Thursday, 21 July 2011

It's Official. Jersey is a Dictatorship.

Below is the Press Release from the Home Affairs and Education Scrutiny Panel, or "the straw that broke the Camel's back" could be another name for it. The Scrutiny Panel have tendered their resignation

The question is "what took them so long?" The penny has finally dropped. They were there only to legitimise this dictatorship. Scrutiny is a job for the naughty boys and girls who won't tow the party line.

Professor Adrian Lee told us "show me an ineffective Scrutiny and I'll show you a dictatorship."

After this latest resignation of the four Scrutiny Panel members, I believe that leaves 5 people on Scrutiny. That is nothing short of a dictatorship.

How long can this "out of control" illegitimate government survive? 

Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel Resignation from Scrutiny Statement

The remaining members of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel have decided to announce their intention to resign from the Scrutiny Panel once the ongoing review of the issues surrounding the financial management of Operation Rectangle has been completed.

The members fully support the action taken by Deputy Tadier in announcing his immediate resignation in the States following the debate on P.84/2011 on the Composition of the Prison Board of Visitors. We wish to make it quite clear that we feel strongly about the Minister’s conduct in this debate, which was the culmination of two years of unreasonable delay and stonewalling. It appears to us that the never-ending saga of the wait for legal advice has shrouded the failure on the part of the Minister to examine the case for change brought forward in our review. This has been symptomatic of an attitude towards Scrutiny which borders on disrespect, which is not confined to this Minister. Hence we are calling for a long hard look at the role of Scrutiny in general and the value that should be placed on its work.

We believe that the proposal laid before the States in P.84/2011 was straightforward and quite clear; consequently we are surprised at claims by some members after the debate that our recommendation regarding the Jurats was confusing. Our proposal sought to open up the Board to lay people whilst retaining the possibility for a limited number of Jurats to remain on the Board. This mirrors the model of the Independent Monitoring Boards in the United Kingdom and reflects modern best practice. Given the representations made on behalf of the Jurats the Panel attempted to combine the best of the current and proposed Board.
The Minister in his response to our original review (presented to the States in August 2009) agreed with our recommendation that the role of the Prison Board of Visitors should be reviewed yet has delayed taking any action on this on the basis of the need to seek legal opinion on the single issue of the retention of the Jurats on the Board.

The Panel Chairman made several requests to the Minister seeking progress on this matter, through Oral and Written Questions1 in the States and through both formal and informal approaches over this period from the Panel.

Given the inordinate delays that were occurring in receiving the Minister's response to the Sub Panel's recommendations, it was suggested to him several times that if the compromise solution was unworkable, then the Sub Panel would consider dropping it and instead present the Assembly with a choice between an entirely Independent Lay Panel and the current Board. The report of the proposition also invited the Minister to bring amendments, if he thought that the proposition was not viable.

1 Oral question 22nd June 2010; Written Question 5859 30th November 2010; Chairman’s letter to Minister dated 1st December 2010.

In the absence of any clear answer the main Panel decided to move an amendment which would bring matters to a head. The Panel never saw the advice obtained by the Minister but, his comments presented to the States on 11th July 2011 (two days before the debate) implied support for the proposition, based on legal advice.

It then appears that the Minister obtained further legal advice which led to the quite extraordinary situation of the Minister, during the course of the debate, calling on the Solicitor General to lay this advice before the Assembly. The Minister then drew the conclusion that this advice allowed him to propose the retention of the Prison Board of Visitors.

Ironically, follow up questioning of the Solicitor General suggested that the approaches of both the Sub Panel and the Minister could be supported by the legal advice. It seems to us that the Minister was opposed to our proposition either way, and simply used the legal advice to back his position, even when the legal advice proved to be more balanced.

It became clear in the debate that the Jurats were not supportive of the recommendation brought forward by the Sub Panel for a mixed Board of Visitors. The Minister appears to have allowed himself to give the Jurats a veto on this issue and to ignore the evidence presented in our report that the current system is not an appropriate or proper means of monitoring the state of the prison.

