Monthly Archives: March 2008

SIMON BELLWOOD – WHISTLE-BLOWER.

The Man Who Did the Right Thing.

Those of you who have been observing the Jersey child abuse disaster may have heard that Simon Bellwood – the social worker who was sacked from the Jersey secure unit following his objection to a cruel solitary confinement regime – has won his case at the Employment Tribunal.

Simon has, accurately, agreed to a statement to the effect that he had not claimed his dismissal was for whistle-blowing.

He never made that claim. I did.

And it was – and remains – the truth.

OK, the major “mistake” he made was to confront and defy a regime of cruelty and neglect – and do so in a way that would have actually required Jersey social services senior management to do some work.

But speaking to others about his concerns – blowing-the-whistle – was clearly a major factor in the consensus to dispose of him.

The fact that I believed him – saw that his concerns were valid – rather than agreeing with rubbish from the management – brought me too into the firing-line.

But, after the customary gung-ho Jersey establishment approach – the complacent habit of wining through power – suddenly, the management case collapsed.

After a day-and-a-half of hearing Simon’s evidence – the Jersey establishment caved-in – without even bothering to cross-examine.

In some respects, I was disappointed at this outcome. I was due to be the next witness – and boy, was I looking forward to giving evidence under oath and being cross-examined.

I guess it felt like preparing for a boxing match; I had trained myself hard, limbered up – and was eager to administer a round-house battering to these clowns – for example my former chief executive officer.

And if, by some remote chance, I hadn’t sparked them – next up as a witness would have been Lenny Harper – tough, principled no-nonsense cop leading the child abuse investigations.

What a delicious prospect.

But – inevitably – it wasn’t to be. Indeed, it was surprising they held out this long.

When Simon Bellwood first approached me – back in the spring of 2007 – I knew instinctively that his concerns needed to be taken seriously.

I asked the chief executive of Jersey Health & Social Services, Mike Pollard, to examine the case – and I asked for the files.

Back at that time – and I still have the e-mail correspondence – Mr Pollard attempted to fob me of with a load of nonsense to the effect that he and his management colleagues were correct – that Mr. Bellwood was fairly dismissed.

Being an independently-minded kind of person – I read the case-files to form my own opinion.

It was crystal-clear to me then that the management case was utter rubbish – a laughably incompetent farrago of altered documents, back-dated file notes, omissions, fabrications and complete lies.

So why – we must ask – were concerns for the welfare of vulnerable children in Jersey trampled into the dirt?

As recently as June, 2007?

Whilst this recent controversy concerning the Greenfields secure unit – although bad enough – does not match some of the horrors under investigation by the Police – it is crucial to understand that these abuse events – and the concealment of them – do not differ in their causes or their persistence.

The syndrome, in effect, remains the same – whether we are considering the battering and rape of children 40 years ago – or the use of coercive solitary confinement against vulnerable children – for two month stretches – to the point of actually driving them into mental breakdown – during the last few years.

The continuum of abuse – decade after decade – remains the same foul product – of the same foul administrative “culture”.

1947?

2007?

Contempt and viciousness towards children already in need remains – un-altered – over these decades.

Indeed – we can now see starkly that the Jersey establishment oppressions visited upon Simon Bellwood – and visited upon me – were merely the most recent manifestations of the culture of concealment and cover-up which saw children brutalised.

‘The Machine’ in action – doing what it has always done; crushing anyone one who threatens the cosy, complacent, self-interested stagnation of an establishment gripped by a decadence that would not have been out-of-place in ancient Rome.

So – have the Jersey oligarchy learnt any lessons?

Perhaps; one or two.

But it is too little – and it is too late.

Some justice for Simon and his family?

One or two suspensions?

The strident pronouncement of This or That Enquiry?

Sorry – it just won’t wash.

The disgusting amalgam of incompetence, perversity, ethical bankruptcy – and sheer stupidity – is laid bare.

No cosmetic patch – no symbolistic posture – can now serve the Jersey oligarchy.

That fact will not stop them trying, of course. But now, confronted with decades of systemic failure to protect the most vulnerable people in our community, we will not again fail to see the fundamental defects in Jersey’s public administration.

So what do the Jersey bosses offer by way of contrition?

Rumour has it that Joe Kennedy – the boss of the Greenfields secure unit – has been suspended.

If so – it could not be categorised as a surprise. Simon and I predicted some months ago that Kennedy would be the fall-guy – the scapegoat – for what has been, essentially, a catastrophic ‘system failure.’

Sure enough – so it has come to pass. Suddenly the Jersey establishment – senior civil servants and oligarchy politicians – are running for cover. Self-preservation is the order of the day. Again – as we predicted.

They’re hoping – desperately – that if they throw Kennedy to the wolves – the rest of them will escape.

Sorry guys.

It aint happening this time.

This is not to say Kennedy is innocent. He ran a regime of institutionalised abuse in that children were subjected to damaging and cruel extended periods of solitary confinement.

To compound his errors – when confronted with these deficiencies – he oppressed a good, principled social worker – and then lied about the Grand Prix regime in TV interviews.

But he is but one component in the apparatus of failure.

In this episode – as in all other examples of institutional child abuse in Jersey – no one person can be singled-out for blame.

These kinds of pervasive, persistent and foul betrayals of vulnerable children could only occur through “Teamwork”. (It’s the real thing.)

So who are the members of this “fine” “team”?

Who else – on a clear, evidenced, basis – were the “Team Players”?

Remember – you read it here first.

Whilst their roles varied – and the seriousness of their failings differed – here is an initial naming of the guilty parties in respect as the Bellwood/Greenfields scandal; not an exhaustive list – to be sure – but enough to be going on with.

Bill Ogley.

Mike Pollard.

Marnie Baudians.

Phil Dennett.

Linda Dodds.

Joe Kennedy.

Tom McKeon.

Steven Austin-Vautier.

And – quite a few others.

Whilst they will not care to admit it yet – the Jersey oligarchs face a simple choice: enforce acceptable standards upon public administration – or betray vulnerable children – again.

That is the choice.

One or two, minor, diversionary scapegoats will not cure the festering canker of child neglect and abuse endemic in Jersey public administration.

Talk is easy – and cheap – amongst politicians. You could ask every single member of the Jersey parliament whether they are strongly committed to the protection of vulnerable children.

Every single one of them would pronounce their absolute commitment to the cause.

But should we judge by words – or actions?

Talk is cheap – unlike suffering – unlike the psychological maiming of already vulnerable children.

Mere words – and the occasional gesture – will not satisfy the victims, the principled front-line staff – or me.

