Monthly Archives: April 2008


The United Kingdom Care Leavers Association Comes to Jersey.


This Wednesday. 30th April. 7.30pm.

Committee Room, Town Hall.

Have You Survived the Jersey Child “Protection” System?

Come to this meeting.

Amidst the publicity and controversy of the Jersey child abuse disaster, sometimes the people who matter most – those who suffered the system and survived it – get overlooked.

People imagine politicians to be powerful. But unless you’re in with the established power cliques – if you oppose them – your powers are very, very limited.

So there is not a huge amount I can do as a marginalised politician. But something I can do is help survivors of Jersey’s child “care” system to get organised and become empowered.

To that end I am extremely grateful for the support of the United Kingdom Care Leavers Association.

This group is run by care leavers – for care leavers. It is an organisation of integrity and experience.

Three senior figures from the Care Leavers Association will be in Jersey this Wednesday. They and I are hosting a meeting for those who have been in the Jersey child “care” system.

The CLA leadership are here to advise, help and guide Jersey “care” survivors to establish and run their own Jersey Care Leavers Association.

It’s obviously important that I say what the purposes of Wednesday’s meeting are – and what they are not.

The meeting is open to those who have personal experiences of the Jersey child “care” system.

The meeting is not open to general members of the public who have not had personal experience of the Jersey child “care” system.

Whilst we know there is tremendous public support for, and interest in, these issues, we respectfully ask that the attendance at Wednesday’s meeting be confined to those with personal experiences.

The meeting is not open to journalists.

Obviously, many people who may come to the meeting will wish their privacy to be maintained. We would not like to think that there are people out there in the community who have experienced the system – and who are isolated and disempowered – but who would be put off attending because of concerns for their privacy.

This meeting is for those who need to unite for effective representation for themselves.

We trust that journalists would respect the privacy of the meeting.

The meeting and the subsequent activities of the Jersey CLA must not jeopardise prosecutions. Therefore, to avoid accusations by defence lawyers that collusion has occurred, the meeting will not discuss individual cases.

It is important that any person who either has, or thinks that they might have to make formal statements to the Police understands that their witness testimony – should they have to appear in court – must remain uncontaminated.

But should any people who have gone through the system wish to speak with someone about their experiences, they can speak privately with Mary, Jim or Will.

Hell – even me if you’re desperate.

Below is the press release of the UK CLA which announces the Jersey meeting.

If you know what it was like – if you went through it – please spread the word of this meeting amongst those who have had the same experiences.

The fight-back begins here.

Be strong.


Announcement from the United Kingdom Care Leavers Association.

Care Leavers’ Association Meeting on Jersey: Wednesday Evening, 30th April 7.30 p.m Committee Room, Town Hall.

The Care Leavers’ Association is run by adults who were in care as children ( We have called this meeting to discuss how to improve the child care system on Jersey and how care leavers can get the support they need. We are inviting all care leavers to attend. It will be hosted by Senator Stuart Syvret, who has helped to expose the problems with child care on Jersey. If you were in care and want to come along, then feel free to bring along a supporter if you need to (perhaps a partner, other family member or friend).

We want the care leavers of Jersey to decide what should be done. At our meetings in the UK, several issues are often raised. These include: 1) abuse in the care system; 2) accessing your social services files; 3) the problems of leaving care; 4) improving the current care system. If you can think of other issues we should discuss, please bring them with you.

If you have made allegations to the police about past abuse, or are thinking of doing so, you are very welcome to attend. However, you need to be aware that sometimes defence lawyers in such cases will use evidence of possible ‘collusion’. This means that they could try to say that your attendance at such a meeting helped you to ‘get your story straight’ with other care leavers that you met there. If this would make you decide not to attend, but you would still like to meet with us, please do get in touch (via Senator Syvret) and we will happily meet you individually. For the above reason, at the meeting itself we will also NOT be discussing the details of anyone’s individual case.

We are looking forward meeting you. Our meetings are always great social events, too, because there is nothing quite like meeting other care leavers who know what it is like ‘from the inside’.

Best wishes, Will McMahon (Chair), Mary Clear (Treasurer), Jim Goddard (Secretary)

Mary is a care leaver, mother of 4, granny of 7, and qualified social worker. She spent most of her childhood in a large number of institutions; some good and some she would happily forget. She looks after the CLA website and over the years has welcomed hundreds of care leavers.

Will is a care leaver, having spent 13 years in children’s homes and foster care. He is now Acting Director of the Crime and Society Foundation, a policy unit at King’s College London.

Jim was in care between the ages of three and 17, in children’s homes on Merseyside. In one he was a victim of child abuse. He is now a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Bradford.

Will Mcmahon (Chair)
Suite F113, 23 New Mount Street,
Manchester M4 4DE
Telephone: 0161 953 4047 Email:
Care Leavers Association is a not-for-profit company, registered in England and Wales and limited by guarantee: company number 5204243
Care Leavers Association is a Registered Charity in England and Wales: charity number 1111988


And Who May Never be Found.

Jersey Media Reports the “End of the Murder Enquiry”.

A person left a comment on my blog, which I reproduce below this post.

I’m asked for information concerning reports which have appeared in the Jersey media to the effect that “the Police have dropped the murder enquiry”.

As I have explained on many previous occasions in this blog, the Jersey media are totally crap.

So – yes, the Jersey Evening Post splashed a huge headline to the effect that the murder investigation had been abandoned.

This tragic attempt to rubbish the work of the Police was laughable in a strange kind of way, as it served as further evidence – as though it were needed – of The Rag desperately trying to push the Jersey establishment agenda.

And BBC Jersey – in marked contrast – please note – to the BBC at national level – is also crap.

Indeed, it seems to pursue the very same agenda as the JEP.

So – sure enough – the thrust of the BBC Jersey headline was ‘murder enquiry called off.’

So what, then, is the truth?

The murder enquiry has not been called off.

What the States of Jersey Police, in fact, announced was that the fragment of a child’s skull had proven impossible to date accurately, but the best forensics could say was that it may be early 20th century.

So they couldn’t regard it as evidence of murder in respect of their investigation into historic abuse since 1945.

But – the Police have announced today that they have found further bone fragments and children’s teeth in their excavation of one of the punishment cellars.

This is also not to lose sight of the fact – before the JEP pops too many Champaign corks at a Police “failure” – that the fragment of skull previously found may still have come from a murdered child – but maybe from 80 years ago? If so, that child remains every bit as much a tragic victim as the more recent victims.

To be clear, the scene remains the site of an ongoing enquiry into potential homicides with further digs being undertaken.

The Police are to bring in ground-penetrating radar to continue their work.

One might have gleaned this from reading the small print of the local Jersey media, or listening closely – but you could be forgiven for having gained the impression that the investigation into possible murders was over – if you just relied on the headlines.

Personally – I really, really hope that there were no child killings related to that place.

If the Police were ultimately happy to conclude – categorically- that no deaths had occurred – that would be a weight off my mind.

Knowing what many of the surviving victims went through – having listened to them – the thought of what any murdered children must have gone though makes me feel cold with horror.

This is just my opinion – not an ‘informed’ comment – but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Police did not find any human remains which could be definitively linked to child killings at Haute de la Garrene.

But that inability to find definitive evidence for murders does not mean that they didn’t happen.

A great deal of re-construction work has been undertaken at the site over the decades. Grounds, floors, basements etc have been altered, dug out and changed. Much of this work may have been perfectly innocent.

But some of it may have been undertaken precisely to disguise, destroy, scatter or remove the remains of the children.

And we have the recent discovery of two large pits which were dug in the late 1970’s by a contractor. He was employed to dig two deep pits in the grounds – and then come back the next day and re-fill them again.

He asked what the purpose of this strange task was, and he was told “that’s none of your concern.”

When he returned the next day to fill them, about a metre of lime had been placed in the bottom.

Now – why would the institution go to the expense of employing a man with a digger – to come and excavate two deep pits in the lawn behind the building – put a metre-odd of lime in the bottom of each pit overnight – and then have the man come back the next day to refill the holes and level-off the ground?

What is the usual reason why people dig deep pits and put a load of lime in them?

Of course – there could – possibly – be an innocent explanation for this most strange conduct.

But you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to think of decidedly non-innocent explanations.

Given the propensity of lime to break-down human remains.

So if – and I accept it is an “if” – the purpose of these pits was to dispose of the remains of killed children – the lime may have destroyed them.

Even if the remnants of children were disposed of in these holes – there may now simply be no trace of them.

But there are other, evidenced, reasons why no definitive remains may be found.

And I’m sorry if this upsets people – but I feel it should be known.

A workman – a possibly very important witness – came to me with information.

Information which I quickly passed onto the States of Jersey Police Force.

He came to me first as he hadn’t had an entirely happy experience with the police in years gone by.

He explained to me what he had seen, and even provided a written explanation – and drew a map of the site – on which he pin-pointed the areas which troubled him.

Some years ago – I won’t be definitive for legal reasons – he was driving trucks to and from Haute de la Garrene during one of its various phases of “renovation”.

The loads consisted of rubble, earth, hardcore, builders waste and similar materials. During one of these journeys, he saw a significant number of bones amongst the rubble he was to take for disposal.

He remarked on this to his foreman, who blithely asserted they were ‘animal bones’, and ‘not to worry about it’.

Trucks with this kind of inert waste – rubble, and so forth – would be driven to the various land reclamation sites which extend out from around St. Helier’s harbour.

There the loads would be dumped – amongst hundreds of thousands of tonnes of similar waste from the island’s construction industry.

These in-filing operations go on for years – until we have an area of new land.

Land of sufficient depth and elevation to cope with Jersey’s 13 metre tides.

If the broken and scattered remains of children were dug out from where they had been hidden by their killers – and taken within trucks of rubble and dumped down amongst the accumulated debris of decades in St. Helier’s land reclamation sites – then they are lost to us.


Their very existence almost passed from human knowledge.

Now I cannot set eyes on the vast areas of these land reclamation sites and not ask the question –

‘Are you in there – somewhere?

Are the once animate fragments of your brief existence scattered and settled?

Amongst the builders’ rubble, old paint cans, asbestos and toxic incinerator ash?’

I like to imagine myself as a rational thinker. I’m not religious, and I don’t believe in mystical powers. But as I look out over St. Helier’s ‘Waterfront’ – and ponder the accreted depth of land beneath roads, office-blocks, industrial sheds, fuel tanks, night clubs and fast-food joints – I cannot but wish for the existence of some kind of psychic power – a means of reaching back across time and between the realms of life and death – and just, somehow, searching for them – emotionally reaching out to any children there.

Just searching – and trying to reach out to them.

But in reality – I just look at those vast sedimentations, grown like a cancer around St. Helier, and think it possible that children, abandoned, perhaps, who’s existence was never even recorded – who may have lived a short life – suffered appallingly – then been murdered – may lay in fragments amongst the filth – waiting for that inevitable release brought by rising and eroding tides. Perhaps within decades.

Are – or are not – the remains of killed children scattered and hidden?

The Police may simply be – ultimately – unable to answer that question.

One way or the other.

The investigation into possible homicides may reach an inconclusive terminus.

We may simply never know.

And it’s the not-knowing I find hard.

So – just in case – whenever I look at St. Helier’s land reclamations sites – I try, in my non-religious way – to offer out a silent thought. As though acknowledging that this may be the resting-place of children could briefly bring some kind of balm to the wounds by which they were removed from this life.

Vanished and forgotten children may not lay fragmented through these dumps – but equally – they might.

We just may never know.


Comment from Elaine

Can Stuart, or any of the readers of this very blog, perhaps confirm or deny what I was told a couple of days ago;

I do not live in Jersey, nor do I listen over Internet to local radio stations, however, my sister told me that she definitely heard it said on BBC Radio Jersey that the murder inquiry at H de la G has been called off. I.e. finished, over and done with. How can this be possible?

Did anyone else hear this? Sorry to use your wonderful blog as a questioning board Stuart, but very little news is getting out from Jersey now, and all I seem to get is whatever goes on Sky, which I know is generally very accurate, or whatever text messages I get from family and friends who are still there.

