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.