As far as anyone genuinely motivated by child protection is concerned – only the necessary and obvious actions will suffice.

Stuart Syvret.

‘ACROSS THE BLINDING PAGE.’

Exhaustion Under a Starry Night.

I’m sorry for not producing a post for a couple of days. Try as I might, time just doesn’t coalesce.

That focus – that confluence of mood, energy and opportunity – has been as elusive as a bat hunting through the misty darkness. .

I have been consumed with other matters – regular readers of this blog will understand what I mean. Although the work I am committed to is extremely rewarding and very necessary – it remains a difficult and uneasy burden.

It should not be so – but sadly it is.

However – I was encouraged today from a most unlikely source – one of the Jersey media.

I know it will surprise you – but I have a positive observation concerning the island’s local reportage.

Now – let’s not get carried away – it was just one good story. As I said in an e-mail to the news editor concerned – the Jersey media still has a long way to go to redeem itself.

But it was a very important piece. In fact – the first ever piece of Jersey journalism I have seen during these present sad days to actually tell an unvarnished truth; to describe just how foul “society” has often been towards children.

Jersey’s commercial television station, Channel Television, broadcast a significant interview with a man who – as a child – had been ‘sentenced’ to be ‘birched’ – tortured and brutalised, basically. You can probably still see the piece on the Channel Television web site.

I don’t have the strength to recount the facts right now; perhaps in a later post.

What brief things then, can I say tonight?

Yes, Frank, as predicted in my last post, disgraced himself again by insulting those Jersey people who attended the rally for abuse victims last Saturday. But I’m very bored by him.

What else?

I guess I should meet my promise of a few blogs ago and produce a set of answers to those questions which have been asked & criticisms which have been made. Hopefully I will get a chance to get that together tomorrow at some point.

In the mean time – I’d better try and sleep. It’s only midnight – an early night by recent measure – and I need to be rested and ready for the battle of the coming weeks – which – as is the way with these things – will be worse than events so far.

I’ve tried to toil ‘across the blinding page’ – but tonight – this is as much as I can do.

I quoted Bob Dylan at the rally on Saturday, but right now a different song of his encapsulates how I feel:

“Mother, wipe the blood from my face
I can’t see through it any more.
I need someone to talk to and a new hiding place
Feel I’m knocking on heaven’s door.”

Stuart Syvret.

SUFFERING IS A POLITICAL ISSUE

Decades of Concealed Abuse – much of it Carried out by the Authorities – Equals a Political Problem – one that Calls for a Political Solution.

I am extremely pleased to report that several hundred Jersey people came to a public rally this Saturday.

Looking around the assembled faces, I spotted a number of the abuse survivors who I know. And I met a number who I hadn’t previously known.

The victims, the whistle-blowers and those who campaign with them will have been gratified to see such a display of solidarity.

Those attending came from all walks of life – and they came in defiance of the propaganda campaign waged against the gathering by the Jersey media – particularly BBC Jersey on this occasion.

I listened to a BBC Jersey interview with the organiser of the event. When I heard of the up-coming interview in the news at the head of the program, it was with weary resignation I predicted entirely how the conversation would go.

Sure enough – the interviewer exhibited near-zero interest in the victims, the suffering – and how public administration in Jersey can have failed so catastrophically. Instead, the young man who was organising the event had to spend 90% of the interview dealing with cretinous assertions to the effect that by facilitating a public show of solidarity with the survivors – he was being “political”. As though this were some kind of crime.

It was – as is 95% of BBC Jersey out-put – as though they had been handed a crib-sheet by a Jersey establishment spin-doctor which they were enthusiastically regurgitating.

Actually – let’s face it – they probably were.

I don’t describe the power-apparatus of Jersey as an oligarchy for nothing. It’s the perfect word to describe the rotten confluence and collaboration of vested interests, social-climbing, ignorance and complacency which sees every arm of the state here walking in lock-step – with the enthusiastic and supine support of Jersey’s media.

Some people have suggested that I’m overly-harsh in my analysis of Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker; some suggested that he isn’t, in fact, a weak and shallow little man – burdened with a surfeit of both ignorance and stupidity.

To those who share that view – just reflect upon his performance in recent weeks – during a time when the community of Jersey is facing its greatest crises and hour-of-need since World War II.

Crushed by the immutable fact that he was responsible for the political dimension of the child protection disaster – when, last year, he chose to side with lying and incompetent civil servants and join in with them, opportunistically, in the engineering of my dismissal – he has been like a rabbit in the headlights.

A startled and quivering lump of indecision and fear – incapable of seeing and taking the action needed to move to safety – instead twitching and jerking as fate bears down upon him like a dump-truck full of toxic incinerator ash.

If Senator Walker possessed a reasonable degree of intelligence – and more importantly, wisdom – he would have recognised the folly of his position – and he would have learnt the obvious lessons from that, first, catastrophic day of media disasters which followed the Police announcement that they were searching for the remains of children.

But, instead of learning the obvious lessons, Senator Walker’s performance actually continues to get worse – extraordinary, I know, but true.

Samuel Beckett was famous for the grim black-humour he mined from the existential bleakness of the human condition.

And it is in that Beckettian tradition we will be afforded an opportunity to laugh amidst the tragedy – courtesy of Frank Walker’s latest PR disaster – when it is pronounced in the Jersey media tomorrow.

It is said ‘when you’re in a hole – stop digging’. As I remarked to him and the rest of his clowns last year – if I wasn’t broke, I would nip down to the local hardware store and buy them a spade, so clearly do they love digging.

Consider the progress – from bad to worse –

1: In a head-to-head interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today program – he began by speaking about the tragedy and the disaster which has befallen vulnerable children in Jersey. Then, having disposed of this obligation – he proceeded to devote substantial amounts of his air-time to attacking me.

2: At the conclusion of another head-to-head interview, as soon as he thought the cameras had stopped rolling, he subjected me to a spittle-flecked tirade of abuse – which was captured on camera. This included the now world-famous “your trying to shaft Jersey internationally” remark.

3: On BBC 2 Newsnight that same evening falling to pieces under the assault of Jeremy Paxman – when trying to argue with him over irrelevancies such as the precise words Walker used in his infamous diatribe. It apparently not occurring to him that the accuracy of the quote was immaterial – it was enough that he had said such things – and unwittingly revealed his true concerns.

4: Having stopped digging himself into greater holes for a couple of days – and having said he didn’t want to politicise the issues – he then abandoned this avowed wish when – to the astonishment of the world-press pack – he called a news conference on the Thursday afternoon – for the sole political purpose of attacking me.