Also, I recently read an article, can’t remember if it may have been from the rag online, that Jersey prison is not adequate for the amount of prisoners it holds today. This is something I have been very concerned about, as if there are so many ‘accused’ to be arrested and tried, will they all get sent home at the end of it cos there is no room to put them where they belong, behind bars?

From a very concerned Elaine.


The ‘Bailiff’ of Jersey, Sir Philip Bailhache.

Just a Few of His Gross Failures in Child Protection.

My Resignation from his Consultative Panel.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Sir Philip Bailhache, ‘Bailiff’ of Jersey.

The Bailiff is the chief judge in Jersey’s judiciary – and he is also the Speaker in the island’s parliament.

An extraordinary conflict of interests.

I wrote about him in some detail in my post “A Last Desperate Throw of the Dice.”

Many of you will have heard a half-hour documentary programme about the Jersey child abuse disaster on BBC Radio 4 last Thursday evening. I’m sure you will still be able to hear it for a while if you go to the BBC home page, then Radio 4 and the ‘listen again’ service.

It was an excellent program and I strongly recommend that you hear it.

One of the people featured in the program was a parent of a victim of the Jersey paedophile Roger Holland.

Holland has just been jailed for 2 years; no doubt he’ll be out within 12 months.

The parent of the victim called for the resignation of Bailhache. His reason for doing so is that when Phil Bailhache was Jersey Attorney General, he became aware of the fact that Holland was a convicted paedophile; yet notwithstanding this knowledge he did not prevent Holland from being sworn-in as an Honorary Police officer, and nor did he go back to court after Holland’s swearing-in to seek that he be stripped of office.

Holland went on to abuse children whilst an honorary police officer.

In response to the calls for his resignation by the parent of the victim, Bailhache refused to resign, instead issuing a statement which exhibited all of the arrogance, hubris and sophistry customary on the part of the Jersey oligarchy.

I reproduce his statement below this post and below my e-mail to him.

In particular, I would draw your attention to the following short paragraph of his:

“It is unclear what jurisdiction in law the Royal Court could have exercised had these facts been brought to its attention the following week.”

As I have said elsewhere, Phil was never terribly bright. It’s openly said in Jersey legal circles that he couldn’t hack it in private practice – hence his “elevation” to the Crown Officers. But in this short paragraph of his we see displayed in all its appalling starkness his hubris and ignorance.

He asserts here that it is somehow doubtful that the Royal Court would have had jurisdiction to revisit Holland’s appointment.

This is a most curious assertion, and I will explain why.

I won’t go into all the arcane structure of Jersey politics now, but briefly, the legislature has three categories of member: Deputies, Constables and Senators.

The Deputies and Senators are directly elected members of the island’s parliament. But the Constables are “ex-officio” members of the States. They have a seat by dint of being elected as parish Constable – a position which included being the head of the parish’s honorary police force. This means Constables are classified as members of the parish’s honorary police.

This position renders them answerable to the Royal Court in a way that does not apply to Deputies or Senators.

So what does this all mean?

Some years ago, a now deceased parish Constable, a Constable of St. John’s parish, was convicted of drunk-driving. Following this conviction he was placed under ‘pressure’ to resign his position as Constable; pressure which he resisted.

Therefore he was summoned before the island’s Royal Court – and stripped of Office.

Now – I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty certain most people will share my understanding of events when I say that it appears most strange indeed – does it not – that a man – sworn-in, and in post – can be stripped of Office for the admittedly serious offence of drunk-driving – but, apparently, the same Court cannot strip a mere Constable’s Officer, as Holland was, of his post.

Even though he was known to be a convicted paedophile?

Perhaps Phil has forgotten about this episode?

But having recollected it for him – we do have to ask ‘just how plausible are his assertions to the effect that the Court’s jurisdiction was somehow “uncertain’?

Sorry, Phil.

It just doesn’t stack, mate.

Until last Thursday, I was a member of a Consultative Panel which is appointed by the States to advise the Bailiff on various subjects.

The sheer hubris, insensitivity and sophistry exhibited in his statement was the final straw.

I resigned from the Panel, and I include my e-mail of resignation below.


From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 17 April 2008 21:04
To: Bailiff of Jersey
Subject: Your Position


I write to formally notify you of my resignation from the Bailiff’s Consultative Panel.

Whilst I had little confidence in you as a person in any event, both your statement to the BBC, and the letter you have issued to States members today are really the final straw.

Quite what ’33 years of service’ – or “acting in good faith” have to do with a matter of this gravity – I’m afraid eludes me completely.

You may have been “acting in good faith” – but that is hardly the issue. The fact is your decision to not refer Holland to the Royal Court was gross incompetence. Most of us are accountable for our mistakes; people lose their jobs over far less serious matters. The fact that you are intent on attempting to remain in post – in this great peace-time moment of crises for the island – a crisis arising from an engrained culture of failure and contempt towards vulnerable children – simply serves to further illustrate your compound inadequacies.

If you possessed the faintest understanding of child protection matters – as a man in your position should – you would know – contrary to the assertions in your letter – that it has been recognised for decades that paedophiles remain dangerous; the nature of their condition dictates that it is so. The fact that your catastrophic failure occurred in 1992 does not, I’m afraid, furnish you with any defence.

It most certainly was known then that paedophiles remain dangerous.

It is not as though this is the only gross child protection failure on your record. Just from memory two others occur to me.

Your failure – when Chairman of the Board of Governors of Victoria College – to act to protect children – when it was known that complaints of abuse were being made – is another appalling example of the complacency you exhibit.

Likewise, your failure to administer a custodial sentence to a paedophile who was grooming and attempting to, essentially, rape three teenage girls goes further to your utter inadequacy.

Yet another example of your contemptible attitude towards child protection can be found in your decision to side with mob-rule by your oligarchy allies – and stop my Christmas speech, in which I was attempting to express some recognition and empathy towards child abuse victims.

The first time ever a States member had stood and spoken in acknowledgment of what had happened – and you stopped it.

Even though every single sentence of my speech was compliant with standing orders and the members Code of Conduct.

The barracking of me by establishment politicians was simply an assault upon democracy, free-speech and the rule of law. Something you were content to embrace – even though your actions had no basis in any recognised democratic procedure.

The Speaker of any respectable legislature would have told those members who were interrupting to ‘sit down and shut up’. Any decent Speaker would have told them ‘no matter if every other member of the assembly hates and disagrees with the Senator’s every word – he will have his say’.

But you – instead – as recently as December 2007 – preferred to silence an expression of empathy for abuse survivors – and, again, fail the vulnerable.

Even if your claim of ignorance in 1992 could be taken seriously – even if it didn’t exhibit gross incompetence of the most dangerous type – your recent actions show, I’m afraid, that you remain utterly incompetent in matters of child protection.

Let me give you some advice; your position is hopeless. Not even the infamous “Friends at court at Whitehall” are going to be able to save you and your colleagues this time. It really would be better for this community – and, frankly, better for you – if you just went – now. And took your colleagues with you.

Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey.

Statement from the Bailiff of Jersey

my statement to the BBC of which only part has been reported was as follows:

“This issue has of course been the subject of investigation by a Committee of Enquiry established by the States, and the 2002 Report of that Committee is in the public domain for all to see.

I am afraid that it is easy to be wise after the event. My decision in 1992 not to refer the election of Roger Holland as a Constable’s Officer back to the Royal Court was made in good faith on the basis of the facts known to me at that time. With hindsight it is certainly possible to say that a different decision ought to have been made, particularly given the harm done to the victims of some of his assaults. We owe it to those victims to make sure that the Island is alert to the problems which arose, and to ensure that they do not arise again.”

The facts have been in the public arena since 2002.

Holland, aged 21, indecently assaulted a young girl then aged 14 but with a mental age of 10, by trying to put his hand up her sweater in his car in 1986. He was put on Probation for 12 months and received psychiatric help. The Court lifted the Probation Order after eight months because Holland had responded well to it.

In 1991 Holland applied to join the Honorary Police of St. Helier and declared that conviction to the parochial authorities. That application was not immediately taken forward, but in March 1992, the then Connétable indicated to him that, as a result of the conviction, he would not be accepted as a probationary officer.

In June 1992 the matter was reconsidered at a St. Helier Honorary Police Meeting. None of the officers present opposed Holland’s election and the view was reached that, if he was prepared to face possible rejection by the Court, he should be allowed to stand.

On 7th July, 1992, Holland was elected unopposed as a Constable’s Officer. The following day, the Parish Authorities wrote to me as Attorney General to give notice, in accordance with standing practice, that Holland should be sworn-in before the Royal Court on 10th July. I was not advised of Holland’s previous conviction and at that time I was completely unaware of it.

Accordingly the Royal Court was not told of the existence of the conviction when the Oath of Office was administered to Holland on 10th July, 1992.

I became aware of the conviction on my return from the Royal Court when an anonymous letter arrived in the Law Officers’ Department. The Parish Authorities were asked for their views and responded that the Parish did not oppose Holland’s wish to join the Honorary Service.

It is unclear what jurisdiction in law the Royal Court could have exercised had these facts been brought to its attention the following week.

Whatever the position in law, the facts confronting me were a man who had expressed a wish to give voluntary service to his parish; had been honest with the Parish Authorities about his conviction; had received psychiatric advice at the time of the offence and had been accepted by the Court as deserving of early release from a Probation Order on account of good progress made; had not apparently re-offended in similar fashion in the six years since; was standing for honorary office with the support of the Parish Authorities, and who had taken his Oath of Office before the Royal Court. I had to balance all those factors, when considering whether there should be a public reference to the Court.

I have said it is easy to be wise after the event. I quite understand the reactions of the victim’s father as reported by the BBC. With hindsight, of course, I would rather a different decision had been taken at the time. But, in context, on the facts as known at the time – 1992, when not as much was known about the long term paedophile tendencies of those abusing children, and before the rash of child abuse investigations which took place in the UK in the 1990’s – I hope the decision seems more understandable.

I have served the Jersey public for over 33 years. During that period, I am sure that I have made mistakes. But I have always sought to behave with integrity, which I believe to be the case in this matter. I have no intention of resigning over this issue.

17 April 2008 Sir Philip Bailhache
Bailiff of Jersey.


The Social Worker who Tried to Stop Institutionalised Child Abuse.

Oppresed by the Jersey Authorities.

But Still Fighting for the Victims.

Those of you who have been following the Jersey child abuse disaster will know of Simon Bellwood. He is a UK registered Social Worker who was recruited to the island to run the Jersey child secure unit at a time when it was switching from the old Les Chennes building to the new, purpose built, Greenfields building.

Simon was going to run Greenfields under the control of a direct boss, Joe Kennedy; a man who is now, incidentally, suspended from his job.

On taking up the post in Jersey, Simon was appalled to discover that the actual regime used in the child secure units was every bit as bad as the so-called “Pindown” policies which were used by Staffordshire County Council in the 1980’s.

The cruel, barbaric and coercive practices were eventually exposed. A very good enquiry was undertaken by Alan Levy QC and Barbara Kahan.

Their report into the Pindown episode remains the yardstick by which others will be judged.

Recognising that subjecting already damaged and messed-up kids to extended periods of coercive and punitive solitary confinement was illegal, Simon stopped this unlawful practice and adopted a more therapeutic regime.

You can read about his experiences on his blog site, a link to which have placed on the right.

Simon was oppressed and ultimately sacked for his efforts to protect these vulnerable children in the secure units.

I didn’t know Simon at all until he approached me early last year when he drew to my attention the unlawful practices and the way in which he had been oppressed for trying to stop them.

Quite impartially, I investigated his concerns – and rapidly came to the conclusion he was right.

I made it plain to my senior management – people like Mike Pollard – that I didn’t believe the management story – instead I believed Simon.

It was this decision – to side with the whistle-blowers and the victims – that led to my own senior management team engineering my dismissal as Health & Social Services Minister.

To give a brief example of the kind of thing that happened to kids in the secure units, if any of them were challenging or demanding in any way; if they had issues which were causing their behaviour to be difficult or rebellious – rather then helping them – the institutions would simply imprison them in solitary confinement in an area known as “The Pits”.

They would be allowed out for 1 hour’s exercise a day – but alone – not allowed to mix with other children. But even this 1 hour exercise was “at management’s discretion”. This would mean that sometimes they would be confined for days with no exercise.

