Monthly Archives: June 2008

JUDGMENT DAY!

Frank Walker & His Council of Ministers:

Look forward to seeing how your politician voted.

So, here we are, dear readers – on the eve of debating your vote of no-confidence in Jersey’s Council of Ministers. As a result of your opinions as expressed in my poll, I tabled the proposition to get rid of Big Frank & Co. The island’s parliament will begin debating it tomorrow.

Actually – I would have done it anyway, but look – at least I don’t pretend that “consultation” with you necessarily has an effect on my policy decisions. I’m being honest – unlike the establishment politicians – who “consult” in an attempt to be seen to be listening to you – and then just go and do whatever they wanted to in the first place.

But – somehow – in this case I just can’t help but get the distinct impression that a great majority of Jersey residents are in agreement with the proposition.

So – how will it go? What will be the flavour of the debate? What will be the outcome? How long will it last? How much more gross and biased interference will there be from Phil Bailhache or Michael Birt when they’re chairing the meeting? How many political interventions will Phil’s brother, Attorney General William Bailhache, make?

I’ve been a member of the States, Jersey’s parliament, for nearly 18 years, throughout which time I’ve been an opponent of the entrenched oligarchy – so I have an awful lot of experience in matters political in Jersey. And, using that experience, it is possible to predict pretty much how the debate will play out. And whether current public opinion will have any effect?

Public opinion of my position in Jersey politics is rarely neutral. I’m a bit like Marmite – you either like it – or you hate it; – there isn’t really an in-between. But on balance, I must be doing something right, as I’ve topped the poll in my last two elections.

But something strange has happened – since about December last year. The early stages of the political battle over the Jersey child protection disaster had played-out over much of 2007. Public opinion remained polarised and unchanged when the controversy was still merely political; that is, before the Police made the covert investigation public. I detected a clear shift in public opinion following the Police announcement of their investigation. Nothing dramatic at that stage – but certainly a noticeable hardening of anti-establishment views.

However, I estimate that a far more significant swing against the oligarchy occurred from December last year – caused by their truly extraordinary and unlawful silencing of my Christmas speech in which I was attempting to express some recognition and empathy to abuse survivors.

But since then the Jersey oligarchy has truly crashed and burned – and I can take no pleasure in it, given the horrifying nature of events. The Jersey establishment has dealt yet more and more grave blows against itself. Some of which have been comical – in a tragic kind of way.

On display we have seen ignorance, stupidity, gross incompetence, hubris and folly. So well-catalogued are these event in the eyes of the public, I needn’t rehearse them now.

But just to illustrate the final decadence of public administration in Jersey, we need only consider the events of recent days – which display nothing short of a breakdown in the rule of law in Jersey. Events promulgated by the oligarchy at the precise moment when a number of the Jersey survivors, UK based campaigners and me were at the House of Commons, speaking with MP’s and the national media – and arguing for intervention from London because of a breakdown in the good administration of justice in Jersey.

That kind timing; that kind of stupidity and incompetence doesn’t come easily; no mere amateur could match such folly. No – this could only be achieved after decades – and centuries – of unopposed power – and the resultant culture of unbridled arrogance, and the sense of omnipotence and invulnerability.

It is an ingrained, in-bred characteristic of the Jersey oligarchy. We see it displayed constantly.

Why were Frank Walker’s national media appearances a succession of train-wrecks? Because he and other senior figures in the Jersey establishment are used to simple deference, obedience and respect. And this is exactly how they are always treated by their media in Jersey, and BBC Jersey – which may as well rename itself Walker/Ozouf Broadcasting – so comically biased is it.

Therefore, the culture-shock to the Jersey oligarchy people – when confronted by real journalists asking challenging questions – cannot be exaggerated. They were – and are – like rabbits caught in the headlights, frozen with fear.

And it is this “performance” which has served to swing more and more of public opinion against them. Even pro-establishment business men are fervently counting the seconds until Frank retires at the end of this year.

So, does this mean that Frank & Co. will be swept away in the forthcoming debate?

Not a chance – though the debate and the resultant vote will certainly be interesting. So let us speculate a little on how things might play.

Jersey has a three-year electoral cycle. It is well-noted that politicians suddenly remember who they’re supposed to be representing as we get into an election year. And I suspect the vote on this proposition will reflect that influence. If this debate were happening, say, two years before an election, I’d get about 6 votes in favour. But as the first round of Jersey’s general election is only four months away – I suspect, somehow, that one or two votes will come my way which would not otherwise have materialised.

Will it make any meaningful difference to the outcome? No, not in the least. The three-line whip is out – and Frank & Co. will survive, comfortably.

What I do expect to see is a lot of abstentions. It is easy to imagine a number of members who, under normal circumstances, would not hesitate to vote with the Council of Ministers – suddenly finding some weasel-words in an effort to justify their refusal to nail their colours to the mast – one way or the other. With an election looming – which was always going to be a political bloodbath at the best of times – and Frank & Co. having plumbed unprecedented levels of public contempt – abstaining will appear an attractive option to a number of establishment members.

However – I don’t think the electorate will be so easily diverted. They put politicians there in order that they make decisions. Abstaining doesn’t go down well with the public at the best of times. Under these circumstances – the public will see abstentions for precisely what they are: a de facto vote for Frank Walker and his allies – but one which the members concerned didn’t have the courage to commit to overtly. It is easy to see the abstainers garnering the most public disapproval of all.

These kinds of debates have the potential to go on for days. Personally – I really hope we deal with it more speedily than that. We all know the outcome is a forgone conclusion; we all know that only one or two members will be influenced by the debate – if that.

However – another feature of election years is that normally somnolent members suddenly feel a compelling need to make lengthy and tedious speeches during every debate – quite regardless of the fact that such interventions usually serve only to demonstrate how little they know of the subject under discussion.

So – probably, yes; it will go on for a long time.

Frank has always been one-dimensional politically. A one-trick pony. His sole modus operandi in debate is attack, attack, attack. And who can blame him – given that such is the quite overt anti-intellectualism of the States – that it’s a tactic which works. Members generally far prefer a good dose of ad hominem abuse – as it serves so well to divert attention from the real issues and to protect them from having to deal with uncomfortable facts. So expect a great deal of diversionary attacks upon me and a few others – rather then any meaningful attempt to address the fundamental problem; this being that Jersey has a cabinet – a government – which about 90% of it’s people want rid of.

So that brings us to Phil Bailhache and Mike Birt – Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff – one of whom will be chairing the meeting. The pro-establishment bias exhibited by these two men is, frankly, comical, such is the total lack of subtlety in it.

For example, standing orders require that speeches must be relevant to the subject under discussion – yet either of these two will permit Frank Walker, Phil Ozouf, and their various lickspittles to depart from the matter under discussion in an effort to mount irrelevant and diversionary attacks on their opponents. But were the position reversed, any anti-establishment members would be quickly told to desist and focus on the subject under discussion.

And will Phil’s brother – Attorney General Bill Bailhache – find some pretext for speaking in a no-confidence debate? Probably – he does seem to have taken leave of his senses just lately.

So – in general terms how will it all pan-out?

Whatever the details of the debate – it will be yet another example of the tragedy and farce which have become the staple product of the States of Jersey.

Somehow – I don’t expect it to be a particularly edifying spectacle; more significantly – I don’t, sadly, expect the debate to produce any great advancement or satisfaction to the people of Jersey. At least – not of itself.

But it is the longer-term effects of the debate which remain imponderable.

I’ll report back in due course, so we will be able to carry out an autopsy on the debate – and the polity which produced it.

Stuart.

GREEN INK FROM THE PAEDOPHILES

A Brief Selection of Assorted Ravings

Some more entertainment.

In a comment under my last post, I shared with you one of the delightful ‘perks’ which come as a part of ‘the-deal’ – for battling a corrupt, entrenched oligarchy. No such benefits as a pension provision, company car, health insurance or other such mundane extras accrue as a reward for fighting to expose decades of concealed appalling child abuse.