So, what fresh hell do we ready ourselves to grimly laugh at – courtesy of Senator Walker?

As a UK journalist remarked to me this morning “Is there no limit to these people’s stupidity?”

Sadly not.

Notwithstanding the comically predictable campaign by the Jersey media to down-play and rubbish the event, several hundred people gathered in Jersey’s Royal Square yesterday to express recognition and compassion for the victims of child abuse, and to listen to different people expressing their thoughts and feelings during these sad times.

In a small conservative community, not often inclined to engage in public demonstrations, the turn-out was very good.

And – it included people from all parts of Jersey society – young and old – wealthy and poor. The people of the island showing the real Jersey to the world – a community of decent, compassionate people.

Guess what?

Yes – you’re right.

Senator Frank Walker has disgraced himself yet further.

He has issued a statement to the media in which he rubbishes the rally, accuses it of being political, claims the attendance was very low – and actually insults and denigrates all the good Jersey people who turned out by accusing them of using a tragedy just to promote change.

Yes.

He really is that stupid.

Ordinary working people, middle-class executives, frail elderly ladies, damaged and frightened abuse survivors, concerned grandparents and motivated young people.

All turned out in the name of common, shared, decency.

All insulted and denigrated by Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker.

Even if he simply couldn’t bring himself to speak the truth – that the gathering was vastly more beneficial for Jersey’s reputation than anything done by his army of expensive spin-doctors – he should at least have exhibited sufficient respect to remain silent.

Setting aside the insolence and denigration exhibited in his words – which are self-evident – let us examine a particularly absurd and ignorant part of his spin.

It is a Jersey establishment line picked up and touted with unquestioning and rabid enthusiasm by the Jersey media – in particular BBC Jersey, and the Jersey Evening Post.

The argument goes like this: “People were using the rally to express ‘political’ views. The Jersey child abuse catastrophe is not a political issue, it’s a tragedy. Therefore any people who become motivated to fight for political change – following six decades of failure to protect vulnerable children – are merely opportunistic bandwagon-jumpers who are using the disaster for their own ends.”

The tragedy of this Jersey establishment spin is that it reveals just how stupid, ethically bankrupt and ignorant the island’s oligarchy is. And thus serves as another stark illustration of just why we accumulated all these years of suffering and foulness.

This will seem extremely basic to any readers of this blog who live in functioning democracies – places where being “political” is entirely unremarkable and the norm – not a “threat to society”. But please bear with me whilst I explain a few very simple things to my Jersey establishment readers.

People are allowed to be political.

It is normal – especially in democracies.

People – especially politicians and journalists – who attack other people for being ‘political’ – simply aren’t democrats.

There is no boundary between any societal crises, issue or disaster – and the ‘political’ domain.

Therefore any event affecting a community is – inescapably – and by definition – ‘political’.

Those who say otherwise are simply trying to shut-down debate.

The child abuse disaster in Jersey is – fundamentally – a political issue.

Those who claim it is not are simply trying to keep the real causes of the tragedy hidden.

Hopefully, at least one or two of my “esteemed colleagues” will have begun to grasp the issues following this brief explanation of democracy, politics and society.

I have been accused of becoming repetitive in my posts; well, perhaps. But the circumstances we find ourselves dealing with dictate that it be so. When the same, fundamental inadequacies emerge again and again – on an almost daily basis – one has to respond with the truth – again and again.

Every society has its maniacs. Sometimes systemic child abuse remains concealed for a long time. In these respects, Jersey does not differ from other communities.

But what makes the circumstances of Jersey so unusual – what makes the situation here so very bad – is the sheer quantity of abuse only now emerging. Decade after decade after decade of the most foul and dreadful abuse; several generations of misery and suffering.

And 98% of it has remained hidden, the victims treated like dirt and the guilty going unexposed and unpunished.

The Jersey oligarchy is – inescapably – culpable for the persistence of these crimes.

By any reckoning – a wretched miasma of perversity, incompetence, professional negligence, dishonesty, self-protection, corruption and ethical bankruptcy.

At least six decades of the torture of Jersey’s vulnerable children – and a political and judicial apparatus which not only failed to detect and prevent a substantial amount of it – but actively and demonstrably sought to cover it up, avoid ‘bad publicity’, protect the perpetrators and help conceal their crimes.

And this was able to happen for decade after decade.

If such a catastrophic failure of public administration – such a disastrous manifestation of failed checks and balances can occur – then the problem is – most certainly – a political one.

Those who pretend and assert that the catastrophic betrayal of these children by the island’s public administration is not a ‘political’ issue – are simply liars – liars who put their own power, privilege and “image” above the protection of vulnerable children.

The political and judicial apparatus of Jersey – the habits of its oligarchy – are to blame for the scale and persistence of the abuses.

Those who spread the spin that the Jersey abuse disaster is not a “political” issue –are simply perpetuating the culture of cover-up and concealment – the denial of the truth.

And in doing so they are betraying the survivors – and betraying the vulnerable children of the future.

Stuart Syvret.

OF COVER-UPS, CONCEALMENT AND THE ABUSE OF POWER.

The Jersey Evening Post: More Spin – More Betrayals of this Community.

Greetings.

Another late night – after another exhausting day. So please excuse the typos.

This Saturday, at noon in Jersey’s Royal Square, a rally will take place to express acknowledgment and recognition to the victims of child abuse.

It is an opportunity for Jersey to show to the world that 99% of its people are caring, and that they will not tolerate such things happening again.

On many occasions, during the present international focus on the child abuse tragedy in Jersey, I have been asked by visiting journalists: “Why are your politicians so inept? And why is the Jersey media so servile and supportive of the island’s establishment?”

And as the veneer of respectability has been peeled back to reveal the festering midden beneath, visiting, real, journalists have asked “Can the Jersey establishment and its media sink any lower? Can it dig itself into even deeper holes?”

The question asked is – ‘is the Jersey oligarchy willing – or even capable – of learning lessons – or is it doomed to carry on – to laughter from the world press-pack – insisting that black is white and heaping compound errors and yet greater disgrace upon itself?’

Those who are familiar with this blog will know right now what the answers to these questions are.

Consider my old friends at The Rag.

One might imagine – after the last 6 months – let alone after the last few awful weeks – a faint glimmer of contrition might begin to show itself in the attitude of The Rag. Some slight acknowledgement of errors and journalistic failings on the part of Jersey’s only newspaper.

Just a little bit – you know?

After all, the Jersey media in general – and the Jersey Evening Post especially – is in a catastrophic position. It is in the utterly shameful position of having failed pretty much every expectation upon the Forth Estate.