But the worst aspect of this regime was the length of time children were subjected to this harmful and damaging solitary confinement regime.

Sometimes, if a child was ‘difficult’ the solitary confinement would go on for days – or weeks – or months.

Yes – that’s right – months.

One young man – who has been featured in some of the documentary pieces on the Jersey child abuse disaster – was kept in solitary confinement for two months.

The effect of this upon him was – unsurprisingly – to induce a mental breakdown after 3 to 4 weeks.

The response of the Jersey institution to his emotional collapse?

They sent a “councillor” from the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health “Service” to speak with him.

For half-an-hour.

Once a week.

‘But’, you may ask’ ‘he must have been released from solitary, surely?


He was kept in these conditions for another month.

These are the type of barbarisms – of ethically bankrupt idleness – that characterises the Jersey child “protection” apparatus.

To this day.

And it is this appalling inadequacy we are fighting against.

If you have been finding my blog interesting – please read Simon’s as well.




Empathy for Abuse Survivors vs States Members Christmas Lunch.

A number of people have asked me if I would post the speech I attempted to make in the Jersey parliament in December last year. So I produce it here below this post.

Some background information.

Believe it or not – I am the “Father of the House” in the States assembly, this by dint of being the longest continually serving Senator.

And by tradition and custom, the Father of the House leads the Christmas speeches, made at the end of the last assembly meeting before the Christmas break.

Admittedly, these speeches are usually a load of hackneyed, smug and platitudinous rubbish.

But as I had spent most of 2007 learning of the terrible things endured by the survivors of the Jersey child abuse disaster – and attempting to battle on their behalf for truth & justice – I thought I would write a speech which addressed their sufferings.

Having spoken with many of the battered, abused and raped survivors of several generations – it seemed to me to be entirely apposite to express some kind of recognition and empathy towards them at Christmas.

This speech represents the first ever occasion a member of the Jersey parliament had stood in the assembly and acknowledged the truth of what had taken place and had tried to express how dreadful it was.

Now, to be sure, I knew the speech would be a departure from the clichéd effusions of self-congratulation which are usually displayed on these occasions.

And I knew it would deeply anger some members of the assembly who – even at that stage – were still trying to suppress the truth in an effort to conceal the utter folly of their decisions to side, during the year, with abusers and those who would conceal abuse.

However – it did not occur to me that the States of Jersey would be so degenerate, so cretinous, so immoral and so decadent as to actually stop the speech from being delivered.

Yet – that is precisely what they did.

Only about a quarter of the way through the speech, I was barracked, interrupted and halted.

And – in another of those ‘You Couldn’t Make It Up’ episodes – the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache – Speaker of the assembly – sided with the mob.

He ordered me to stop delivering the speech. I declined, as the speech was ‘in-order’ – so he cut my microphone and adjourned the meeting.

You see – in addition to being very annoyed that a member should speak the truth – Jersey politicians were impatient to get to their Christmas lunch in the Old Library.

If you’re interested in this extraordinary episode, I have written about it in two previous posts, ‘Parallel Universes’ and ‘Anatomy of a Spin – Temps Passé #1’.

But I haven’t previously posted the actual speech I was prevented from delivering.

So here it is.

As you read this, bear in mind a few key facts:

It was the first ever speech by a Jersey politician which attempted to acknowledge the victims of decades of child-abuse in the island.

I attempted to give this speech as we approached Christmas.

Phil Bailhache – speaker of the Jersey parliament – in siding with the mob-rule of the Jersey establishment, became probably the only Speaker of a parliament in any western democracy who would support tyranny by the majority and prevent minority opinions from even being expressed.

Not one single sentence of the speech conflicted with any rules of procedure, standing orders or code of conduct – it was entirely ‘in-order’.

Therefore the halting of the speech – in addition to being a sickening display of immorality – was also an assault upon democracy and the rule of law. Phil Bailhache and his Jersey establishment allies had, precisely, zero legitimate grounds for preventing me from speaking.

I suppose, in many respects, it was the final illustration of an establishment drowned in its own moral turpitude, incompetence, hubris and decadence.

It was, perhaps, the moment when I realised my political career was over. I knew then, if I didn’t before, that I just had to get out of it and cleanse myself of the sensation of filth, decay and futility.

In my post “Parallel Universes” I described the way I felt attempting to deal with the banalities of the local media interviews in the immediate wake of this episode. I quote some of that post here:

“Midst this scene like something from ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’, I was asked a question which suddenly attracted my interest. I was asked by a BBC Jersey TV journalist whether I “was surprised at the attitude and actions of States members in response to my speech?”

I was about to tell the truth – “yes – very surprised. How could one imagine people objecting to an expression of empathy for abuse survivors?”

But then a greater truth struck me – of course I wasn’t surprised. Being shocked at this reaction by States members was like being surprised to discover that lawyers charge too much and string-out cases to maximise fees.

So, I answered. I forget the precise words, but it was something like this:

“Am I surprised at States members’ reactions? No, not really – after all, let’s face it, we all know the States assembly is largely a collection of gangsters and halfwits. So, surprised? No.””

Anyway – for those who have requested it – here is the actual speech that the Jersey parliament refused to hear.




Sir, Your Excellency, fellow members – but especially the people we are here to represent,

As Father of the House, it is customary for the senior Senator to lead the seasonal exchange of greetings with which we end the year.

In these addresses, it is common to reflect upon the year past – and to contemplate the coming year. And it is the birth of Christ that we mark with these reflections and which we celebrate in this season of goodwill.

Christ taught many things in the course of His life. Amongst His teachings was the virtue of honesty.

For even though I am an ordinary, fallible person, with no particular religious convictions, still, I could not stand here and falsely claim that the past year has been an episode upon which we, as an assembly, could look back upon with satisfaction – or even self-respect. This has not been a year in which we have displayed wisdom, compassion or even basic common sense.

As is now public knowledge, we as a society – Jersey – this community – have begun the awful task of facing up to decades – at least – of disgraceful failure – and worse – towards children.

I will not refer to my personal experiences of 2007; perhaps I will speak of such things on another occasion.

Instead, I wish to speak of the children, the victims, the innocent – the many – who have been catastrophically failed by the edifice of public administration in Jersey – year in and year out. Decade after decade.

We like to imagine ourselves as being some kind of model community; a safe, well-governed and happy group of people. Whilst I cannot speak in detail of individual sufferings now; nor of the many betrayals – I can say this: that as far as I am aware the coming months and years are going to require the most painful reconsideration of our communal values, our competence – and our collective ethics.

Indeed, I am not aware of a more wretched and shocking example of communal failure in the entire 800 year history of Jersey as a self-governing jurisdiction.

How much worse could things be than the systemic decades-long betrayal of the innocents?

As we approach the birthday of Christ, we should reflect upon his words. When on an occasion, some little children were brought to Jesus, Jesus’ disciples became angry and rebuked those who had brought the children into Christ‘s presence. Scriptures then tell us, “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them “ Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Jesus is also recorded as saying, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name received me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”

I would hope that these simple words – that place children and their welfare at the heart of human values – could be accepted by any decent person – regardless of their particular religious thoughts or beliefs.

Greater minds than mine have said that we may gauge the quality of a society by how it treats its children. Having learnt what I have learnt in the course of this year I have to say that our smug self-satisfaction as a charitable and civilised community in fact conceals a festering canker. For though it would be bad enough for us to have amongst our midst’s the abusers that are to be found in all societies – the victims in Jersey have been doubly betrayed – betrayed with indifference, betrayed with contempt, betrayed with the naked and idle self-interest of an administration that should have been protecting these – the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

Sir, some people seem to enjoy being politicians. This is not a view I ever understood. My 17 years as a States member have, to me, been a fairly consistent period of struggle; on some occasions so Kafkaesque, so dispiriting that many times I just wished to cast it all aside and seek a civilised occupation instead. But nothing – nothing – nothing in those 17 years even begins to approach the sheer existential bleakness of this year; of trying to contact, to listen to, to help so many people whose childhoods and lives were wrecked by abuse – often abuse at the hands of the States of Jersey and its employees – and doubly wrecked by the conspiracy of cover-ups engaged in by public administration.

A few brave people – front-line staff, victims, and whistle-blowers began to bring these failings to my attention. As my understanding developed, I took extremely high-powered specialist advice on child protection issues – and I think this assembly should acknowledge with gratitude the involvement of Chris Callender, Andrew Nielson and their leader, Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform. The support and guidance of the Howard League was a great source of strength to me and those whom I was working with in Jersey.

Likewise Professor June Thoburn, who agreed to bring her world-renowned expertise to the post of Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee.

In particular I believe we should acknowledge the bravery, integrity and unshakable commitment to child welfare exhibited by Simon Bellwood. He alone – amongst the entire panoply of the child “protection” apparatus in Jersey – said that the way we were treating children in custody was simply wrong. He alone took a stand against the appalling ill-treatment of children who needed care – not abuse. That he was sacked for his efforts really speaks volumes, and illustrates well the ethical void within the system we are responsible for.

Sir, I repeat, we must focus upon the victims – and the friends and families who suffered along with them.

For a period of many months, I investigated these issues – and the more I investigated – the greater became my alarm and anger at what I was learning from people throughout our society. Jersey being the kind of place where many people know other people, the chains of contacts which developed – the networks of victims and witnesses simply grew and grew. Sometimes new revelations occurred – almost by the hour.

As I met, and spoke with people of all ages – young teenagers to retired people – it became clear to me that what we were facing was something far worse than occasional, isolated instances of abuse. What Jersey had tolerated in its midst was a culture of disregard, abandonment and contempt for children – especially those children in need; the vulnerable; the defenceless. During these dark days, when I contemplated how people could treat children in these ways, I was often reminded of the words of Sartre, when he said “hell is other people”.

But, the strength and bravery of the many victims was a source of strength to me as I contemplated several years of bitter struggle against the Establishment, who were clearly going to use the predictable range of oppressions against me in an effort to keep the truth concealed.

So when the States of Jersey Police Force took me into their confidence and gave me a comprehensive briefing about the work they were doing – it was as though a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I had been steeling myself for years of struggle to expose the truth and to seek justice for the victims. The realisation that I was not going down this road alone was a tremendous release – to me – and to the victims. So I must pay tribute to the leadership of the Police Force. This time – finally – there is no hiding place.

During my work I have had conversations with people – teenagers, parents, young adults and older people. People from all parts of society and all backgrounds. Many of these people – victims and witnesses – naturally enough found speaking about their experiences extremely difficult; and many of them were, and are, reluctant to become identified. Likewise the many brave front-line staff who still contact me regularly – notwithstanding the blocking by management of e-mails sent to me by Health & Social Services staff from their work computers.

Such is the climate of fear that victims, witnesses and decent staff experience, that very many of the meetings I have taken part in – have had to be arranged in great secrecy. For example, one brave employee who gave me very important information, made initial contact with me via a text-message sent from her daughter’s mobile phone.

I went about the back-streets, the housing estates, the tenement blocks, the foul, overcrowded and exploitative “lodging houses” in which the poor in Jersey often dwell. And I listened to people opening up; often for the first time in their lives speaking of what they experienced – what they saw – and how they had been failed by everyone. For many of these people, I was the first person in authority they felt able to speak to about what happened to them.

I listened to things – things sometimes said through tears – that I hope never to have to hear again.

As time passed, I found myself moving from these dark rendezvous with witnesses – going amongst the soaked and blackened streets – experiencing encounters with victims – and clandestine meetings with brave whistle-blowing front-line staff.

In the early stages of this odyssey – this drizzle-soaked sodium-lit quest amongst the night roads and back alleys of St. Helier – in the unspoken underbelly of Jersey – I realised what I was seeking – and finding – were ghosts.

Shades and spectres – the vaporous trails of long-departed children – still haunting the outer shells of people I met. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of these ghost children – in eye – or word – or gesture – and you want to reach out to them – but these burnt and vanished phantoms disappear into the scars, the tattoos, the needle marks, the self-harm lacerations, the haunted faces and the wrecked lives.