No – instead my reward is the occasional comedic ‘green-ink’ abuse which arrives from the paeds, the civil servants supporting the paeds, and spotty, trustafarian nephews of the paeds – who sit in sad, masturbatory isolation before their computer screens wondering how long it will be before the family trait grips them.

The entertainment value of these things is wonderful. Unintentional comedy somehow always seems so much more funny than the contrived variety. Some of you may be familiar with the Guardian column of Simon Hoggart. Readers send him copies of those appalling smug and self-regarding ‘family messages’ which some are wont to send to everyone they know around Christmas time – informing them of Leticia’s splendid A-level results and how Darius is doing marvellously at the pony club. Each year Hoggart publishes a selection of some choice passages – and both wondrous and bizarre is the solipsism on display.

The thought occurs to me that I will copy Hoggart’s approach – and every Christmas publish a selection of the various bits of obnoxia which arrive in the course of a year.

But as a teaser for this forthcoming attraction, here are few examples to whet your appetite. I have asterisked the – err – more forthright phrases, but apart from that the selected, Wildean sentences reproduced here are as I received them.

“save (sic) us all the moaning and just hurry up and commit suicide – or get yourself committed you sad little twat!
You wont (sic) be missed.”

My correspondent goes on:

“YOU ARE A TWAT!!!”.

Another, in what one would have to concede, displays a certain economic elegance, simply writes

“c**t”

Though, again, the absence of capitalisation tends to let down this submission.

Really quite splendid, though, is the following epistle:

“YOU ARE A C**T STUART SYVRET PLAIN AND SIMPLE AND A F**KING LIAR AND A COKEHEAD YOU LITTLE PRICK I HOP (sic) YOU DIE”

Not quite perfect, as the absence of the obligatory three exclamation marks lets it down a little. But the full-on, shrieking capitalisation certainly meets the expected standard.

I must check if it’s possible to place a font-colour selection feature in the comments box. I accept that the full, artistic urges of my correspondents are hampered somewhat by not being able to select a green font colour for their belles-letres.

So that’s a selection of my correspondence from the paeds, the child-batterers, abuse-concealers and their various supporters. None, though, I feel, is quite up-there with the piece of obnoxia received by Rod Liddle, when he was Editor for BBC Radio 4’s Today program. One of the very few mementos he took with him when leaving the job was an envelope upon which was scrawled the simple address: “Liddle, Zionist Fascist Jewboy, the BBC”.

Classy.

Such are the joys of public life.

Stuart

YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP.

The Rule of Law in Jersey?

There isn’t any.

Just a brief post – again – I’m too tired and depressed to write much.

Just got back from London, and have been attempting to deal with e-mails, phone calls, and blog comments.

The gathering at the House of Commons was a great success. The meeting was organised by the Jersey Care Leavers Association, in co-operation with the UK CLA. It was their gig – and it was brilliant.

I was so pleased, and proud, of the Jersey reps who were there. Their strength & courage is an example to us all.

It was also fantastic that so many concerned people from across the country attended.

Thanks.

As I said in my last post, I met with MPs and tried to explain the Jersey issues to them. These issue being that the rule of law and the good administration of justice in Jersey collapsed – and has been non-existent – probably for some decades.

One of the views I expressed to the meeting was that this is not a complex issue; the Jersey oligarchy are entrenched, all-powerful, and to all practical purposes, invulnerable. The only thing that frightens them, that gives them pause for thought, is the possibility of external intervention by London.

But the Jersey oligarchy appears to have the ear of power at the very highest levels in London – always has done. Whenever complaints get made to London about the Jersey establishment – no matter how clear-cut the evidence of misfeasance, malfeasance – and out-right corruption by the Jersey oligarchy – London always refuses to intervene – notwithstanding the UK government’s very clear and unambiguous responsibilities and powers for the good administration of justice in Jersey. (Note to Jack Straw’s civil servants – please stop lying to the UK media when they enquire about this subject; they know – we know – and you know – that the power and responsibility to intervene is clear-cut and un-ambiguous.)

My view has always been that the Jersey establishment will win – but the only possible means of defeating them is via London facing up to its obligations and intervening. As I’ve said to the media frequently – I don’t believe for one instant that Straw will voluntarily intervene – and that only an action for Judicial Review of his failure to properly handle the Jersey child abuse crisis will force the issue.

As I’m not a victim, and wouldn’t have locus standi, I can’t action him personally; it would need to be some of the survivors who did. Whether they will is a matter entirely for them. But my view, as expressed at the Commons meeting, and on numerous other occasions, is that, ultimately, legal action will be needed.

I said at the start of this post that I was depressed. And whilst the whole scene has been an unmitigated nightmare, still – things get worse.

As has been reported by the media today, two people accused of child abuse were released without charge. So disgusted – rightly – were the States of Jersey Police at this obstruction and interference from what passes for a Crown prosecution service in Jersey, that they issued a press-release last night explaining what had happened.

The instant that press-release hit the media, my phone started going – even though it was late at night. Journalists were explaining to me what the release said, and asking for my comments in response to the situation.

I gave them my honest opinion. And honesty is the very, very least the survivors deserve – no matter what the consequences for me.

I said that what had taken place was simply a straightforward act of brazen corruption.

Of the very kind I have been warning against for many months.

We are dealing with a clear and unambiguous breakdown in the rule of law.

The collapse of the good administration of Justice in Jersey.

Ask yourself – in just how many supposed respectable democracies would you find the prosecution service pro-actively sabotaging and obstructing the work of the police in a major child abuse enquiry?

So what were the details of what happened yesterday?

But before I go onto that – some background information, without which you won’t understand the situation.

Jersey – 45 square miles in area – has 13 police forces.

Yes. 13.

Each of the 12 parishes has what is known as an honorary police force – basically unpaid, voluntary lay-people, who get elected by the parishes to undertake community policing duties.  The “elections” are commonly uncontested – and in reality the selection process – and the consequent public office of “police” officer  – are essentially an expression of, and exercise of, the entrenched power of the traditional, established “Families” that de facto run the feudatory of Jersey – as they’ve done for many centuries.

I won’t bore you with the details now – but the honorary police are an institution with hundreds of years of custom and tradition behind them.

The 13th police force is the States of Jersey Police. Only established in the 20th century, this – professional – police force is still known contemptuously by traditionalist as “the paid police”.

So reactionary and desperate to hold power has the Jersey oligarchy always been, that it has resisted proper reform and modernisation of policing.

Now, I’m going to explain to you a key feature of the archaic policing practices in Jersey – now concentrate – because this is so extraordinary – most people will find it hard to grasp:

The professional, States of Jersey Police Force, do not have the power to charge suspects.

Got that?

The Police Force in Jersey cannot charge suspects.

The power to ‘charge’ has been jealously and rabidly retained as an exclusive power for the honorary police – basically the private “police-forces” of the parish “Family” clans.

This means that if the professional police want a suspect charged – they have to go and ask an honorary police officer – of the parish where the alleged offences were committed – to come into the station and formally file charges.

Now, I’ve always been a supporter of the honorary police. In theory and, largely, in practice – they do a good job; honorary policing should be a good example of community involvement.

But I have to say, the events of yesterday have inflicted what – I fear – could be a terminal, savage blow to the custom and practice of Jersey’s honorary police system.

What were those events?

Jersey’s Attorney General, William Bailhache – brother of Jersey’s chief judge, Sir Philip Bailhache – in an effort to obstruct and sabotage the police investigation, appointed, some months ago, lawyers of his choosing to vet the States police work; to make sure every possible legal box had been ticked before charges could be laid – and, as I said many months ago – to generally assist the Jersey oligarchy to do all it could to minimise the scope and scale of any prosecutions arising from the Jersey child abuse disaster.

The real – professional – Police – battling against every conceivable obstruction – have been slowly making progress and bringing suspects to charge; but each time, they face the “legal” obstructions described above.