Journalists who have been in the island a matter of days have uncovered more facts concerning child protection failures, than The Rag has in its entire history.

The Jersey Evening Post has actually been spoon-fed important information concerning child protection failures over the years. For example, numerous victims – not just one or two – have gone to the paper – over the decades – only to have their stories brushed-off and dismissed.

I supplied – in the year 2000 – the Jersey Evening Post with a copy of the Sharp report into the child abuse scandal at Victoria College. The Rag used not one single piece of the important information within the document.

It described such facts as: profoundly shocking professional failures, derelictions of duty by very senior people – and out-right betrayals of the victims by those who should have been defending them.

Who knows? If the JEP had acted as would have any other newspaper in the democratic world – and run these important public-interest stories – perhaps the community would have learnt then – in the year 2000 – that children were being betrayed by those in positions of authority and responsibility for their welfare.

Absolutely no respectable newspaper would have betrayed journalism in this way.

If you do not live in Jersey – and you are trying to understand what has happened here – how can these abuses have gone near-entirely concealed for at least six decades – you need look no further than the Jersey media to discover a main component of the apparatus of failure.

As I said in a previous post, the Jersey media have been – and still are – complicit in the culture of cover-up and concealment.

Culpable for much of the disastrous failure to have a more open society – and thus culpable for much of the misery and suffering of the island’s vulnerable children.

The Jersey media?

Guilty.

There is no hiding place from this fact.

I know that quite a number of national and international journalists read this blog. Could I suggest to them that they obtain a copy of the JEP of Friday, 7th March 2008?

It will provide a fascinating and telling example of why things have gone so catastrophically wrong in Jersey.

It contains large swathes of Jersey establishment spin – including a comprehensive criticism of the national media.

“All adds up to a good story” – so says the header across pages 10 & 11.

So – listen-up, all you muck-raking world journalists!

It’s all your fault.

According to The Rag – and I paraphrase slightly – “the Jersey child protection disaster is merely ‘a little local difficulty’. An unfortunate episode which has simply been blown out of all proportion by sensation-hungry media. The child abuse controversy is in no way the fault of the Jersey establishment. If only other newspapers acted like the Jersey Evening Post – then the battering, torture, rape – and possibly murder – of children would be treated with the lower media profile it deserves.”

Even now – even after a period of appalling revelations concerning the decades-long failure of the authorities – of the establishment of this island to protect vulnerable children – the Jersey media is still, to this day, full of crap.

The local press – like its Jersey establishment bosses – still just doesn’t “get it”.

As far as they are concerned, this controversy is ‘just-another-class-war’ for them to wage against anarchistic reprobate scum – who might jeopardise the advertising revenue from the local used-car salesmen and other assorted spivs.

But today’s edition of The Rag is worth paying attention to. For in nearly 18 years in politics, I have never seen such open panic and fear on the part of the JEP.

A few of its senior figures – belatedly – have clearly woken up to the fact they are in an utterly changed world. All those decades of unchallenged – and unchallengeable – power; the unquestioning deference from 90% of the population – the monopoly – suddenly it has all vanished. Gone like a vapour on the wind.

Suddenly – they have real competition; real news organisations – asking real questions.

And – and in many ways this is the herald of the end of the JEP – citizen media. One only has to skim across the seething mass of cyberspace to see that the ordinary people of Jersey – for the first time in 800 years as a self governing jurisdiction – finally have their own voices.

The old, burnt-out, cocktail-party-pursuing pack of local media bosses are finally facing their Gotterdammerung.

As I said – you can see the desperation and blind, thrashing panic in the JEP’s coverage. It is plain that they have, for example, abandoned the war with the national media – acknowledged defeat in that arena – and now – like Hitler in his bunker – are fighting a deranged and desperate battle for local control.

For example, consider the Jersey Evening Post of Friday, 7th March 2008. It includes, on page 10, a comment piece written by editor Chris Bright in which he attempts to defend the JEP against the charge of cover-up and concealment concerning the failure of his paper to print any of the key information which was contained in the un-published Sharp report into the child abuse scandal at Jersey’s Victoria College.

His comment piece really is “doomed last-stand” kind of material.

You want an illustration of just how desperate and ill-judged the piece by Bright is?

In the last three paragraphs – the piece actually confesses the key point.

But, clearly, Bright just didn’t understand the meaning of what he wrote. After this unwitting confession he then reverts to attacking me.

Remember – we are contemplating an environment in which there has been a catastrophic failure – over decades – to protect vulnerable children.

As is plain to any thinking person – those decades of failure are down to the inadequacy, stupidity and weakness of the island’s authorities – of its ruling elite.

The culture of cover-up and concealment.

Yet – extraordinarily – The Rag admits on page 10 that “the only noteworthy new material” concerned discussions amongst senior staff concerning the abuser, Jervis-Dykes.

The pitiful piece by Bright goes onto say “An editorial decision was taken that this additional information did not add significantly enough to the extensive JEP reports already published”.

The “information” Bright is referring to is the fact that the senior leadership of the College had in its knowledge – and discussed – complaints of child abuse.

Complaints of child abuse which repeatedly emerged – over a period of years – and which were covered-up and swept under the carpet by very senior figures in Jersey society. The senior staff and certain members of the Board of Governors.

These revelations – which had not been published – were – in JEP-world – not “significant”.

Let us consider in detail whether the “information” deemed “insignificant” by the JEP was indeed irrelevant – as they assert – or whether it was, in fact, crucial – and a striking example of the causes of the child protection crises Jersey now faces?

Let me explain some background information and the chronology of events.

The trial and conviction of the abuser, Jervis-Dykes, was, indeed, well-covered by the Jersey Evening Post.

As many journalists I have spoken to in the last few weeks would attest, I have made a point of saying that the initial coverage of this case was one – of about three – occasions upon which I can recollect The Rag having done a good job.

I respect the journalist, Diane Simon, who was tenacious in her work on the case. Indeed, she was in regular contact with me, and repeatedly asked me if I could obtain a copy of the Sharp report for her and the JEP.

At this point I was indeed trying to obtain a copy of the secret report – primarily on behalf of a mother of a victim who had approached me for help, but also for the Jersey media, given it was clearly an important public interest matter.

The Jersey establishment repeatedly refused to provide me with a copy of the document. The then President of the Education Committee, Senator Len Norman, simply refused to release it.

Interestingly, his lame excuse for not making the report available was pretty much exactly the same as the present Education political boss, Senator Mike Vibert.

Both have stated that they would not release the report “because they wished to protect the identity of the victims.”