Although many of the people I met are in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties – I cannot but see them as children still. And many of these children have passed through the hands of the States of Jersey ‘system’ – I cannot bring myself to use the phrase “care”. Some of these children ended in custody for minor offences – and such was the cruelty, abuse, neglect and violence they suffered – many went on to become habitual criminals. When many of these people explained their criminal life-styles, they did so with humility, many candidly use the phrase ‘we were no angels’, and they have said they were not proud of the things they have done. But as a States member – I cannot look at these people – these victims – and not ask myself the awful question: “had these vulnerable, confused and angry children been treated with love and respect and care by the States, perhaps they would have avoided criminal life-styles; perhaps they would not be – in many cases – alcoholics, drug addicts – often broken and shattered beings, wrestling with mental health issues.”

Could I – could any of us – say with confidence that our failures have not contributed to, or led to, such tragic outcomes for so many people?

No, we cannot say that. We must, at the last, admit the awful truth that many of our regular inmates at La Moye Prison are there because of what we – the States of Jersey – did to them as vulnerable children – in the time in their lives when they most needed love, care, support & nurturing.

Amongst our victims have been many many children who had not misbehaved; children who had to be taken into “care” for their protection; or children who had to be taken into the States-run institutions because of the death of their parent. I have met with siblings who’s mother died of cancer when they were little children. I have met with several of the victims of this particular States-run institution. But when I met with the brother & sister – now adults – and listened to their experiences – all I could feel were two things: shame – that the States of Jersey allowed these things to be done to them – and anger that upon the tragedy of the death of these young children’s mother from cancer – we – the States – heaped violence, cruelty, battery and abuse upon these already bereaved children who needed our care, support & love.

Towards the end of my conversation with them – they embraced tearfully, and the brother repeated a vow that no one would ever harm his sister again.

That meeting took place in a room in this building. And I confess at that moment I seriously considered walking from the door and never setting foot in this place again.

Another, older, man I met explained his experiences of being a resident in Haute de la Garenne in the mid-nineteen sixties. Even for the “standards” of the day, the treatment of the children there was barbaric & cruel – at best; for worse things happened.

What really struck me about my meeting with this man was that he was not especially bothered at the treatment he received. I was touched and moved that his overriding concern was – and still is to this day – the fate of his best friend in that institution. He gave me the name, and some details, such as he could recall, from these days far ago in his childhood.

I was able to look into what happened to this boy who was in our care in Haute de la Garenne in the mid-sixties. Little information was available, but the Office of the Deputy Viscount was able to supply me with the following facts:

Michael Bernard O’CONNELL

• Aged 14 years
• Died on 7th or 8th October 1966, by hanging from a tree, off Rue des Haies in Trinity.
• Inquest held on 17th October 1966.

The memory of this young man is kept alive by his friends – children – people who had similar experiences and who – in the midst of their own struggles with their lives – keep the flame of their friend burning.

But let no one imagine that the things of which we speak are confined to the past; an age of dark and sick attitudes. No – today we have the very same problems.

Recently, I made the appointment and accompanied a young man to the police station so he could add his experiences to the present investigations. This young man had fallen foul of the law in some very minor ways as a young child – and thus he suffered the awful fate of falling into the maw of the so-called youth “justice” system of Jersey. Such was the counter-productive barbarity of the treatment meted out to him – and others like him – that his behaviour became more angry, bitter and lawless. At various stages he passed through Les Chenes and then Greenfields. This young man was, at one stage, held in near complete isolation for two months – passages of solitary confinement which went on for weeks. Having induced – unsurprisingly – a complete mental collapse in this child through this solitary confinement – the response of the institution to his needs was to send a “councillor” from CAMHS to speak with him – for half-an-hour – once-a-week.

As I listened to him recount his experiences over about 2 hours to the police officers who were conducting the initial interview, I kept looking at the vast cross-hatchings of self-harm scars which make his left arm look like a road map of New York, and I listened to him explain how he lay bleeding from these wounds alone in his cell and untended – as a child – I looked at him and I thought “we have done this to him”; “we have wrecked his life”.

It is striking just how many people who passed through the hands of the States of Jersey as innocent children emerged from the other side of that experience, bitter, angry, contemptuous and lawless. Former inmates – current inmates – and those about to become inmates – many many of them are our victims.

Society has a low regard for those who break the law, and that view is routinely echoed in this chamber. So it is not often a member asks us to reflect upon those who have crossed the law and to consider that amongst these people are many – far too many – children who were broken and betrayed in so many ways – especially by the States.

For amongst these people who find themselves imprisoned, these adults cast adrift – within them linger still the ghosts of the children they were – and the spectres of what they should have been.

So Sir – today – the expression of seasonal goodwill, the greeting, the recognition and the charity I stand to offer goes, from me at least, to all the victims of abuse, all those who have suffered – and all those whose childhood experiences have led them to become prisoners. Those who have languished in La Moye – or who are still there now – I want them to know that if their lives are wrecked, their actions driven by the nightmares of their childhoods – some of us understand. Some of us recognise them as victims – tragically and shamefully – often victims of the States of Jersey.

I wish to finish by quoting the final verse of a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter:

Somewhere in a dream like this
The light of love leads us home
Broken worlds will not be fixed
Vengeance take us as thy own
We’re just like beggars now
On our knees we hear our names
God forgives somehow
We have yet to learn the same.

Excerpt from Dead Man Walking by
Mary Chapin Carpenter

Senator Stuart Syvret
Christmas address to States of Jersey


Actually – They Were That Stupid.

“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”


Read my ‘Disallowed’ Amendment – below.

As a number of my loyal readers have pointed out to me – I was inadvertently generous to my “esteemed” colleagues in the Jersey parliament when I said in my last post that they had contemplated a ‘censure motion’ against me, but didn’t proceed.

I have been reminded that such a censure motion was, in fact, debated and easily carried.

It had completely escaped my mind – which, I guess, just goes to show how much relevance the farce had to me.

I did coble together some amendments to the censure motion – but – in customary fashion, the ‘Bailiff’ ‘disallowed’ them.

Which is a grave pity. Read the suppressed amendments below this post, and you will see they would have made for a more sensible debate than average for the Jersey parliament.

As I said, Phil Bailhache blocked them. I can’t imagine why.

Perhaps he though I was extracting the urine? (Is that ‘polite’ enough, Pip?)

So, the debate proceeded without amendments.

Hell – even though I seconded the proposition – and spoke and voted in favour of it for the entertainment value – the incident had still faded away; crowded out by important issues – and real work.

In truth, most members of the Jersey parliament just have huge amounts of time on their hands. I mean, they must do? What other rational explanation could there be for debates which go on and on for days – with members frequently sounding-off at great and tedious length – and in 95% of such “contributions” stating nothing of originality or consequence?

I guess it’s ‘Groupthink’ on display; a narrow coterie of “important” figures, but, in the main, isolated from the people they’re supposed to be representing. Instead just contributing to a strange and hallucinatory club – a chapter of ‘in-groupers’ whose primary effect is simply the maintenance of a fictional void in which mutual deluding is the required currency of advancement.

The effect of this is a legislature in which most members are convinced – and convince each-other – in a manner akin to primate grooming – that they are ‘important’, ‘relevant’, and ‘terribly clever’.

Of course, the result of this is some kind of Becketian black farce – in which the boiling mass of egos, inadequacies, insecurities, stupidities and ignorances becomes, instead, – to its participants – some kind of Star Chamber – leading the ignorant masses of this community with the kind of profound wisdom and insight which can only be achieved by social-climbing your way out of the ‘parish roads committee’ up to the Olympian heights of the Jersey cocktail party circuit.

These days, I look around at the average States member – but in particular, the leading figures – and I see naked emperors.

Or scared, confused and frightened little men – as in the Wizard of Oz – thrashing desperately at the controls of delusion whilst hidden behind the curtain.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at this; the Jersey parliament largely consisting of people who think wondering around from one PowerPoint presentation to another equates to doing work.

So no surprise that they would happily spend time debating a censure motion against me – for the heinous crime of writing a satirical letter – rather than debate stuff like, say, our grave economic vulnerability; or the fact that substantial sections of Jersey society live in relative poverty – or introducing a sex offenders register.

It’s true that the ‘Privileges & Procedures Committee’ lost their nerve, so didn’t bring the censure motion themselves. Instead it was proposed by a Jersey establishment back-bencher, Deputy Gerard Baudains of St. Clement parish.

Deputy Baudains is an elected member who has, essentially, built his political career upon fighting against developments on the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in his parish, St. Clement.

And well done, say I. An admirable objective – one that I have always supported.

It’s just a touch unfortunate that the instant he inherited some substantial property and open land – he suddenly discovered his inner property developer.

To his great annoyance his planning applications to build on the field have been turned down – for the time-being, at least.

Deputy Baudians’ capacity for consistent, rational thought is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that he made serious attempts to get the island’s water laws delayed and weakened. In his view, such legislation was completely unnecessary as – contrary to the conclusions of a long-term study by the British Geological Survey – Jersey had masses of ground-water. Deputy Baudians’ “dowsing rods” proved it.

Indeed, according to the mystical member, Jersey’s ground-waters were constantly replenished by “underground streams from the Pyrenees.” The fact that this mountain range is actually quite a long way from Jersey – not to mention being separated by a significant length of open sea is, apparently, irrelevant. We know this because the sprites and fairies which guide his crypto-pagan magic have enabled him to follow and chart these ‘streams’ – beneath the seabed – using his ‘dowsing skills’ – whilst on a boat – travelling across the sea from the French coast to Jersey.

So, notwithstanding his crypto-pagan attunement with the Earth – he wants to build on his field – but, so far – without success.

Well – never mind, Gerard. Whilst it’s still open, natural land, it may well serve as the ideal location for the sacrificing of Lenny Harper – just like the policeman in ‘The Wicker Man’.

A fascinating possibility suggested by one of my commenters.

I’m sure Gerard could find the most auspicious spot on his land using his ‘dowsing rods’.

If we started work now, I’m sure we’d have the wicker man ready for the summer solstice. I’m sure some livestock could be obtained from farmers in the local Lodge.

Though, this being Jersey, virgins might be harder to locate.

All we need now is a suitable Jersey oligarch to fulfil the role of Lord Summerisle?

Any nominations gratefully received.

I must check with Lenny that he knows the words to The Lord is My Shepard.


My Disallowed Amendment.


In paragraph (a) after ‘and’ insert the following sub-paragraphs –

(i) any States member who exhibits dissent by writing satire, mocking establishment institutions or upsetting the rich and powerful shall be required to read the entire works of Chairman Mao and General Franco;

(ii) that Senator Syvret be required to stand in the corner against the wall for an hour whilst the assembly chants ‘this is what happens to naughty boys’;

(iii) that Senator Syvret be required to write an essay of not less than 3000 words on the subject “The uses and limitations of parody and satire as components of political discourse” and to lead an ‘in-committee’ discussion on the subject.

(iv) that for his disrespectful attitude towards Deputy Baudains’ mystical powers, Senator Syvret be required to undertake a course of study on Wiccan water divining techniques with a module on the ontological reality of pixies at the bottom of the garden rather than as semiotic signifier.

In paragraph (b) after the word ‘committee’ insert the following sub-paragraphs –

(i) and that Senator Syvret be required to polish the desk in the Privileges & Procedures Committee room at the conclusion of this meeting;

(ii) and that Senator Syvret be required to stand in the Royal Square for half-an-hour during the lunchtime adjournment of the next States meeting wearing around his neck a placard with the words “I dissed a few of the rich and powerful, so this is the kind of punishment uppity proles can expect” written upon it.

Senator Stuart Syvret


Deputy Baudains’ proposition is timely and raises a number of important issues. However, as drafted it just doesn’t go far enough. Jersey and its political environment has so far stood firm against Enlightenment contamination. For over 200 hundred years – after the age of the rationalists; of Voltaire and Tom Paine – our island has been a steadfast bastion against the subversions of such dangerous extremists. Only here has the culture of deference and due respect to our natural leaders and social superiors been defended and maintained. This rightful according of respect is vital to the natural order of things. Should we let slip our vigilance, uppity proles might rise and subvert our paradise.

Where will it all end if people like me are not taught the necessity of restraining our belligerent and subversive urges? It is simply crucial for society that the institutions of authority and the individuals within them are never questioned. What will the world come to if we get into the habit of mocking the apparatus of power instead of tugging our forelocks?