We believe that the implications of the Minister’s stance warrant our stated intention to resign once the current Scrutiny on the Operation Rectangle financial report is concluded.

This unfortunate episode has come on the heels of the Minister’s attempt to derail this latest Scrutiny review by removing two members from the Sub Panel on the grounds that they had already expressed trenchant views on matters relating to the subject under review. In our view, the Minister has misinterpreted the repeated search by these members for answers to questions on a significant issue as a pre-determined bias. It is vital that members are free to persist with probing lines of questioning when they believe that the responses they have received have been unsatisfactory.

We believe that Scrutiny members are fully capable of leaving aside preconceptions and looking at evidence in an objective fashion when they commit to a Scrutiny Review. Members approach issues in Scrutiny with a range of views gathered from various sources, whether from the media, personal contacts or their own research. It would be impossible to find members without previous knowledge and views on issues under review. The process of gathering evidence through public enquiries and submissions is transparent. In addition, Panel membership imposes its own checks and balances and conclusions can be tested and challenged. This is, of course, the approach followed within Select Committees at Westminster. We believe this fact speaks for itself.

Our examination of the evidence to date for this latest Scrutiny has already revealed significant questions about the way the review of financial management was carried out and we are determined to pursue the matter to the end. This is an example of the way we believe Scrutiny should operate - responding to concerns from members of the public, asking awkward and challenging questions, seeking to penetrate beneath the status quo and laying out the evidence before coming to considered conclusions.

The Panel is very disappointed that this position has arisen whereby we feel that we must tender our resignation as a Panel. There have been good examples of Scrutiny done in co-operation with the Minister. However, these recent episodes demonstrate that Ministers have yet to face up to the fact that Scrutiny has, at times, to be uncomfortable and challenging.

We call on members of the States to reflect seriously on the role Scrutiny is playing at present and how it can be better supported. (end)





37 comments:

  1. It makes you wonder if the damning conclusions and recommendations that the E&HA Scrutiny Panel will be comming to, surrounding the financial management of Operation Rectangle....

    Will be take less, or more seriously now that they will all be resigning after its issues are exposed?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jersey is not a dictatorship. There is no need to get carried away with such exaggerations.
    Jersey's system of government is very flawed and in need of substantial reform that is for sure - but most places are in the same boat or worse.

    Achieving a fair and democratic system is a long term project.
    28 September 1769 is just one landmark and this year's first ever general election is another.

    Of course, this October's event will not be perfect and will not even be a total election of all States Members since some Senators will remain in office. But it is another step in the right direction - provided that the electorate do their bit and vote.

    The inevitable collapse of the scrutiny part of the Jersey system has been obvious to this observer. As the most frequent pleb present at scrutiny meetings, the failings have been all too obvious.

    Although some people want to reduce the number of States Members - the fact is that there are not enough to make Jersey's government work.
    There are most certainly not enough people of calibre to monitor a Ministerial government which seeks to control local, national and international affairs.

    Political parties,substantial further reforms of the government and administrative systems, scrapping of all Crown Officers posts, removal of Constables from the States and one class of elected reps are essential reforms that must and will happen soon.

    But an artificial "opposition" cannot be created without the participation of the voting public.
    A scrutiny system that is set up simply to massage the policies of Ministers is inevitably flawed and doomed.
    In Jersey it is not possible either to import a watered down version of the Westminster Select Committee system.
    It has been obvious to me over many months that the public has to be invited into a reformed scruting system as active, speaking participants. There is simply too liitle talent among our elected reps to adequately serve the public and too much wasted talent among the public.

    The recent worked example of Rico Sorda's participation should set the new goal for a reformed scrutiny system. There are many others like him among Jersey's population who have knowledge to be called upon. Our elected reps must realise that they are not omnipotent either as Ministers or as Scrutineers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Personally I don't like the timing of this news before elections, it shows no backbone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jersey's system is propped up by the delusion that if it can appear quiet and affluent it can claim to be a functioning democracy. But the press, finance industry and ruling elite seem to adhere more to the Goebbels philosophy of propaganda as a viable substitute for all meaningful democratic scrutiny and transparency. Time and time again this plays out on the Jersey stage, whether it involves allegations of coconuts, smears against innocent abuse victims and those investigators who tried to assist them, or simple answers to the legitimate questions voters anywhere should feel free to ask.