Nevertheless, yesterday morning they reached the stage where they had ample evidence to charge the two suspects in question. That the case was sound, and that charging was justified, was even agreed by William Bailhache’s stooge – that’s how clear-cut it was.

So the police arrested the two suspects, and brought them in for charging.

But – William Bailhache’s appointed lawyer reported back to Bailhache what he had said to the police. This lawyer then contacted the police again, later in the day, to inform them that “upon reflection, he had revised his opinion of that morning, and now could not endorse charging.” (Like I said, you couldn’t make this stuff up.)

The police – rightly and understandably – were furious at this, and correctly decided to defy what was clearly an attempt by Bailhache – via his stooge – to pervert the course of justice. The States Police told the lawyer they were going to charge anyway – whether he agreed it or not.

The police then – for reasons described above – had to get an honorary “police officer” in to actually charge the suspects – because the States police don’t have the power to charge, remember.

This honorary officer – Danny Scaife – accepted that the “evidence was present” – but told the professional Police that notwithstanding this fact – he wasn’t going to charge the two suspects.

So the States of Jersey Police had to release them – without charge.

The honorary officer – Danny Scaife – refused to give any direct explanation for his extraordinary actions – other than to say he “had acted after receiving expert legal opinion”.

Now – who do we think was behind that “expert legal opinion”?

One of the comments on my last post, attempts to assert that the Attorney General, William Bailhache, could not have obstructed the professional police.

The reason given, as I have explained above, being that the States police don’t have the power to charge. Therefore he couldn’t have stopped them from charging – from exerting a power they don’t possess. The comment is gross sophistry.

It is known that the States police don’t have the power to charge; and it is known that only the honoraries can. But – we must ask – how does this fact mean that the Attorney General couldn’t interfere with the work of the States police?

It doesn’t.

Not least because – guess what? – And you couldn’t make this up – the Attorney General is the titular head and ultimate authority – in fact the executive director and controlling power – apart from the court itself – over all of Jersey’s honorary police.

I will be tabling – as a matter of urgency – an amendment to the law to give the power to charge to the professional police force.

As I said earlier – we now have – in plain view – the collapse of the rule of law in Jersey.

You want, perhaps, a further illustration of this collapse? And just why Jack Straw cannot credibly refuse to intervene?

Remember a couple of weeks ago, another suspect was arrested. On that occasion too, the police were forced to release him without charge. The suspect’s name is Danny Wherry.

This is getting so easy – but let’s do it anyway; who do you think is a friend of Wherry and member of the same golf club? “The Royal Jersey Golf Club”?

Yep – William Bailhache, Jersey’s Attorney General.

One of the tragic and bizarre features of this episode is that such is this man’s arrogance, megalomania and hubris – that he just cannot see that he has, essentially, corrupted the rule of law in Jersey.

Well – I’m going to rest now – so I can spend an hour or so persuading myself not to commit suicide.

In the mean time – check out the national media tomorrow.

‘The Times’, I think, will be covering the matter.

Like I said – the war goes on.

It’s only a matter of time until the establishment oppresses me and shuts this blog – but don’t worry – other people in other forums will carry the battle onwards.

Stuart

Late night London

Just a brief post.

The Jersey care leavers had a good meeting in the House of Commons. A wide range of interested and supportive people came along.

The care leavers from Jersey have been very brave, and it has been great to see them growing in confidence.

I’ve spoken to MPs, as well as speaking at the meeting. I told them that unless Jack Straw gets taken to court in London, the Jersey establishment will win.

Sadly, more news of Jersey coruption reaches me tonight. Jersey Attorney General, William Bailhache, has obstructed the States of Jersey Police in charging two suspects. I think you’re going to hear a lot about this in the coming days. You just couldn’t make it up.

And Jack Straw and his civil servants carry on asserting – in a pack of lies – that they ‘have no power to act – but even if they did, there is no need, as the Jersey system is working just fine.’

Well – I look forward to the inevitable media headlines – ‘Labour government supports cover-up of child abuse in Jersey’.

For that is what Straw & Co. are doing.

The war goes on.

Stuart

A FEW DAYS IN LONDON

JERSEY CARE LEAVERS ASSOCIATION

MEETING IN WESTMINSTER

Tuesday 24th June

Committee Room 7 – House of Commons

6.30 to 8pm

Open Meeting – ALL WELCOME.

Really sorry for posting so irregularly; I’ve been very busy concentrating on political work – mainly for my constituents.

Though I have enjoyed the occasional light relief with political ventures such as tabling a vote of no-confidence in Jersey’s Council of Ministers, battling to save Habeas Corpus and seeking a public enquiry into the massed dumping of toxic incinerator ash in Jersey’s Waterfront landfill sites.

And I’m not even up for election this year!

But should you be missing my fevered ramblings, I have begun – belatedly – to post on the Channel Islands Forum, or Vue Des Isles to use its formal title. There is a link to the Channel Islands Forum on my links list, down on the right.

My first Vue Des Isles post takes a hard look at the unacknowledged limits of economic ‘growth’ in the Channel Islands.

The site looks really promising; the people of the Channel Islands have needed their own forum in which to compare & contrast the various attractions of our islands – and/or the respective absurdities of our governments.

The CI forum appears to be largely free of the near-constant flamings and trollings which have come to dominate exchanges between proponents of Is This Jersey, and proponents of Planet Jersey. Whilst I’m the last person to object to a bit of bare-knuckle politics, as I’ve remarked elsewhere – it seems to be an awful lot of effort going into a pretty negative endeavour. As a reader, I would prefer these sites to lessen the flamings and concentrate a bit more on the real issues.

Though, by all means keep producing the occasional metaphorical battering; politics in the Channel Islands is too polite for the public good; truths that should be spoken aren’t – because to do so just wouldn’t be “polite”. But if all you’re doing is attacking each-other – important policy discussions just aren’t happening.

I promise to resume posting more frequently on my blog from later this week, but from Monday until Thursday morning, I’ll be in London attending the Jersey Care Leavers Association meeting at Westminster, the details of which are at the head of this post.

I’m not a member of the organisation, having never been in “care” – but I am a supporter of the CLA and will hopefully establish, with like-minded individuals, a ‘Friends of Jersey CLA’ group to support and assist those who have been through the system.

The Jersey CLA representatives, in co-operation with the UK CLA, will be giving a presentation to MPs concerning the whole wretched saga of child endangerment in Jersey.

I will be speaking to some MPs about the manifestly failed administration of justice in Jersey – and what can be done about it.

So watch this space; I’ll report back in due course.

Later this week, I’ll write about how I think things have gone in London.

And I will also be addressing survivors directly.

Many of the survivors know, just as the Police know, and just as I know – that there are survivors and witnesses out there who have chosen, so far, to not contact the Police and give statements.

I make a plea to those people to re-consider – and to contact the Police and give statements. Even if you think your evidence is insignificant – the Police still want to hear from you.

I’ll write in more detail later this week about the importance of people coming forward. Meanwhile, if you’ve had any of these experiences – or you witnessed strange things – or you know of people who did – please contact the States of Jersey Police. You can call their dedicated Historic Abuse Enquiry team on:

0800 735 7777

Or, if you’re nervous about speaking directly to the Police, please contact me in confidence. I’m ready and willing to meet with you should you wish. My number is 01534 610833. I’m often, of necessity, away from my desk, so if you get my answer phone, do please leave a message. Or, you can e-mail me at: st.syvret@gov.je

Well, I’m off to get ready to go to London, so I’ll be away from my desk for a few days.

But as I said, you can read some of my extraneous ramblings on the Channel Island Forum, where I posted earlier this evening.

And hello to any readers in Guernsey who may wander into these regions. Look – St. Peter Port may be pretty – and St, Helier a squalid dump – but our rugby player, Matt Banahan, is bigger and nastier than any of your rugby players.

Stuart.

HABEAS CORPUS:

ANATOMY OF A POLITICAL FARCE.

