. Why so?

If St John and St Mary Parishes are Radon hot spots then the residents of those places should be told.
Deputies Rondel and Wimberley and their colleagues don’t seem too concerned about it but presumably if they knew of constituents who had developed a nasty Radon related cancer then they might be a bit more motivated?

Perhaps as a start, each Parish in Jersey should undertake to carry out monitoring tests on their own Parish hall, a school and a trio of old houses so that the general public can see and be alerted or comforted as appropriate.

Radon gas can build up in poorly ventilated buildings of all types. It is not just a matter of concern in housing accommodation. In UK Radon zones (like Cornwall) houses can only be sold if they have a certificate of Radon safety or a security bond is imposed so that the new owner can afford to carry out tests and any necessary works to make the property safe.

The implication might be that Jersey lawyers and estate agents are transacting house sales and failing to disclose a possible Radon health risk since the whole island is a known Radon zone!
One way or another, the continuing failure to address the Radon problem in Jersey could prove very costly.
See you in court or hospital?
What does your elected representative know about it? What do YOU think should be done?

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

OZO’s Cunning Plan……

Senator OZO has cracked the problem of the missing £50 millions – and MORE!!
He now proposes to build our Island economy out of debt EXCLUSIVE!!!

Did anybody notice that the dead and buried Waterfront office development madness is back on his alive and pumping list? Strange how the news was allowed to slip out and that Harcourt would still like to be involved too!!!!

Are any court cases pending we might ask? You know the sort of thing - for broken promise? Wasted effort?
Just like jilted developers the world over - make a claim for a few millions - then kiss and make up - then reappear under a slightly different name such as Hardunby (Virgin Islands) Ltd - do a fantastic PPP deal to build the 600,000 sq ft of unwanted offices with a wonderful too good to be true guaranteed leaseback loan arrangement over 999 years …… catch the drift?

But what fool would want all that office space you are asking?

This is OZO’s masterstroke – WE DO!!!!!
Yes - the eternal mug punter aka the Jersey tax paying public is just gagging for it because what we want more than proper hospitals, schools, child protection and care of the elderly and adequate social security and pensions, decent transport system or a silly town park …………… a socking great state of the art all glass, no class centralised office block big enough to accommodate all States Departments under one huge roof!!!!!! Everybody’s problems ALL solved at a stroke!!!

No doubt it will have a heli-pad up there too for OZO and all his new multi-billionaire Chinese and Indian high net worth chums to fly in and out to and from important meetings trading huge dollops of lovely gravy too – just like the good old days before international capitalism collapsed and the banks went bust……..

And there’s more!! As our renewed Irish pals would say – Hardunby (Mauritius) Holdings Ltd T/A Dan Dare Developments (Dublin) Ltd will take all the old States Office blocks (500,000 sq ft) off our hands at no charge and redevelop them as wonderful iconic higher rise housing blocks and multi multi-storey car parks (designed by Car Buncle of Alcatraz Ltd) – with loads of gardens, allotments and childrens play-cages on top too.

OZO and his newly shuffled team of financial whizz kids have discovered that States Offices are actually costing nearly £200 per sq ft per annum whereas the private sector is only worth £75. So it’s an instant gain all round. The taxpayer will make a killing because we will be paying huge office rents to ourselves. The Housing and car parking problems will be solved. There will be no building in the countryside. The town park won’t be needed because of all the open roof spaces. Nobody will require public transport because all social housing will be within the St Helier ghetto zone and occupiers will be subject to a no car curfew and won’t need to travel. The Developers will make a fortune (not declared for Jersey tax purposes) and the Banks will have yet more bundles of useless property portfolios to broker around the world at absurdly inflated prices and which OZO can buy back as a sound income- generating investment on our behalf to replace 0/10 tax and the missing £50 millions…..

Now that takes a genius. How fortunate we are to have OZO in charge of our finances.
Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Lord Carswell – and another safe pair of hands.