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it."

    It is not a classic dictatorship in the same style as North Korea, but it is far, far worse than a flawed democracy in need of some intrinsically achievable reform. There is serious rot within the Jersey system, rot which is deliberately propped up by London, a place where this blatant level of political oppression would not be tolerated.

    Voters in other places suffer from apathy and a media ever more disengaged from the public interest, but Jersey isn't in any position to subject itself to meaningful change without first undergoing a root and branch excision of the entrenched feudalistic sense of elite entitlement. It runs through the laws, the very culture of its pseudopatriotism, the unholy alliance of developers, lawyers, tax evaders, civil servant paedoprotectors, elected representatives and pretend journalists.

    The cultural system has and still does depend entirely on an overall acceptance of the corruption of an inherently unnacountable relationship between the Crown and the Jersey people whose voices are obviously not of their concern.

    Think pipefitters who do the research and investigative journalism work of combined staff at BBCJersey, Award Winning CTV, and Jersey's shockingly disgraceful newspaper.

    It is acceptable in too many Jersey circles for a shameless politician to insult the worthiness of a pipefitter whose investigative work has, with humble integrity, gracefully outmaneuvered them with his now internationally read blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I bumped into Big Trev and I'm really pleased to say that he confirmed the panel will be seeing out there work. I don't agree with what Montford Tadier did though. Drama queens are fine but he has left the review which the others clearly could have done as an easy option but haven't. Respect to Trev, Daniel and Roy. Not so smart or brave from Montford.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tom Gruchy doesn't half talk some tripe. Never got anything good to say even about the few good states members that we have. Alright, I don't go to scrutiny meetings simply because I have to work. But i don't tar everyone with the same brush.

    Tom you sound like that other old moaner Nick Le Cornu. Full of self importance. Give it a rest. I will be doing my bit by voting and if I could I would definitely vote for all three who are on this panel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The word is they are all drama queens. It doesn't look good and it only gives others ammunition in the run up to the elections. Can't they re-consider?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The word is they are all drama queens

    The word is that there is some very damning evidence coming out...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sure makes ILM look bad. Sounded like he was going to cry on the radio when Trevor Pitman stated that he wanted him out, Montford and daniel Wimberly. Laugh you have to really.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So it's hopeless then. Unless some creatures arrive from planet Zog to save us we are all doomed.
    Or we can stop pouring Liberation ale into our brains and talking ourselves into a cataleptic state and try to change some things.
    This October we have the opportunity to do that but it requires that sufficient people are prepared to work together with reform in mind.

    If it's ok for peoples all over the world to challenge their really dictatorial regimes and immense problems then the
    residents of this Island can do what is necessary here.

    We cannot reform the catalogue of grievances that Anonymous rants about here in 3 months but we can try to do our bit.

    I feel sure that the people of Somalia, at least, will be glad to hear that we are doing that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Jersey's system is propped up by the delusion that if it can appear quiet and affluent it can claim to be a functioning democracy. But the press, finance industry and ruling elite seem to adhere more to the Goebbels philosophy of propaganda as a viable substitute for all meaningful democratic scrutiny and transparency. Time and time again this plays out on the Jersey stage, whether it involves allegations of coconuts, smears against innocent abuse victims and those investigators who tried to assist them, or simple answers to the legitimate questions voters anywhere should feel free to ask.

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it."

    It is not a classic dictatorship in the same style as North Korea, but it is far, far worse than a flawed democracy in need of some intrinsically achievable reform. There is serious rot within the Jersey system, rot which is deliberately propped up by London, a place where this blatant level of political oppression would not be tolerated.