A Short Chronology

Of the Unintended Destruction

Of a Fundamental Freedom.

Regular readers of this blog will understand that my opinions of the Jersey media are not great – to put it “politely” (I have to practice “politeness” – it apparently counting for far more than the truth in the political environment of Jersey.) But praise where it is due, (which isn’t often, OK) the Jersey Evening Post of Saturday 14th June led with a story concerning an hitherto unnoticed piece of subordinate legislation which had been quietly slipped through as a ‘Ministerial Order’.

Many pieces of primary legislation contain within them the power to make subordinate legislation. In Jersey, subordinate legislation takes the form of Orders.

Primary legislation has to go through the island’s parliament for approval. But subordinate legislation can be made by the relevant Minister without further reference to the States assembly. It is the case that any Orders enacted by a Minister can be challenged in the assembly – but this happens rarely – as the purpose of the Ministerial power to make subordinate legislation is designed to enable very minor and non-contentious legal changes to be made without the delay, expense and bureaucracy of having to return to parliament every time.

So what was the Ministerial Order the JEP reported on yesterday? A change in parking fine rates, perhaps? Different procedures for obtaining a dog licence? Maybe a stipulation on the colour of traffic cones?

No.

The effect of the Order was nothing less than the destruction of the near millennia old fundamental principle of Habeas Corpus.

‘Habeas Corpus’ is a Latin phrase which is roughly translated as ‘give up the body’. Which in plain English is taken to mean that no person (body) may be held in custody without necessary and lawful justification and authority – and against which there is a right of appeal. This right to not be held in custody without just cause is most famously expressed in the Magna Carta – or Great Charter – of 1215.

To say that this expression of such a fundamental freedom is powerfully defended in democratic societies would be an understatement. For example – in the United Kingdom, there has just been an immense political controversy over a law change which now enables the detention without trial of people for a maximum period of 42 days.

So controversial was this change that the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, had to engage in a load of seedy deals with other minor political parties in order to narrowly get it through the House of Commons. So strongly do some people feel about such a dramatic restriction on a fundamental right that the Shadow Home Secretary has gone so far as to resign his parliamentary seat in order to fight the resultant by-election for the principle of civil liberties.

But in the strange parallel universe of Jersey, we learnt from the JEP on Saturday that Habeas Corpus had been dissolved – unnoticed – by the back-door – via subordinate legislation in the form of a Ministerial Order – with zero parliamentary discussion – let alone any public debate.

But don’t panic – instead of the stealthy dawning of some crypto-fascist new age – what we are faced with is the tedious predictability of yet another States of Jersey cock-up.

The error having been recognised – the contentious Order will be rescinded by the Home Affairs Minister tomorrow.

Had the Minister not expressed a willingness to rescind the order, I had given notice to the secretariat of the Jersey parliament – the States Greffe – that I would be tabling a motion tomorrow morning to have the Order rescinded.

Fortunately, that won’t now be necessary.

But what happened – why did it happen – when did it happen – and how did it happen?

And what was the true – yet unspoken – reason for introducing such a change?

I know the answer to this last question – and that answer speaks volumes about the state of public administration in Jersey.

I will tell you that answer at the end of this post.

But let us first examine the chronology of events during the last 36 hours.

The Jersey Evening Posts breaks the story in its Saturday morning edition.

I, in common with an awful lot of other people, read it and think ‘my God! Have the Council of Ministers finally taken leave of their collective senses?

I come to my computer to begin researching the matter and laying plans to challenge it politically.

I respond to the first e-mail I opened – amongst dozens of e-mails from concerned members of the public.

In this gentleman’s e-mail, sent at 12.44 p.m, he wrote:

“This news has left me absolutely speechless. The failure to publish a draft or to consult interested parties has, in my opinion, severely undermined the position of the Home Affairs Minister and has struck another blow to the States Assembly which is already in dire straits in the eyes of many of the populace.”

I reply to him and all other recipients of his e-mail at 13.20, in which I said:

“I too share your shock and alarm at this measure. We have seen the profound controversy caused in the United Kingdom concerning 42 day detention without charge. Yet here we see a measure introduced which is even more extreme – and introduced without any public discussion – let alone parliamentary scrutiny by the States.

This is one of the most profoundly misjudged political moves I have seen in years.

Senator Kinnard is a recipient of this e-mail. Let me ask her now whether she sees the error of this decision and will repeal it?

If she does not do so, I will take a proposition to the States seeking to rescind. That would be a debate that Senator Kinnard would have precisely zero chance of winning. So let us hope she sees sense and does not waste more of the assembly’s time.

There is certainly a debate to be had about society’s response to threats of terrorism – but the key point is just that: a debate.

Neither the public nor their elected representatives have had that debate. Yet we are expected to just accept the destruction of Habeas Corpus? It’s madness.”

At 13.22 I gave formal notice, via e-mail, to the States Greffe that on Monday morning I would be tabling a proposition to rescind unless Senator Kinnard, the Home Affairs Minister, agreed to voluntarily rescind the Order.

13.33: I forward to all States members the e-mail to the Greffe, and say:

“The e-mail correspondence I forward below is self-explanatory.

I have asked Senator Kinnard to voluntarily agree to withdraw her changes to legalisation which allows indefinite detention without charge.

I have given formal notice to the Greffe that unless I hear from Senator Kinnard by Sunday evening at the latest that she agrees to withdraw the change, I will lodge a proposition on Monday morning to seek to rescind.

I very much hope that this will not be necessary and that Senator Kinnard will see sense. The States are at such a low position now, we have to ask ourselves do we need yet more chaos heaped upon the island’s polity? I think not.

I would hope that members would add to my request to Senator Kinnard that she withdraw this appaling legislative instrument.”

At 17.31 the Chief Executive of the Home Affairs Department, Steven Austin-Vautier, e-mails all States members with an explanation of the change in which he cites the old and new version of the law – along with a singularly non-convincing attempt to suggest that the material change was insignificant. I reproduce in full his e-mail here as the two different versions he cites will enable you to gain an understanding of the legislative provision – and what the concern was:

“Dear States Members,

I am sending this advice to Members as the Minister for Home Affairs is out of the Island.

Members have been understandably concerned about the headline and article in the JEP today. The amendment made by R&O 69/2008 introduces no new powers for the Police. It makes a minor amendment to Code C of the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence (Codes of Practice)(Jersey) Order 2004.

The version of Code C prior to the Order which amended it said:

” The detention of any person for a period in excess of 24 hours must be authorised by an officer of the rank of Chief Inspector or above, and the custody record will be endorsed to that effect. The officer conducting that review (my emphasis) will endorse the custody record and may authorise further detention up to a further 12 hours from the time of the review”

The amendment made by Order says:

” The detention of any person for a period in excess of 24 hours must be authorised by an officer of the rank of Chief Inspector or above, and the custody record will be endorsed to that effect by that officer. An officer of the rank of Chief Inspector (my emphasis) or above may authorise a further period of detention of up to 12 hours from the time of the review and may conduct further reviews and authorise further periods of such detention.”

The only material change that has taken place is that any chief inspector can carry out the detention review as opposed to the officer conducting the original review. This was a measure requested for practical reasons to give more flexibility to the review process.

The JEP article implies that Police powers have been extended without consultation and links the minor amendment to the law with the current controversy in the UK concerning detention for up to 42 days in connection with terrorism offences.

There are other procedural aspects to this Order which will be looked into once I have the opportunity to discuss this with staff during next week. I trust this clarifies the nature of the Order made by the Minister.

Steven

S W Austin-Vautier
Chief Officer Home Affairs”

I’m pretty sure my readers will have rapidly spotted the fatal flaw in both the explanation and the new legislation cited above. I replied to Mr. Austin-Vautier at 17.46. I reproduce my e-mail in full here:

“Steven

I accept that the power to introduce such measures was included in PPACE – however, I feel your explanation here really dodges around a rather crucial point.

The original provision said: “up to a further 12 hours from the time of the review”.

