Tuesday, 19 February 2013

HAS LE MARQUAND “GONE NATIVE” IN THE STATES POLICE?

A “Parliamentary Sketch” by a friend of "The Voice."


For the benefit of anyone who does not know, Senator Ian Le Marquand is Jersey’s Minister for Home Affairs. Under the current arrangements he is the person to whom the Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police are politically accountable. The leadership of the Force is accountable to the Minister. The Minister is himself accountable to the States (the Jersey Parliament.) That is the arrangement. Or at least that is how things are supposed to be. But not apparently how they actually are if the Minister’s responses to questions in the States today Tuesday 19th Febrary 2013 are anything to go by.

The background to the questions is straightforward enough. Three police officers have recently been cleared of disciplinary allegations by an independent Tribunal. The Tribunal followed an independent investigation by Hampshire Police. As it happens the allegations concerned their actions in a high-profile case during which the actions of the same officers were criticised by the Courts. Not surprising therefore that there has been some quite legitimate interest in how these apparently conflicting outcomes can be reconciled. Step forward the Minister for Home Affairs. Who could be better placed to explain things to States Members and the public at large? Except that “explaining things” is not exactly a Le Marquand strong point.

On 29th January 2013 questions from States Members brought little information from the Minister. Le Marquand refused to release the written judgement of the Tribunal or to provide any meaningful information. He did however offer the following in response to a written question. In his answer he said “the public can be fully confident that the issues were properly investigated by an outside police force.” Not much “wriggle room” there you might think. Well, with hindsight that appears to be depend on the slipperiness of the wriggler and just how much he is allowed to get away with.

No sooner was the ink dry on the Ministers refusal to release the Tribunal judgement than the same document was leaked to a local leading Blogsite and PUBLISHED. (I hope nobody is ever foolish enough to trust the Jersey Government with any real secrets given their poor record on holding on to the meagre secrets they actually possess, but I digress.)

The published judgement revealed that the hearing was surprised that the Jersey Authorities, including the Police, had apparently failed to fully cooperate with the Disciplinary Investigation which they had themselves commissioned. This failure to cooperate had hindered the investigation and the work of the Tribunal. Additionally, there was a recorded concern at the accuracy of some of the typed, but not signed, witness statements which the hearing was asked to take into account.

No surprise therefore that at the next available sitting of the States interested Members invited the Minister to re-visit his earlier answers and to provide more information. A fair and reasonable exercise of the democratic process you might think. Well not according to the democratic ideals of Senator Le Marquand. Astonished back-benchers were told that their questions “should not have been asked” and were, they were repeatedly told “outrageous” and a “waste of time.” (Readers might be able to form their own view as to who was actually being “outrageous” in these exchanges, but worse was to follow.)

                                        
Deputy Shona Pitman had the nerve to draw to the Ministers attention to the Tribunal findings which appeared to say that the Force had not cooperated with the Hampshire investigation and had therefore prevented that investigation, and the subsequent Tribunal, from being as effective as they could have been. While, in observance of the conventions of the Assembly, nobody was named, all concerned knew that the lead for the Force in respect of the Hampshire investigation was the Deputy Chief Officer, Barry Taylor. But no worries, our worthy Minister had a full and complete answer. These outrageous allegations had been fully and comprehensively investigated by none other than, the Deputy Chief Officer, Barry Taylor. No readers, I am not making this up. I am not that good a fictional writer. Nobody could make this up (someone else’s catchphrase I know but on this occasion he might not mind.) Listen for yourself in the recording on “The Jersey Way” which should be available later tonight HERE or read it in Hansard. Yes, he actually made that claim. He told the States that the esteemed Deputy Chief Officer had spent a good deal of time on the matter. He had listened to the transcript of the hearing and he had spoken by telephone with the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal. At the end of these enquiries the Deputy Chief Officer had been able to exonerate himself totally from any allegation that he, or for that matter anyone else in the Force, had failed to cooperate with the Hampshire Investigation. The Minister appears to have accepted this outcome without question, which is not surprising given that he later told the Assembly that it was his role in the matter to “defend my senior officers against serious allegations.” So that surely deals with that “outrageous” allegation? Well it does if you are an obsessive autocrat who has lost even an elementary grasp of some of the basic principles of democratic accountability.

If on the other hand you think that the right to vote is not in itself a guarantee of democracy and for any system to be genuinely democratic there needs to be active processes which include checks and balances, and proper accountability, then you might have a problem.

So what is going on here? Has the Minister simply “lost the plot” "gone native" in the police and totally forgotten that it is for the Force to be accountable to him and for him to be accountable to the States? Or is there yet another “cover up” with some bigger secret waiting to be revealed? It is difficult to be sure, but there are some basic facts which, while not providing all of the answers, at least give some of the background.

