Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Lose, Lose Situation.

There is a saying becoming ever more prevalent with certain parts of the online community over here in Jersey and it is “never underestimate the stupidity of our oligarchy” and to my way of thinking, never a truer word spoken.

At the last States sitting, Chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee, (PPC) Constable Juliette Gallichan read out a statement quoting Article 8(2) of the States of Jersey Law 2005 which disqualifies a sitting States Member from their seat if he or she is resident outside Jersey for a period of at least 6 months, thus forcing a by-election to fill the seat of now “ex” Senator Stuart Syvret.

Here’s how I see things. Our present government, and in particular our Council of Ministers, are to put it mildly, extremely unpopular and have been accused of corruption at the highest level among many, many more unsavoury un democratic activities and are in dire need of bringing the public “on side”.

If I were one of the oligarchs I would have questioned Article 8(2) of the States of Jersey Law 2005, either on a Human Rights basis or something similar and do what I can to enable ex Senator Syvret to keep his seat. By doing this the “powers that be” would be able to claim they are not “out to get” Senator Syvret, and that they are fair, just and Democratic which would not only possibly win over some of the public but would leave the Senator over in London with possibly no hurry to get back and out of the public eye, (well as far as the “accredited” media are concerned). There is a fair argument to be had that the longer he is in London, the more support he will lose from the electorate. Not forgetting he is up for election next year anyway and it is said that he thrives on the attention of the media.

That would have, in my opinion, been the win, win situation for the Oligarchy; they get to look
good Mr.Syvret kept out of the limelight and little damage done to the reputation of the Council of Ministers and Co. everything kept nice and low key and little or no “accredited” media attention.

By taking the route that they have in expelling, or disqualifying the ex Senator, one can’t help thinking they have played straight into his hands and have ensured that maximum damage is going to be inflicted on them no matter what they do now.

For instance if they (the powers that be) attempt to “interpret” or manipulate the “ordinarily resident” Law in order to prevent the ex Senator from standing in the by-election, not only do they run the risk of forcing the spotlight on him, they will also add more weight to the theory that they are “out to get” him and want rid of him at any cost, they are in fear of him, and on top of this, there is now going to be two Senatorial elections as opposed to just the one next year. So there is the possibility of double the limelight for Mr. Syvret and double the trouble for the powers that be.

There is little doubt that Mr. Syvret is going to be firing on all cylinders while campaigning and at the hustings meetings, opening his Blogsite up to a completely new local audience and will have the ideal local platform to spread his word thanks to the powers that be.

Thankfully I am not one of the oligarchs and could have this all wrong, and they really aren’t that stupid but going by their track record they are. It does look to me that they just (as usual) haven’t thought this one through and have bought this lose, lose situation on themselves.

The questions on a lot of people’s minds won’t be, will he inflict damage, it will be how much damage will he inflict? And are they ready for it? Never underestimate the stupidity of our oligarchy!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

"Deep" questions remain.

On the 12th November 2008 Mick Gradwell and acting Chief Police Officer David Warcup issued a press release, which was re-produced on VFP .

The said Press Release was mentioned by Chief Police Officer Graham Power in his letter to PPC, not that the Chairman of PPC Constable Juliette Gallichan told her Committee anything about the letter, indeed the first some PPC members heard of the letter was when they read it here on VFC. and the reply he got HERE. CPO Power, among other things, had this to say about the Gradwell and Warcup Press Release. “The media script was then subjected to significant changes (I believe that “sexed up” is a popular term used to describe this type of process)”

Sometimes it is important to note what ISN’T in a Press Release just as much as what IS in it. Acting Chief Police Officer David Warcup and Mick Gradwell, when referring to the “Cellars” or “Voids” had this to say about them.

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."

Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, in an answer to an oral question on Tuesday 20th April 2010 from Deputy Bob Hill, said the Cellars/Voids were 1.4 metres deep, because that’s what he has been told, presumably by David Warcup. The Senator added that he believes they could get deeper as a building slopes (or words to that effect) but he wasn’t told that by David Warcup and it wasn’t in the press release.
Also during questions on the same day Senator Le Marquand told us that THIRTY alleged victims had claimed to have been abused in these Cellars/Voids, (which wasn’t in the press release) yes that is THIRTY! Were those THIRTY claims dismissed because in the words of Mick Gradwell and David Warcup “it is impossible for a grown person to stand up straight in the floor voids under Haut de la Garenne.”?

Or were the Cellars/Voids just that little bit deeper than 1.4 metres (4”7 and a half inches)??????????? Even if they were only 1.4 metres would that stop a child abuser committing his/her crimes down there?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Something out of nothing.

