Thursday, 26 November 2009

12 months in office.

Today Team Voice sent out an e-mail and questionnaire (below) to the 20 States members who were either elected for the first time, or elected to a new post at the Nov/Dec 2008 elections.

We will be publishing all responses we receive in order of when we receive them, a kind of first come, first served basis. Depending on how fast the replies come "flooding in" they might be spread across our 3 Blogsites which, besides this one, include http://voiceforjersey.blogspot.com/ and http://voiceforprotest.blogspot.com/

The e-mail was sent to the following States members.

Senator Alan Breckon.
Senator Alan MacLean.
Senator Ian Le Marquand.
Senator Sarah Ferguson.

Connetable Deidre Mezbourian.
Connetable John Refault.
Connetable Juliette Gallichan.
Connetable Len Norman.

Deputy Anne Dupré.
Deputy Angela Jeune.
Deputy Andrew Green.
Deputy Daniel Wimberley.
Deputy Debbie De Sousa.
Deputy Edward Noel.
Deputy Jeremy Macon.
Deputy Mike Higgins.
Deputy Montfort Tadier.
Deputy Philip Rondel.
Deputy Tracy Vallois.
Deputy Trevor Pitman.

The e-mail.

Dear States member.

It has already, in most cases, been a full 12 months since you were successfully elected to your post, whether you be a new member of the government or an existing member who has achieved election to a new post.

We at Team Voice are very keen to give the electorate an insight into your first year of office and what being a States member entails.

Below is a short questionnaire we hope, with the answers, will give the electorate this insight and at the same time offer you, the elected member, an opportunity, not only to engage with the electorate, but to "blow your own trumpet as it were".
We will be posting this e-mail and questionnaire on one of our Blogsites along with any, and all, responses we receive.

Thank you in advance for your co-operation

Team Voice.

The Questionnaire.

12 months in office
A questionnaire for new Deputies, Constables and Senators elected in 2008
During your first year
How many;

1) States meetings have you missed?
2) Written questions have you asked?
3) Oral questions have you asked?
4) Times have you voted?
5) Have you submitted any propositions or amendments? If yes, how many?
6) Have you achieved Ministerial or Assistant Ministerial office?
7) Do you serve on any Scrutiny Panel(s)? - If so Please give details.
8) Do you hold constituency surgeries? - If so - how often? If not, why not?
9) On average, how many letters - emails - telephone calls do you receive each week from the electorate?
10) Do you employ any secretarial assistance?
11) Do you rent an office for States work?
12) Have you assisted at any Complaints Board hearings?
13) Have you travelled outside of Jersey on States business?
14) On average, how many hours do you devote to States work each week?
15) How many hours do you devote to Parish work each week?
16) Do you have any other employment?
17) Do you feel you have, or are on target of, fulfilling your election promises, manifesto?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Wiltshire "report".



So Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, has had, in his Possession, some kind of a report from the Wiltshire Constabulary since the 20th of October 2009.

Once again more questions need answering. Why was Senator Le Marquand so quick to inform the States Assembly about the existence of the “Operation Blast” files claiming he wanted to be open with the house..... and then hang on to the Wiltshire report for the best part of a month without mentioning it despite being asked on numerous occasions for an update?

Here is how it looks

The Wiltshire Constabulary have furnished our Home Affairs Minister with a draft of PART of a report. How does that work? Not being experts in this field - but having done a little research - it would appear Investigating officers should not submit draft reports, particularly when their enquiries are incomplete, although we stand to be corrected.

It could be argued that having missed several promised deadlines it became politically necessary for the Wiltshire Constabulary to be able to say that they had submitted something and for the Minister to be able to say that he has received something. If this is the case then this could be characterised as "face saving" rather than actual progress. It is however unlikely that an incomplete draft report can form the basis for any action. That would have to await the complete final document.

Has Chief Officer Graham Power been given access to this “report”? if not why not? What might its contents be? Well that would depend on what they were looking for.

The nature of the Wilts work and its intended outcome has been the subject of extensive exchanges between the parties in the early part of 2009. It started off as what appeared to be a management review of the enquiry. Then it was pointed out that a management review in itself could not have a disciplinary outcome. After more exchanges and legal advice, the status was changed to a DISCIPLINARY enquiry and Chief Officer Power, we believe, was cautioned and given appropriate written notices. Unless the rules have changed, the purpose of a disciplinary enquiry is to find evidence of misconduct. Most people would describe that as DELIBERATE wrong-doing. It is expected however that they will have some critical comment to make about some aspects of the management of the “historical” Child Abuse enquiry.