To be honest, such is my wish to do my very best in the interests of the community, I did seriously consider including in the amendments a resolution that I be taken to Mont Orgueil Castle – as in the Good Old Days – where my ears would be cut off and I would have the letters S and L, for seditious libeller, branded on my cheeks. Such correction would be a welcome return to an historic age of higher standards. However, since our craven capitulation to the political-correctness-gone-mad of the European Convention on Human Rights, I know this would not be accepted.

I really just don’t know what came over me. In the cold light of day I can see just how extreme and simply intolerable my actions have been. Let me confess them here:

• writing a satirical letter which lampooned our respected establishment. (I nearly said oligarchy there, but I’m ‘endeavouring’ to not upset people, really)

• Expecting PPC, in the resultant ‘disciplinary’ investigation, to afford me treatment compatible with the principles of natural justice.

• Expecting a fair hearing.

• Demanding to know, precisely, what it was that was being enquired into.

• Getting stroppy when told that the three passages of my satirical letter originally cited by PPC were not now going to be the focus of investigation.

• Mocking members for their opposition to the excessive use of free speech.

• Getting cross when expecting the disciplinary hearing to be held in public but discovering from a journalist that morning that it was to be held in secret.

• Accusing PPC of breaking standing orders itself by acting on anonymous complaints.

• Reconsidering Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ as social reality when PPC refused to tell me who the anonymous complainants are.

I mean, what can the world be coming to when people like me demand to know who is complaining about them? I know that standing orders expressly forbids PPC from acting on anonymous complaints, but I have only myself to blame for naively thinking such safeguards applied to uppity proles as well as the Great and the Good.

The States Assembly has to exhibit determination and show that it simply will not tolerate members engaging in disrespectful political satire, demanding free speech, expecting a fair hearing in disciplinary processes, seeking the protections of the European Convention on Human Rights and expecting to know the identity of anonymous complainants against them.

If we don’t nip-in-the-bud such delusionary and subversive behaviour immediately our 200 plus years of steadfast resistance to so-called “Enlightenment values” will be put in jeopardy.

We cannot afford to take that risk.

Senator Stuart Syvret

Finance & Manpower Statement.

I am unsure what the Wiccan course would cost, but I’m given to understand that there are communes in Wales that offer such training.

I can’t imagine that the neck placard would cost much; a couple of bits of hardboard, paint, a bit of string and half-an-hour’s sign writing should do it. Though I do think the paint will need to be waterproof in case it rains.

Senator Stuart Syvret.


By Popular Request.

I have been producing this blog for a few months now and I get a tremendous amount of feedback from people in Jersey – 98% of which has been extremely supportive.

Many people have asked me if I would post a notorious open-letter I wrote on the 1st February 2007.

This pre-dates the political aspects of the child abuse disaster – so it doesn’t deal with that subject – but I’m sure we could all use some entertaining diversions right now.

But what the satirical letter does is provide a kind of ‘beginners guide’ to Jersey politics and the machinations and history of power in this island.

It is an accurate depiction of the arrogance, megalomania, moral turpitude and stupidity of Jersey’s oligarchy.

I say a notorious letter, because – believe it or not – the writing of a four-page piece of political satire was deemed to be some kind of “threat to society”. Really – I’m not kidding.

This is another of those ‘You Just Couldn’t Make It Up’ moments.

The issuing of my open letter caused an emergency meeting of Jersey’s Council of Ministers – of which I used to be a member – and led to me being arraigned before the Jersey parliament’s ‘Privileges & Procedures Committee’.

Perhaps I’ll write about the politics of that episode in another post.

But, for now, I reproduce the open-letter. It was written in response to political and personal attacks on me by Richard Brocken. For further information concerning the delightful Mr. Brocken check-out my post, “Of Chancers & Spivs”, which can be read here: –

But the open letter published below deals with a variety of local issues and characters – which, obviously, won’t be familiar to those who don’t know Jersey.

But I’m still pretty confident that average reader will get a flavour of, ‘How Things Work In Jersey’ from my “subversive” screed.

For example – as you’re reading the letter – remember – the Jersey establishment seriously contemplated a ‘censure-motion’ against me in the island’s parliament for having written it.

Yes – they really are that stupid.



Senator Stuart Syvret
Minister, Health & Social Services

1st February 2007


Dear Ritchie

Thanks for the letters you had published in the JEP on the 23rd December and the 18th January. I was beginning to get a little bored since my good friend Mr Boothman retired from writing his column. Anyway, I was reminded that I should reply when I heard Don Filleul on the BBC Radio Jersey phone-in programme this Sunday. Mr Filleul suggested I was a communist, which is similar to your assessment of me. Well, when people of Don’s calibre – the mastermind behind the steam clock – speak, it pays to listen. It’s always stimulating and beneficial to receive constructive criticism, and in reflecting on what you wrote I am beginning to think you are, in many ways, correct. However, before going on to confess the error of my ways, I should state that, contrary to your assertions, I have never been anything other than totally honest in my election manifestos. A rather quaint anachronism, I know, but these habits are hard to break. The issues and policies I work to address were openly declared in my manifesto at election time. There was nothing ‘closeted’ or ‘cloaked’ about them. Unlike – it has to be said – the sub-text to your letters which you rather unsportingly left veiled.

You failed to mention in your attacks on me that the Health & Social Services department, whilst under my leadership, has refused to enter into a multi-million pound public-private partnership with you to enable the construction of a private hospital on the site of your Stafford Hotel. I know, I know – it must seem so unfair when we readily engage in public-private partnerships with other businesses, such as the partnership with Dandara that enabled us to deliver the new dental clinic, and the partnership with the owners of the Sandringham Hotel site which will also be very beneficial; working with independent care homes; forming partnerships with the local GP community and so on. But I’m sorry Ritchie, the consistent and professional advice given to me and the old Health & Social Services Committee was that the particular deal with you involving your Stafford Hotel site just didn’t stack up from a public interest perspective. Ritchie, as your own advisers told you, your scheme was only viable if the public “shared the risk”. Your scheme was economic only if it could piggy-back on the many decades of heavy investment by the taxpayers of Jersey in their hospital and its infrastructure. Had the project gone ahead, one of the main results would be your venture creaming off the private health work, thus depriving the General Hospital of an important source of income. This income loss would have to be made up by the tax payer, who would also be continuing to maintain the General’s emergency services which your unit would turn to at times of complications and crisis. Not a good deal, I’m afraid, Ritchie – it just didn’t make any sense.

I also think that those currently investing in genuine stand-alone private facilities would be less than happy at the prospect of your venture gaining an unfair market advantage through a partnership with the General Hospital.

So Ritchie, whilst we are never going to agree on your private hospital proposal, there are so many other ways in which I now see that people like Don Filleul and you have been right all along.

You are certainly correct when you say that Norman Le Brocq was a communist. I had many conversations with Norman and whilst I didn’t agree with his political philosophy, I regarded him – as did many people including the late Sir Martin Le Quesne – as a man of integrity and principle who worked tirelessly for the ordinary people of Jersey. Ritchie, people like Sir Martin and I may have thought Norman was a decent, if philosophically misguided, man, but I recognise now that we were mistaken. The ‘truth’, of course, is revealed in the Jersey Evening Post reportage of those post-war decades. When looking at archive JEP material (always an accurate historical source, don’t you find?) it becomes clear that Norman was, in fact, Joseph Stalin incognito with a battalion of T34 tanks hidden in Grands Vaux woods. When his moment arrived he would surely seize the tea factory and re-name it Red October.

You know, Ritchie, thinking about Norman reminds me of the eulogies heaped upon him by the JEP and assorted oligarchs when he died. It seemed not to matter one jot that the JEP – the house-journal of the island’s establishment – had spent decades in a spittle-flecked swivel-eyed mania of paranoia and hatred whilst trying to destroy him lest his policies compromise the money-minting opportunities of the odd landlord, lawyer or estate agent. If anyone notices when I kick the bucket, I do hope the JEP isn’t so completely shameless as to print any encomiums of that kind about me. Such stinking hypocrisy is always a deeply unedifying spectacle, don’t you find, Ritchie?

So, I now suspect you and Don are right. My politics might indeed have been ‘extremist’. But you and I can hardly be objective judges of that question, can we? All we can do is explore the issues and let others compare and contrast.

I now see that the mistake I was making all along was to consider where my policies might fall on the political spectrum of, say, the UK or other European countries, and reaching the conclusion that my views were entirely mundane by the standards of western democratic discourse. By way of contrast, the “mainstream” policies of the Jersey oligarchy often struck me as being off-the-radar-screen in terms of stupidity, rapacity and unsustainability. You know the kind of stuff – placing a regressive sales tax on basic food, education and health care costs whilst minimising the tax bills of the rich, chucking 500,000 tonnes of toxic incinerator ash into sea-porous land reclamation sites, blowing a total of nearly £50 million of taxpayers money in capital overspends, setting a minimum wage that doesn’t even reach 45% of the median wage, refusing to have a windfall tax on the spectacular profits of property speculators, allowing thousands of small business proprietors to dodge their social security obligations through the mechanism of paying themselves the bare minimum whilst their companies accumulate the profit thus leaving the taxpayer to pick up the shortfall, abusing migrant workers by charging them £120.00 per week to rent damp and stenching hovels, letting the gold-rush decades pass whilst accumulating a ‘strategic reserve’ that wouldn’t even meet 12 months of public sector costs, – etc etc. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

I admit my error; I used to see such things as the manifestation of disjointed chaos, institutional inadequacy and the foetid miasma of an environment completely in thrall to short-term business interests. I now recognise what everyone else has always known. These achievements are the marvellous consequence of a brilliant political epoch.

I can now see that suggestions like capping the tax bill of billionaires at a maximum liability of £100,000 are a jolly good idea. I mean, why charge them more when we can tax medicines, bread, children’s clothes and school fees instead?

You were quite right; my comments about politicians buying their way into office were scurrilous. I deserve to be thrown out of the States for another 6 months. I guess I was just allowing the resentment get to me; of fighting elections against people who might have spent £30,000 of their “sponsors” money on their campaigns. I had worried that big businesses and the rich – who have multi-million pound interests riding on the outcome of Jersey elections – would readily “sponsor” the “right” candidates. But, on reflection, I’m sure that doesn’t happen – does it, Ritchie?

Yes, Jersey has got it right in not legislating for election expenditure. OK, OK, I grant you that all of the rest of the established democratic world embraced such laws decades ago, believing that democracy should take place on a level playing field. But I agree, it is the rest of the world which is extremist and Jersey stands alone as a beacon of moderation, rectitude and probity. Let’s face it, Guernsey has laws controlling election expenditure – so it must be a mistake.

I’m sure all these other jurisdictions have got it wrong and that extravagant campaigns just don’t affect the outcome of elections. I am sure that, as they went into the voting booth, the voters of St. Helier number 2 district simply thought “Right, if we elect that nice Mr MacLean, of the ‘Seven Angry Men Party’ he will oppose all that bleeding-heart-liberal nonsense about GST exemptions. Medicines, medical services and children’s clothing must not be exempt from the tax! What we need is a representative who understands that you must tax the poor to help the poor.” He has certainly met these expectations, so don’t let anyone say that you can’t rely on politicians. Well – OK, I didn’t actually read his manifesto, but I’m sure he must have overtly promised to stamp on all this pinko nonsense so we can continue to benefit from the occasional crumb that might ‘trickle down’ from the tables of the rich.

Ritchie, thanks to you and Don I’ve been reflecting on my political views and maybe I was an extremist. I mean, what can I have been thinking of, moaning about the fact that a rich person can make a £50 million capital gain – that’s £50 million – and pay not one penny – that’s not one penny – of tax on that sum, whilst the States of Jersey puts tax on bread, insulin and bandages. I mean, just fancy; imagining that it’s OK to take 1% in tax off of someone who has just made £50 million. Well – it is just communism, isn’t it? Tax multi-millionaires instead of taxing bread and apples? Next thing you know I’ll be suggesting that millionaires with £2 million yachts in the taxpayer funded marina should pay some duty on their marine diesel or that commercial property speculations should be taxed a little instead of children’s clothing, basic food or education.