The new provision says: “up to 12 hours from the time of the review and may conduct further reviews and authorise further periods of such detention.”

It seems to me – please explain if I’m missing something – that actually, this is the material change which is causing concern. That change being from ‘up to 12 hours’ to ‘further periods of such detention’.

If my interpretation is correct – the officer or officers in question could carry on authorising ‘further periods’ of detention indefinitely.

If this interpretation is incorrect, could you please explain why?

Thanks

Stuart Syvret.”

At 18.35 Mr Austin-Vautier replied to all States members in response to my e-mail above. Here is what he said:

“In reply to the points raised by Senator Syvret, I can see how one would arrive at that in interpretation; however, the operative phrase is “….from the time of the review” , which means the last review (I have checked this understanding with the Law Draftsman this afternoon). In effect, this means that, in theory, the Code allows more than one 12 hour extension. In practice, I am aware that the Police operate to the standards laid down in the UK which invariably means a maximum of 36 hours.”

In this e-mail the crucial point is conceded – namely that the 12 hour period of detention can be reviewed – and then renewed – indefinitely.

This could, indeed, mean that a person could be held without charge for five years, say – just so long as the relevant police officer reviewed and renewed the detention order every 12 hours.

At 18.44, Mr Austin-Vautier again e-mailed all States members to inform us that, fortunately, the Minster would rescind and re-consider. Here is what he wrote.

“Dear Members,

Notwithstanding the clarification provided this afternoon, the Minister for Home Affairs has discussed the position with the Deputy Chief Minister and it has been decided to withdraw the order to allow time for further consultation on the matter.”

The Order was made some days ago – but had gone unnoticed until Saturday. Then – in the course of one day we move from the destruction of Habeas Corpus being reported by the JEP – to securing agreement to rescind the Order in question at 6.45 on Saturday afternoon.

So what on Earth happened? Was this some neo-Stalinist plot to crush liberty?

No; – in many respects it would be quite a relief if the Jersey establishment were able to exhibit such intelligence.

The tedious mundanity of the situation is that a simple – yet profound – error was made in the drafting of the Order. The effect of allowing indefinite detention without charge – via the mechanism of 12-hour reviews – was unintentional.

Now – I said earlier I would explain the true reason behind this attempt to modify the law.

And it wasn’t the fault of the police – just to dispose of the inevitable Jersey establishment assault on the States Police because of the force’s investigations into the child abuse disaster.

So what was, then, the intended – real – purpose of the law change?

It was to burden the police with the responsibility for detaining people without charge over longer periods of time – such as long weekends. Why?

Because in Jersey – the magistrates and the lawyers have a rabid antipathy to working at weekends.

It is as simple as that.

This change, essentially, meant that the magistrates and the detained person’s lawyers could remain at their bridge club – or playing their round of golf – without the oh-so-very tiresome business of having to deal with a person’s basic rights and freedoms during a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon.

Don’t you just love public administration in Jersey?

Stuart.

THINGS FALL APART, THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD

A brief post on the collapse of the Jersey establishment.

Remember – how quickly the Soviet Union collapsed.

Let’s hope a similar process happens to the Jersey oligarchy.

Sorry for not posting for nearly a week. It’s been desperate; I’m absolutely knackered.

For those of you who haven’t heard, the vote of no-confidence against the Jersey Council of Ministers is now written and tabled.

See? I took more notice of your opinions on my poll than Frank & Co ever do of the public.

The vote has zero chance of success, of course, but it should serve extremely well as a litmus test – which voters can note when they come to the ballot-box during Jersey’s general election later this year.

In addition to the vote of no-confidence – the Jersey oligarchy are beset with woes – 98% of which are entirely of their own making.

The Jersey oligarchy – being an oligarchy – always wins. Well, that is certainly what they, in their hubris, have come to believe. But I’ve always thought that fate had to catch up with them one day; that they would collapse under the weight of their own decadence like ancient Rome.

And that is what’s happening now.

OK, they aren’t capable of seeing it yet. They know things are pretty difficult for them at present – but they assume they’ll just hunker down in the bunker and tough it out – like they always do – then everything will return to business as usual.

Sorry guys – it aint happening this time.

The fates converge.

Jersey’s toxic waste dump – err – sorry “£330 million Waterfront site” – has been a hot topic here. It’s all too complex for me to go into right now – but basically, name any aspect of a development strategy – and I’ll show you something the Council of Ministers has messed-up – disastrously.

And remember – these people are supposed to be no-nonsense “business men”.

As I remarked on another web site, my cat would be a superior candidate in the forthcoming elections.

He sleeps far more elegantly than States members do when they are slumped in the chamber after a good ‘lunch’. He’s also a good deal more attractive to look at than the average Jersey politician. But – he’s choosy about the company he keeps, so I don’t think he would like it much.

As you may have seen from other sites, a fourth arrest has now been made in connection with the Jersey child abuse disaster.

Give thanks to Lenny Harper and his team.

This arrest is the first of a person who is a current States of Jersey employee.

His name is Danny Wherry – a former police officer, voluntary child “protection” worker – and then – for many years – a senior figure in Jersey’s children’s service. .

If you had any experience of, or contact with, this man when you were in care – or if you know anyone else who has – please, please contact the States of Jersey Police. Or, if you don’t want to speak to the police, contact me. (+44 (0) 1534 610833.)

The arrest of Wherry is merely the first – hopefully – of a number of people currently still within the jersey civil service – or those who retired comparatively recently.

You know who you are – you bastards.

They’re coming for you.

The fates have caught up with you – just as they have with the broader Jersey establishment.

Stuart.

ANOTHER JERSEY DISASTER.

ST. HELIER’S WATERFRONT –

A GIANT TOXIC-WASTE DUMP.

Read the awful truth in my Report to the States

Re-produced below this post.

[Note: when I posted this last night, a lot of the figures & tables in the report and appendix below the post, didn’t lay out correctly. I’ve now tidied them up – in case you should you feel sufficiently desperate to wade through them.]

When I first began writing this blog, I intended it to be a forum in which I could rage against the machine in my own small way; to express whatever various political and philosophical ramblings occurred to me – without the beyond-parody suppressions and distortions of the jersey media.

It certainly wasn’t my intention that so much of this blog should have been consumed with child protection issues; but sadly – that’s what I have had to be addressing most of the time.

So this post is about a different subject.

However – the parallels between this subject and the Jersey child abuse disaster are striking.

Indeed – so much so that each re-enforces the stark truth at the heart of the other.

What is that truth?

That public administration in Jersey is incompetent, dishonest, ineffectual, mutually self-protecting, unaccountable, wholly unreliable, dangerous, invulnerable and structurally incapable of acting for the public good.

The Jersey child abuse disaster – and the disaster of which you will read below – are just two manifestations – there are many others – of a catastrophically failed system.

A system of public administration so self-servingly entrenched, essentially corrupted, and able to crush any critics – that the average politician appears to be too ignorant – or too afraid – to challenge it.

In fact, so far as I am aware, I’m the only Jersey politician to ever really stand-up to the very expensive – yet largely incompetent and un-ethical – senior reaches of the island’s civil service.

I’ve always found it surprising that this should be the case; the States assembly is largely led by members who imagine themselves to hard-faced business men; no-nonsense sticklers for efficiency and effectiveness. But yet – to a man – their spines turn to jelly at the prospect of attempting to hold to account these senior civil servants.

So what, then, is this particular disaster?

Since 1979, Jersey’s garbage has been disposed of in a municipal waste incinerator.

People in Jersey will be familiar with the long-running controversy concerning the dumping of the resultant ash in St. Helier’s land reclamation sites.

As well as significant pollution to the air, the incinerator produces very substantial volumes of residual ash. This ash is in two forms. There is what is known as ‘bottom-ash’ – this being the ash that remains in the grates after burning. Then there is the ‘fly-ash’ – this being ash in the flue-gases which is trapped by electrostatic precipitators.