Not one single victim is identified in the document.

But I pursued the matter and – eventually – obtained a leaked copy. I gave a copy to the mother I was assisting – and I gave a copy to the lawyer who was representing the victims.

I then personally delivered a copy of the report to the Jersey Evening Post. Diane Simon – to her credit – was tenacious in wishing to obtain this document and frequently called me and asked for ‘progress reports’ as to whether I had succeeded in getting it.

She did, indeed, do a very commendable journalistic job.

Unfortunately – she was failed appallingly by her spineless bosses.

Virtually all of the material Chris Bright cites in his piece today was already in the public domain. The charge, the prosecution, the conviction – and the fall-out for the senior people at the College.

As good a job as the JEP – by its standards – did of reporting these events – the hidden centre of the story was “why?” “How could the authorities at the school have permitted the abuse to go on for years?”

And back then – the JEP knew that this was the $64,000 question. At that time, The Rag was desperate to get its hands on the evidence.

So when Chris Bright asserts that I ‘gave a copy to the JEP in “the apparent belief” that it contained important, previously unreported information’ what he neglects to mention is that I furnished The Rag with a copy of the report – at their express and repeated request.

I went to the headquarters of the JEP in St. Saviours, Jersey, in the year 2000, where I met in a room with the three key JEP people. Chris Bright, editor, Rob Shipley, deputy editor and Diane Simon, the reporter.

This back in the days when Senator Frank Walker was the boss of the JEP.

Having supplied the document – at their repeated request – I waited – and waited – and waited.

The Rag was desperate to get hold of a copy – right up to the day I gave them it – because, contrary to the impression Bright tries to convey, most of the information in the JEP reports was in the public domain in any event. They wanted to get at the real scandal; the real pay-off.

So – I gave them the secret report – which they had been hitherto desperate to obtain.

Yet – the Jersey Evening Post failed to print any of the key facts revealed in the document.

A decision which was really quite remarkable.

At one moment, desperate – rightly – to obtain the information; given it – and then – silence.

An ‘omerta’ descended.

So – let us consider what it was that the Jersey Evening Post deemed unimportant and insignificant.

Reflect on this and be your own judge.

The head of the school, Jack Hydes, and the deputy head, John Le Bretton were aware – for a period of some years – of complaints of child abuse.

They failed to report it to the police.

At one point – when the complaints became too difficult to ignore – the head, Hydes, “consulted” a member of the board of governors in 1992, and asked what he should do about the complaints of abuse.

This was “informal” advice which was given during a game of squash.

The governor in question – Francis Hammon – who went on to become Deputy Bailiff, and who remains a judge in Jersey’s Royal Court – “informally” advised him not to take the necessary action.

At another point, Hydes and Le Bretton convened individual victims and their family members in Hydes’ office and made them repeat their complaints – in front of the assembled people.

This was clearly carried out as a calculated attempt to intimidate and humiliate the victims in question into withdrawing their allegations.

Ultimately – having resigned in disgrace from the school – Le Bretton was speedily re-habilitated by the Jersey Oligarchy when he was appointed to the prestigious position of ‘Jurat’ – a lay-judge of Jersey’s Royal Court.

He remains in this position to this day, Like Hammon in his position as Commissioner of the Royal Court.

This is but a brief example of the key material from the Sharp report.

Facts which the Jersey Evening Post did not consider “significant”.

People in positions of immense responsibility, trust and power – pillars of Jersey society – very high-level members of the Jersey establishment – who failed to deal adequately, professionally or ethically with issues as important as child protection.

Hard, documented evidence of cover-up and concealment of child abuse by Le Bretton and Hammon – people at the very highest reaches of Jersey society.

In the opinion of Chris Bright and his rag? – Not “significant”.

When time permits I will post a fuller account of the contemptible events described in the Sharp report.

But that small amount of information I have supplied here really says all you need to know concerning the cover-up and concealment by the Jersey establishment of child abuse.

Returning to the comment article by Chris Bright in this Friday’s rag: what conclusions can we draw.

That this is an editor – and this is a newspaper – who place the protection of the “image” of the Jersey oligarchy over that of the protection of children.

Bright and Shipley – I repeat – are liars. They and the Jersey Evening Post are components of the apparatus of cover-up and concealment.

If they wish to attempt to dispute that immutable fact – I look forward to seeing them both in court.

(Not a Jersey Court, obviously. No part of the Jersey judicial apparatus would even be on the radar-screen in terms of meeting the “appearance of objectivity” test in respect of any case involving me.)

So, Bright has made complaints to the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail concerning their beastly treatment of him and The Rag. These two journals – clearly hot-beds of anarcho-commie revolution – quoted my – entirely correct – condemnation of the Jersey Evening Post.

I’m happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these two newspapers in court.

My politics are on the Green/Left – hardly natural Daily Mail territory. So I have to say that the confluence of their reportage and my concerns goes a long way to restoring my confidence in people.

Something I desperately need after the last 12 months.

I must make a similar observation concerning the Telegraph.

Both of these, essentially, conservative journals have – absolutely rightly – seen that what we are dealing with in the child protection disaster in Jersey is not a matter of ideology; of Left versus Right – it is a question of basic, civilised decency. These newspapers have shown that the respectable political spectrum unites-as-one for those causes which are obviously right and just.

Let’s face it, Frank – when Simon Heffer has got you nailed – you’re clearly way off-beam.

Although Frank Walker was the boss of the JEP’s parent company during its cover-up and concealment of the disgusting failure by senior figures at Victoria College to protect children from abuse – today, it’s owned by a United Kingdom company.

What – we must wonder – do its present owners make of the catastrophic and contemptible position of their investment today; under the leadership of Chris Bright?

Not content with having failed every test of respectable journalism in the Jersey child abuse disgrace – this whining and complaining clown – in classic school-boy bully mode – has begun whinging and wailing – in tearful woundidness – about a “campaign of defamatory abuse and vilification” conducted by me against The Rag.

Sorry?

Come again?

This is the mighty Jersey Evening Post – the only newspaper in Jersey – the powerful and invulnerable house-journal of the island’s oligarchy – a journal which has waged constant and unremitting war upon me for seventeen years – a rag which has printed so much abusive, dishonest, biased, obnoxious and slanderous rubbish about me that I could scarcely begin to quantify it.

And its editor snivels and weeps across his pages – merely because an un-resourced, lone, uppity prole like me decides to fight back in my own, small way.

Descriptions of the role of the Jersey establishment in these tragic events have exhausted the stock of obvious words: – disgusting – sickening – appalling – contemptible – disgraceful.