Le Marquand was selected to be Minister for Home Affairs by the new administration which came into office in 2007. It is now 2013. Having been rejected for any other significant position in Government he hangs on in the first and probably the only position he will hold in the Government of the Island. Like his predecessors he is involved in the selection and appointment of senior police officers, and like his predecessors he follows UK guidelines which encourage such appointments to be made on a fixed term basis, usually of no more than five years. The reasons recorded in the UK for this policy are in the public domain and make reference to such issues as “unrecognised staleness” and the danger of Chief Officers potentially becoming too close to other senior figures and members of their own staff. Is it time for Le Marquand to take a long look at himself in this context, or if he will not do so, for somebody else to do it for him? Is there anybody out there who seriously thinks that he is now adding value to the governance of the Island by his increasingly strange behaviour in the States and elsewhere? Or is he making us all a laughing stock as he slips further towards the edge?

More to the point, can Jersey’s democratic institutions prove themselves capable of dealing with the Le Marquand problem or are they just spellbound, waiting in trepidation for the next twist in the downward spiral which is the governance of Jerseys Home Affairs Portfolio?

If it were not so serious it would be funny and entertaining. But it is serious, and nobody should be laughing.

19 comments:

  1. Ian Le Marquand will be the Home Affairs Minister for the remainder of the life of this assembly.

    He is doing what he was brought into politics to do - namely fulfilling the very "necessary" and essential role of being a "useful idiot" to the Jersey oligarchy.

    He is intellectually and ethically utterly discredited.

    He appears as what he is to all thinking people - an utter clown, completely our of his depth and personally inadequate.

    He - like Attorney General Tim Le Cocq - is patsy - brought in to catch the flack - and to stagger on into the future - permanently burdened down with having to carry forward buckets full of other people's sh*t sloping and splashing all over them.

    There is no other person in the States assembly who is both stupid enough - yet cosmetically "credible" enough - to "reliably" fulfill the "useful idiot" function of Le Marquand.

    Stuart

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  2. Yes, very word uttered by Ian Le Marquand is that of a patsy. His tone is oily and his lack of straight answers points to his foolish confidence that he is somehow more intelligent than his questioners. He embodies the characteristics of a tragic man, one who cares deeply about his reputation but has sold it for a few coins. His arrogance will be replaced by self-pity soon enough. It will be more painful than gratifying to watch this fool as his cronies blame him for repeating the criminal lines they fed him, as he will be among the first thrown overboard.

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  3. Stuart, your description of ILM is perfect. Says it all, really, and the patsy clown doesn't even know it.

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  4. Stuart Syvret on the money. They are just the clowns keeping the scam going.

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  5. How the Jersey cover-up machine really works....LE MARQUAND AND TAYLOR

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  6. Hi VFC.

    Just put up the Audio from today's States sitting, Hope this helps your investigation's. You & your Readers can listen HERE

    TJW.

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  7. Not forgetting that answers are still required from Senator Le Marquand HERE

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  8. ILM asking Taylor to investigate himself. Given the nature of what is plainly alleged in the Barton judgement he ought to have listened to the transcript and viewed documents himself or perhaps asked an independant lawyer to do it for him and report. Asking Taylor to do it indicates that he has moved from being the Minister who holds the senior management to account to becoming a spokesman on their behalf.

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  9. Yes strange how ILM trusts the words of some Chief Police Officers and DCO's and not others isn't it? He believed every word David Warcup and Mick (The Leak) Gradwell told him as well.

    In fact the only two cops he wouldn't believe are the ones that exposed Jersey's filthy secret of decades long Child Abuse.......Very strange/coincidental.

    Let us also remember just how much Senator Le Marquand has spent on wild goose chases and personal vendettas since being IN OFFICE

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  10. Stuart, I am so glad to see you haven't lost your ability to sum things up so clearly in just a few choice words. I love the way you write, it's a shame we can't hear you speaking with the same skill in the chamber nowadays.

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  11. Excellent post.

    Hope you'll be hosting a few more from this excellent writer.

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  12. When listening to the above questions in the States I noticed that the Presiding Officer, that is, the person who determines what Members can or cannot ask, was the Deputy Bailiff, William Bailhache. Could he by any chance be the same William Bailhache who at the time of the original Warren investigation was HM Attorney General for Jersey and whose responsibilities included giving advice to the Police on issues such as bugging operations in other jurisdictions? I hope that there was no conflict of interest.

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  13. Indeed this is the very same William Bailhache, who clearly was conflicted (IMO), not only was it not mentioned by any of our politicians but Mr. Bailhache himself didn't think to recuse himself for (perceived or otherwise) conflict of interest.