Both forms of ash are toxic waste, but the fly-ash in particular is regarded as by far the more toxic of the two. However – the Jersey authorities have generally mixed both ashes together to produce what is referred to as ‘combined-ash’.

You can read, in more detail, in my report below, just why the ash is toxic. But to be going on with, it’s sufficient to know that it is replete with dioxins, furans, PCB’s and a variety of toxic heavy metals – such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic – just by way of example.

Now – before I explain – can those of my readers not already familiar with this controversy – guess how the States of Jersey – in all its glory and wisdom – has disposed of this toxic waste?

Yep. Answering these questions just isn’t difficult anymore, is it?

Since 1979 until about 1995 vast quantities of this ash were transported from the incinerator in thousands of dump-truck movements – and just tipped straight into sea-porous land reclamation sites.

It was only after 1995 that a marginally less-bad means of ash disposal was adopted – following continuous pressure and campaigning by me and a few others. The ash is now dumped in lined pits across the surface of the current reclamation site – the theory being that leachate will be contained – and construction workers won’t be digging through it in development areas.

So from 1979 until about 1995 the combined ash – demonstrably toxic waste – was simply chucked into the land reclamation sites. For many years it would be tipped down the infill face – where it would contaminate the sea with every rise and fall of Jersey’s dramatic tidal range.

After several years of complaining and campaigning this approach to disposing of the ash throughout the whole depth of infill was eventually conceded to be a “potential” source of pollution to the marine environment.

Instead, a different dumping method was adopted – note, I didn’t say a ‘better’ method. This consisted of dumping the toxic combined ash in a layer – approximately 2 meters deep – across the surface of much of the main western land reclamation area, and burying it under a meter or so of ‘clean’ top-soil.

The resultant area of land – Jersey’s supposedly multi-million pound “world-class Waterfront development” – is, therefore, essentially a giant toxic waste dump.

Some of the “prime” areas of this Waterfront land still await development; much of the remainder is already occupied by such “world-class” developments as a Kentucky Fried Chicken joint, a Pizza Hut and a foul and vast hotel – so appalling in design and appearance that even that noted journal of aesthetics, The Financial Times condemned it.

But as hideous as all of these structures are to behold – when I look at this area, it is what lays beneath that really worries me.

For, beneath the shiny glass and new concrete of this “exciting development area” sits a festering midden of contaminated builders rubble, old paint canes, asbestos – and probably going on for 400,000 tonnes of toxic incinerator ash in what is known as the “West of Albert” reclamation site alone.

Another “triumph”, then, for the States of Jersey.

Yet every effort made by campaigners and me was met with an implacable wall of unity amongst all of Jersey’s senior civil service, in which they repeatedly asserted that the ash was not toxic – and that there was no problem with its disposal.

An interdepartmental closing-of-ranks by supposedly “expert” and “professional” officers which was – with mind-boggling stupidity – supported by the politicians.

Now, doesn’t that just sound familiar?

As I said – the parallels with the Jersey child abuse disaster are truly startling. Let’s consider a few:

Gross incompetence, professional negligence, dishonesty – and worse?

Check.

Multi-department responsibility – therefore shared culpability?

Check.

The resultant closed-ranks, self-protecting mutual support by senior civil servants?

Check.

Appaling and disastrous consequences for the community?

Check.

A complete absence of ethics and morality?

Check.

A legislature, about 95% of which consists of ignorant, inadequate and spineless politicians?

Check.

And a polity manifestly incapable of enforcing the public good on behalf of this community?

Check.

You know – when people ask me why I’m sick of politics, I just think of these kinds of things – and just shake my head. It’s hard to find words anymore; words that could possibly get close to describing the degree of ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and hubris of the Jersey establishment.

I had – for some time – planned to bring a proposition to the island’s parliament to seek the establishment of a Committee of Enquiry, the purpose of which would be to comprehensively investigate the entire, wretched history of the toxic ash dumping.

During the last 16 months – I’ve been pretty busy with other matters – as regular readers of this blog will have gathered. Things like the toxic ash dumping controversy have had no place in my thoughts or work for quite some time.

However, in a marvellously Beckettian moment of happenstance, I happened to be watching the local TV news the other night – which was reporting on the agreement of the States assembly to embark upon yet another Ozymandian development on the Waterfront toxic waste dumps.

In connection with this story, they carried a live interview with a former politician and archetypal Jersey oligarchy figure; this being one Don Fillieul; a man who could be said to embody the very arrogance, ignorance and hubris of the Jersey establishment.

Amidst his typically self-regarding and very obsolescent bluster, he was asked a question concerning the ash contamination of the Waterfront site. In typical Jersey establishment style – rather than providing some practical or relevant answer, he instead said, dismissively, words to the effect “Oh, that was always just a scare put about by Stuart Syvret. It was just something he was making political capital out of. Like Stuart Syvret does with everything.”

So, I’d like to say a big thank you to Dinosaur Don – without who’s prompting I might not have remembered my planned Committee of Enquiry proposition.

My report, re-produced below, is, of necessity, lengthy. This is because I learnt a long time ago that the Jersey oligarchy and people like Don will not accept the truth unless forced to by a remorseless barrage of facts. So I go into the toxicology and science in some detail.

Let me invite you to compare and contrast Don’s glib assertions with the evidence, the science and the facts in my report. The choice is yours – what do you think you should be taking seriously?

Don’s empty rhetoric – or just how the hell our government landed us with a Waterfront contaminated with about 400,000 tonnes of teratogenic, carcinogenic and mutagenic toxic waste?

And when doing so – remember the parallels between the Jersey child abuse disaster – and how the island’s government was able to turn St.Helier’s Waterfront into a giant toxic waste dump.

Two different consequences of the same rotting, festering, decadence at the core of Jersey’s public administration.

One of my “esteemed” colleagues was communicating with me just this week – yes, it does happen from time-to-time, unfortunately. I paraphrase a little – but essentially they were saying what a “miserable bastard” I was.

Well – yes. But really, what the bloody hell do you expect after nearly 18 years of this?

When I’ve reached the stage that writing a detailed exposé of the fact that most of St. Helier’s Waterfront is a giant toxic waste dump, constitutes a pleasant diversion from even worse matters?

It’d be enough to make the attendees at a comedians’ convention want to wash down packets of industrial-strength sleeping pills with a couple of litres of whisky and take a bath with the toaster.

Read the awful truth in my report reproduced below.

Right now, I’m going to listen to some music – Tindersticks, Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre – to cheer myself up.

Stuart.

Report

It is plain on the evidence, as described in this report alone, that the health and welfare of the people of Jersey, the island’s environment and the marine environment which we share with our neighbours, have been needlessly put at risk because of a systemic and cultural failure of public administration in the island.

A complete breakdown in effective checks and balances within the island’s public administration has occurred.

The evidenced facts being clear – the States of Jersey must finally face the truth and learn the necessary lessons.

The land reclamation sites which surround St. Helier’s harbour area are toxic waste dumps.

Moreover – they are toxic waste dumps which have needlessly exposed the public to potential human health risks.

Moreover – the land reclamation sites are toxic waste dumps which are sea-porous and subjected to the vast hydro-pneumatic forces generated by Jersey’s 13 metre tides.

Therefore St. Helier’s land reclamation sites represent a massive source of potentially hazardous leachate into the sea.

How on Earth was this able to happen?

The States finally needs to recognise that the ash dumping – whilst a problem of itself – was really a symptom of a greater problem, namely, an apparent intrinsic inability of the island’s government to subject itself to meaningful and effective regulation.

Longer serving members of the States and members of the public may recall that for many of the early years of the controversy – when people first started to object to the ash dumping – it was frequently claimed that there was no problem, that the ash did not represent a threat to human health, that it was “inert”, that it posed no risk to the environment and that it was not toxic. Sometimes one still hears claims to that effect. Let there be no mistake about this: the ash is toxic; it always has been; even setting aside components of the ash such as dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), which only really became understood by science in the last half-century, many of the toxic heavy metals that are components of the ash have long been known to badly damage human health. In some cases this knowledge has existed for well-over a century.