What phrase, then, is left, when yet new depths are plumbed?

Let me coin the verb “jep”. I hope to see it gain currency in common usage.

When faced with something that is an immense gross betrayal of basic professional duties; an example of failure for which words like ‘contemptible’ and ‘disgusting’ just don’t serve; a farrago of shameful incompetence and ethical bankruptcy – we should simply use the word “jep”, thus:

It’s a right jep; or what a total jep; or it’s jeped; or what a jep-up.

This community has – in so many ways – been well and truly jeped over the decades. Were this new word to become widely used, it would serve as an apposite monument to the Jersey oligarchy – and its house-journal – the Jersey Evening Post.

Stuart Syvret.

LE GOTTERDAMMERUNG.

ARE THE MIGHTY FALLING?

Tragic though it has been for the victims – the child abuse controversy which has engulfed the Jersey oligarchy may yet have at least one positive side-effect.

Whilst it is plain to any thinking person familiar with modern democracies that Frank Walker is finished – along with his political era and allies – I’m afraid, the Jersey establishment, being as crass and stupid as it is, just will not – let’s face it, cannot – see that.

But maybe – influences outside of Jersey will precipitate The End – a lot sooner than is generally imagined.

Jersey is wild with rumours right now concerning the political leadership of the island – and certain difficulties it now faces – beyond the obvious horror of having crushed whistle-blowers who were telling the truth about something as important as child protection.

The sooner Frank goes – the better for this community. As I said – every thinking person can see he is finished.

Even his former supporters.

To those in Jersey – could I ask you to go to a public rally which has been organised for noon, this Saturday in Jersey’s Royal Square? I’m not an organiser of it, and don’t know the gentleman who is – but I think it is extremely important for this community that as many people as possible attend.

The purpose of the event, as far as I am aware, is to show some compassion, recognition and empathy for all the victims of child abuse in Jersey.

It is not a partisan political event – just an opportunity to show the world that 99% of the people of Jersey are decent, caring and law-abiding – and that we will not tolerate the mal-treatment of children or the concealment of such abuses.

So spread the word, and let’s hope a lot of people can make it.

I really must refer readers to Mark Steel’s column in the Independent newspaper today, Wednesday 5th March.

I’ve always admired Mark’s work and today, sadly, he absolutely nails the subject.

His Column today is titled “Sixties Nostalgia that hid the Horrors of Jersey.”

I won’t quote it at length – I hope it’s made available on the web somewhere – but I would strongly urge people to read it.

Mark lays bare the ignorant hypocrisy which would have it that ‘children deserve a good flogging. It’ll teach them manners and respect for their elders.’

However – the appalling thing about Mark’s insight is – just how true it is.

Some things are beyond parody. Already the Jersey Evening Post is publishing letters along the lines of:

“What’s all this fuss about? I was put in leg-irons and flogged – and it never did me any harm. Indeed, that’s the kind of character-forming experience that many parents pay good money for when they send their children to British boarding schools. Really! – It’s just political correctness gone mad! Next thing you know they’ll be objecting to being starved and locked in solitary confinement for four months!”

Worryingly – I paraphrase only a little.

Mark concludes his column by saying that Jersey could have done with the teenagers all being ‘hoodies’ in the 1960s.

“How much misery could have been avoided if, each time they received an un-expected visit from their “carer”, they had leaned into his face and snapped: “Blood, you’s disrespectin’ me. Now leave my crib or I mash you up, innit.””

Stuart Syvret.

THE JERSEY MEDIA:

Culpable in the Cover-ups. Thus Culpable for the Children’s Suffering.

Pretty well everyone who may read this blog will know of the child protection tragedy which is unfolding in Jersey.

It is now plain that the Jersey establishment have tolerated a culture of the most appalling abuses against children for many, many decades.

Savage violence, psychological torture, sexual abuse, emotional cruelty, batterings and rape.

There was, however, one slight glimmer of hope. The police are unsure if the human remains they have discovered are of recent times. So let us hope there have been no child murders.

The police investigation is going to comprehensively search the entire building and grounds; a task which will take some weeks.

But the abuses over decades – and the concealment of those abuses – remains quite horrifying – without the further tragedy of child killings.

As I have remarked previously – the contrast between the Jersey media – and the real media – has been wondrous to behold.

You think my criticisms of the Jersey media are unfair?

Consider this.

In a period of time of under two weeks, journalists with no prior knowledge of Jersey – let alone the atrocities against children – have uncovered twenty times more important information – than the entire panoply of Jersey media has – in six decades.

Q.E.D.

It gets worse.

The local media, such as the Jersey Evening Post have actually been alerted to many of the abuse cases. I have learnt in recent weeks of victims having spoken to the JEP over the years – and their accounts of what they suffered simply being brushed off and dismissed.

I actually gave to the Jersey Evening Post a copy of the Sharp report into child abuse at Victoria College – and the disgusting concealment of that abuse by senior members of the Jersey establishment. I did this in the year 2000 – and personally handed it over to the editor, Chris Bright, the Deputy Editor, Rob Shipley and the reporter on the case.

The JEP completely buried the story – and printed not one sentence from the document.

Now – Rob Shipley is doing the world media circuit attacking me – and simply telling straightforward lies, such as “The JEP did not run the information in the Sharp report, because it had already been published.”

There are some remarkable conclusions we can draw from this spectacle.

1: The Jersey Evening Post was, and is to this day, a pro-active component in the Jersey cover-ups. Indeed – it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility their actions may be complicit in criminal acts, such as attempting to pervert the course of justice.

2: The Jersey Evening Post is a component of the Jersey establishment. It is the house-journal of the island’s oligarchy. This fact is now well-proven. Why else would a Deputy Editor of a newspaper – the only one in Jersey – be doing the world media circuit to defend the Jersey oligarchy and demonstrably lying – and attacking me?

Q.E.D.

There have now been three documentary pieces on the Jersey child abuse atrocities broadcast on BBC UK regional television. The Jersey media – including BBC Jersey, as it’s leadership are on the Jersey millionaires cocktail party circuit – have given the least possible coverage to these three exposés.

The least possible promotion of the up-coming broadcasts was given by BBC Jersey – and not one of the other local media mentioned them at all.

The Jersey Evening Post has, perhaps, written a few sentences about the broadcasts – post-event.

So – you ask again – how can such dreadful regimes of child abuse have continued for decades un-exposed?

In the ‘performance’ of the Jersey media you can see a key part of the evidence. Even today – knowing what we now all know – even now, in March 2008 – the Jersey media are openly perpetuating and supporting the culture of cover-up and concealment.

