Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Open Letter to Chief Minister Gorst.


Jersey Care Leavers Association has published an open letter to jersey's Chief Minister senator Ian Gorst.

After Verita were asked to draw up suggested Terms Of Reference for a Committee Of Inquiry into the decades of Child Abuse in the island, which they produced, Chief Minister Gorst, for reasons that still remain a mystery, asked Alan Williamson to come up with something, just what he asked him to come up with is still pretty unclear.

Verita's TOR's appeared to most as robust, fit for purpose, and a good starting block. What we now appear to have (although we stand to be corrected) is another "Our Chap" Report coming up, or similar to the "Napier Report" rather than a full and open public Inquiry, or an "In House Job."

What Chief Minister Gorst does with the Verita TOR's or the Williamson.........."Whatever it is" remains to be seen. He (Senator Gorst) tells us he will soon be bringing a proposition  to the States with a Terms of Reference based on the Verita TOR's and the Williamson thing.

Whatever Senator Gorst brings to the States (Jersey's Parliament) will be HIS legacy and we hope that he is ready to say "enough is enough" the culture of secrecy and cover-up has got to end now. Early indications don't hold up much hope for this.



Open Letter to the Chief Minister


25th September 2012


Dear Chief Minister

Thank you for your time yesterday morning and the opportunity to meet with yourself, Mr Williamson and Mr Richardson. We were also pleased and grateful to know that you are committed to a Committee of Inquiry, and sincerely hope that fellow States Members share your sentiments.

We are now in a position to let you know our thoughts on the meeting and the matters discussed. First of all we think it is quite clear, and we can only reiterate that we can only support a fully robust and open enquiry, and we do not feel that Mr Williamson’s suggestion of a three pronged approach is the correct one, and would reject that out of hand. We feel that all should fall under one umbrella of one Committee of Inquiry.

To elaborate on Mr Williamson’s conclusions and what we feel we would make the following observations: –

  1. The COI should not only be looking at the decisions taken by the political and senior management of the Children’s Services in Jersey, but all other service providers also (e.g. H&SS, Home Affairs, Crown Officers and the Education Dept) and also the States and Honorary Police. Furthermore the period should extend from 1960 to the current time and not the cut off point of 1994, amongst other reasons being the politicised and alleged illegal suspension of the Chief of Police at the time of Operation Rectangle, Mr Graham Power. The COI should encompass all the Terms of Reference contained in the Verita Report.
 
2       We feel very strongly that an independent review should not be undertaken, and this should form part of the Terms of Reference (again as per Verita). To undertake an independent review would mean litigation behind closed doors which could last for years. It would not be compulsory for those who do not wish to give evidence to do so, and those who do wish to can come forward on a voluntary basis, whether they are victims or those accused of being abusers who wish to clear their names. This, as we have said before is not a criminal investigation, but a COI to ascertain the truth. What is being proposed is akin to the Napier Review which was in house and secret and lacked credibility. The public are fed up with the secrecy which now appears to be the hallmark of political thinking and we will not give any support to it.

3       A service as suggested by Mr Williamson would be a very welcome addition as any abuse survivor who requires assistance to enable them to talk with a professional person, separately from the COI would feel comfortable doing so. However if this is implemented and a name is required for the service, we would recommend the name be changed from ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ to something which would not be seen as quite so intimidating.

Those then are our thoughts on Mr Williamson’s conclusions, which we hope you will take good account of. There are however, certain other considerations and anomalies in Mr Williamson’s report that we would wish to point out to you.

Firstly, with the exception of Brig Y Don as noted in Mr Williamsons report, not all Children’s Homes have closed since the completion of the Verita Report. La Preference in St Martin’s is still operating.

Secondly, the information Mr Williamson was given by the SoJP is incorrect. The number of convictions secured against HdelaG members of staff was actually only four and not seven as stated. These were Gordon Claude Wateridge, Morag and Tony Jordan and Michael Aubin, who himself as a child in Haut de la Garenne was abused and then turned abuser whilst still in the care of the Home. The other convictions relating to Claude James Donnelly, Ronald Thorne and Leonard Vandenborn were in no way connected with States of Jersey Care Homes.

We are given to understand that some of the abused do not wish to give evidence to a Committee of Inquiry. We suspect that some of those victims have had their day in Court and have seen justice and quite understandably, would not want to go through the harrowing experience of having to give evidence again at a COI. There are however, a large number of victims who have NOT had the satisfaction of seeing their abuser(s) stand in a court of law and would wish to give full and honest evidence to a Committee of Inquiry. Furthermore, this is in conflict with what Verita have said in their report that a Committee of Inquiry is not just about statements from victims

We also fail to see why there would be any conflict with a COI running in parallel with the Redress Scheme, and are puzzled at the mention of ongoing police inquiries. To all intents and purposes Operation Rectangle was closed down very hastily when Messrs Warcup and Gradwell replaced the previous incumbents, and, if it is indeed the case that these ongoing police inquiries involve historical child abuse, it may well be that it would be prudent to extend the closing date for claims.