What can I have been thinking? To suggest taxing the mega-rich a little – when we can perfectly well put a tax on the incontinence pads of the infirm instead? Well – I ask you! – It’s just political correctness gone mad, ain’t it?

Thank heavens your letters and Don’s comments have brought me to my senses and made me see such policies as the extremist crypto-commie nonsense they were. I shall now embrace the Laffer curve (appropriately weighted for local maxima, naturally) – let the rich pay no tax – no, forget that; let’s pay the rich to be here. As Leona Helmsley said “only little people pay taxes.” Well, OK – she was jailed shortly afterwards, but that was because governments just don’t understand the exigencies of the wealth creators, do they? If your letters hadn’t brought me to my senses I would still be getting cross about taxes aimed at the poor, the inability of the States to pay for the latest cancer drugs, bread-line families, failure to pay our nurses sufficiently and people paying £120 per week to rent one–room wretched hovels.

Perhaps now that I have publicly recanted my misguided political views, maybe I’ll be offered a non-executive directorship of a bank or accountancy firm and then sit in political judgment on the institutions – err – ‘regulatory issues’. I mean, this was, after all, standard political practice for decades. And, let’s face it, if it was good enough for the colossus-like ‘Elder Statesmen’ of the ‘Good Old Days’, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

As your first letter said, I’ve “finally got the message”. I’ll have to admit that completely misjudging what the public want is a pretty big failure for a politician. I‘ve done it so many times I scarcely know where to begin my disencumbrance. How about the Waterfront? Clearly, the ‘silent majority’ of people in St. Helier actually wanted their ancient beach to be covered by a giant toxic waste dump and covered with structures copied from Birmingham circa 1974. Perhaps that historic view to Elizabeth Castle was just a nuisance; an obstacle in the way of more car parking? Yes, I confess I just didn’t “get it” that when they spoke of creating a “unique” waterfront, what they meant was we would – uniquely – have the only multiplex cinema on earth with prime-site sea views. Now I just shake my head and think ‘how could I have been so foolish?’

But just think, Ritchie, if I do step down in a couple of years, an additional seat will be available. Why don’t you run for it yourself? I think you would get in easily. Just put on some ‘salt-of-the-earth, working-man’ shtick – like one or two of your political friends – and there you go. Hell, let’s face it; if the voters of a district like St. Helier number 2 can be persuaded that just who they need to understand and represent them is a multi-millionaire property merchant with a country estate in England then anything is possible.

And just think of the opportunities: if you became ‘Senator Brocken’, you could pursue your interest in opposing “extremist political doctrines” and seek to establish a “House Un-Jersey Activities Committee”. There would surely be no shortage of support in the States with many members willing to serve on it. Just imagine the questioning you could lead: “Did you ever know or did you ever speak to Norman Le Brocq?” “Do you or did you ever believe that there should be a tax on the capital gains of multi-millionaires instead of a tax on dressings for the ulcerated legs of pensioners?” “Have you ever thought, or associated with those who thought, that it might be reasonable to expect the wealthy to pay a little more tax before we tax the food in the mouths of the poor?” “Do you, or have you ever, read the Guardian?” Anyone answering yes to any of these questions could be safely marked down as a dangerously subversive threat to society and hounded out of employment and home – as has actually happened in the past. And, let’s face it, this wouldn’t be too hard to achieve as you would have the enthusiastic support of the JEP, the island’s only “newspaper”. After all, this would be small beer to a publication which has exhibited such fulminating, crazed and vicious paranoia as to reveal, in an editorial comment, the mental health history of an individual whose political activism happened to displease the bosses. Though the timing of this incident was some years ago, the ‘standard’, if that’s the right word, remains the same. I used to think it was axiomatic that only weak and silly little men ever get to become editors of the JEP; tremulous poltroons who could be relied upon to service the interests of Jersey’s landlords, bosses and used car salesmen. I was wrong about this too. I now recognise that successive editors have all been journalistic titans – fearlessly striding forth, girded for battle on behalf of truth and justice whilst guided by the finest traditions of the Fourth Estate.

So Ritchie (and this is secret, OK? Just between you and me) I used to constantly worry about the future of Jersey. Griped by an existential crisis, I would think ‘what will we do in Jersey if things get difficult? We’ve seriously over-developed our environment, spread pollution, squandered our collective inheritance, dissolved our quality of life, exploited large cohorts of the population, accumulated terrifying pension scheme debts – and have saved not so much as one year’s public expenditure to show for all of this.’ I used to lay awake at night thinking ‘things might get very hard for us in the next five to ten years’; that the tower blocks, the traffic jams and the concrete might simply be simulacrums of success; that we had absolutely no plan of any description to deal with issues such as peak oil and the resultant global economic and societal crisis. I used to fear that the architects of this destiny would – when the end of our hallucinated economy arrives – jet off to luxurious climes to their first, second, or fifth “holiday” home, having ‘cashed their chips’ and safely sent on their millions in advance – leaving a bitter, wrecked and betrayed community behind.

But I have put such fears behind me now and am going to send in my membership application to the Institute of Directors. I recognise that we have been led by geniuses and that there is simply no possibility of any of these bad things happening – and even if they did, every scion of the rentiers, every tax exile, every local millionaire and every thrusting entrepreneur will remain here – standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of us; using their fortunes to succour the poor and ease the suffering; ready to save the day with that colossal business skill, initiative and resourcefulness that we have always been so proud of in Jersey. OK, I grant you that slave-trading is illegal these days, so it won’t be so easy this time around – but I’m sure we will think of something.



PS: If I disregard the professional advice and go for the private hospital deal on your Stafford Hotel site, will you pay towards my election campaign if I ever run again?



And Why it Persists.

Mike Pollard: a Case Study.

Part 2.

So – what did readers make of Mike Pollard’s letter to all Jersey Health & Social Services Staff – as reproduced in the first of these two posts?


Of laughter? Of anger?

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if it merely displayed gross incompetence.

Instead it displays incompetence – and straight-forward lies.

Utter fictions and assertions wholly incompatible with the truth.

Below this post, I re-produce the e-mail I drafted last year to all H & SS staff.

I was never able to deliver it because the States of Jersey e-mail system was rigged by the Chief Minister’s Department and Bill Ogley to block me – the former Minister who had been lied about by Pollard – from replying. Yes, as extraordinary as that is, that is how toxic, lawless, corrupt – frankly dangerous – is the break-down in the rule-of-law by the polity of Jersey.

Read my suppressed response of September last year – and then gauge for yourselves which communication is honest: his – or mine.

Evidence such as the Pollard letter serves to demonstrate so well the implacable decadence of public administration in Jersey and the total failure of accountability.

The fact that this small community simply does not have functioning ‘checks & balances’.

Remember – his letter was not some distant manifestation of mendacity – cobbled together back in the 1960’s.

It was written in September 2007.

His letter contains a variety of out-right falsehoods.

Lies which I deal with in the e-mail I reproduce below – which the States of Jersey prevented me from sending last year; prevented me from sending to over 2500 staff members 98% of who are good, hard-working, ethical, principled professionals who had been misled, distressed, lied to, confused and threatened by the staggeringly foul lies of the Chief Executive Mike Pollard.

You may find this amusing, but when I first began to challenge Pollard’s lies last year, he was offered – covertly – by people like Frank Walker & Bill Ogley – taxpayer’s money to fund a defamation action against me.

They were eager for him to sue me – or at least “put a frightener” on me. He would have been their front-man.

And Jersey tax-payers would have been the mugs paying for it.

Do you like that?

People in Jersey – about to endure the introduction of a sales tax on basic foodstuffs – because, like, the Jersey government is so poor.

And, to add insult to injury, let’s take a big chunk of it to enrich even more some Jersey lawyers – so the local oligarchy can muscle into silence their only prominent critic.

I doubt, somehow, most tax payers are content for their money to be spent in this way.

But, whatever – I say bring it on.

Pollard – you are a liar.

Worse – you lie about something as important and fundamental as child protection.

You are manifestly unfit to occupy any position of responsibility – let alone one that involves having over-arching responsibility for vulnerable people.

Sue me for defamation if what I say is wrong – or resign.

You must do one or the other.

Remember, Pollard and all his key senior management personnel – Marnie Baudains and Phil Dennett just for example – remain working – and remain responsible for running child “protection” in Jersey.

It says it all, really, about the “calibre” of Jersey political leadership – Walker & Co. – that these people – who have demonstrably lied concerning child protection – are not even suspended.

Even without being familiar with some of the specific, detailed assertions Pollard makes – any reader with a modicum of common sense can see what utter rubbish the thrust of his letter is.

Let’s have a look at some choice passages from it.

And remember – this is Jersey he is writing about.

“What I actually found, without exception, was that every instance and every matter I looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standard. Never before in my 30 years of practice have I found a service that has got it so right, so well and so often to such a high standard.”

He goes on to make an unvarnished threat to any staff who wish to speak the truth.

“I trust, therefore, that this letter has put beyond any scintilla of a doubt that the Child Protection and Children’s Services operate to a very high standard and have an unblemished record. I will not take kindly to anyone who seeks to make mischief with these hard working staff on these matters.”

This is truly extraordinary.

It’s become such a cliché of mine, I’m thinking of re-naming this blog “You Couldn’t Make It Up.”

And – truly – you couldn’t.

For here – in September of 2007 – is a Chief Executive of a Health & Social Services Department – making it crystal clear to his staff that he:

“will not take kindly”

to those who challenge or speak out concerning child protection failures.

Now – do you understand just how the foul abuses of children can have gone concealed for so long?

Now do you understand the “climate of fear” which is all-pervasive in Jersey?

Well – thank God for the decent, brave, honest staff who make up the vast majority of the H & SS workforce. Dozens and dozens of who remain in contact with me.

The Department may be led by a claque of shysters – but that is not a reflection on the staff at the ‘coal-face’.

Below you can read my previously unpublished response to the Pollard letter, so I won’t repeat here that which is already written.

I have to, though, draw your attention to one, particularly profoundly disturbing assertion which Pollard made – and which I deal with below.

And this is important as it gives such a clear illustration of how the Jersey child abuse disaster can have happened.

Pollard, in his letter, refers to the case of the “departure of a member of staff” which I alerted him to. I did this after being informed of it by whistle-blowers.

Pollard – with, frankly, breathtaking dishonesty – asserts that I was content that this particular case had been handled correctly.

It most certainly was not – and nor did I ever accept that it had been.

Let me describe to you just how appalling the case actually was.

And how even more appallingly no less a figure than the Chief Executive of Health & Social Services can lie about it.

The case in question involved a paedophile by the name of Martin Cougan. He was a member of staff at the Heathfield children’s home.

He engaged in an abusive relationship with a teenage female resident.

When – eventually – management were forced to recognise what was happening, Cougan, upon return from holiday, was told that his resignation would be accepted – and no more said about the matter – on condition he left the island and did not return.

This is beyond unforgivable.

Yet – sadly – it is a typical example of the conduct that saw child abusers from Haute de le Garrene, Blanche Pierre, Le Chennes and other places simply be allowed to ‘quietly leave’ as soon as their monstrous behaviours became too difficult to ignore.

Time and time again I have been told of States of Jersey employees who have exhibited dangerously worrying deviant behaviours – and yet who have just been allowed to ‘resign’.

It is a signature feature of the Jersey child abuse disaster.

But worse – it leaves these maniacs at liberty to go to other places of work, in other jurisdictions – and continue to pose a threat to children there.

A profound threat to vulnerable children – permitted to continue.

Simply because “it’s just more convenient all-round” to have a “quick” “clean” resignation. Avoids all that dreadful paper-work, you see?

Not to mention avoiding any taxing questions concerning the management’s own staff recruitment, vetting and monitoring procedures.

The word disgusting just doesn’t get close to describing the senior ranks of Jersey’s civil service.

Mike Pollard – you have – in the year 2007 – supported and continued the culture of concealment which has enabled the betrayals and abuses of vulnerable children.

You are a modern-day manifestation of the corrupted self-interest endemic to Jersey’s public administration; the self-same “culture” which has permitted and concealed the foul abuse of children for decades.

Even terming you a liar and a charlatan doesn’t get close. Even the average con-man would pause – and do the decent thing – when faced with failures towards the welfare of children.