Now here’s the rub. Give ANYBODY half a million quid and a year to view, with hindsight, decisions taken under pressure in the space of a few minutes, and they would find mistakes and criticisms in ANY investigation, let alone one as sensitive and complex as the “historic” Child Abuse enquiry. But does that equate to misconduct? We would argue “NOT”. We would also be astounded if the Police were the only ones who were subject of critical comment. If nothing is said about the behaviour and performance of Ministers and the Law Officers that would be a travesty. Is the conduct of the Attorney General, in any way, being investigated? The Centenier that, although believing there was enough evidence to charge a certain couple, didn’t charge them on the advice of the Law Office?

So How much more time, and tax payers money, is it going to take before this Wiltshire report is complete? Just as importantly will it be made public? That is to say will the tax payer get to see what they are paying for? Our research has led us to believe that Chief Officer Graham Power has submitted a statement to the enquiry which has in excess of 60,000 words. Will ANY of those 60,000 words be made public? If Team Voice have anything to do with it, the entire 60,000 words will be published on here.

Now how is this for irony? It is believed the Wiltshire Constabulary will be investigating how the HDLG expenses were allowed to allegedly spiral un monitored. Well who is monitoring their expenses?
In a year they have cost the tax payer over half a million quid and so far only come up with part of a part report!

Their expenses include £82,000 hotel accommodation and £92,000 in travel expenses…..in a year!…….for part of a part report!! Did any one carry out a risk assessment at the outset and should one man, the Minister be judge and prosecutor in the same case?

let’s have a look at Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand’s role in this.

He claims he cannot interfere with the enquiry as he has to judge/consider the findings of the report. If that is the case - who is responsible for oversight of the enquiry especially the cost? Surely it’s his department who he is ultimately responsible for and in charge of?

I reproduce the expense claims below of the Wiltshire Constabulary, to date, let’s remember these expenses will be rising on a daily basis!

Staff costs.............£200,700

Travel.................£92,000

Hotel Accommodation ..£82,000

Legal Fees...........£77,100

Subsistence.........£39,100

Equipment Purchase..£15,200

Rent..............£14,000

Other costs......£11,400

Total...........£531,500

Friday, 20 November 2009

Human Rights Group AGM

The first Annual General Meeting of the Jersey Human Rights Group will be held on Monday 23rd November at 5.30. The meeting will take place in the States Members Lunch Room, States Building. You should arrange to be in the Royal Square before 5.30pm outside the Members' entrance in order to be let in to the building by Deputy Bob Hill.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Unhappy Anniversary



On Armistice Day 2008 – 11th November – Mr Graham Power, the Chief of the States of Jersey Police, a very senior, highly qualified and decorated, uniformed officer with 42 years in the service of Her Majesty the Queen was on holiday at home when he received a phone call from the then Deputy Andrew Lewis the Minister for Home Affairs.
The phone call from the very recently appointed Minister was to invite Mr Power to attend a meeting the following day (12th) along with Mr Bill Ogley (CEO of the Council of Ministers),the Head of Human Resources and Police Officer David Warcup.

Warcup had in August 2008, with the authority of Graham Power, commissioned the Metropolitan Police to review “Operation Rectangle” aka the historic abuse inquiry and an interim report by the Met was prepared for the 10th November and handed to Warcup on that day and to the Minister on the 11th.

On the evening of 11th November Police Officers Warcup and Gradwell had briefed the Council of Ministers about the interim report and a proposed Press Conference to be held the following day (12th) which would rubbish much of the “Operation Rectangle” investigations carried out under Deputy Chief Police Officer Lennie Harper’s supervision.

At the brief meeting, (for which Bill Ogley famously destroyed his hand written notes) commencing at 11am on the 12th Minister Lewis produced a letter which quoted from the interim report and advised Mr Power that he was to be immediately suspended from duty claiming that “this is a precautionary suspension only and does not imply that any conclusions have been reached about your alleged role in the management of the historic abuse inquiry at this stage.”

However, as is now known - following Mr Power’s successful Complaints Board Hearing against Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur for the release of information - the decision to suspend Mr Power was clearly made on or before Saturday 8th November because that was when the suspension notice was prepared.

In other words, the DECISION to suspend Mr Power was made BEFORE the Met interim report was published.

Yet, the reasons offered in support of Mr Power’s suspension on the 12th November were wholly related to his alleged failings with regard to the management of “Operation Rectangle”.

This blatant contradiction is just one small piece in this strange jigsaw.

