Friday, 18 August 2017

PPC Lodges vote of Censure against Deputy Andrew Lewis.


Deputy Andrew Lewis


The Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) has lodged a PROPOSITION today asking the island's parliament to censure Deputy Andrew Lewis after he was found to have lied, by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI), to the Inquiry itself and to the States Assembly. PPC has also found that the Deputy breached States Members code of conduct "by failing to maintain the integrity of the States." 

VFC e-mailed the PPC Panel Members (who sat on the case) this morning at 08:16 asking them for an interview regarding PPC's proposition. Little more than thirty minutes later Deputy Simon Bree replied to the e-mail and agreed to an interview. At the time of publication none of the other PPC Members have acknowledged the e-mail.

Deputy Bree makes it quite clear that he is NOT speaking for PPC (in the interview) but is speaking in a personal capacity which is something we would like to reiterate here.

The video/interview below, we hope, should speak for itself and inform readers of the decision making process, what happens next, and much more.

Deputy Scott Wickenden

Team Voice would like to thank Deputy Bree for agreeing to an interview (he is a supporter of our Blogsite) and answering the questions as best he could. Although I'm not sure if the question was answered as to whether Deputy Scott Wickenden or Constable Chris Taylor (PPC Members) agree with the Independent Care Inquiry that Deputy Lewis told lies. May be the question was answered and I didn't understand it? I've tried asking Deputy Wickenden (on Facebook) to confirm with a "yes" or "no" as to whether he agrees with the IJCI, concerning Andrew Lewis' lies, but as with the e-mail I sent this morning he has NOT answered, or acknowledged, the question.

I have also requested an official comment from Deputy Andrew Lewis with regard to the vote of censure lodged against him by PPC. I have also asked him for an interview (as I have on many occasions) but have not yet received a reply/acknowledgement. Deputy Lewis has recently intimated to VFC that an interview ISN'T out of the question and is considering the possibility.

We should also point out (despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary) that Deputy Lewis denies lying to the IJCI and the States.

Should it turn out that ANY of the PPC Members (who sat on the Andrew Lewis hearing) disagree with the IJCI findings in that Andrew Lewis lied to the States and the IJCI then a complaint against PPC for being as guilty as him will be getting submitted..................................




Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Abraham Gorst.



Abraham Gorst.


On 20th June 2017 our heroic Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, faced a Vote of No Confidence tabled (but possibly not authored) by St. John Constable Chris Taylor. The proposition listed a number of failings/concerns the proposer (or its author) had against Senator Gorst and sought to convince the rest of the Assembly that it was time to relieve Senator Gorst of his role as Chief Minister. Something Team Voice warned to be careful who/what you wish for. Thankfully (because the alternative was unthinkable) Senator Gorst comfortably survived the vote and was not unseated.

We say; "comfortably" because going into the debate he did not have the support he had at the end of the debate, and we argue that this is for one reason and one reason only.

What we learned from one particular speech, during the debate is the horrendous ordeals, life tragedies, to include assassination attempts, mental breakdowns, the tragic death of his childhood sweetheart, bankruptcy, and a war (what's going on out at St. Ouens?) that Senator Gorst has had to overcome in order to finally get elected (after many unsuccessful attempts) not only as a legislator but Chief Minister (or president) of Jersey. The inspiring part of this triumph against adversity is the humility displayed by Chief Minister Gorst who has NEVER once complained, or even mentioned, the struggles he has had to overcome in order to get to where he is.

Deputy Rod Bryans

Below is a shortened/edited recording of what we believe is the speech that saved Senator Gorst's neck. The speech delivered by Education Minister Rod Bryans, we are sure, will go down in the annuls of Jersey political history as the most inspirational speech ever spoken in the Jersey Parliament. The speech that saved the political career of possibly the most courageous, determined, leader Jersey has ever seen or is likely to see.

The research Deputy Bryan's must have undertaken in order to draw all the parallels between our Chief Minister, and that of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, must be commended. It would have been exhaustive work, not only researching all the parallels, but collating them in such an inspirational, and informative speech, that would persuade sworn Gorst enemies to vote in favour of him keeping his position as Jersey's leader. Deputy Rod Bryans' speech should be equally celebrated as the achievements of Senator Gorst/Lincoln. We have a new found respect for the Deputy and are reassured that the education of Jersey's children is in his hands. Children for decades to come will be talking about "that speech." The "Abraham Gorst" speech will be quoted by political commentators, speech writers/analysts, politicians, and historians for decades also.