Even this was too much to expect of you.

For God’s sake go.

Go now.




Subject: Stuart Syvret’s Response to the Letter from Mr Pollard of 14th September.

Dear H & SS Staff

You may recollect a letter from the Chief Officer, Mr Pollard, sent to all H & SS staff dated 14th September 2007. Unfortunately, I have to write to you to correct the utterly dishonest, misleading and deeply worrying contents of that letter.

I have sought to persuade Mr Pollard to retract the letter and apologise to me for its dishonest representation of the events which led up to my sacking for whistle-blowing. Unfortunately, Mr. Pollard has not responded in a positive manner. Therefore it falls to me to explain the truth to you.

The purpose of Mr. Pollard’s letter was to smear me as part of the cover-up and concealment of gross and sustained failures at senior management level across the entire child welfare & protection apparatus of the States of Jersey.

In the letter, dated 14th September 2007, sent to 2300 H & SS employees Mr. Pollard:

(a) dishonestly stated that the concerns I was raising – many of which had been brought to my attention by front-line staff – were “unjustified”;

(b) dishonestly misrepresented my position;

(c) dishonestly misrepresented the actual concerns I was raising;

(d) dishonestly misrepresented my criticisms of management failure as criticisms of front-line staff, when, in fact, many of the concerns were brought to my attention by front-line staff;

(e) dishonestly describing two questions he claimed to have asked me. His depiction of the two questions he ascribed to me is a deliberate attempt to mislead;

(f) dishonestly depicting my answer to the two ‘phantom’ questions;

(g) dishonestly stating that I only raised two concerns with him;

(h) dishonestly stating that these two concerns were groundless;

(i) dishonestly stating that I provided him with ‘no evidence’ for various concerns;

(j) dishonestly stating that there were no instances of failure – whatsoever – in the management and standards of child protection in Jersey.

Mr Pollard’s letter exhibits a clear, pro-active attempt upon his part to engage in concealment and cover-up.

Mr Pollard’s letter therefore exhibits gross professional inadequacy in respect of child welfare and protection. Anyone who puts protecting failed management colleagues above child welfare is not fit to hold such a job.

Mr. Pollard’s letter must, therefore, leave us with the very real concern that further child protection and welfare issues will go unaddressed.

Mr. Pollard’s letter demonstrates his ready willingness to lie to you, the staff of his Department, concerning a matter as serious as child protection.

I will now address some of the substantive and misleading assertions in Mr. Pollard’s letter.

He and I, in fact, asked each other a very substantial number of questions, not merely the two he claims to have asked me.

In the first of those two questions, he claims to have asked me whether I “knew of any child who was not receiving a competent service from the Department?” In fact, what he actually asked me was whether I was aware of any child in imminent or immediate danger? To which, of course, my answer was ‘no, to the best of my knowledge’. Obviously, If I were aware of any child under immediate threat of harm, I would not be speaking to Mr Pollard about it – I would be on the phone to the Police.

In the second of his two ‘phantom’ questions, Mr Pollard claims to have asked me whether I had information I “was withholding which, if supplied to him, would enable him to make the lives of children better?”

This ‘question’ was never asked.

What, in fact, I was asked by Mr Pollard was for me to identify to him all of the front-line staff who had privately raised concerns with me, and to identify to him all of my sources of information and of independent expert advice. Naturally I declined to do this, as to reveal the identities of such contacts would be to jeopardise their professional lives and risk them becoming victimised by management – as has been known to happen. I would never betray such confidences.

But, as a matter of demonstrable fact, I did actually supply Mr Pollard with evidence for many of the concerns; and I informed him of, and drew his attention to, many issues which had been drawn to my attention by front-line staff, whistle-blowers, parents and victims.

Whilst Mr Pollard’s dishonest depiction of events, insofar as they concern me, is very disappointing, I do not regard that aspect of his letter as the most serious.

What appals me beyond words is that Mr Pollard would lie about a matter of such gravity and seriousness as the irresponsible and dangerous ‘departure’ of an employee who poses a real risk to children.

This particular case is an example of an issue that was drawn to my attention by several conscientious front-line employees who were disgusted by the management failure involved.

On page two of his letter, Mr Pollard claims that I asked him to examine “the circumstances surrounding the departure of a member of staff.” Mr Pollard then goes on to state, with breathtaking dishonesty, that “following (his) investigation into this matter, the Senator accepted that this had been handled correctly.”

It is deeply disturbing that Mr Pollard should claim this case to have been handled correctly, when he knows perfectly well it was not. And it is deeply worrying that he should claim – in what is a complete and utter lie – that I accepted that it had been handled correctly.

It most certainly was not.

The employee in question, a male by the name of Martin Cougan, was employed in the residential children’s home ‘Heathfield’. This man began an abusive sexual relationship with a female resident. The man had worked in a position of trust with the female – including for a significant period of time prior to her reaching the age of 16. Quite regardless of criminality, his actions were still a grotesque breach of trust, and an utter betrayal of professional ethics and responsibilities.

Rather than immediately get the police involved and dismiss Cougan, the management allowed him to resign immediately on the understanding that he leaves the island – thus avoiding any awkward questions for the management concerning their staff recruitment and monitoring safeguards. Very convenient all-round – wouldn’t you agree?

As result of this action, the individual might still be employed working with children in some other jurisdiction – where, of course, he will continue to pose a serious threat to the children exposed to him.

Many of the front-line staff recognised what a disgraceful and dangerous action it was to simply allow him to resign. This is why they brought it to my attention. That Mr Pollard can regard a paedophile employee being allowed to resign on the “understanding” that he leave the island – rather than being immediately sacked – as “handled correctly” is extremely worrying.

Mr Pollard goes on to make the quite extraordinary statement that “every instance and every matter (he) looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standards.” This too, is completely untrue.

Sadly, the case I refer to above is but one example of seemingly endless child protection management failure.

Let me give you some brief, summarised examples of the failures and deficiencies that are the cause of concern. These examples are in no particular order and they represent just a small part of the total range of instances of failure in the field caused by woefully inadequate management.

1: The failure to meaningfully intervene in the case of a child with emotional problems. After this failure, the child descended into abuse at the hands of paedophiles. This abuse then went on without recognition – for 18 months – notwithstanding various agencies having several opportunities to intervene.

2: Employees, as described above, being allowed to resign rather than be sacked, thus leaving them to carry on posing a risk to children in other jobs or other jurisdictions. This very ‘convenient and easier’ way for management to dispose of their “problems” – to avoid scrutiny and challenge for their failures – is actually commonplace throughout public administration in Jersey.

3: A long-term culture of cover-up and incompetence at managerial level in Jersey’s child protection apparatus. People have brought cases to my attention that go back to the early-1960s. Unfortunately, as this episode demonstrates, the same culture of failure and irresponsibility in the management of the services persists to this very day.

4: As an example, a former senior Social Services manager reviewed substantial records of witness statements, evidence, logs, staff diaries and victim accounts, concerning a sustained period of appalling abuse towards children by a couple who ran a ‘group-home’ throughout the 1980s. His report, in 1990, whilst accepting that the behaviour ‘could not be condoned’ concluded by stating that the stress of the job was a mitigating factor, and that the female member of the couple had “voluntarily” decided to retire from running the ‘group-home’ – “and she would now work at the Family Development Centre instead”!

This in the face of overwhelming evidence that they had exhibited monstrous cruelty, had made children drink Dettol and had regularly violently assaulted children with implements.

The former senior manager should, of course, have contacted the Police immediately and suspended the couple from any involvement in child care. By the time the case did eventually come to the attention of the Police – in the late 1990s, they were appalled by it and attempted to prosecute the couple in question. The prosecution was abandoned by the Attorney General of the day – Michael Birt, presently Deputy Bailiff – for reasons that remain mystifying and deeply worrying, given the substantive nature of the evidence contained in two large lever-arch files.

5: The transportation of children in custody in the same vehicle at the same time as adult prisoners.

6: The routine use of restraint methods against children in Les Chennes which would never have been used in the UK following the ‘Pin Down’ controversy in Staffordshire County Council, and as exposed by Alan Levy QC and Barbara Kahan in 1990.

7: The failure to provide children in custody with automatic, regular and high-quality emotional and psychiatric care and support.

8: The routine and illegal use of isolation and solitary confinement against children in custody. In some instances the isolation would go on for days, weeks – or even months.

The punitive and coercive use of solitary confinement against people, even adults, is internationally recognised as torture, and is forbidden under several international conventions. To use this methodology to control children is simply a straightforward criminal offence on the part of the States of Jersey. It constitutes illegal, institutionalised abuse.

9: The failure of senior management to regard child welfare and protection as the highest possible priority. As this episode makes plain, management’s overriding and foremost concern has been the ruthless protection of themselves and the support of failed colleagues in senior management positions. For example, the letter from the Jersey Child Protection Committee to Senator Walker, demanding my dismissal, was – as a matter of proven fact – largely authored by the Directorate Manager of Social Services, Marnie Baudains – the very officer most culpable for the very failures I was attempting to address. In the letter she attempted to claim that exposing failed child welfare and protection systems “put children at greater risk.” In fact, the opposite is the case. Every respectable professional organisation’s practice guidance, code of conduct, code of ethics or rules in the child protection field will state that it is always better to speak out concerning a failing system – rather than to remain silent about it.

The issues I describe above are, sadly, but a few of the problems I was attempting to deal with. All such cases, evidence, witness contacts and so forth in my possession will be made know to the States of Jersey Police.

I very much regret having to write in these terms. I have made attempts to reason with Mr Pollard in an effort to make him acknowledge the dangerous and dishonest assertions in his letter of the 14th September. I have invited him to withdraw it, and apologise for his dishonest representation of events. Sadly, he has failed to do so. Therefore, it is important that you know that your Chief Executive is ready and willing to lie to you – and, moreover, lie to you in a manner that proves him to attach greater importance to defending failed senior management colleagues than he does to child welfare and protection.

I would like to put on record my thanks and admiration for all those front-line staff who have contacted me with their concerns in an attempt to secure acceptable standards of care and protection for children. Please rest assured that any contact made with me privately will never be revealed to management or any other agency.


Stuart Syvret


And Why it Persists.

Mike Pollard, the Chief Executive of Jersey Health & Social Services: a Case Study.

Part 1.

This is the first of two posts which examine the fact – for it is a fact – that the “culture” amongst Jersey’s civil service – a “culture” which enabled horrifying child abuses to be concealed for decades – remains in existence right to the present day.

I will try and get the second of these two posts up later this evening.

These posts address the question of Mike Pollard – Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Health & Social Services.

A comparative newcomer to Jersey – but, in truth, a man who “went native” with record speed.

In particular – I want to focus upon a letter he wrote to all Jersey H & SS staff, dated 14th September last year (2007)  following my removal from Ministerial office on the 11th September.

I reproduce that letter below. Read it – absorb it.

I will publish my reply to it in the second of these two posts.

It is a reply I drafted last year (2007) One which I was never able to deliver – because within hours of me getting the bullet as H & SS Minister, my ability to e-mail all the H & SS group-addresses had been blocked by the States of Jersey, so as to prevent me from communicating the truth to about 2,500 people  – that vast majority of who are good and conscientious professionals, many of who were frightened and confused at management’s persecution of whistle-blowers.

So this seems a good a time as any to exercise my ‘right of reply’ – now that I have about 18,500 unique site users.

The Jersey establishment like to peddle the notion that all of the terrible child abuse issues we have been coming to terms with – “whilst regrettable” – reflect what took place a long time ago.

“Today – things are very different. Everything in the garden is rosy now; even our poodle – err, sorry – ‘independent expert’ – Andrew Williamson says so.”


Just how plausible do we think that claim is? Now that we know it’s not just Haute de la Garren we are considering?

Now that we are aware of gross abuses of children carried out in Jersey right into the 21st century?

When we can read a letter authored by the Chief Executive of Jersey H & SS a matter of months ago – in which – in response to my concerns  – he asserts that what he: –

“actually found, without exception, was that every instance and every matter I looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standard. Never before in my 30 years of practice have I found a service that has got it so right, so well and so often to such a high standard.”?