Mr Power has subsequently had judgment against him in the Jersey Royal Court re his Judicial Review of his suspension and he represented himself.
The current Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand now says that he reviews the suspension every month - but it is not clear if the original reasons for the suspension are now valid or if some other complaints have been raised .
It seems that Mr Power does not know why he is suspended and the tax - paying public certainly have no idea.

Everything about this year old case is something of a mystery and lives are being damaged and reputations destroyed.

There is no cause for celebration in this anniversary and we do wonder whether ex Deputy Andrew Lewis will be the one chosen as the sacrificial offering when our government finally seeks to close this particular file.

Below is an interview with Deputy Bob Hill who tries to make some sense of all this.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Fair and Impartial reporting?

Recently Channel Television sent Jess Dunsden over to Westminster where she interviewed Senator Stuart Syvret. The interview can be seen HERE.

The interview and the interviewer have come in for a bit of stick from the ever growing online community and supporters of Senator Syvret’s cause. It must be said that some of the stick might be justified, that is to say Jess Dunsden appeared way out of her depth, ill researched, and at one particular point, absolutely barking when she suggested to the Senator he bring a proposition to the States!

Her questions, it is claimed by Karen Rankine, were based on comments and questions left by readers of the Channel Television website. It has since become apparent that many of those questions came via bogus or dubious means (B. Riantz 29 Belmont Rd. springs to mind!) So were the questions a true reflection of what the majority of Jersey people are really asking? Possibly not.

It could be argued that this was a very one-sided interview, where Jess Dunsden did her level best to hold Senator Syvret to account and answer to the public he serves, and so she should. Senator Syvret should get “grilled” even if it is an attempt by a fairly young and inexperienced journalist who will no doubt be constrained by her editor(s).

So was this interview “Fair and impartial reporting”? Well that remains to be seen, so far we hold judgement. In favour of CTV and Jess Dunsden, as far as we are aware, they are the ONLY local mainstream “accredited” media to contact Senator Syvret in order to get an in-depth interview and indeed hold him to account.

Now in order to gauge the impartiality and objectiveness of this interview we shall wait and see if Jess Dunsden, or even Gillian (Paxman) Martindale “grills” Magistrate Bridget Shaw, Balliff Michael Birt, Deputy Balliff William Bailhache, AG (designate) Tim Le Coq, or Advocate Steven Baker.

All the above mentioned are looked upon, in certain circles, as “the untouchables”, that is to say if they say “I’m not giving you an interview” then the “accredited” media will report something along the lines of “so and so was not available for comment” because that is “The Jersey Way”. Any self respecting journalist would then go and “doorstep” the said individual in order to give balance to the interview broadcast of Senator Syvret and give the public the answers they deserve.

So we shall wait and see what CTV and Jess Dunsden do next. Will they be “grilling” any of the above in order to show fairness and impartiality or will they know their place in the pecking order of the “Jersey Elite” and only report what they are told to by the echelons of the Jersey Hierarchy?

We shall see!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

What is the elusive “Right Way”?

Senator Stuart Syvret, has for the last couple of years or so, been attempting to hold the executive to account involving the decades of failures of our Jersey child “care” system.
He has, in the opinion of Team Voice, worked harder and exposed more truth’s than any of his elected colleagues ever have or perhaps ever will in this area.

He has been thwarted at just about every step he has taken, whether it be the “right way” or the “wrong way”. Which has forced him not only to publish very serious allegations on his Blogsite (after offering evidence to the “accredited” media to no avail) but has now forced him to flee the island and seek protection from “The Jersey System”.

Many of the Senator’s detractors have argued “he’s gone about it all the wrong way”, “he’s held his own Kangaroo court on his Blog” “he’s accused people of crimes, on his Blog, and they have no right of reply” etc. etc.

There is possibly merit in some of these arguments, but what choice has he had and just what exactly is “the right way” in Jersey to bring child abusers to justice?

Senator Alan Breckon as Chairman of HSSH Scrutiny sub Panel has just brought a proposition P145/2009 to the States where the panel have asked for an independent inquiry into the management of Health and Social Services and their handling of, among other things, cases concerning vulnerable children.

It would appear the Scrutiny sub Panel had received some very disturbing evidence that might expose some massive failings in certain departments charged with the “care” of our children. It became apparent the sub panel neither had the time or resources to investigate these very alarming claims submitted by witnesses giving evidence.