We know how humble Senator Gorst is and feel sure that he will be thinking to himself "what the hell was Bryans thinking of giving that bl--dy Abraham Gorst speech?" Or "WTF possessed him to go on about assassination attempts, mental breakdowns and Bankruptcy and the rest of that gumph?" Well Chief Minister, he did, it almost certainly saved your political career and you should be as proud of that speech as no doubt Deputy Bryans is. You should feel proud to have a Minister on your team of such calibre and of un-questioning devotion to you.

The full (inspirational) speech can be viewed HERE. It will only be available for 6 months online so we hope our shortened/edited version will go some way in preserving this momentous occasion in the annuls of Jersey political history.

#Satire.






Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Jersey Way/Hot-Seat.





It is difficult to determine the subject, or most poignant talking point(s), of this posting/recording as a couple of fundamental issues arise from it and readers will have to determine what they think deserves the most prominence?

The first subject is the quality of "The Hot Seat" programme broadcast on BBC Radio Jersey. It should be said that Tony  Gillham (who hosts the shows) is a first class Disc Jockey, his "Gillham Gold" and other shows make for excellent listening and we highly recommend them to our readers. But to the best of our knowledge, despite being such a capable and excellent DJ, he is not a journalist. Somebody at BBC Radio Jersey has convinced, or may be even pressured him, into taking on a trade he has not been trained to do.

Once every month Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, is invited on to the so-called "Hot Seat" in order to be "grilled," supposedly by members of the public who are able to submit questions to him, either live on air (by phoning in) or through the BBC Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some of those questions are put to the Chief Minister by Mr. Gillham but many aren't.

I was permitted to go on air and put some questions to the Chief Minister (video below) Friday just gone (11 August 2017). I'm very grateful to BBC for allowing me this opportunity but at one particular point it felt like it was ME who was in the so-called "Hot Seat." I asked the Chief Minister the first part of my (three part) question. He took three and a half minutes of valuable air-time to "answer" it, then Tony Gillham asked one of his own questions that the chief Minister took more than a minute to answer. So between Tony Gillham and the Chief Minister, my simple question took more than four and a half minutes to answer.

When I interjected to see if I could ask the second part of my question I was asked by the presenter to "keep it as brief as possible so we can get more people on." Not once was the Chief Minister asked to keep his answers succinct and to the point, yet the person asking the question (VFC) is almost blamed for the amount of time that is being allowed to be wasted. A seasoned journalist would not have allowed the person in the so-called "Hot Seat" to rattle on for the best part of five minutes and then apportion blame to the person who asked the question. It's the person who is in the so-called "Hot Seat" who should be put under pressure and not the member of public attempting to hold him to account.

There are other aspects of this nature in the recording but for brevity I'll not list them here as readers can listen to them below.

For the avoidance of any doubt; this is not a criticism of Tony Gillham. It is a criticism of whoever appointed him to the job of attempting to hold politicians to account and expecting him to do the job of a seasoned journalist. BBC Radio Jersey has a political correspondent and it is he who should be hosting such shows. Certainly a DJ should not be expected to do it. It's akin to asking a (very good tradesman) Painter and Decorator to service your car.

Senator Philip Bailhache

Getting on to the subject(s) of my question(s) to the Chief Minister in the recording. Did he answer the questions? Does he honestly believe that Senator Philip Bailhache is NOT undermining his (Senator Gorst's) authority? How does it look, to the Jersey public, when Senator Bailhache is defending a politician who has been labelled, or exposed, as a liar by an independent Committee of Inquiry? Does Senator Gorst not see this as "The Jersey Way" in all its glory? Should/can the Chief Minister kick Senator Bailhache out of the Council of Ministers and relegate him to the Back-benches?

Is it not inconceivable to believe that Senator Ian Gorst is oblivious to the damage being caused to Jersey's reputation (and his own) by Senator Bailhache's actions? His (Senator Bailhache's) total disregard for the Care Inquiry and its report/recommendations?

There is little doubt that Chief Minister Ian Gorst wants to implement the recommendations of the Care Inquiry. He wants to dispel the negative connotations of the phrase "The Jersey Way." I believe he, like many other good people of Jersey, wants to see the findings of the Care Inquiry as a starting point for cleaning Jersey up. But he will no doubt have some powerful dark forces working against him and if it's true that he does not see the damage Senator Bailhache is inflicting then is he too blinkered or naive to carry out his plans and implement the much needed changes? Does he not see that politicians such as Philip Bailhache, and Andrew Lewis, represent (to a growing number of people) the bad old days of Jersey that need to be consigned to history? They represent an era most in Jersey should want to put right, forget, and move on from. Attempting to defend the indefensible and acting with complete impunity should be a bygone era and not one promoted in a post-Care-Inquiry modern forward looking Jersey.










Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lenny Harper Discusses Child Abuse Report and local Mainstream Media.


Former DCO/SIO Lenny Harper


A day or so after the Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry published its damming report VFC interviewed former Deputy Chief Police Officer and Senior Investigating Officer of the police investigation (Operation Rectangle) into decades long concealed Child abuse in Jersey Lenny Harper.

Due to a number of other events having taken place subsequently, namely the former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power lodging a criminal complaint against the politician who (possibly illegally) suspended him in 2008 Deputy Andrew Lewis. Coupled with Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) announcing it was investigating Deputy Lewis' apparent breach of Members Code of Conduct (which it found he DID) and the embarrassing debacle that was the appearance of Senator Philip Bailhache and Deputy Lewis at the PPC Hearing and because of some technical issues we have been unable to publish the interview with Mr. Harper.................Until now.

Regular readers will be aware that Mr. Harper, after years of either being ignored, misquoted, and having Operation Rectangle trashed by the local mainstream media has taken the decision to no longer engage with them. A decision fully understood by, among many others, former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM. Mr. Harper does however remain committed to getting the truth out there for the Victims and Survivors which is why he engages with  national/outside media and of course Team Voice.

It should be said that we hope the relationship between Mr. Harper, and parts of the local mainstream media can, at some stage, be mended. This will take a strong commitment from the latter to demonstrate that the propaganda, misinformation, burying of vital public interest/news stories is a thing of the past. We believe that parts of the MSM have gone some way to demonstrate this but still have a long way to go. Other parts remain as bad as it ever was.

In our exclusive interview with Mr. Harper we discuss some of his thoughts on the Care Inquiry's report/findings. The (long overdue) vindication of the Victims/Survivors. The (long overdue) vindication of Operation Rectangle. Who has(n't) been held to account. The political interference (or not) with Rectangle and, of course, his decision not to engage with the local MSM and much more.

One of the more poignant points made by Mr. Harper, in the interview, was that the care inquiry "asked the question it didn't answer." The Inquiry's report is very legalistic and stops short of saying what really is being (or should be) said.

From Care Inquiry Report:

"It is clear that there was disquiet among Jersey’s politicians, up to and including the Chief Minister, Frank Walker, about the effect of the publicity being generated by Operation Rectangle. Nevertheless, we find that Frank Walker and the majority of politicians accepted the strong advice of the Attorney General and did not seek actively to interfere. We find that Ministers in general recognised that, however unpalatable the outcome of Operation Rectangle might prove to be, the Police investigation had to be permitted to run its course unhindered."

This (above) paragraph is one of the subjects mentioned by Mr. Harper (interview below). The Inquiry found that "the majority of politicians accepted the strong advice of the Attorney General and did not seek actively to interfere."(With Rectangle)

So what about the "minority" is the question that is on Mr. Harper's lips. If the "majority" didn't seek to interfere then that would/should mean that the "minority" DID seek to interfere?

Further; from the same paragraph:

"We find that Ministers in general recognised that, however unpalatable the outcome of Operation Rectangle might prove to be, the Police investigation had to be permitted to run its course unhindered."

The Inquiry found Ministers "in general" recognised "the Police investigation had to be permitted to run its course unhindered."

Not the Ministers "unanimously" and "unequivocally" recognised  "the Police investigation had to be permitted to run its course unhindered." They (possibly not all) "generally" "recognised" it but didn't "accept" it?




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Andrew Lewis and Philip Bailhache at PPC Hearing. (part one)


Deputy Andrew Lewis


So yesterday (1st August 2017) saw the appearance of Deputy Andrew Lewis at the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) Hearing. The Deputy was there, by all intents and purposes, to convince the Committee that he hadn't breached the Code of Conduct for elected States Members. The important aspect to note here is that PPC was not looking to discover whether he had told lies or not.

From PPC PRESS RELEASE: “What matters to the Committee is whether, during the course of his time as a States Member, throughout his dealings with the IJCI and his responses to the Assembly, Deputy Lewis’ actions complied with the Code. In other words, we will be determining whether his actions maintained and strengthened the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the States and its members.”