Lying, spinning, omitting; all of the Jersey media are rabidly engaged in these things now – as I type these words.

Don’t take my word for it – you can see it for yourself, should you be interested in undertaking a detailed analysis of the Jersey media’s coverage of events.

Q.E.D.

In a comment piece in Monday’s JEP, The Rag’s “political” correspondent – Ben Queree – wrote that he was a mate of Frank Walker’s and that he thought he was basically a good guy.

Remember – Ben is the lead reporter for the Jersey Evening Post for political issues.

Yet here – with a remarkable lack of embarrassment – he admits he is mates with the Jersey Chief Minister; and goes on to imply that anyone who judges Walker harshly is being terribly unfair – and it’s really that Stuart Syvret who is a bastard.

Now – we are supposed to take this reporter seriously as an objective reporter of major Jersey political stories.

You couldn’t make it up.

This simply illustrates further the utter incompetence – and pro-establishment bias – in the Jersey media.

Further evidence – as though it were needed – of the fact that a significant share of the culpability for the horrors of the Jersey child abuse disaster going un-exposed for so long – must lay with the Jersey media.

I say now – to all of the Jersey media – you are culpable for the perpetuation of the culture of child abuse in Jersey.

If this were not so – why has there been not so much as one single Jersey media-led exposé of these abuses of children in at least six decades?

Q.E.D.

You think, perhaps, I’m being too harsh again?

Well, let us run a simple experiment.

In Saturday’s Jersey Evening Post, they ran the re-written interview with me – and plastered the pages with prominent comments to the effect that my claims ‘were not backed up by evidence’.

In another stupid comment piece from Anan Plunkett-Cole, we read the assertion again – that I had not provided evidence.

Both of these assertions by the Jersey Evening Post are simply demonstrable lies.

Indeed – it is quite startling that even now – with world media attention on them, the Jersey media still think they can assert that black is white – and get away with it – as they usually do.

So – here is the experiment.

I heard a very brief radio mention yesterday afternoon that some people are organising a public rally in the Royal Square this Saturday. I don’t know who is organising it, but I assume its purpose is to show to the world that they vast majority of Jersey people are decent and caring; and that they will not tolerate such cover-ups and failings again.

I assume it is to be something similar to the “white protest” which 300,000 Belgium people took part in to protest at government failure, incompetence and corruption in the case of the child rapes and murders carried out by the psychopath Marc du Troux.

Experiment 1.

Let us observe how much comprehensive publicity this rally is given by the Jersey media before Saturday?

It has already vanished from the BBC Jersey news bulletins.

If the Jersey media are not a load of complicit, incompetent lackeys of the Jersey oligarchy – they will give the rally very substantial news coverage in the build-up this week.

Experiment 2.

Although this evidence has been given to the Jersey Evening Post in various stages in the past, once I have finished this post – I will e-mail both Ben Queree and Anna Plunkett-Cole with some of the key evidence.

So the JEP will be supplied with it – again.

I will-mail them the Sharp report – and I will e-mail them the Dylan Southern report into the abuse episode at the States of Jersey ‘group-home’.

Remember – the Jersey Evening Post has had this information given to it previously.

Contemptibly – they did not use the material.

Even worse – it continues to lie in defence of the Jersey establishment to the present day – by repeatedly asserting that there is no evidence of sustained abuse episode – and the covering-up of such crimes.

Let us see what the Jersey Evening Post does with this evidence.

From these experiments we can gauge the truth concerning the Jersey media.

Will they now – in these awful days – finally place the protection of vulnerable children above the “image” of the Jersey oligarchy?

Let’s see.

Stuart Syvret

A PROMISE

Sorry for not producing a blog post for a few days. As I said previously, I have to priorities my time.

I have received many comments, the great majority of which are supportive.

Others have asked some important questions. I promise I will address those questions when time permits – maybe in the next week or so.

For now, I say this. During the early stages of the political dimension of this tragedy – before the Jersey oligarchy sacked me for whistle-blowing – I promised, during a radio interview, the people of Jersey that the truth would come out. I asked to be trusted – that these betrayals of vulnerable children had and were – taking place – that I was right. It would just take time for the truth to emerge.

Sadly – I can say I have been proven to be correct. And I can now likewise say with sad confidence that those questions or criticisms of me in these comments will be shown to be wrong; that Jersey has failed children – and that the Jersey “system” is culpable for the scale of these failures.

In respect of the comments, I have to say, I have begun to reject some for publication. Not the critical comments which are of a sensible and reasonable nature; you can see those posted.

But I’m afraid I am not going to allow my blog to be, in any way associated with:

Shape-shifting space-alien lizards.

Zionist plots to take over the world.

Time-travel.

Train spotting.

Parallel universes (OK, I did use that expression in a post title, so maybe I was asking for it.)

Conspiracy theories concerning devil worship.

Crypto-Nazi poison.

Market fundamentalist fruitcakes.

Yes – I’m afraid I have begun to receive a certain amount of nuttiness on my comments pages. And I’m afraid I just don’t have time to carefully whittle through everything. So if your comments look, with an initial brief glance, to appear a bit off-the-wall, I’m afraid I will just reject them.

Thanks for all the messages of support I have received – via e-mail, phone, conversation and letter. We – the victims, the whistle-blowers and I appreciate it.

Thanks

Stuart.

REAL SCRUTINY.

The Contrast Between Jersey Media and Real Media.

Just a very brief post – I really need a bit of a break.

Obviously, when time permits, I will deal with events in more detail.

I would like to thank those who have submitted comments to this blog. If you find it interesting, please tell others.

Whilst some comments have been critical – most have been supportive.

Thanks.

To those which have been critical – and those who have asked specific questions – when time permits I will do a detailed post on the serious questions people have.

Yes, the Jersey Evening Post – as predicted in my last post – did exactly what is to be expected of the house-journal of the Jersey oligarchy.

A rag actually complicit in this disaster.

I will do some detailed analysis when time permits – but, frankly, the JEP is irrelevant.

Whilst we have had the national and international media here – the stark contrast between the Jersey media – and real journalism – is remarkable to behold.

I would again state the thanks of victims, whistle-blowers and myself to the professional media.

Just so much of this awfulness would remain a local ‘difficulty’ if it were not for the free press.

Must dash.

Thanks

Stuart

A BRIEF REFLECTION UPON VALUES.

Spin – or Compassion?

I hope many readers of this blog got to see the film on BBC 1 this Friday night.