We note that unlike Verita, Mr Williamson has not given any indication of the likely cost if his recommendations are implemented. Please may we have the estimated cost.  

Finally, we agree that the chair of the COI be totally independent of the Island with no vested interests in Jersey, and be a judge (retired) or senior lawyer. We were pleased to have your assurance that the selection process of the panel would be without political interference, and feel that panel members also should be from outside the Island apart from one who must be neutral and have knowledge of local laws/policing etc. Due to the trust issues the abuse survivors have emphasis must be placed on finding the right person to fill this role.

We hope you take our thoughts and feelings into great consideration. We have said it before and will repeat that this has got to be right, robust and open.

Then - and only then will there be satisfactory closure for all.


Yours sincerely


Carrie Modral
Chair JCLA (END)

The Williamson thing and Verita TOR's can both be viewed from HERE

The Victims/Survivors of Child Abuse and Jersey as a whole deserve nothing less than what is being asked for by the JCLA. 

Has Jersey's Chief Minister got the back-bone to finally do the right thing.........We will find out soon.

27 comments:

  1. Being as sure as we can be that Jersey's State Media will be, once more, towing the party line with this latest attempt to scupper the Abuse Inquiry. Could we ask readers to sign and share THIS PETITION in order that we might get an independent journalist reporting the truth one day?

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  2. What will appease the abuse victims?

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  3. "What will appease the abuse victims?"

    I think that has been made quite clear, they want the COI and the TOR set up as per the Verita report, they have found several flaws in the Williamson report and are therefore asking that the COI is based on the Verita report and now Williamsons. Thats how I am reading it! Seems reasonable to me...

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  4. It goes without saying that 'what will appease the abuse victims' is a full, transparent and open inquiry as per the Verita Terms of Reference - nothing more, nothing less.

    As I see it after the abuse they have suffered in the 'care'of the States of Jersey, they have with dignity and patience had to suffer yet an abuse by that very States of Jersey, and in some instances the general public who feel that they should put this all behind them and 'move on', and question why they are not satisfied with anything.

    Move on they will do indeed if their feelings are for once taken into account. As you so rightly say VFC Gorst has two choices - to get it right for once and for all, or get it wrong and leave that as his legacy.

    Do not be influenced by those who do not want the Verita route Mr Gorst.

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  5. Jill.

    "Do not be influenced by those who do not want the Verita route Mr Gorst."

    That is where the rub lies. There are those who believe that if it was Chief Minister Gorst's decision then he would go with Verita but it is NOT his decision. It's a case of "will the real Chief Minister please stand up."

    As for appeasing the Abuse Victims/Survivors one would imagine the TRUTH being told should go a long way. Not only for the Survivors but for the "good" people of Jersey also.

    This island has an appalling reputation around the world, not only for its secretive tax business but for its willingness to keep a lid on the truth of Child Abuse.

    Because of this the whole island suffers and will continue to suffer until the filth is rooted out, including "priority suspects" in the Child Abuse Inquiry who still have access to children by holding posts of authority over them employed by the States.

    Until Jersey deals openly and honestly with its "failings" of the past, nothing or nobody will be able to move forward.

    The Williamson paper, if it wasn't so dangerously tragic, is a complete joke and something that might serve to haunt him in years, and for years, to come.

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  6. Anonymous @1443: this is not about appeasement - unless you happen to think that the physical and sexual abuse of children is in some way justifiable.

    This is about righting a very serious wrong, and as Jill, Rico, Neil, Carrie and all the rest put it - only the truth will do. No more half-truths. No more dissembling.

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  7. The Committee of Inquiry, should read, last nights piece in the Jersey Post by Lucy to see what bloggers have been saying is true.

    Is it possible someone could publish it for the overseas readers to see what we on the Island are up against with State media.

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  8. That being the real power behind the throne is PHILIP BAILHACHE?

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  9. JEP 26th September 2012

    Care Leavers reject plan for three-pronged review

    Proposals for a three pronged review into historical child abuse and decisions not to prosecute alleged offenders have been rejected by the Jersey Care Leavers Association.

    The association, which represents people who spent time in Jersey care homes, say that the proposals put forward yesterday by social work consultant Andrew Williamson would cut of all of the events since 1994 form investigation.

