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.