    This however is nothing out of the ordinary as Mr. Bailhache regularly sits (chairs) many debates in the island's parliament where the Child Abuse atrocities are being discussed and he was the Attorney General of the time yet nobody bats an eyelid.

    Conflict of interest has no real meaning on this island.

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  14. Having listened carefully to the answers given by the Home Affairs Minister, Ian Le Marquand, I note that he chose to reveal that Matthew Jowitt was no longer working for the Law Officers Department. This disclosure had all the appearances of a carefully timed revelation apparently intended to deflate some of the hard questions which have been generated by revelations concerning the role of Jowitt and others.

    Two thoughts entered my mind on hearing this. The first is the oddity of the fact that the Senior Jersey Law Officers, not particularly famous for their willingness to delagate, chose to thrust one of their more junior members to the fore during one of the most contentious cases in their departments history. Just where were the Attorney General and others when all of this was happening?

    Secondly, I wonder if this is yet another case of the Jersey Establishment throwing a disposable individual to the wolves in order to deflect attention from their own failings? If it is then Jowitt can now become a member of a distinguished club which includes such worthies as Mike Pollard, Bill Ogley, Andrew lewis, and David Warcup, to mention but a few. I wonder if Le Marquand's membership card has been printed yet?

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  15. The Jersey Establishment, as more people are learning, will throw a few sheep to the wolves in order to protect the more guilty in the higher echelons.

    Among the names that could have been added to, what Rico calls, "The Exclusive Pension Club" are Ian Critch, Tom McKeon, and others. Ian Le Marquand's membership card is well and truly printed and will be utilised very soon............

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  16. Happy Birthday Neil,
    Wishing you a fantastic year ahead and thank you for all your solid and very often'exclusive'hard work. It puts the MSM to shame. I'm seriously thinking of not paying my TV license because I get the truth via blogs like yours.

    All the very best,
    A fan xxx

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  17. Thank you for your support, it is appreciated.

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  18. For many years the mainstream media controlled public knowledge of political and governmental matters, in collusion with the Establishment, knowing that information is power. Whispered unverifiable gossip was the only check and balance on propaganda.

    What you have done is astounding, even if it is repeated around the globe in other countries today. You have become a trusted source of documented news contrary to the official media which proved to serve narrow special interests. You have exposed criminal wrong-doing by the powerful, provided your trusted self for inside sources to leak information to, and are now established as more accurate than paid journalists.

    The only new Establishment counter to what you offer is their deliberate use of "Astroturfing" which Stuart Syvret has brought to light. The establishment creates social media platforms and sock puppets to fight information contrary to their selfish interests.

    "Astroturfing" has led Jersey spin doctors to a new problem, one they can't easily overcome. Sock puppets and manufactured outrage aside, with the example of the overdone attacks on L.M.G, the gullible public joining in the ignorant attacks have witnessed new social media debate. With arguments by bloggers demonstrating more evidenced awareness of the inner workings of the powerful, members of the public have been inadvertently exposed to facts contrary to what they've been spoonfed by State media.

    The Establishment took a risk in bringing open online debate to the sheeple, because links to sources they can't control have brought some of the public face-to-face with evidence which directly contradicts State media and Hansard accounts. An unwittingly ignorant debater and patriotic defender of the status quo soon finds his position weakened by reliance on the same Establishment spin you and other Jersey bloggers have already thoroughly discredited with authentic evidence.

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  19. The heavy weight factual blogs are publishing the real stories and exposing for the world to view, the truth behind the slight of hand tricks and cons used by some of the elite powerful corrupt players in Jersey.

    Taking a look around the blogs as usual, for the deeper news we came across the story regarding the shady dealings by WEB boss Stephen Izatt, and the way the story is factually supported.

    Why has the Police Chief or Attorney General not taken it upon themselves to order an investigation into what looks like a clumsy corrupt enterprise ?

    Harcourt are taking the Jersey States to court for £6.9 million in lost fees what an opportunity for the Justice administration to act.

    There has never been a better time to call back Frank Walker, Bill Ogley , Steven Izatt, Terry Le Suer and Phillip Ozouf plus the staff at WEB now working for JDC and place them on the witness stand under oath and pain of perjury.

    A decent judiciary would never let this be swept under the carpet.

    Having the ex Chief Minister steadfastly promoting Harcourt, thereby misleading the whole of Government and also Jersey, and the CEO of the involved development quango, and the Chief executive of the civil service retiring their positions and being paid huge sum’s of money to keep quiet, is not acceptable in a decent society.

    This gives skeptics who accuse Jersey of being corrupt, more factual ammunition ?

    Sources

    http://tonymusings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/on-nurses-pay.html

    http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2012/03/03/waterfront-states-sued-for-millions/

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