    They have urged States Members to reject the three-pronged approach that includes a “Truth and Reconciliation Service” for those unwilling to appear before a public inquiry.

    Instead, they say that the States should set up a single, all-encompassing committee of inquiry that would have full legal powers to force witnesses to answer questions and demand documents and files.

    The care leavers say that it should cover the States and honorary police, as well as the suspension of the former police chief Graham Power.

    In an open letter to States Members written after a meeting with Chief Minister Ian Gorst, States chief executive John Richardson and Mr Williamson, the association says that the States have got to adopt an approach that is “right, robust and open”.

    In the letter, JCLA chairman Carrie Modral wrote:
    “we can only support a fully robust and open enquiry, and we do not feel that Mr Williamson’s suggestion of a three pronged approach is the correct one, and would reject that out of hand. We feel that all should fall under one umbrella of one Committee of Inquiry.”

    “We have said it before and will repeat that this has got to be right, robust and open.

    Then - and only then will there be satisfactory closure for all.”

    The States are committed to carrying out a committee of into historical child abuse, after a 37 to 11 vote last year to overturn the previous Council of Minister’s decision not to hold one.

    Senator Gorst pledged his support to an inquiry during the ministerial elections last November, and has said that he expects a judge or QC-led inquiry to take up to three years.

    Spot the untruths compared to the JCLA letter!!!!

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  10. That article by Ben Queree stinks, he states:

    "They have urged States Members to reject the three-pronged approach that includes a “Truth and Reconciliation Service” for those unwilling to appear before a public inquiry."

    JCLA states:

    "A service as suggested by Mr Williamson would be a very welcome addition as any abuse survivor who requires assistance to enable them to talk with a professional person, separately from the COI would feel comfortable doing so. However if this is implemented and a name is required for the service, we would recommend the name be changed from ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ to something which would not be seen as quite so intimidating"

    lies and damn lies

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  11. Disgraceful journalism by the JEP. Will there be any kind of an apology for misleading their readers yet again?

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  12. What they really have to think of is this.

    Survivors, bloggers, some politicos and many other interested parties have been dissatisfied with the government response to date and keep chipping away, constantly finding new evidence which blackens the picture further.

    Time and time again various issues surrounding this are brought beack to the States for further debate.

    Does Sen Gorst (for Gorst read Bailhache) really believe that anything less than a full independant, and transparent, enquiry will make it all stop?

    He really is stupid if he believes that.

    As well as everyone else involved, the government need closure on this. Put all this to bed once and for all and stop the merry-o-round.

    There is a force and appetite for truth that is unstoppable. Look at Hillsborough! The only way to halt the momentum is to do this properly, for once and for all.

    The doors to the States chamber will continue to feel the banging for evermore if this is not done properly. It just won't go away.

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  13. Hi VFC,
    Sorry to be off topic

    I am at the magistrates court on Friday 12th October @10am for various non parking ticket tickets,
    where I will be pulling a rather large rabbit out of the hat.

    All welcome

    cyril

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  14. Neil, like Trevor, you said it as it is on the BBC state radio this morning and quite surprisingly, you weren't cut off! It was good to hear Carrie too, speaking so well and calmly as usual. (If I were her and the other abuse survivors, I doubt I could've kept my cool after this long).
    This is the second time you've been on air in recently. May I ask, were you invited on or did you plead? I ask because I perceive a very slight change in the balance of reporting in recent days (only very slight but in the right direction). Perhaps the station has at last noted the BBC Charter includes 'impartiality'?

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  15. Good luck Cyril ;-)

    (Of course, the RULE OF LAW would be better than luck but it doesn't apply over here, as you know).

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  16. Re; "This is the second time you've been on air in recently. May I ask, were you invited on or did you plead? I ask because I perceive a very slight change in the balance of reporting in recent days (only very slight but in the right direction). Perhaps the station has at last noted the BBC Charter includes 'impartiality'?"

    You are correct. This is the 2nd time I have been allowed on in 11 months despite countless times trying to get on but being black-listed.

    That said, credit must go where it is due I was given adequate air-time and allowed to talk. I was given a fair crack of the whip and that is all that is asked, just a fair say.

    As for the BBC and its charter, well they still haven't published a single word of the former Chief Police Officer Graham Power's submission to Wiltshire (defence case) which they have had possession of for over a year. They reported on the prosecution case and should give equal weight to the defence..............They haven't.

    Still; being allowed on air for the second time in a year is a huge step forward for which I am grateful.

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  17. Forgot to say good luck Cyril but as you well know the law counts for nothing over here. It is a tool of oppression used against those who don't tow the party line.