Lord Carswell, a retired judge, is leading the current inquiry into the role of the Crown Officers in Jersey.
He also helped to interview and select two Jersey lawyers and a Jersey lawyer’s wife to form the inquiry panel – plus a Chartered Psychologist/registered nurse.

Mathematically speaking, the odds against having three lawyers and a lawyer’s wife on the panel ought to be so remote as to defy calculation – but this is Jersey and lawyers stick together – especially when the subject under examination is yet more lawyers.

Lord Carswell has had a long career in the law and was nearly blown up in Northern Ireland where he sat as a sole judge (without jury) on many so called “Diplock” hearings.

Ironically, in England only this week, for the first time in three centuries, a judge sat without a jury to hear a major criminal case where previous juries had been nobbled.

For the past six years or more Lord Carswell has held a seat in the House of Lords (as a crossbencher) but he did not make his maiden speech until 28 January this year because he was still serving as an Appeal (Law Lords) Judge. That reason is especially significant in the context of the current Jersey inquiry because it is just such questions of conflict that need to be considered with regard to the Bailiff and other Crown Officers.

Lord Carswell explained how ALL the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary “observed rightly or wrongly the self imposed abstinence from participation” in House of Lords debates. However, as soon as he retired as a judge he was released from his abstinence – in time for the appropriate Constitutional Reform debate – saying “I am now released from that Trappist type vow of silence and I hope to be able to make a modest contribution from time-to-time to the proceedings of the House.”
He went on to express his admiration for the late Lord Hailsham (an old Tory Lord Chancellor of a particularly conservative sort) and the advice that he gave him – “be careful.” Lord Carswell then said “I commend these words to your Lordships as useful advice for anyone proposing constitutional change.”
He cautioned further “because well intentioned alterations can, if the results turn out wrongly, make things worse instead of better.”
“Once you reduce something to writing a Bill of Rights, a constitution, things like that, you give rise to an industry among those who look for gaps, loopholes, extended interpretations and ways round. Lawyers in any other country which has a written constitution will tell you just that. My message applies right across the spectrum of constitutional change in all aspects your Lordships are discussing today; if it is right, consider change and reform and propound it; but in the words of Lord Hailsham, be careful.”

From which it could be assumed that Lord Carswell has already drafted his Jersey report!

In a long career, Lord Carswell has of course issued many judgments and he has decided upon many Human Rights issues in recent years such as that for Naomi Campbell v the Daily Mirror (2004 Appeal). This was a most important decision regarding privacy v free expression and “breach of confidence” but his Lordship does not seem to have much of a liking for human rights arguments. As with Hailsham, he would seem to prefer that judges have a free hand to make up the law according to particular circumstances.

Yet, during the Power of Entry Debate on 5 March this year Lord Carswell stated;
“I express my complete and wholehearted agreement ……the Bill will allow to be enshrined in law what ought to be regarded as a bright-line principle; that officialdom should not be allowed to enter private premises without either consent or a warrant or court order. “

In another Law Lards judicial review hearing in 2008 (re Duffy) Lord Carswell considered a dispute with the Secretary of State over the appointment of members on the Parades Commission of Northern Ireland. It was a throw back from his old Irish stomping ground days and Mr Duffy had complained that the Secretary of State had encouraged Orange Order supporters to apply ( and to be appointed) and that there were partisan conflicts etc with regard to the management of the Portadown Parade.
As in Jersey, there were all sorts of unusual and ancient traditions to be considered and the judgment favoured Duffy.
Lord Carswell observed (among other things) that “it may often be of importance to encourage under-represented sections of the community to apply for appointment to various bodies” and added “that this should not be at the cost of loss of impartiality.”

Quite how Lord Carswell might reconcile the appointment of so many lawyers and not others on the Jersey inquiry remains to be seen but it would be a pity if he was not called upon to address the question before his Jersey findings are published?

