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!!!