Claims to the effect that “every thing is just fine with child protection in Jersey today” are – literally – incredible.

We need only read Pollard’s letter to see that sadly – things have changed little. The clowns – the liars – the ethically bankrupt shysters and other assorted con-men who seem to gravitate towards highly paid positions in Jersey, are – even as I write – still trying to conceal failures.

Speaking of which – back to Mike Pollard, present Chief Executive Officer of Jersey Health & Social Services.

There was a time – God it seems an age ago – when I used to think Pollard was OK.

I know, I know – it seems so ridiculous now. But bear in mind that the acting Chief Officer he replaced was one Anton Skinner.

I thought Skinner was crap back then – even without knowing of his predilection for permitting the battery and torture of children to take place for the best part of a decade – whilst not telling the Police.

Amazingly – Skinner remains working in the social care charitable sector in Jersey. Quite what these organisations imagine they are doing in not suspending him – Christ knows??? (Well – as Skinner’s main charitable sector boss is the rape & child-abuse concealing bent Advocate & “judge” , Julian Clyde-Smith, we can’t be surprised.)

My moles inform me that Skinner has, of late, been making visits to Pollard’s office on the fourth floor of the H & SS administration building.

No doubt they feel a compelling urge to “get their stories straight and squared” – maintaining the “good”, customary Jersey “Let’s All Stick Together For Mutual Protection” methodology.

You know?

The Jersey civil service “culture” which has enabled the concealment of the battery, rape and torture of vulnerable children.

For at least seven decades.

And reproduced below is a recent example of the self-same culture of concealment and of mendacity.

As I said – read this letter from Pollard; a missive which was e-mailed to about 2,300 H & SS staff.

If you can – and I know it’s hard – set aside the horror of this episode, just for a few minutes as you read Pollard’s letter.

If you have the philosophical constitution of Samuel Becket – you may be able to laugh out loud at the sheer hubris and folly of it.

But then – crucially – check out my next post – which will contain the ‘world exclusive’ publication of my hitherto suppressed reply in response to Pollard – which I wrote last year.

Here is Pollard’s letter.

Read it and weep.


Health and Social Services Department
Corporate Administration
Peter Crill House, Gloucester Street
St Helier, Jersey, JE1 3QS
Tel: +44 (0)1534 622285
Fax: +44 (0)1534 622887

To All HSSD Staff : 14 September 2007

Our ref: JMP/LAW

Dear Colleague

Child Protection Services and our Children’s Services More Generally.

On Wednesday last, I wrote to you following the dismissal of Senator Stuart Syvret as the Minister for Health and Social Services, which became effective the previous day.

The Jersey Evening Post reported the dismissal and included in that report was the following statement:

“Members backed Chief Minister Frank Walker’s move by a 35 to 15 margin, effectively deciding that his attacks on his own staff, other civil servants and politicians over the recent rows have been unjustified”.

In this letter to you I wish to focus on the ‘unjustifiable attacks’. I do know that the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive to the States of Jersey are currently preparing to make a rounded, comprehensive and positive statement about the competence and professionalism of those members of our staff (and staff working in other States Departments and agencies). They will, of course, be sending these resolute messages to the general public of the Island and I expect those powerful messages to be released next week.

It is for me though, to send powerful messages to all of you who work in the Health and Social Services Department.

A letter to all our staff is important because speaking to some of those working in Child Protection Services and our Children’s Services more generally, advised me that there has been a great deal of support for them from their colleagues within the Department, who know them and who have trusted them in the past. However, they also tell me that they feel some of our staff in other sectors are not quite sure what has been going on and that they have detected some discomfort when meetings, however informally, have taken place. It is right, therefore, that I fundamentally and categorically make the position clear as far as Child Protection and Children’s Services staff are concerned.

In early August I asked Senator Stuart Syvret, the Minister for Health and Social Services, two fundamental and basic questions which go to the heart of this matter. These questions are as follows:

‘Do you know of any child who is not receiving a competent service from our Department?’

‘Do you have information which you are withholding which, if given to me, would allow me to make the lives of a child or children better?’

Senator Stuart Syvret answered both these questions by saying, clearly, ‘no’.

You will also be aware that Senator Stuart Syvret, as Minister, invited people to come forward to him with details of any incident of child abuse or any untoward incident of this nature. As a consequence of his call, he asked me to investigate two alleged incidents. The first concerns the circumstances surrounding the departure of a member of staff. Following my investigation into this matter, the Senator accepted that this had been handled correctly. The second concerns alleged incidents which occurred in the mid -1980s, which of course is over 20 years ago.

Right up to and including the debate last Tuesday, I have been expecting the Senator to give me information about unresolved issues of child abuse or any untoward incident of this nature, but I have received none. The obvious, positive and unequivocal conclusion that we can all draw from this evidence is that the Child Protection and Children’s Services have no case to answer. The truth is – as if we did not know it – that these are highly respected, caring professionals who work in one of the most high risk sectors of public service.

In addition to the investigations (referred to above) which Senator Syvret asked me to investigate, you will appreciate also that the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive of the States of Jersey have also asked me to investigate some allegations which were brought to their attention. What I expected to find in undertaking all of this work was that the vast majority of such allegations were groundless and could be easily rebutted. To be perfectly honest though, I did expect – because this is the way that the world usually turns – to find that one or two instances had not been handled as well as they could have been. What I actually found, without exception, was that every instance and every matter I looked into had been dealt with to the highest possible standard. Never before in my 30 years of practice have I found a service that has got it so right, so well and so often to such a high standard.

I trust, therefore, that this letter has put beyond any scintilla of a doubt that the Child Protection and Children’s Services operate to a very high standard and have an unblemished record. I will not take kindly to anyone who seeks to make mischief with these hard working staff on these matters.

A great deal will have to be done to rebuild confidence in these services and a number of meetings will be taking place over the next few days. Some of these will involve the Chief Minister and the Chief Executive to the States of Jersey – two very senior people who maintain close contact with me, at least on a daily basis. I do know that of all the complex and important issues on their respective agendas at the moment, the matter of repairing the damage to morale within these services is predominant.

Yours sincerely

Mike Pollard
Chief Executive

direct dial: +44 (0)1534 622285


Torture and battery of children?

Never mind – just so long as we’re all “polite” about it.

Sorry for not posting for a while; I often feel like I’m running out of steam.

Being a one-man opposition seems to have that effect.

I will, as I suggested, produce a detailed post on the “performance” of BBC Jersey soon. But I just haven’t had the time or energy to get around to it yet. And – to be honest – there are higher priorities than writing about these clowns everyday.

Some of you will have seen the BBC south-west regional television news at 6.30 this evening. It will still be viewable for some time on the BBC iPlayer site in case you missed it.

And don’t let anyone run away with the idea this redeems BBC Jersey – it most certainly doesn’t.

The BBC regional broadcast led with a piece concerning the appaling sexual abuse suffered by a number of children whilst in the “care” of the States of Jersey.

Readers will be familiar with the abuse episode in question; some of the story has been covered in earlier TV programs and has been referred to on this blog.

Following the broadcast this evening, I had a long telephone conversation with one of the abuse survivors amongst the many I have come to know, and whose story was featured in the piece.

What this particular victim – and all the others – went through was utterly appalling.

In my post, “Civil Servants and Accountability”, I wrote of reading some substantial files of evidence which were drawn to my attention last year by whistle-blowers.

I could only read a few pages at a time – before having to stand and walk around the large board-table in the room in an effort to re-compose myself.

Frequently – whilst reading the two substantial lever-arch files and a smaller ring-binder of evidence – I had to leave them and just stare out of the window down into the main road that runs by the Jersey General Hospital.

I stood there and trembled.

It was a profoundly strange moment – one I had never even rehearsed in my mind as a possibility. God knows, as one of a tiny handful of anti-establishment politicians in Jersey, I was cynical enough about the Jersey establishment – and its habits and venal betrayals of this community.

But nothing had prepared me for this.

Reading these catalogues of foul abuse against small, vulnerable children – discovering that some of them had been taken into “care” because their mother had died of cancer when they were little children – all my partisan political preconceptions fell away. This wasn’t an ‘establishment’ versus ‘anti-establishment’ epiphany.

Rather it was a truly bleak confrontation with the brute fact of human nature.

The horror of it all left me unable to do anything but shake my head at the base foulness which can be found in so many human beings.

Sadly – not a perception that has been weakened during the last eight months.

I don’t know what horrified me more – the fact that the abusers could behave in this way – or that the Jersey civil service could permit the abuse to continue for years – and then conceal it when it became too significant to ignore?

As I have written previously, the abusers were allowed to “retire” from running the group-home in question back in 1990.

It is quite appalling enough that the Police were not informed of the abuse at that time.

But – even more horrifyingly – as you can see in tonight’s broadcast – the abusers were allowed to keep one of the child victims in their “care” for a further two years.

She continued to suffer appallingly.

To spell it out; here we have Jersey Social Services – finally – in 1990 – the best part of a decade too late – accepting that two of their employees were committing monstrous abuses against little children. But instead of going to the Police – allowing one of the abusers to carry on working in a social services environment – and even worse – permitting them to keep a vulnerable orphaned child in their care for a further two years.

This particular victim speaks of her ordeal in tonight’s program.

I succeeded in stealing some of this evidence – the excellent 1999 report by Dylan Southern for example – not to mention the sickening letter of “thanks” written by Iris Le Feuvre to the two abusers who featured in tonight’s broadcast.

No doubt Jersey’s comically disgusting Data Protection Office will be looking to add this to their grounds for harassing me.

Nevertheless, I knew I had to make contact with the victims of the abuse episode in question.

I had to make contact with them and give them the documents I had stolen. If nothing else – they had a right to know the truth.

I didn’t know their contact details – but given the immense public controversy which was unfolding in Jersey, many other victims and whistle-blowers were making contact with me.

And it was through one of these survivors I was able to make contact with the Blanche Pierre victims.

Each time I met with any of them, I made certain to give them a photo-copy of the secret documents which described the truth of what had happened to them.

I knew – and they knew – the potential personal impact of reading these things. But they and I knew they had to have them and read them.

And, sure enough – it was a profoundly traumatic experience for some of them. As though it wasn’t already bad enough – that they had endured this abuse throughout their childhoods – to learn that the authorities who were supposed to be protecting them in fact betrayed them again – and then again – was almost too much to endure for some of them.

And that is not an exaggeration.

I can, though, say that many of them have noticeably grown in strength and confidence during these recent months.

Finally they are being listened to, believed, and treated as though they existed.

They are speaking to the national and international media; they are beginning to feel empowered; they are beginning to regain control of their lives.

In the coming weeks they will be establishing a Jersey branch of the UK Care Leavers Association. And I have no doubt that it is going to become a formidable force for the interests of abuse survivors.

Some of you may follow the Jersey Evening Post – or The Rag as it is more popularly know on these shores.

Check out tonight’s edition for a further illustration of what we are battling against in Jersey.

It contains two letters attacking me – the general theme of which is that I should be thrown out of politics because my “behaviour” towards Jersey establishment oligarchs has not been “polite”.

These letters are fairly typical of that which The Rag chooses to publish. Which is not, incidentally, an accurate representation of letters they receive. I know this because my JEP moles have told me so – quite in addition to receiving significant numbers of copies of letters sent to me by the public – following the JEP’s refusal to print them.

Apparently, it is simply insufferable that I should be describing my “esteemed colleagues” as ‘bloody idiots’ and generally exhibiting what the authors of the letters describe as:

“Petulant, self-centred, ill-mannered politics.”

Well – if “petulance” and being “ill-mannered” are the characteristics needed in an effort to prevent the battery and rape of children – as carried out at tax-payers’ expense – so be it.

If you didn’t see the broadcast tonight – check it out on the BBC iPlayer.

It is these victims – and many others like them – in whose name I have challenged the terribly, terribly “polite” world of “traditional” Jersey politics.

There is a saying to the effect that:

“People get the government they deserve.”

Let us – just for arguments sake – assume that the views of the authors of these letters represent a majority of Jersey opinion.

If that be the case – then this population is welcome to an establishment which will carry on concealing the rape, battery and torture of orphans.

But never mind – I’m sure they’ll be terribly, terribly “polite” about it all.