It showed abuse victims – cover-ups – secret reports the authorities have concealed – accounts of violence – long periods of solitary confinement – sadly, every horrifying thing that the Jersey authorities have spent the last 10 months denying.

Denying even during this week, in fact.

Having accompanied, at their request, several of the victims when they were interviewed, and having supplied much of the evidence to the program makers – I know that it could have been even stronger.

I expect their lawyers are advising the full facts should be saved for the prosecutions so as not to jeopardise them.

But the fight we must wage for real, effective and lasting protection for the island’s vulnerable children will not be won overnight. The suffering of the victims – which, in many cases continues to this day – will, perhaps, have been eased a little once the truth is told – and this manifestly failed system changed.

After an exhausting and draining day, I was walking to my car at about 6.10 PM, down the shopping precinct, towards Sand Street.

By happy and sad coincidence I passed one of the Jersey victims who has spoken publicly of the horrors he suffered as a child, and who has appeared in the world’s media.

I have known him for some years, and we stopped and spoke of the present events and his emotions and thoughts.

There – down King Street – close to the W.H Smith shop – amongst passers-by going about their business – we embraced and wept.

He’s a great man; a survivor, compassionate and strong.

The States of Jersey Police Force are continuing their meticulous work – and doing a great job.

A few victims and witnesses have said to me they are finding the process too slow; that the police are not responding swiftly enough to their particular cases.

I know it’s difficult – for victims who will have found recounting their experiences painful – but I would ask that everyone understand the immense pressures the Police Force are under. It’s a small force – and they too are overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims – now over 160.

The police have to prioritise their responses – so be patient – be strong.

Although that is difficult when you have observed just how extraordinarily unethical, misguided, stupid and inept has been the approach of the Jersey establishment to these awful revelations.

During this week, the representation of this community by its Chief Minister, Frank Walker, has been appalling. It began with an embarrassing appearance on the BBC Radio 4 Today program, in which – after a brief initial addressing of the important issues – he then cast them aside and devoted large amounts of his airtime to petite-politics – to attacking and criticising me.

Although Senator Frank Walker is finished – as is plain to every thinking person I have spoken with – including those who are not my political allies, and have always been strong supporters of him – neither he nor his Council are capable of seeing this.

Even his natural political constituency in Jersey – the big, finance industry boys – are appalled and worried. They know this community now has an inept, discredited and actually damaging politician as its leader.

Intelligent people with a good understanding of the needs for ‘confidence’ for their businesses sectors are openly talking about who can replace him and just how quickly it can happen.

They know that no other administration in the democratic world would even attempt to survive such a catastrophic series of profound errors – concerning such an important subject as child protection.

Yet this present Jersey cabinet are being openly laughed at by the world press-pack now in the island.

The local media too, is derided by these professionals.

The Jersey Evening Post – the island’s only newspaper – has devoted and spun a large amount of its coverage this Friday towards attacking me – for the embarrassing performance by Frank & Co. at a profoundly misguided press conference he called on Thursday afternoon.

Having previously asserted he wished to avoid politicising these tragic events – he then called a press conference for the sole purpose of attacking me.

The world press-pack – already disgusted at his complete failure to understand the magnitude of the endemic failure to protect children in Jersey – called me and requested that I attend.

I have often stated that the Jersey media carries a great amount of culpability for the systemic failure to expose the truth, to protect the vulnerable and to scrutinise the system.

Indeed, the Jersey media have often actively become complicit in the cover-ups – as the Jersey Evening Post did – when I supplied them with a copy of the Sharp report in the year 2000 – and they printed not one sentence from it.

Those national and international journalist I have spoken with during Friday afternoon, have expressed shock, amazement and ridicule at the performance of the JEP. This Friday, for example – they spin large amounts of their coverage into an attack upon me for the disgraceful spectacle of Walker’s ‘political’ press-conference.

This entirely ignoring the fact that it was he that called this conference for the express purpose of mounting a political attack upon me – just up the road from where police were – as he spoke – searching for the bones of killed children and implements of torture.

It was a disgusting spectacle – entirely of Walker’s making.

If you want to understand why these dreadful things can have taken place largely unexposed and unpunished for many, many decades – you could merely examine the tragi-comic editorial comment in Friday’s Jersey Evening Post.

Its deputy editor, Rob Shipley, lied to the world’s media earlier this week when claiming that the Sharp report had been ‘published’; this as an excuse for the JEP not printing so much as a single sentence from it.

It was not published – the JEP was a component in the cover-up and concealment of this appalling abuse episode – and Rob Shipley remains a liar.

I should have known better – but I still I believed that somewhere – in some part – in a few ways – some fragments of the Jersey oligarchy would have the integrity to now – in these awful days – begin to face the truth.

I should have known better.

I was approached by the Jersey Evening Post and asked to do an interview for the JEP for publication on the 1st February.

Although the journalist in question is legit’ and professional – I know the approach of his bosses all too well.

I actually said: “Look, the JEP is asking me for an interview; OK, I will do it – but if it’s just a spin tactic for me to appear in The Rag – so it can then attack me again for being ‘political’ – then forget it. You are asking me – I’m not seeking an interview.”

The reporter said, ‘yes, that was understood.’ He even sent me his copy to ensure it was factually accurate.

Whilst it did not entirely reflect how I would have expressed things, nevertheless, it seemed correct in its facts.

But then – late in the afternoon – my moles began to tell me that the interview had been “done over” by the bosses – they were actually quoted as saying it was “too positive towards Syvret”.

So the JEP bosses re-wrote huge chunks of the interview – taking sections out – inserting sections from previous comments – altering emphasis – changing context.

All to the express and stated purpose of “making Syvret look bad”.

So let us compare and contrast the original copy – with that printed this Saturday.

I had a grim conversation with a journalist from Belgium this Friday. He had made a particular study of the child killer Marc Dutroux – and culture of the public administration which so badly failed to stop him.

The ‘performance’ of the Jersey Evening Post in its reportage and comments this week has served to show how similar societal failings can have occurred – and gone unchallenged – in this island for decades.

But the Jersey Evening Post is finished – just like its erstwhile boss, Senator Frank Walker.

This community must now deal with the awful facts – and begin to recognise the truth. It is only by facing up to our failures that we will make the radical improvements needed.

And – clearly – that process can only happen under new leadership.

Ben Shenton is being spoken of as a new leader for Jersey – a man of integrity and values; a social conscience, and an understanding of business.

Essentially – a man who can unite the community at what is, perhaps, its greatest hour of need.

And this community needs rescuing now.

Just how more awful do things need to become before we begin the process of healing and renewal?

Stuart Syvret.