Monday, March 03, 2014

Carry on Jersey


New currency unit THE PRAWN, after Lenny Harper
Click on any image for a larger version

A lot of carry on has been going on in Jersey since my last post at the end of November 2013. I'm not sure whether the island has lurched towards independence, but certainly there are things going on that should not be acceptable in any civilised society.

I'll try and fill in developments below under a few relevant headings.


Stuart Syvret


One of the posts requested to be taken down

When we left Stuart, he was languishing in La Moye prison, serving a sentence of three months for contempt of court. His contempt was not removing some thirty specified posts from his blog, and also, of course, not doing the court the courtesy of turning up for the hearing.

So, technically he was jailed for contempt. But that is like saying that Gandhi was jailed for disrupting the traffic. You have to look behind the civil disobedience to discern the cause that is being pursued. In Gandhi's case this was getting rid of the British and in Stuart's the exposure, and ultimately replacement, of a corrupt oligarchy which, inter alia, was responsible for decades of perpetration and coverup of child abuse on the island.

Stuart served two of the three months and is currently out of jail. The contempt basis, which could have allowed him to be rejailed at the drop of a hat, is now somewhat in doubt as his blog has been taken down by its host, Google, on foot of a very dubious legal piece of paper which the Jersey administration waved in front of them.

Stuart was asked to take down about thirty specified blog posts and when he did not, Google suspended his blog. In forwarding him the request, Google inadvertently revealed that the Jersey administration had been attempting to get the blog taken down since 2008, which was when Stuart posted the affidavit of suspended Jersey Police Chief, Graham Power, QPM. So this has been a long war of attrition, and it's not over yet. It remains to be seen if Google will see through the stroke that's been pulled on them, where the Jersey legal firm Appleby appear to have served a court judgement based on libel whereas the whole case was brought under Data Protection Legislation, an entirely different matter.

Stuart's blog, minus most of the comments, has mysteriously popped up again in the newly created blog of Erlan Verhooten, and work is underway to have the full thing hosted again via a safe ISP, and formally outside of Stuart's control, though he would, of course, envisage continuing to post on the new blog.

As far as timing is concerned, the administration appear to have desperately wanted the blog out of the way before the beginning of the Committee of Inquiry into "historic" child abuse on the island. The devastating evidence in Stuart's posts, along with other documentary evidence in his possession, promised to make for a very uncomfortable inquiry for the administration. They are also in the process of trying to bankrupt him before the general election in October 2014 so that he will be disqualified from standing for election, should he wish to do so.


Deputies Pitman


Trevor and Shona Pitman, bankrupted and expelled from Parliament

As we saw in November, Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman were effectively bankrupted when they unjustly lost their libel case against the Jersey Evening Post for publishing a cartoon stating that they only entered politics for the money. Since then they have been refused leave to appeal to the UK Privy Council by a Jersey court. Funny thing that.

Visiting UK Parliamentary Justice Committee

The report of the vising UK Parliamentary Justice Committee has now been published, and, as expected, it says that all is rosy in the garden that is Jersey and, if anyone has any complaints, they should take them up with the Jersey authorities. The Committee is thus referring all complaints back for judgement by those against whom the complaints are made. This is, in some strange way, supposed to be a manifestation of the British monarch taking seriously her duty to ensure good governance on the island.


The Vulnerable Lady


Bishop Dakin, after his ducking

The vulnerable lady, who was the principal subject of my last post, is still on the run on the mainland. She has had some temporary "relief" from her life outdoors and has moved into accommodation, but, as a result of the trauma inflicted on her earlier, she is not adjusting well to this indoor existence and is feeling the need to go back to her homeless outdoor life.

She has been working hard on her blogs since November and the experiences she is revealing, sometimes in graphic detail, are quite horrific. They would make you very angry on her behalf and make you wonder how she's still there at all. But, as I said before, for all her afflictions, she is a tough lady and is, so far, toughing it out. She is intelligent and articulate and has a flair for descriptive writing, so her journals are a good, if tough, read, and her descriptions of happier times would make you cry for what she has lost, or, more correctly, what has been taken from her.