At the start of yesterday's Hearing the Chairman read out a statement informing Deputy Lewis, and those in attendance, that PPC accepts the findings of the Care Inquiry (IJCI). The Chairman reiterated that the Committee was there to discover if he (Andrew Lewis) had breached the code of conduct for elected States Members. To most fair minded people this would suggest that PPC (since it agrees with the IJCI's findings) agrees that Deputy Lewis lied to the States and to the IJCI a number of times. This (lying under oath) would constitute a charge of perjury for the likes of you and I but Jersey's Attorney General has given, what we believe to be a "legal opinion" (not a "ruling" as reported in the local MSM) that Deputy Lewis can't be PROSECUTED FOR PERJURY. We believe this "legal opinion" should be challenged and that Deputy Lewis should be subject of an independent CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.

Senator Philip Bailhache

Deputy Lewis arrived at yesterday's Hearing with legal counsel and it would be a fair question to ask who is paying for it? But probably one of the biggest farcical moments (there were many) was when Senator Philip Bailhache sat alongside Deputy Lewis and it became apparent that the Senator was legally representing him, or was his "Mackenzie's friend."

The deference shown (by the Committee) was palpable, if not shameful and embarrassing. Senator Bailhache was given a free rein to quote from the English Dictionary as to what a "lie" is or isn't. This had nothing to do with the purpose of the Hearing (as explained above). Senator Bailhache spoke for around 35 minutes from a pre-prepared statement that for the large majority (in my opinion and others who were present) had nothing to do with PPC's TOR's. Any mere mortal would have been closed down and told to stick to the TOR's but not Senator Bailhache.

It was no surprise that Philip Bailhache turned up to defend Andrew Lewis and further seek to undermine the work of the Chief Minister and the IJCI. He has consistently attempted to undermine the Care Inquiry to include ATTEMPTING TO PREVENT it receiving much needed funds to complete its work.

He was (as the Bailiff of Jersey) presiding over the infamous in-camera states debate where Deputy Lewis told some of his alleged "lies." The Hansard of this debate was bravely leaked, by a whistleblower, with a conscience, to Bloggers and was published HERE. Part of that debate, where Andrew Lewis was stating he had seen the MET interim report the Bailiff (Philip Bailhache) intervened and said: "Minister, do not go down this road please."

Relevant extract:

The Deputy of St John (Andrew Lewis):

"The Senator's conspiracy theories continue to astound me. I was not part of the Council of Ministers until but a few weeks ago. I am not conspiring in any way at all. The Senator consistently conspires in his own mind to work out conspiracies. This is nothing about that. This is a matter of great interest to me as the Minister for Home Affairs, as a resident of Jersey, as a custodian of the public purse. I am bringing a Chief Officer to account. I am giving him every opportunity to defend himself. As far as the accusation you raise about the Metropolitan Police, when I saw the preliminary report I was astounded. So much so that my actions, I believe, are fully justified. If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal. So my successor will have an interesting time. The report that I was shown gave me no doubt at all."

The Bailiff (Philip Bailhache): 

"Minister, do not go down this road please."

Why did Philip Bailhache not want Andrew Lewis telling people he had seen the MET Interim Report? Was it his (unelected) place to tell a politician what (not) to say?

We must also be mindful that the IJCI questioned the honesty of senator Bailhache. Granted it didn't go as far as calling him a liar but a fair minded person could reach the reasonable conclusion that the inference was there where in its REPORT when addressing Philip Bailhache's notorious Liberation Day speech it wrote:

"Sir Philip said that perhaps his juxtaposition of words was unfortunate. He accepted that as a highly experienced lawyer he was accustomed to choosing words carefully. His purpose was to address the island as a whole and encourage Jersey people not to feel ashamed of their history. The apparent comparison between the importance of child abuse and Jersey’s reputation did not occur to him." 

"We have considered whether Sir Philip’s words indicated a belief on his part that the reputation of Jersey was of more importance than the child abuse investigation. We cannot accept that a politician and lawyer of his experience would inadvertently have made such an “unfortunate juxtaposition”. We are sure that the way in which Jersey is perceived internationally matters greatly to him. However, his linking of Jersey’s reputation to the child abuse investigation was, we are satisfied, a serious political error, rather than a considered attempt to influence the course of the Police investigation."

We also have the Senator's apparent views on "lying" from when he was on the ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Those views don't appear to ring "true" right now.

Was Senator Bailhache the right person for Andrew Lewis to have defending him at the PPC Hearing? If you were wondering if "The Jersey Way" had been changed because of the IJCI report we think this appearance (Lewis/Bailhache) should confirm it has gone nowhere.

We will publish part two of this posting exposing the farce that was the PPC Hearing yesterday. The inadequate, or non existent, questioning from the Committee and much more. We will publish this after the PPC has published its findings which are expected soon.