    Voters in other places suffer from apathy and a media ever more disengaged from the public interest, but Jersey isn't in any position to subject itself to meaningful change without first undergoing a root and branch excision of the entrenched feudalistic sense of elite entitlement. It runs through the laws, the very culture of its pseudopatriotism, the unholy alliance of developers, lawyers, tax evaders, civil servant paedoprotectors, elected representatives and pretend journalists.

    The cultural system has and still does depend entirely on an overall acceptance of the corruption of an inherently unnacountable relationship between the Crown and the Jersey people whose voices are obviously not of their concern.

    Think pipefitters who do the research and investigative journalism work of combined staff at BBCJersey, Award Winning CTV, and Jersey's shockingly disgraceful newspaper.

    It is acceptable in too many Jersey circles for a shameless politician to insult the worthiness of a pipefitter whose investigative work has, with humble integrity, gracefully outmaneuvered them with his now internationally read blog."


    what a stunning post !!

    ReplyDelete
  12. sorry tom/mike but jersey is a dictatorship, a particular type of one,called a corporate or fascist
    dictatorship.

    power is held by proxy by the crown officers for the owners in london.

    maybe you missed the evidence ;)


    c

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good shout Tom gruchy!

    Straight talk is the only commodity that will function for the 'common law' populace....

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Not so smart or brave from Montford."

    Sometimes, distancing yourself may seem the best option, but it only washes with those who cannot remember what they where associated with.

    Monty is the only States member who cannot be accused of complicity, and that is simply because he functions for no-one, or no reason, other than self promotion.

    His days in politics are well and truly numbered.

    Damned pussy

    ReplyDelete
  15. If the word is that "they are all drama queens", the word is badly wrong (and it's probably been spouted by a JEP hack).

    People will of course tar Monty and Big Trev with the most damning epithet in Jersey - left-wing - and they will equally go after Jeremy Macon as young and naive. But nothing like that will wash with Roy Le Herissier, who has 12 years' track record in the States, who is not a left-winger, and who is also a recognised expert on Jersey's constitutional position - far more so than ILM.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Still the same obsession here with back-biting and put downs.
    Am I the only person who is prepared to propose positive proposals - such as a 6 point based alliance of candidates for the October election - or public participation on scrutiny panels?

    Have any of you moaning minnies anything constructive to offer by way of reform proposals?
    The level of comment on most of the blogs is simply banal or immature and adds little to the immense work that the blog authors undertake.

    With facilities such as the NET and all the advantages of modern communication, our education and with all the advantages that apply in such a small community - the defeat of this rotten system is achievable. It is just pathetic to read some of the defeatist, self obsessed and self pitying nonsense that appears.
    Organisations such as Trades Unions in Jersey are wholly within the grasp of working people. That they are allowed to exist year after year as feeble ghosts of great institutions says it all. We have only ourselves to blame if we fail this October.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Understanding the political system in Jersey requires recognition that the island has been captured economically and politically by the interests of finance.

    Jersey is not a dictatorship (Corporate, Fascist or any other type) for one very good reason – it is bad for business.

    Here is an except from the review of David Runciman of Nicholas Shaxons new book “Treasure Islands” from London Review of Books (14.04.2011). It explains the situation well:

    “The essence of offshore is the need to keep up a solid appearance of respectability, while allowing money in and out with as little fuss as possible….
    “….The other thing most of these places have in common is that they are islands. Islands make good tax havens, and not simply because they can cut themselves off from the demands of mainland politics. It is also because they are often tight-knit communities, in which everyone knows what’s going on but no one wants to speak out for fear of ostracism. These ‘goldfish bowls’, as Shaxson calls them, suit the offshore mindset, because they are seemingly transparent: you can see all the way through – it’s just that when you look there’s nothing there. Jersey is the template: a nice, genteel place, with a strong sense of civic responsibility and plenty of opportunities for public participation, including elections to all manner of public offices (senators, deputies, parish constables), but weak political parties, staggered ‘general’ elections, and never a meaningful change of government. ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave’ is the basic refrain of Jersey politics. Dissent is not obviously suppressed, as it might be under a dictatorship (which is why dictatorships make bad tax havens: you never know when the whole thing is going to blow up). Instead, dissent is simply allowed to wither away.
    The same thing happens on the Cayman Islands, with its tiny population (around 55,000), its elected legislature and its governor-general appointed from London, who takes all the difficult decisions but allows the locals to have their say. As one former governor-general put it, ‘I think we are in the world of semantics here. The more Caymanians we can put in positions of power, the better; they will act as lightning conductors for political dissent.’