The constitutional crisis, precipitated by revelations of how she was treated, rumbles on. The Dean has been restored to his palace after Bishop Dakin was clobbered by a combination of civilian and clerical enemy fire, and the Jersey Deanery has been transferred, supposedly pro tem, to the Canterbury archdiocese, and put under the wing of the Dean's friend, Bishop Trevor Wilmot.

The Steel Report, commissioned by the Winchester diocese, is presumably completed but has not been published, having become embroiled in some lagal wrangle, which may never be sorted out.

Teresa Rodrigues & Curtis Warren


Male queue for admission to La Moye

Now this is a very strange one. Out of the blue, a former Portugese drugs counsellor at La Moye prison, has claimed that she had an ongoing sexual relationship, or mushy mushy time as she described it, with jailed drug smuggler Curtis Warren. This has given rise to a storm, in which she is both praised and criticised, but, more importantly, raises questions about the running of the prison some years ago.

It is said that she raised the matter, in a national newspaper, in order to pre-empt some worse stuff that was about to come out. That poor unfortunate Ian Le Marquand is, again, the minister in the firing line and he has so far been true to form as his coy and confusing self. This one will rumble on awhile.


Bergerac


John Nettles and Haut de la Garenne

The BBC (UK) has been re-running the 1980s TV detective series "Bergerac", but in response to all the Savile stuff and given that most of the series was set in Jersey, with police HQ in the notorious then recently almost vacated Haut de la Garenne, the Corporation has decided not to rescreen almost three quarters of the series. This is supposed to indicate the Corporation's sensitivity to the feelings of abuse survivors, but it seems to me more like a big Savile funk and an attempt to stay below the radar.

The local branch of the BBC in Jersey has been most reluctant, one could even say absolutely refused, to rock the boat on the island, particularly in relation to Haut de la Garenne. This is only one of the institutions which were being investigated by the former police team, Lenny Harper and Graham Power, with no help from the Corporation. Power was sacked and Harper rubbished by the administration in an attempt to stymie the first real investigation of abuse in decades.

In a recent interview, John Nettles, Bergerac to you, has suggested the BBC are going over the top in postponing screening of most of the old series. He has referred to the "debacle" of Haut de la Garenne, by which he means not the abuse but the stymied investigation. He also gives the impression that he thinks this whole Savile thing is overplayed. I wonder why.

Just in passing, it is worth mentioning that Emma Martins, the Jersey Data Protection Commissioner, is Nettles's daughter, and it was she who orchestrated the recent court case against Stuart Syvret which led both to his imprisonment and the taking down of his blog. She has publicly admitted to taking advice from her father relating to her professional duties.

I am not a Nettles fan, but was impressed by his recent book on the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. How he can have such a cavalier attitude to a matter of such import as systematically covered up child abuse is beyond me. History, which he claims to respect, will judge him harshly in this.


Leah


Leah McGrath Goodman, investigating US journalist

Leah McGrath Goodman is primarily a financial journalist. She came to Jersey from the financial angle but became interested in the area of child abuse and is currently writing a book about the Jersey set up. She has recently published the first instalment of a three part series on the island in Newsweek. It is written with great understanding and care, and the next two parts promise to be as riveting as the first one. Assuming they are not spiked.

She had started a blog but appears to have given it up. This is not surprising as blogs are very time consuming and the Jersey bloggers are doing a fantastic job in that area in the face of both overt and covert opposition.

Toons

While I only intend doing the odd post in this series, I am inclined to poke more regularly at my page of Jersey cartoons, where the illustrations are accompanied by descriptive text.

You can stay up to date by keeping an eye on these cartoons.

Which reminds me that they are also due an update now.

Compendium

As I have now done a few posts on Jersey and don't intend repeating myself, I have assembled these in a single new blog for the convenience of my readers.

3 comments:

HG said...

The vulnerable lady is blushing at the description :)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, insightful and honest appraisal of this corrupt rock!

Póló said...

@HG

No need to blush. I mean all of it. You are to be admired for keeping hacking through that awful jungle. My wish for you is serenity, though that may take some while yet.

@Anonymous

Praise from the island is praise indeed. Thank you.