Sunday, 28 September 2014

Deputy Sam Mezec Unelected States Members Part 2 (Constables)

Part two of our in-depth and exclusive interview with Deputy Sam Mezec, Chairman of Jersey's only political party REFORM JERSEY examines the role of Parish Constables who are the subject of a referendum on the 15th of October as part of Jersey's first General Election.

Among the topics discussed is the role of the Island's State Media. Is it doing enough to make the public aware of this referendum? The media has it in its power to engage the public enough to ensure (as in the recent Scottish referendum) an 84% turn out at the Ballot Box so why doesn't it?

Is the electorate so "happy" with the Constables that 11 out of 12 of them were re-elected unopposed or is it because they know it is a waste of time standing against an entrenched Establishment figure there is no chance of de-seating?

Should the Constables have a seat in the Island's Parliament, as an automatic right? Let us know what you think on here and more importantly express that view on October the 15th at the Ballot Box.

Below are the views of Deputy Mezec who has since published his own Blog on this subject which can be viewed HERE.

Part one of this interview can be viewed HERE.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Deputy Sam Mezec Unelected States Members Part 1 (The Dean)

Deputy Sam Mezec, Chairman of Jersey's only political party, REFORM JERSEY has been making the headlines, on State Media, and has been the subject of attacks from church lobbyists, for his comments on social media concerning the role of the Dean, and religion, in the Island's parliament.

VFC exclusively interviewed the party Chairman (below) and discussed, in-depth, his views on the controversial subject of religion and politics. Among the subjects discussed are, the Dean's pay, his political influence, church lobbyists, and we ask where have the teachings of Jesus gone? Is Jesus, who could be described as "a political agitator" or "anti establishment" now a part of the establishment?

In part two of the interview we discuss the role of the Island's twelve Constables, eleven of which, who have not faced an election................

Monday, 15 September 2014

Jean Neal Update.

Back in April 2012 VFC exclusively broke the story of a little known "care" home in Jersey by publishing a Guest Posting from a resident of the home, and Abuse Survivor, Jean Neal.

The Jersey Home For Girls, or Grouville Girl's Home, had not received any State Media attention during the Child Abuse scandal and there were those saying that the institution never existed. That was until we published documented proof, in Jean's Guest Posting, to include official records and photographs of the home. Jean's Guest Posting can be read HERE.

We then exclusively interviewed Jean, nine days later, when she came to Jersey and spoke of the Girl's Home, the abuse she suffered there, the book she wrote about her childhood and later years, and how "good can come from bad." The Interview can be viewed HERE.

Regular readers will be aware that we now have a public Child Abuse Inquiry taking place, which unfortunately Bloggers have been marginalised and banned from the media room under spurious grounds as reported HERE. Despite the banning of Bloggers, (Jersey's only independent media) by the Committee of Inquiry, VFC continues to be of assistance to the Inquiry by supplying it with evidence and witnesses to include Jean Neal.

After listening to an extremely brave witness give live evidence to the Committee of Inquiry, VFC made contact with Jean, and told her of the witness and her evidence. The witness was a resident at the Home For Girls and spoke of the punishment, and regime, at the home. When asked by the Committee's lawyer if she knew of any others who suffered the same treatment as her , at the home, the witness replied in the negative.

VFC DID know of a former resident at the home (Jean Neal) who HAD suffered the same abuse, and to cut a long story short VFC was able to reunite the witness with Jean Neal after 60 plus years and now Jean is also giving evidence to the Child Abuse Inquiry as a direct result of VFC being present at the public hearing, and being so researched on the Child Abuse atrocities.

We interviewed Jean, Friday just gone, and talked to her about the ongoing Committee of Inquiry and how she doesn't feel she is believed by the Inquiry. She speaks of her recent experiences with the Jersey Archive who, she says, are not as helpful with supplying her with documents as they once were (pre Child Abuse Committee Of Inquiry). Records, we are told, have "gone missing."

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Deputy Nick Le Cornu Responds To Offensive Tweet.

The online community, and now possibly the whole of Jersey, are talking about a tweet sent out by Deputy Nick Le Cornu which has been reported as a personal attack on fellow Deputy Kristina Moore.

The tweet has caused outrage from across the political divide and by a vast number of the general public. The State Media has gone into overdrive in reporting this story from its perspective and we now offer the story from the perspective of Deputy Le Cornu himself.

Deputy Nick Le Cornu, in an in-depth, and exclusive, interview with VFC, explains, why he, like a growing number of politicians, and the general public, does not trust the local State Media and wanted to give this interview exclusively to VFC in order that his words/motives/intentions would not be distorted.

We offer the interview unedited and invite readers/viewers to draw their own conclusion(s) after watching the interview.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Jersey's Lawmakers, Victims' Group and Operation Rectangle Cop Publicly Decry Blogger Ban.