    There is urgent need for organised opposition politics. I stress organised. It is that aspect the Establishment hates as it threatens their uncontested rule. Hence the love for “Independents” in elections. There is at present no pressure on opposition politicians to get organised and represent their social and economic interest. Until then the prima donnas remain unaccountable.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Tom Gruchy said...

    Have any of you moaning minnies anything constructive to offer by way of reform proposals?".


    Clothier.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Let's not be too cryptic Anonymous. Is Clothier your suggestion as Point 1 of a 6 point Alliance common policy platform?

    If so - can I suggest you say so in plain English?

    ReplyDelete
  20. The comments about Tom Gruchy are ridiculous. This guy has been campaigning in Jersey for as long as I can remember. He deserves applause not criticism. Some of our states members and their fans should grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Tom Gruchy makes some excellent points and observations. It's just the way he makes them people have a problem with.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Small island communities don't do autonomy well. If I lived in Jersey I would prefer it to be a normal part of the United Kingdom. For better or worse, it would help lessen the stubborn insularity. And if there is legitimate reason to fear being tied to the economic fortunes of the UK, well, Jersey's future already is.

    The government of Jersey is not transparent or honest in its dealings with its people, and Whitehall is not honest with the UK public about Jersey. For all its flaws, the British system still demands some basic political protections ignored entirely by Jersey. These protections are not being extended to Jersey.

    Given the enormous international influence of Jersey's finance industry and the vast wealth flowing through such a small jurisdiction, it is inevitable there would be too much concentration of power in the hands of a self selected minority. Of course it is an insular network of cronies. How could it not be?

    With the stakes so impossibly high, there simply can't ever be a counter-balance of competing influences on a small island. Outside that single self-protective industry there is a palpable sense of permanent disempowerment, a despairing vision of "unentitlement" to basic equal rights.

    Respect for the rule of law is earned through the just administration of the law. In a more diversified, more legitimate democracy, there are occasional swings of the pendulum between parties, reform movements, powerful alliances and such. These transitions may seem to shake the very ground of government institutions, but these changes are the real keys to long term stability so dangerously lacking in Jersey.

    At its best, a democracy is messy in ways the entrenched power base always finds terrifying. Yet at its best a democracy allows for scandals to unravel even if they bring down the great and seemingly untouchable. Murdoch's dynasty could actually crumble under legal scrutiny and the forced accountability brought about by a few great journalists. Watergate was another grand illustration of a system working, a messy and embarrassing resolution to crisis, but not a failure of the system itself.

    Jersey's system is untenable in the view of many. Stuart Syvret has been saying this for years and his court cases illustrate his illegal oppression by a threatened judiciary. Breaking up the corrupt power base is not possible without outside intervention and he sees Strasbourg as the best or only means.

    How would your political strategy work, Mr Gruchy?

    Chelloise

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi VFC.

    Just put up the Audio from Deputy Roy Le Hérissier gives a Statement to the House.You & your readers can Liten to it HERE

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well said Chell.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes Chelloise - I believed in the saviours from Zog too but they are not very reliable.
    Have submitted cases to Strasbourg for myself and others and attended there as a Mackenzie man for Mr and Mrs Gillow with their Guernsey case. They won - but the system did not collapse and you must realise that the Eurpean Court of HR is primarily interested in friendly settlements - not causing governments to fall. It is also composed of lawyers - not saviours from Zog. There is no escape from the ultimate tyranny of self protecting bodies.