Recently Senator Ben (P9-26) Shenton, in defence of our beloved leader, Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur made a complaint to the Privilege and Procedures Committee concerning the conduct of St Martin Deputy Bob Hill which was reported by VFC Here

The complaint was viewed by Deputy Hill as “frivolous and mischievous” but he played along with, what some might call, the “charade” and attended the PPC meeting to face the “charge” and defend his position.

Below is PPC’s “verdict” and e-mail sent by the Deputy to the media. More importantly by Deputy Hill playing along with the charade he was able to expose the completely flawed procedure operated by PPC.

E-mail from Deputy Hill to media.

Good Morning,

You will recall that Senator Ben Shenton had complained to PPC about remarks I had made in an email about the Chief Minister and comments reported in the JEP.

I was never concerned about the complaints which I believed were frivolous and mischievous but I was concerned by way Standing Orders are drafted, therefore took the opportunity of testing the system.

As can be seen not only does PPC consider that my remarks did not exceed the accepted boundaries of robust political comment and accordingly agreed that there had not been a breach of the Code of Conduct for Elected Members but it was interested to hear my views regarding Human Rights and it will be reviewing the process set out in Standing Orders for dealing with complaints under the Code of Conduct.

I attach the statement I made at the PPC hearing and the PPC letter dated 31st March informing me of its decision. I had been waiting for PPC to make a formal comment as per Standing Order 158 below, but it appears that it is not commenting on the matter.

Regards Deputy F. J. (Bob) Hill, BEM.,Deputy of St Martin.

The Statement to PPC was published on Senator Syvret’s Blog Here

PPC’s “Verdict”

Dear Deputy Hill,

Thank you for attending the meeting of the privileges and Procedures Committee on 30th March 2010 in respect of the complaint received against you from Senator B.E. Shenton, dated 25th February 2010.

The Committee considered the complaint in accordance with Standing Order 157 and has now heard from both you and Senator Shenton in respect of this matter. The Committee noted that the comments cited by Senator Shenton in his complaint derived from the attachment to your e-mail dated 21st February 2010 and that the Senator was also concerned about the media coverage in the Jersey Evening Post on 25th February 2010. The statements made in your email attachment referred to the comments of the Council of Ministers in respect of your proposition: Committee of enquiry: suspension of the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police (P.9/2010).

The Committee heard your request at its meeting to consider the particular comments complained of in the context of the entire 8 page document. The Committee did so, and agreed that they amounted to a forthright expression of opinion of an elected member, and that it had not been your intention generally to “impugn the reputation of both the States Assembly and the Chief Minister”. Furthermore, the Committee noted that a States member could not be held to account for the content of media coverage. The Committee concluded that your remarks did not exceed the accepted boundaries of robust political comment and accordingly agreed that there had not been a breach of the Code of Conduct for Elected Members.

The Committee was interested to hear your views regarding the Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000 and the conclusions of the joint Committee on the Parliamentary Privilege when it met with you yesterday, and it will be reviewing the process set out in Standing Orders for dealing with complaints under the Code of Conduct. In the meantime, the Committee will continue to investigate complaints in accordance with the approved Standing Orders.

Yours Sincerely,

Connetable de Ste Marie
Chaiman, Privileges and Procedures Committee

Friday, 9 April 2010

CEO Bill Ogley.

Regular readers will be aware of the name “Bill Ogley” He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the Council of Ministers (COM). Which means he is the island’s most Senior Civil Servant and Chief Advisor to the Government.
Some may know the name “Bill Ogley” from reading the sworn Affidavit of our most senior ranking Police Officer Graham Power. Where CPO Power, among many other things, had this to say about Mr. Ogley.

“The third example I have chosen relates to a Strategic Planning Workshop held at the St Pauls Centre on Friday 24th October 2008. The Workshop was attended by a number of senior public servants including myself and the Chief Executive. At the commencement of the workshop the Chief Executive asked for silence and said that he had an announcement to make. He named a senior civil servant who was present. The person named is a suspect in the abuse investigation but has not been suspended. The Chief Executive said that the suspect had his total support and that “if anyone wants to get…….(the suspect)…….they would have to get me first”. This announcement was applauded by some but not all of the persons present. I took it as a further indication of the “in crowd” closing ranks against the “threat” of the abuse enquiry. The Chief Executive later played a significant role in my suspension.”

It is widely believed the Civil Servant mentioned works “still” at our Education Department, although this is unsubstantiated.
Others may know the name “Bill Ogley” again from the sworn Affidavit of our most senior ranking Police Officer where he had this to say.