As for the rest of his lifetime in law it is difficult to determine where his true sympathies lie and he has considered many very substantial cases.

He likes to introduce short quotations in his speeches such as “Lord, make me chaste and continent, but not yet” (from St Augustine) or “the best is the enemy of the good”.
Already during the Jersey hearings he has referred to “removing one brick from the wall and causing the whole to collapse” on several occasions which seems to confirm his conservative, leave it well alone, instincts.

He clearly enjoys discussion with lawyers such as the Jersey Attorney General (Carswell was an AG Counsel in Northern Ireland) and Jurats and their like. He was noticeably more hostile to Deputy Bob Hill, the proposer of the inquiry that is now taking place, when in discussion with him.
He seems more comfortable in the company of lawyers but we might see as the hearings proceed if he can respond with equal enthusiasm to the general public and their more critical views.

Lord Carswell plays golf and enjoys hill-walking and has his home in Northern Ireland.

According to Parliamentary records (parliamentukdoc.) he attended at Westminster during the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 on one occasion only to sit with regard to public business in the House ( his judicial duties being separate) and claimed £12,878 in travel expenses ( including £2,346 for car expenses, £1,327 on Rail/Ferry/coaches and £9,206 on air travel).

Submitted by Thomas Wellard.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


I have put this press release up so we can see cross check the allegations from the warcup/gradwell press conference. Having so much information now in the public domain lets all have a go at being investigative bloggers.

What evidence/ forensic evidence did Warcup/Gradwell use to back up their claims 



Press Release Operation Rectangle
Wednesday 12  November 2008

The States of Jersey Police have today issued the following press statement in order to clarify matters relating to Haut de la Garenne and to provide an update in relation to the wider child abuse enquiry.

In February this year, the States of Jersey Police commenced a search at Haut de la Garenne. This search resulted in the recovery of a considerable number of forensic finds.

In the weeks that followed, the enquiry was the centre of considerable media coverage and became a matter of serious public concern.  Statements which were issued by the States of Jersey Police suggested that serious criminal offences had been perpetrated against children and also that there was a possibility that children may have been murdered, bodies had been disposed of and buried within the home.

The States of Jersey Police are now making a clear distinction between the forensic finds at Haut de La Garenne and the investigation into offences of Historic Child Abuse.  It is emphasised however that the States of Jersey Police continue to investigate offences of abuse against children which occurred within the child care system in Jersey over several decades.

The States of Jersey Police wish to make it absolutely clear that central to the investigation, are the complainants and witnesses who have come forward and provide statements to the Enquiry Team. We are clear in our absolute commitment to the full and thorough investigation of the complaints which have been made with the aim of uncovering the truth and bringing anyone responsible for offending to justice.

It is also essential, however, to ensure that the facts are reported properly.

An assessment of the evidence available has revealed that the forensic recoveries do not indicate that there have been murders of children or other people at Haut de la Garenne.  Nor is it believed that the evidence indicates that bodies have been destroyed, buried or hidden at Haut de la Garenne.

  • Should any further evidence come to light, this will be assessed, and whatever action is necessary will be taken.

The Deputy Chief Officer, David Warcup, stated;

“It is unfortunate that we now believe that the information which was put into the public domain by the States of Jersey Police about certain ‘finds’ at Haut de la Garenne was inaccurate, and we regret this”.

With regard to the particular evidence which has been highlighted in the media, the States of Jersey Police are clear that these do not support suggestions that there have been murders at Haut de la Garenne.  In particular;

A Piece of Child’s Skull

  • An anthropologist made an initial identification as this item being a piece of child’s skull.
  • At 10:45 am the SIO made a decision to release information to the press about the find.
  • At 2pm the same day a press conference disclosed this item as the finding of the potential remains of a child.
  • This item was lying within earth that is now identified as being Victorian era.
  • On the 31st March 2008 Dr Higham from the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit stated he believed the item was not bone. 
  • The original anthropologist reviewed her initial identification and on 14th April 2008 had stated she no longer identified it as part of a skull.
  • Dr Higham and Dr Jacobi (of the British Museum faunal specialist) concluded that the sample was not in fact bone, but was almost certainly wood.  They went further stating it was more like a part of a seed casing like a small piece of coconut.
  • The conclusions are therefore that the sample is a) Not bone and b) Not human.
  • The States of Jersey Police satisfied that having liaised with the anthropologist and Dr Higham and other experts, that this item is not human and was found in a Victorian context.