    Westminster still has a role to play too - but its the same protect the status quo problem. I tried to form a British Islands Reform Group there back in the 70s/early 80s as an all party group. It started but it went nowhere pdq. Rubbished by the JEP of course but received no support either from people in the Islands who might have been expected to help - ouitside interference was and remains a no no in surprisingly many quarters...

    Afraid that, for the short term reality, the effort must come from within and lots of people must get off their fat arses...carry on praying for the collapse of capitalism if it makes you feel better but there is nothing quite like a bit of people solidarity and sustained effort.

    It is interesting that all party parliamentary groups are being gently encouraged to come to Jersey etc now that the Tories are more or less back in control...

    If Chelloise has not read recent suggestions for reform - you can look at the Carswell written and oral submissions...if you want to know more and propose to help, ask again.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Trevor Pitman speaking his usual sense on his blog. All past fallouts should be put on the backburner to focus on the real enemy.

    If only a minority of snipers like Tom and Red Nick could take this on board we might even get somewhere come the autumn. Specially if Monty would keep his nerve and stand firm with Trevor.

    What does Team Voice think?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree, Trevor is talking a lot of sense and is actively trying to make a difference. There needs to be some kind of unity between "progressives" and this is something he is striving for. If no changes are made to this dictatorship and politicised judicial system through the ballot box then it's inevitable that people are going to take to the streets and Jersey is going to have its own Arab Spring.

    On another note, I've had a comment submitted naming another Blogger. I can't publish it as I believe people are entitled to anonymity. Personally I have received death threats and threats of violence towards myself and my children because I am trying to discover the truth behind the decades of Child Abuse that was able to thrive, and probably still is, on this island. If the commenter wants to re-submit their comment without naming the Blogger I will be happy to publish it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Joined Up Sinking26 July 2011 at 09:32

    The progressives could join up and form.... a... party, perhaps?

    Ooops, look how well the JDA turned out!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hang on - just who are the "political snipers" here and on other blogs?
    I have consistently been researching and publishing constructive criticisms and proposals for reform in Jersey since the 1960s. I would challenge any of your contributers to reveal a similar devotion to the task.

    For reasons which are totally unclear to me, Trevor Pitman launched into a wholly offensive and personal attack on me on his blog dated 22 May this year. Several of his sycophantic followers are regularly allowed to repeat similar comments here and elsewhere.

    For the past few weeks (and during the previous election of 3 years ago and over the years with initiativers such as the Rainbow Alliance)I have been urging "progressives" to work together on common aims and objectives.

    I do not feel that just slagging the "establishment" politicians year after year is sufficiently constructive or analytical. It comes from the same school of ignorance that seeks to dismiss one current candidate as "Red Nick" without any attempt to discuss his political policies.

    It is significant that another member of the public has recently raised the very serious subject of radon gas in Jersey following the death of his father. This is but one of dozens of subjects that I have lobbied about for years and Nick is the ONLY candidate for election who has published anything about it now. This just about sums up the level of limited vision and political awareness of other candidates and the people who comment on blogs and in the media.

    There are too many people in Jersey claiming a political interest but who are peddling narrow and personal grievances.
    I have consistenly campaigned in Jersey through five decades on a very wide basis and would challenge anybody to demonstrate a like commitment to reform.

    I have been sticking my head over the parapet and receieved all the threats that go with the job but I still receive the same ill-informed and spiteful responses as always from those in and out of political office .
    I do not generally respond to the jibes because I know full well that the authors are usually beyond reason.
    However, this is that time of year again when we have the opportunity to make history and change socity for the better by doing nothing more than entering an X or two on a ballot paper.
    For what it is worth - and the value is not at all clear - I try to do my bit to encourage participation by voters and co-operation among candidates.
    I am not a candidate - just a voter. Show me a better way and I will consider it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I thought the Voice was all for unity? how come the bozo's new site attacking Big Trev? If it ain't the Bozo it could be Red Nick judging by the nasty rubbish spouted. But what is the Voice's excuse?

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.