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  18. What time were you on the radio, I would like to go back and listen to what was being said.

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  19. Yes, the Power statement. A matter too powerful for a 'captured' media outlet perhaps? And now, after 11 months of frequent requests, Gripton allows you back on air whilst claiming he never received a copy.
    Do I detect a sea change or a nymph ringing their knell?

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  20. Thanks VFC, I have now listened to your radio interview and you made your thoughts very clear, well done. On the point of Ed Marsden from Verita not presenting his report, Mathew Price tried to imply that this could have been down to incompetence which I find just incredible. Two reports submitted by two authors released on the same day with only one author invited to present his report. This was not down to incompetence, this is deliberate exclusion. It is my understanding that Deputy Tadier asked the CM if he was going to invite Verita to present his report as did JCLA. Ed Marsden was also asked if given the opportunity, would he be willing to come to Jersey to present his report to which he responded that he would. No, this was not down to incompetence, it was, as I say, a deliberate act of exclusion end of!

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  21. Jon Gripton hasn’t denied having a copy of Graham Power’s statement to Wiltshire. I was told by one of the show’s producers that Mr. Gripton had told her he hasn’t got a copy. He apparently told her that his copy is with the BBC’s lawyers.

    Since the particular producer refuses to answer a set of 6 questions that I had put to her and ignores my e-mails I shall, in the next few days, publish, in a new Blog Posting, the very short e-mail exchange we have had.

    So to be clear the line appears to be not that Mr. Gripton didn’t receive a copy, more that he hasn’t got it anymore…………….Priceless.

    As for Verita being excluded the commenter is correct Ed Marsden was asked by Deputy Tadier if he would come over and present his Report to which he agreed. Furthermore Senator Gorst is well aware that Mr. Marsden agreed to come over but for reasons only known to the Senator (or those pulling his strings) senator Gorst didn’t invite Mr. Marsden.

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  22. please could someone provide a link to the interview, of which Carrie and Neil took part.

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  23. Thanks for the clarity on the whereabouts of the Power statement. After 370 days, you’d of thought Gripton would've asked the lawyers to send it back to him - even a redacted version.

    As for incompetence, Price was pipped today by the BBC Business Correspondent for discussing brand names. Priceless!

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  24. "please could someone provide a link to the interview, of which Carrie and Neil took part."

    Carrie about 5.10pm yesterday Simon Jupp show.
    VFC today about 8.30am Mathew Price show. Just go to the Radio Jersey web page and select the proagrammes you want to listen to again.

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  25. You can hear Neil today on the Mathew Price Show (26.9.12)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00y1pv2/Matthew_Price_26_09_2012/

    Go to 1.52.15 to 1:58.40 for Neil.
    On the same show you can hear the Verita /Williamson report from 1:20.30. It includes Carrie at 1:24.0 and ends with Trevor- 1:25 to 1:30.53. And if you can bear to listen- Phillip Bailhache on tax havens, sniff tests and skirting his conversation with John Hemming- 1:13.30 – 1:18.22


    You can hear a full version of Carrie on the Simon Jupp Show (25.9.12)- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00y1prg
    Go to 1:11.40 to 1:16

    Hope the links work!

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  26. BBC can no longer ignore the growing public awareness of pronounced biased and extreme underreporting in their Jersey coverage of child abuse cover-up related events. The recent Guardian articles, the banning of Leah McGrath Goodman, the concerns raised by John Hemming MP, the rapidly increasing readership of the blogs and the factual evidence permanently available on the web concerning Jersey's corruption of human rights principles are just some of the reasons they should worry they will be internationally exposed and shamed.

    Unlike the JEP, the BBC is a well-connected and up-to-date international news organization whose own online presence and understanding of the power of the internet to change societies has to make inroads in to even their strange Jersey BBC branch.

    Your own voice is journalistically respected and your evidence-based blog has been professionally cited outside of Jersey. BBC has so much more to lose than any other news organization by thumbing their nose at you, and Gripton's role is probably more nervous tightrope walker than news man.

    A quick look at the comments on your blog, Rico's and Stuart's shows a much more sophisticated readership and insightful commentary than can be ignored or dismissed as that of conspiracy nuts. That so many inside Jersey and around the world have paid enough attention to understand and keep up with your detailed research is in stark contrast to the cringeworthy comments in the mainstream media. Those comments, especially in today's JEP are either an example of censorship or an alarming indictment of the character and intelligence of Jersey JEP readers.

    BBC Jersey cannot afford to continue to be held in the same low regard the JEP is, and whether Channel TV can or not remains to be seen. The BBC could easily expect their complicity with state media style behaviour to blow up in their faces even as a National BBC scandal.

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