Furthermore if this proposition was accepted by our States it would give all those accused by Senator Syvret and others of serious failings, Child Abuse, covering up for Child abuse, incompetence, Corporate Manslaughter , etc. a right to reply, a chance to clear their names and put the record straight. This proposition would have also showed the world that the government of Jersey is ready to face up to any failings in it’s “care” system. It would also put the words of ex Chief Minister Frank Walker into action when he said something along the lines of “no stone will be left un-turned” “ a full and independent root and branch inquiry will be held” Just as importantly this proposition might bring some families some justice and possibly a step nearer to some closure.

So if Senator Syvret has gone about things the “wrong way“, it must be argued that Senator Breckon and his panel have gone about things “the right way”?

Well as Senator Breckon, and his panel’s proposition, failed miserably to gain support of the house by 20 votes for, and thirty votes against, will people now be saying “well Breckon went about it all the wrong way”? If this is the case could somebody please tell us all, how do you go about investigating all the allegations made against departments and staff, MADE BY DEPARTMENTS AND STAFF? And how do you give those people accused of wrong doing an opportunity to clear their names? Will somebody please tell us what “The Right Way” is?

I think we all know what “The right Way” really is but it doesn’t apply to Jersey.

After the failing of this proposition to gain the support of the house many other questions arise. One being just what is the effectiveness of Scrutiny? Does it matter what they bring to the house because it’s only going to get defeated by the Constables, Ministers and Assistant Ministers? Another being, just what is the HSSH Scrutiny Panel going to do now? Are they going to say “well we gave it a shot” and forget about it? Is there any other States Member with the balls to put their neck on the line to bring some justice and closure to this whole sorry affair that is going to haunt Jersey and it’s people until Justice is at least seen to be done?

If there is, then make sure you do it “The Right Way” .

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Deafening silence.

Not since John Stonehouse MP did a Reggie Perrin many years ago has there been anything quite like the mystery of Senator Stuart Syvret.

But, since he is Father of the House and one of the most able of our elected representatives we can be forgiven for wondering why so few of our 52 other States Members seem to show so little interest in the issues raised by him or concern for his welfare.

Even the Magistrates Court Hearings have been boycotted by Senator Syvret’s working colleagues and whilst we would expect some to be delighted at his absence, we at Team Voice are surprised that his more sympathetic workmates are maintaining such a low profile.

Leadership in our States is now at a deplorably low level at the best of times but this single issue must surely demand somebody to step forward with words of wisdom and guidance for the electorate?

Behind Senator Syvret’s absence are such claims as multiple Child Abuse, corruption at the highest level in our government and judicial system and Administrive incompetence besides suggestions of multiple murders within the hospital system.

Of course these are difficult issues to grapple with but unless Senator Syvret has fallen victim to illness it would not be at all surprising if he has sought sanctuary in the United Kingdom where his allegations might stand a chance of “proper” investigation.

We at The Voice are as mystified as others and we want certainty and clarity just like everybody else with an interest in these most important matters.

Next week members of the Education/Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel under the Chairmanship of Deputy Roy Le Herissier are visiting the Westminster and Welsh Assemblies in search of knowledge about UK Scrutiny . Would it really be too much to ask that these elected representatives undertake to meet with Senator Syvret and bring back to Jersey a clearer statement and analysis of his political problems, intentions and personal welfare?

Interviews with Deputy Tadier, Deputy Wimberley and Senator Breckon follow. It must be said Many of our elected “representatives” refused us an interview on this subject.

Submitted by Team Voice.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Where was the new Deputy Balliff?

Today, 20-30 extremely brave protesters turned up at the Royal Square to voice their anger and disapproval at the appointment of Attorney General William Bailhache as Deputy Balliff. Among the protesters were survivors of the Jersey “care” system, victims of the Jersey Judicial System and all are victims of this government and Civil Service.

So if the Jersey folk are so disheartened with the way this island is run - why such a small turn out? This is a question everybody will have their own answer to and something that will be argued vigorously by both camps pro and anti establishment but never agreed.

My question is “Where the fack was Bailhache“? This was his big day, the day to be paraded to the public and soak up all their adoration. A massive day in Jersey History where all his thousands and thousands of supporters and admirers should be sharing in his “achievement” in being immortalised in the history books. Where were all the “Red Cloak Brigade” and the fanfare of the band piping him on this triumphant historic day?

Alas they were nowhere to be seen. It appears this momentous occasion was all done behind closed doors, something that has become known across the world as “The Jersey Way”.

Could it be that a group of 20 - 30 frightened and vulnerable “peasants” have the Establishment on the run? Could it be that these frightened and vulnerable people have more courage in their little finger than the entire establishment of Jersey?

You decide. video