T he feeling in the room was tense and there was general talk about the questions asked by the Health Minister and the need for some sort of action in response. I had the feeling that “something was going on” to which I was not a party. After the meeting the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley, asked me to stay behind. Also remaining were the head of States H.R., Ian Crich, the Chief Officer of Health, Mike Pollard and the then Chief Officer of Education, (Tom McKeon who has since retired.) The Chief Executive said that it was anticipated that the Council of Ministers would tomorrow be asked by the then Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker, to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Health Minister and that this could result in his removal from office. I was then told of measures that had apparently been put in place to facilitate this. I was told that the islands Child Protection Committee (C.P.C.) was due to meet at the same time as we were meeting and that arrangements had been made for it to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Minister. It was then suggested that as the heads of the relevant public services we should do something similar and that this would give support to the proposal that the Chief Minister would bring forward the next day.

I was shocked by this and initially did not know what to say. I eventually made two points. Firstly I said that the Minister was entitled to ask difficult questions. As I saw
things that was his role and it was our role to provide a response, and secondly, even if that was not agreed, what was being proposed was civil servant and police engagement in political activity. I stated clearly that I did not see that as acceptable and that I would have nothing to do with it. At this point the Chief Executive asked me to leave the meeting which I did. I then made contact with a police colleague who had been at the C.PC. and discovered that this colleague had also had left their meeting for similar reasons. Shortly afterwards we both made brief notes in relation to what had happened. This was my first noteworthy experience of the formation of an “inner circle” of politicised senior civil servants loyal to the Chief Minister. The Chief Executive and the head of H.R. subsequently played a significant role in my suspension.

So according to CPO Graham Power, Mr. Bill Ogley has been a busy little “B”ee! Some might say poking his nose in where it is not permitted.

It must be said that Bill Ogley denies these allegations, although he hasn’t denied them by a sworn Affidavit, because he doesn’t have to, our Chief Minister has just taken his word for it. That's how things are done in Jersey!

Within the next few days I shall be publishing a few more “bits and pieces” involving Mr. Ogley, including an e-mail exchange involving Lenny Harper, Graham Power and Mr. Ogley. So you can view this as a little introduction.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Scrutiny evidence or “scoop” for the JEP?

What are the motives, or agenda, of Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian (P9-26) Le Marquand? And how seriously does he take the Scrutiny process? Why would he rather give the Jersey Evening Post a “scoop” than give it, as evidence, to the Scrutiny Panel?

Why won’t the Home Affairs Minister take into consideration the FOUR ACPO Reports and the HMI Reports when determining the fate of our most senior Police Officer? How can he now honestly claim to be impartial?

Now here is something a little curious! It appears (and I stand to be corrected) that Senator Le Marquand might have divulged the Terms of Reference that the Wiltshire Constabulary are working by.

In the said “scoop” JEP article there is this.

“Operation Haven (by Wiltshire Constabulary)
1. Graham Power’s supervision of the Haut de la Garenne inquiry

2. Graham Power’s supervision of the financial management of the enquiry.
They read to me like “Terms of Reference” and one of the reasons I find this “curious” is because on the 19th of January 2010 Deputy Bob Hill submitted a number of written questions to the Home Affairs Minister. Among those questions was this.

With reference to the suspension of the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police will the Minister inform Members -
(b) the terms of reference for the investigation?
And this is the “answer” given by the Home Affairs Minister.

(b) It is not appropriate for me to answer this section of the question due to confidentiality issues.

So perhaps it might be a good idea if the Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, or any States Member have got questions for the Home Affairs Minister they should ask Diane Simon!!

This mess is just beyond funny, it truly is tragic............

Friday, 2 April 2010

Naughty Naughty Ian!

An e-mail from Deputy Bob Hill to states members and media.

The “scoop” Deputy Hill mentions will be the subject of my next Blog.

The Press Release from CPO Graham Power might suggest that Senator Ian (P9-26) Le Marquand might just have soured relationships with ANOTHER Police Force.


Good Afternoon All  

Some of you will have read Thursday's JEP  " scoop " which I understand  was promised to them by the Minister of Home Affairs during the Scrutiny hearing last Tuesday. I will not comment on the release at this time however Mr Power has now learnt of the unorthodox disclosure and has asked that the following statement be circulated to all States Members and the media.  

"Paragraph 1.2 of the Disciplinary Code for the Chief Officer of Police states 'All parties involved in the operation of this Code will maintain confidentiality while proceedings are being progressed."   It is my intention to continue to observe this requirement of the Code.   I have however seen a media report which appears to indicate that a serious breach of the code may have been committed by another party.   I am currently taking advice on this issue and it is probable that a formal complaint will be made in the near future."

"In addition to the local requirements of confidentiality, the Chief Constable of Wiltshire has also informed all parties that in his view disclosure of the report 'would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and Jersey."   In light of this it is particularly important that I continue to observe confidentiality whatever the provocation.   I do however wish to once again make it clear that I totally deny any misconduct or mismanagement whatsoever in relation to the Historic Abuse Enquiry and will firmly oppose any disciplinary proceedings which the Minister may bring."