Even now the incinerator and the handling and disposal of the resultant ash fail to meet acceptable standards. However, some improvements in the handling and disposal of the ash took place from the mid-1990’s – after years of campaigning in the face of official denials. This leaves a period of time from the opening of the incinerator in the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s when the behaviour of the island’s public authorities can only be described as utterly irresponsible and cavalier.

The question that therefore arises is this:

How is it that the entire panoply of public administration in Jersey – some parts of which have specific duties to protect human health and the environment – can have failed to take proper steps to protect people and the environment from the toxic ash over a period of at least 15 years?

I know the answer to this question and it is a question that goes to the very heart of whether Jersey is, in fact, structurally and culturally capable of governing itself in a manner compatible with the health and welfare of its people? This proposition and inquiry is the test.

Why is an inquiry necessary?

To gain an expertly informed assessment of the ash dumping, its history, the deficiencies – be they organisational or cultural – of public administration which allowed this toxin-dumping to continue un-checked for so long, the long-term issues arising from the heavy pollution of the sites and to produce a detailed report and set of recommendations – for protecting human health, the management of the pollution in the sites, and of improvements to public administration so as to safeguard against similar failings in the future.

Why a Committee of Inquiry?

Having taken a long-term interest in this subject I know from personal experience that – sadly – a great number of straightforward lies have been told to politicians by certain civil servants. Therefore only a quasi-judicial process such as a Committee of Inquiry will be able to compel attendance of witnesses and examine them under oath – any untruths being spoken then being perjury. The States of Jersey (Powers, Privileges and Immunities) (Committees of Inquiry) (Jersey) Regulations 2007 contain a wide range of powers to enable the Committee to operate effectively and also make it clear in Regulation 8(3) that the immunity from civil or criminal proceedings given to a witness does not apply “to evidence given or documents produced by that person which he or she knows to be untrue.”

The Evidential Background.

Jersey’s municipal waste incinerator commenced operation in 1979. It is also worth noting in passing that the incinerator itself produces such high degrees of toxicity and pollution from its chimney that it has been illegal to operate any such plant in the European Union for over a decade. Were Jersey a full-member of the EU – the incinerator would, by law, have been closed down.

Returning to the casual dumping of the combined ash into Jersey’s land reclamation sites, this practice continued from 1979 until approximately 1995 – when, finally, after many years of campaigning – the authorities were compelled to adopt a safer and more responsible disposal methodology.

In the early 1990’s Jersey’s Public Services Department, in response to concerns, commissioned Warren Spring Laboratory to undertake an analysis of emissions from the incinerator. Included was a detailed analysis of the ash produced by the incinerator. The table I reproduce below examines the ash produced by units 2 and 3 of the incinorator, and is to be found on page 29 of the WSL report:

“TABLE 9. – CONCENTRATIONS OF METALS IN COMBINED RESIDUAL ASH

METAL – UNIT 2 µg g – UNIT 3 µg g

Mercury – 0.46 – 0.29

Vanadium -62.3 – 56.1

Chromium – 212 – 244

Manganese – 937 – 937

Cobalt – 21.2 – 17.7

Nickel – 60.3 – 74.9

Copper – 18110 – 1160

Zinc – 6200 – 4540

Arsenic – 54.2 – 34.4

Selenium – 1.41 – 0.53

Cadmium – 33.5 – 34.0

Tin – 274 – 272

Antimony – 177 – 83.8

Thallium – 0.45 – 0.33

Lead – 4170 – 2020

Amongst the other information in the report are two tables – 11A and 11B – to be found on pages 30 & 31 of the WSL report. These two tables describe the ‘CONCENTRATIONS OF DIOXINS AND DIBENZOFURANS IN COMBINED RESIDUE ASH”, for units 2 and 3 respectively. These showed the total dioxin and dibenzofuran content of the combined ash from unit 2 to be 6.4112 ng-g, and a concentration of 0.5014 ng-g for unit 3.

Thus the WSL report demonstrates scientifically that the combined ash from the incinerator contains a variety of toxic heavy metals and polychlorinated compounds such as dioxins and furans which are a proven threat to human health. To further demonstrate this fact I reproduce below a section of a table titled “Toxic Effects of Common Hazardous Compounds”. This is from page 476 of “Hazardous Wastes: Sources, Pathways, Receptors” by Richard J. Watts, published by John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-00238-0.

Chemicals –

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s)

Acute Effects:

Minimal acute toxicity
(0.5 g/Kg to 11.3Kg)

Chronic Effects:

Chloracne; increased liver enzymes; possible reproductive effects; act as cancer promoters.

Dioxins and Furans
PCDDs/PCDFs

Acute Effects:

Chloracne, headaches,
peripheral neuropathy.

Chronic Effects:

Induction of microsomal enzymes; altered liver metabolism; altered T-cell sub-sets; immunotoxicity; strongly implicated in carcinogenicity (may be a promoter).

Inorganic Compounds –

Arsenic

Acute Effects:

Loss of blood, intestinal injuries, acute respiratory failure.

Chronic Effects:

Myelogeneous leukaemia, cancer of skin, lungs, lymph glands, bladder, kidney, prostate and liver.

Cadmium

Acute Effects:

Vomiting, cramping, weakness, and diarrhoea.

Chronic Effects:

Oral ingestion results in renal necrosis and dysfunction; induces lung, prostate, kidney, and stomach cancer in animals; no documented human cancer.

Hexavalent chromium

Acute Effects:

Readily absorbed by the skin where it acts as an irritant and immune-system sensitizer; oral absorption results in acute renal failure.

Chronic Effects:

Lung cancer.

Mercury

Acute Effects:

Central nervous system impairment including injury to motor neurons; renal disjunction.

Chronic Effects:

Central nervous system dysfunction, memory deficits, decrease in psychomotor skills, tremors.

Nickel

Acute Effects:

Not highly toxic, headache, shortness of breath.

Chronic Effects:

Immune system effects resulting in allergic contact dermatitis.

It appears that the WSL study did not test for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) but it is likely that PCB is also present in the ash given its past use in electrical equipment. Only 5 of the 15 metal components of the ash identified in the WSL report are described in Table 2 so one must consider the fact of the existence of additional hazardous components in the ash to those listed in the table.

Therefore, when considering human exposure to the ash and potential health impacts, we must acknowledge that we are not dealing with the possible effects of just one toxin – but a cocktail of toxins. Depending upon the degree and type of exposure, the potential health impact could be greater than that predicted for a single toxin. Moreover, there may be a synergistic effect, that is, an additional effect greater than that which might be predicted from exposure to the individual toxins or the toxins combined.

In terms of real-world human health impacts of exposure to the incinerator ash, it might be hypothesised that we are unlikely to be dealing with acute effects. It is likely that if any human health impacts flow from exposure to the ash, it is the chronic effects, rather than the acute effects that we need to be particularly concerned with. If any chronic effects have occurred, the most likely cohort of the affected will be site workers exposed to the combined ash. It should be stated that no manifestation of ill health effects potentially caused by the ash have yet been detected. It is to be hoped that none occur, although a detailed epidemiology study would need to be undertaken over an extended period of time.

However – and this is one of the prime concerns underpinning this proposition – if no human health impacts have occurred – it is more by luck than judgment.

The States of Jersey has committed gross errors, and exhibited a cavalier attitude to the dumping of the ash. These include the dumping of the combined ash – a proven cocktail of toxins – into a sea-porous land reclamation site; leaving the dumped ash exposed to the air for extended periods of time enabling the dried ash to be blown across pedestrian areas and onto nearby buildings; causing people to become exposed to the ash; failing, for many years, to protect workers on the sites from close exposure to the ash over extended periods of time and failing to properly take into account the long-term future use of the sites once completed.

In its error-strewn and incompetent handling of the incinerator ash, the States of Jersey has played Russian roulette with the health of this community and our environment.

