In part 2 of this series, part one being HERE we bring you an excerpt from the sworn affidavit of Former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM. Below that are some questions that arose from it in our States Chamber as recorded on Hansard.
Excerpt from sworn affidavit of Graham Power QPM.
13. The feeling in the room was tense and there was general talk about the questions asked by the Health Minister and the need for some sort of action in response. I had the feeling that “something was going on” to which I was not a party. After the meeting the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley, asked me to stay behind. Also remaining were the head of States H.R., Ian Crich, the Chief Officer of Health, Mike Pollard and the then Chief Officer of Education, (Tom McKeon who has since retired.) The Chief Executive said that it was anticipated that the Council of Ministers would tomorrow be asked by the then Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker, to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Health Minister and that this could result in his removal from office. I was then told of measures that had apparently been put in place to facilitate this. I was told that the islands Child Protection Committee (C.P.C.) was due to meet at the same time as we were meeting and that arrangements had been made for it to pass a vote of “no confidence” in the Minister. It was then suggested that as the heads of the relevant public services we should do something similar and that this would give support to the proposal that the Chief Minister would bring forward the next day.
14. I was shocked by this and initially did not know what to say. I eventually made two points. Firstly I said that the Minister was entitled to ask difficult questions. As I saw things that was his role and it was our role to provide a response, and secondly, even if that was not agreed, what was being proposed was civil servant and police engagement in political activity. I stated clearly that I did not see that as acceptable and that I would have nothing to do with it. At this point the Chief Executive asked me to leave the meeting which I did. I then made contact with a police colleague who had been at the C.PC. and discovered that this colleague had also had left their meeting for similar reasons. Shortly afterwards we both made brief notes in relation to what had happened. This was my first noteworthy experience of the formation of an “inner circle” of politicised senior civil servants loyal to the Chief Minister. The Chief Executive and the head of H.R. subsequently played a significant role in my suspension. (End)
Hansard 19th Jan 2010
Did a meeting led by the Chief Executive take place after the C.M.B. (Corporate Management Board) meeting on 25th July 2007 to discuss matters relating to then Minister for Health and Social Services, and if so who was present at the meeting? Was the possible removal from office of the then Minister discussed, and if so would the Chief Minister suspend all those present from their duties pending a full investigation into the matter?
The Chief Executive has confirmed that there was a meeting of some chief officers following a meeting of the Corporate Management Board on 25th July 2007 to discuss the impact, which the then Minister for Health and Social Services’ criticism of Social Services staff was having on staff morale. Those present at the meeting were the Chief Executive, the Chief Officer of Police, the Director of Human Resources, the Chief Officer of Education, Sport and Culture and the Chief Officer of Health and Social Services. The Chief Police Officer did not attend the entire meeting. The Chief Executive confirmed that at no time was there discussed at this meeting the possible removal of the then Minister from office.
I have a copy of the file note from the Chief of Police on my desk. Could the Chief Minister just clarify, the States C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) stands effectively accused by the Island’s most senior police officer with what he concluded was a lead involvement in an attempt to remove a Minister from office regardless of the rights and wrongs of what that Minister did? How can this not result in suspension as a neutral act while this is investigated, particularly given that the C.E.O. was later to play a major part and a contentious part in the suspension of the Chief of Police?
I have to be fully careful here because I am not sure whether this file note may have any relevance to the investigation that is currently underway and I maybe urge caution in answering this but say merely that I believe that any reference to a file note, which may be contained in some blog or other source should be treated with the appropriate level of certainty.
It is a copy of the file note; it is not in some blog.
Sorry, what is your question, Deputy? Deputy what is your question? Deputy, this is question time, were you asking a question? Deputy, I am speaking to you, please stand up when I am speaking to you.
I was not aware you were talking to me, Sir, apologies.
Well I am not sure who else I was talking to, but anyway ...
I was just quite shocked at the dismissive nature that everything comes from a blog; it is a proper file note so perhaps my question would be, would the Chief Minister perhaps now take that more seriously?
I will treat it to the extent that I need to treat it at this stage, with the appropriate level of seriousness, yes.
We have heard the positions of certain people who were kept behind, will the Minister explain as to why the majority or the whole of the Corporate Management Board were not asked to discuss this particular issue?
I made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was the effect of criticism on staff morale. The meeting was directed at those officers directly concerned with staff morale.
Just following on from Deputy Pitman’s question, first of all has the Chief Minister seen the file note, which the Chief of Police recorded at police headquarters after his meeting with the Chief Management Board? Has he seen this first of all and, secondly, if he has not, if he takes a copy of it will he please act on it? Because it does seem to indicate there was far more to that meeting than meets the eye.
I have not seen the original file note, I have seen a copy of it and as I have previously said it will be treated with the appropriate level of seriousness.
I would like to refer to that file note on 25th July from the former Chief Officer and he does say coming back from that meeting: “I was left with the clear impression that they were attempting to draw me [that was the C.M.B.] in my capacity as the Chief of Police into a Civil Service-led attempt to remove a Minister from office.” I add there that the Chief Executive was also there. Bearing that in mind - and the Chief Executive was also involved in the organisation of Operation Blast and he burnt the notes of the meeting that was held in the Chief Officer’s suspension - surely the Chief Minister should be taking some leadership and looking into these issues of the Chief Executive? He should be taking them very seriously.
The file note in question and contents of it may form a matter of the disciplinary investigation. I do not feel inclined at this stage to make any comment on the content of that file note.
If, as the Chief Minister alleges, the meeting was held in respect of staff morale, why was the Chief of Police not requested to leave the meeting? Why was it a matter of his own choice to leave the meeting? Secondly, were any notes taken of the meeting?
The decision of the Chief of Police to attend or not attend is a matter for the person concerned and not for me. To the best of my knowledge no notes of the meeting were taken; it was an informal meeting.
The question will be what is the Chief Minister saying was not discussed? I just want to refer to the file note. The discussion was led by B.O. (Bill Ogley), who we know is the Chief Executive Officer, who disclosed: “The Child Protection Committee will this afternoon be discussing a vote of no confidence in the Minister … Attempts were made by the C.E.O. to draw me into this. I was told that my people were part of the Island’s arrangements and I should show collective support by opposing the criticisms of the Minister.” Could the Chief Minister tell us what was not being discussed?
I do not think I can. I do not believe it is appropriate to speculate on the content of that file note, as I say, while there is still a disciplinary process ongoing.
I stand to be corrected, but I believe I heard the Chief Minister imply that this could not be looked at because there was an inquiry into the suspension of the Chief Officer. Could he just clarify how the 2 are in any way related? How can that stop him taking action to investigate allegations against another senior civil servant?
My comment was that the content of the file note might form part of an ongoing disciplinary investigation. (End Hansard)
So here we are left with a few more questions. A couple being are we expected to believe that our most Senior Police Officer is making up a complete pack of lies about the Chief Executive Officer, Bill Ogley, by not only submitting a file note, but is willing to risk possible imprisonment for perjury by swearing an affidavit that he knows to be false?
Now that all disciplinary action against the former Chief Police Officer has been abandoned by Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand, there are no more “investigations” going on, why hasn’t the Chief Minister initiated an investigation into the claims made against Mr. Ogley in the sworn affidavit of Graham Power QPM?
Something very untoward appears to have gone on and it is the “duty” of our supposed Chief Minister to get to the bottom of it, why hasn’t he?......................Who is “the real Chief Minister?”
Submitted by Team Voice.