As a continuance of our PREVIOUS POSTING where we reported how Bloggers were banned from the media room at Jersey's Independent Care Inquiry and all State Media had been granted accreditation, and able to use the media room in the same ruling.

There have been some kind of developments to this but it is still very unclear as to what these developments are and as soon as we get a straight answer from the Inquiry Team we will inform our readers.

We have been contacted by a number of witnesses/victims/survivors, and potential witnesses,victims and survivors who, as a result of the Blogger Banning are reconsidering their decision to give evidence to the Inquiry. Some have threatened to withdraw the evidence they have already submitted.

Of course this is a decision that can only be made by those involved. The banning of Bloggers has caused an amount of distrust in the Inquiry and we are hoping a resolution can be made between Bloggers and the Inquiry very soon.

In this Posting we would like to share with our readers some of the support we (Bloggers) have from key interested parties in the Jersey Child Abuse scandal. This includes the former Senior Investigating Officer of Operation Rectangle and former Deputy Chief Police Officer Lenny Harper. The Chairperson of the Jersey Care Leavers Association, Ms. Carrie Modral, prominent local lawyer, Advocate Philip Sinel, and a number of local politicians who have all written to the Chair of the Committee Of Inquiry, Francis Oldham QC expressing their concerns of our banning and have warned how damaging this could prove to be to the Inquiry itself.

Below are a few of the letters of support and we thank those who have written them.

20th August 2014

We are writing to express our concern regarding the fact that two local bloggers have now been excluded from using the media room facilities available for the Committee of Inquiry, having been granted access from the outset to these same facilities until last week.

Bloggers have been very instrumental in supporting all abuse victims, uncovering many facts which would otherwise have remained hidden from the public. Voice for Children have never published any material that has been challenged or factually incorrect, whereas the MSM have been very economical with their facts, and in some instances been damning of the whole abuse investigation from the outset as clearly demonstrated in the bundles of newspaper clippings submitted to the inquiry team and which has been upsetting for the victims.

Bloggers as an increasingly recognised means of alternative media should be afforded the right to work alongside those of the MSM especially in something as high profile as this. We perhaps need to say that we have read Robert Hall’s comments published on the COI website and his concerns about bloggers being able to use the media room. Having witnessed him attending the hearing on the Tuesday hearing day prior to that when both VFC and Bob Hill were informed that they can no longer use the media room, we can only assume that the legal team for the COI have allowed themselves to be influenced by a well-known journalist from the BBC who happens to be also well connected with Jersey having started his career as a reporter and presenter at Channel Television in the Channel Islands in or around 1977.

Indeed, VFC and other bloggers have also persuaded some victims to come forward and give evidence to the Committee of Inquiry who may well not have done so initially, through fear or scepticism. Furthermore, this decision could jeopardise further witnesses from coming forward and could even result in some of those that have come forward to retract their statements and walk away.

We also feel that, given Mr McMurray’s disability, he is unable to function properly in the hearing room given that he is unable to balance his tablet on his lap and type at the same time with the use of only one arm and it seems unreasonable to expect him to do so.

Finally to conclude, we would ask you to perhaps re-consider your decision. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these people for all the good work they have done and will continue to do, and would ask that they are permitted to do so with the proper resources available.

Yours sincerely
Jersey Care Leavers Association

14 August 2014
As the former senior investigating officer of the Jersey Historical Abuse Investigation, Operation Rectangle, I have a strong interest in your inquiry being able to get to the truth and reveal the facts about the manner in which children were abused within the Care System and its off shoots in Jersey.  To do this, you are going to have to win the trust of those who suffered and whose previous attempts to find justice have been crushed by the Jersey Government, those working within its so called care agencies and criminal justice system, and the state controlled official Jersey Media.  It is these groups who have labelled the victims "criminals and people with disturbed minds", a description enthusiastically recirculated and repeated by the media in Jersey.  It is essential that you succeed in doing what myself and my team had to do - win the confidence of these victims so that they will come and talk to you and give you their story, knowing you are not in the pocket of the Jersey government.

It was with some alarm therefore that I heard you have withdrawn the authority to use the media facilities from Neil McMurray of the Voice for Children Blog, and Bob Hill the former member of the States.  These two individuals are two of a very few people who are trusted to tell the truth by those who have suffered abuse in Jersey.  I will speak more about that below.  I believe that the action has been taken in response to a rather unreasoned and bitter series of attacks launched by another blogger, Former Senator Stuart Syvret, from the very media room in the last day or two.  Now, everyone knows that Mr Syvret has been fighting a battle for some years, and has been unremitting on his attacks on the behaviour of the government and their treatment of himself and abuse victims.  Not everyone approves of the manner in which he behaves, and the sometimes wild and random nature of his written attacks, but there is some understanding of the way in which the corrupt behaviour of the Jersey establishment has driven him to the point where he feels that he has nothing else to lose.  Notwithstanding, I do understand that some of his comments yesterday cannot be tolerated or accepted.