Shackles’ and ‘Restraints’:

The item referred to as ‘Shackles’ was found in rubble on the ground floor of HDLG on 28th February. These are in fact rusty pieces of metal. There is no witness evidence or intelligence which indicates these should be described as shackles or that shackles resembling this description have been used during the commission of any offences.

The item called a ‘restraint’ was found amongst general debris in an under floor area. However, there is no evidence or intelligence indicating this is anything suspicious.

The Bath and blood stains:

This bath in the under floor voids has no water supply and has not been used as a bath since the 1920’s when a brick pillar was constructed within it. During the search a specialist search dog reacted to the bath and a presumptive test indicated positive for blood in a minute area of the bath.  Following detailed forensic microscopic examination no blood has been found.  There is nothing suspicious about the bath and no indication this bath has been used in the commission of any offences.

 The Cellars

These are floor voids.  They are not cellars, and it is impossible for a grown person to stand up straight in the floor voids under Haut de la Garenne.


There are 65 teeth found in the floor voids and 1 elsewhere. They are milk teeth coming from at least 10 people - up to a maximum of 65 people. Around 45 of the teeth originate from children aged 9 to 12 yrs and 20 from the range 6 to 8 years.
There is wear on some of the teeth; these teeth generally have the appearance of being shed naturally.

It is possible for more tests to be done on the teeth to clarify age and other factors.


170 pieces of bone which are mainly animal were found in the area of HDLG which was searched. Many more pieces of bone were found in the area of the grounds, all of which are animal.

  • Of all that material, there are 3 fragments which are ‘possibly’ human; the biggest piece is 25 mm long.
  • 2 fragments date 1470 to 1650 and the other 1650 to 1950
  • These have not definitely been identified as human bone. Taking in all this information, this is an unexplained find if it is human, but not necessarily suspicious.

 The Pits

These were dug in the late 1970s and are unexplained, but nothing suspicious has been found in either of them.

In summary;

  • No people are reported missing
  • There are no allegations of murder
  • There are no suspects for murder
  • There is no specific time period for murder.
  •  We are satisfied that there is no indication or evidence that there have been murders at HDLG.

 The Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police, David Warcup stated, “I continue to have every confidence in the detectives and investigators who are currently working on the historical abuse enquiry.  The have worked extremely hard in their search for the truth and to bring offenders to justice.” 

“This investigation has clearly had an impact on the very committed men and women who work for the States of Jersey Police and I am grateful to them for their hard work, dedication and commitment during recent months in helping to ensure that the people of Jersey receive a good service from their local force.”

“I also wish to make comment concerning the relationship between Crown Officers working with the enquiry and the States of Jersey Police.  Much has been reported which suggested that lawyers do not work directly with investigating officers.
The fact is that lawyers do work with investigators on serious and complex enquiries, I can absolutely reassure the public that the relationship between the police and lawyers is a positive one and I have seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever which would support any assertion that they should not have been directly involved in the enquiry.  Indeed I would suggest that excluding lawyers has resulted in delays to the investigative process.”

The Historic Abuse enquiry will continue to be led by Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell.  Who stated.

“I would wish to emphasise that we are not questioning the fact that historically serious offences have been committed against children. There will however not be the number of court cases or prosecutions which were originally reported.”

“I have every confidence in the investigation team who are committed to bringing offenders to justice.”