However, it must surely be possible to prevent Mr Syvret from having access to the media room and thereby the opportunity to abuse the facility, without taking a scattergun approach and banning the two people from whom the abuse victims look to for truthful information.  They will not get it from the Jersey media. Even tonight, the Jersey Evening Post is continuing with its campaign to discredit victims and the investigation.  Victims will NOT want to engage with your inquiry if they believe that the truth is again going to be suppressed - and that is exactly what the Jersey media are perceived to have as their main agenda.

I know that VFC and Mr Hill applied for Accreditation and were told it was not necessary.  Then, after Mr Syvret's attacks, both of them are banned in what a number of the victims have already said to me is an attempt to suppress the truth again.  I do not believe that Mr Syvret applied for an accreditation.  Surely, rather than run the risk of alienating victims who rely on the other two individuals, it would have been easy to exclude Mr Syvret, either because of his intemperate behaviour or his lack of application for accreditation?  It hardly needs pointing out, and the victims are only too aware, that it was Mr Hill and VFC who were among the main reasons, with one or two others, why the Jersey government reluctantly agreed to this inquiry, and why victims have come forward to talk to you in the first place.  Furthermore, Mr Hill played no small part in making sure the Terms of Reference were not totally ineffective.

In closing, who you allow into your media room is a matter for you.  However, if you wish to gain, or retain, the trust of victims, and indeed, people like myself, then restricting reporting of your proceedings to the blatantly corrupt and conflicted Jersey mainstream media, is not the way to do it.

Yours faithfully,

Lenny Harper"

01 September 2014

As one of the key political proponents of the Committee of Inquiry, and an originator of some of the terms of reference, it is with some reluctance that I write to the Committee, as I had wished to simply be an observer of proceedings, letting your body continue in their complex task unhindered from political interventions.

I am, however, moved to write to you to make representations on the recent decision to debar bloggers from the media room on what appear to be questionable grounds.
It is not necessary for me to go over arguments that have perhaps already been made by other parties, however, I would be grateful if the Committee would reconsider their decision and adopt what I would consider a less draconian and more liberal approach.

I am also concerned that one of the bloggers, Mr McMurray, without whose tireless and exacting reporting (in stark contrast to some of the 'official' media) the inquiry would not have gained the momentum to have happened, is being prejudiced, given his disability, by not having adequate facilities to be able to make notes, , as any other member of the public, because electronic devices seem to be banned from the public area (is this correct?).

It seems paradoxical that the journalists who command the most respect and trust from the care leavers themselves are the ones being denied adequate facilities to be able to report.

Your sincerely,

Deputy Montfort Tadier

Dear Mrs Oldham

29 August 2014

I have been consulted by Neil McMurray who as you are aware writes the Voice for Children blog spot. It is a popular, respected, widely read and long established blog.

In Jersey the position for a long time has been that the blogs are the only media trusted by a large portion of the population, this notwithstanding the disparity in resources and the fact that the blogs have no backing from any national or international organisation and that they produce no revenue and carry no advertising.

It is not in a way of exaggeration to say that without the activities of bloggers in Jersey there would never have been an enquiry at all; the remaining media have historically have been complicit in endeavouring that the truth was shaded or buried.

I am instructed that Mr McMurray and indeed Mr Hill (of Bob Hill's blog spot) applied for media accreditation back in April of this year. However no media were provided with accrediation. The blogger in conjunction with other media were simply afforded the use of the media room.

Arbitrarily on 12/13 August Mr McMurray and Mr Hill were informed that they were not allowed to make use of the media room but simultaneously accreditation was granted to other media representatives. In one case this was done by prearrangement with Eversheds staff. Additionally the BBC were allowed to swamp the room.

The effect upon the credibility of the enquiry of the this development cannot be overstated. Many Islanders were cynical before the start, this does not help. I therefore ask that you address this matter immediately and that Mr McMurray and  if he so seeks it, Mr Hill, are granted accreditation before the enquiry restarts on 3 September 2014.

Yours sincerely

Advocate Philip Sinel"(END)

For reasons of brevity we have not posted all letters of support for Bloggers to Francis Oldham QC, as we believe there are more to be written and we will look to post them in a part 2.

Readers of our PREVIOUS POSTING will be aware that the Inquiry Panel is able to work with lightning speed when it was able to make a ruling, almost overnight, to ban Bloggers, get that ruling in place and published on its website within days.

All correspondence to the Committee of Inquiry is supposed to be published on its own WEBSITE but the letters of support for Bloggers have not made it on there yet. If only they could act as quickly copying and pasting a few letters as they did with an overnight ban perhaps the Inquiry Team might get a little more credence?