It has always been – even as a lay-person – very easy to establish three basic facts –

1: that the incinerator ash was a cocktail of proven toxic components;

2: that dumping the ash in a manner that exposed workers, the public and the marine environment to it was not a good idea;

3: that other dumping methodologies which could be employed would be an improvement; for example, disposing of the ash in lined pits or binding the ash in some form of matrix material thus rendering it into a less environmentally available form.

If a lay-person could readily establish these facts within days of taking an interest in the subject, how can it be that every relevant States agency failed, to a lesser or greater extent, to respond in an adequate and/or timely manner to issues associated with the ash dumping over a period of at least 15 years?

And what does this say concerning the quality and safety of public administration in Jersey?

What risk do these sites pose to the marine environment in the next 50, 100 or 150 years? And is this our problem? Dr. Michael Romeril, the Environmental Adviser, in a report of 1992, quotes a figure of 17, 217 tonnes of combined ash dumped in 1988 alone. As is well documented, the volume of waste going to incineration, and consequent ash disposal, has risen steadily over the years. However, let us make a conservative estimate for the amount of ash dumped from 1988 until 1995 when dumping practice changed. Take a conservative average of 17,000 tonnes per year and multiply by 8. This gives a figure of 136,000 tonnes of combined incinerator ash dumped in the site in a reckless manner – in this 8 year period alone.

But it should be noted that this figure completely excludes the many tens of thousands of tonnes of combined ash dumped from when the incinerator first came on-stream in 1979.

Dr Romeril goes on to quote the amount of some of the heavy metals in the 17,217 tonnes for the single year 1988 –

“approximate total input per year of 440kg cadmium, 4.8kg mercury and 64,000kg lead. Whilst salts of these metals are not particularly soluble, an aging and mineralization process may continue for hundreds of years. (Hjelmar, 1987)”

Some important observations –

• These volumes need to be multiplied for every year of dumping from 1979 until 1995.

• These figures deal only with 3 of the 15 metals identified as components of the ash by the WSL report.

• These figures do not deal with the dioxin, furan and PCB content of the ash. These toxins, whilst not water soluble, could nevertheless be transmitted to the broader environment through the sea water acting as a vector for ash from the sites. Additionally, these toxins may be released to the environment every time contaminated areas of the waterfront are excavated.

However, the “official” view of the relevant States departments of the risks these contaminants pose was remarkable for the simple incompetence and dishonesty which was routinely displayed.

Indeed so lax and incompetent were the Public Services Department, that it took until the mid-1990’s for it to produce a report that considered future strategies for dumping the ash – and even then the report only came about as a result of sustained political pressure. This leaves us considering a period of nearly two decades of cavalier irresponsibility and intransigence on the part of the island’s waste disposal authorities.

To say that the report itself, ‘Incinerator Plant Ash Disposal – Strategies for the Future’, was riddled with inadequacies would be an understatement. In the early 1990’s, oyster farmer and marine biologist, Mr Tony Legg, took a detailed interest in the ash dumping and related issues. He produced a number of papers which he supplied to the authorities and interested politicians, myself included.

In a commentary on the PSD report referred to above, dated February 1995, Mr Legg makes the following observation:

“The document contains numerous technical errors, misinterpretations and, it would appear, deliberate attempts to confuse and mislead lay politicians. If this is a document to lay to rest the “criticisms originating from sources with little knowledge or experience of the complex issues involved” then it falls well short of the mark and exposes instead the Department’s poor grasp of wider issues. It also exposes the Department as wishing to avoid, rather than comply, when their position as enforcer/competent authority should be beyond reproach.”

Speaking as someone who witnessed the performance of the Public Services Department at first hand, as a member of the Committee from the end of 1990 until 1993 until I resigned over this issue, I can only agree entirely with Mr Legg’s assessment of the performance and motivations of the Department.

In a paper written in respect of the then proposed dumping of ash in the south of la Collette site, Mr Legg considered the potential for Cadmium to leach:

“From the above observations it is evident that an oxidising environment that is high in chlorine, that fluctuates in salinity, that occasionally is anoxic with free sulphide ions, that has a water table comprised of tidal and field water capacity interstitial solute, and has energy put into the system by tidal movement of that solute, is very well suited to making cadmium bioavailable. In addition, the ash material is already in an oxidised state, thereby speeding up the process.

“In situ, the ash is likely to be just above the MHWS mark and some 2 meters deep with c. 1 meter overburden. After normal rainfall or windblown spray this zone will be at field capacity with water filling all available pore spaces. When the tide rises or falls this water will be moved and exchanged, salinities will change, waters will drain and cadmium enriched leachate will form.”

Although written in respect of proposals to dump ash in a layer above MHWS across the La Collette 2 site, these observations could apply to the West of Albert site where ash was dumped extensively in a layer across much of the land reclamation scheme. The processes described could be occurring now or begin to occur in the future. A further factor that must be of grave concern is the potential for tidal forces to extract material from the sites. This is problematic for several reasons, not least that such erosion would cause the toxic ash to be taken into the marine environment in substantial quantities. There is a risk of significant quantities of infill material being removed from the reclamation sites through the action of the sea. Mr. Legg also highlighted this danger in a paper:

“Hydropneumatic Erosion: This process warrants most consideration. It is the process that leads to ‘Blow Hole’ formation on exposed cliff faces. Where wave action is severe, voids are formed within the eroded face. Subsequent wave action then compresses air within the void which can then expand explosively. Of interest is that this process can continue many tens of meters from the point of wave action and many meters above the high tide mark. (St Catherine’s Breakwater had a void 26 meters deep caused by this process, 25 km fetch). It may be that no area within the new reclamation is risk free from this process, including high level profiles.”

POSSIBLE HEALTH IMPACTS

In 2001 the Health and Social Services Committee, under my Presidency, requested its officers to prepare a report which examined the health implications of the contaminated reclamation sites. The then Medical Officer of Health, Dr John Harvey, and Health Protection Officer, Steve Smith, co-authored a report titled: ‘Health Impact of the West of Albert Pier Reclamation Site.’ I quote from that report here –

“Recent published studies have recognised the possible cumulative and synergistic effect of multiple hazardous agents, and have looked at the effect of exposure to hazardous sites, not individual toxins. The exposure risk is residence near to contaminated sites.

“The risk of adverse birth outcomes has been the focus of two such studies. A study of all residence near landfill sites in Great Britain showed small excess risks (c.10-20%) of some congenital anomalies and low birth weight. This was not greater near sites with special waste (i.e. known toxic waste such as incinerator ash) possibly because these sites were subject to strict regulation. The authors noted that the small excess could be due to residual confounding (unmeasured effect of deprivation) or data artefacts. Another Europe wide study showed higher levels of risk for congenital anomalies. This study, known as EUROHAZCON used data from 7 registers in 5 countries. It showed an increased risk (2 – 3 times higher) for mothers living within 3km of landfill sites.

“A study in Canada showed increased risks of certain cancers for men living near solid waste landfill sites. The increases of twice the risk were shown for cancer of the pancreas in men living within 1.25km, cancer of the liver for those living within 1.5km, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma within 2km.”

As far as I am aware, this work by Dr. John Harvey and Steve Smith, represents the very first time frank and professional information concerning possible health impacts arising from the ash dumps, was put before any States committee – this after 23 years of incinerator operation. One can only wonder what else the public and the island’s politicians are not told?

The observations of Dr. Harvey and Mr. Smith quoted above show that a link between waste dumps and ill health has been demonstrated epidemiologically. It also illustrates the fact that medical science is a constantly evolving field of work. It is feasible that in the not distant future, medical science may concluded that multi-toxin compounds, such as the incinerator ash, represent a greater threat to human health than is recognised today. It should be noted that the toxicity of substances is rarely down-graded.

More usually, as scientific knowledge advances, substances are demonstrated to be more toxic than previously thought. Even the scientific orthodoxy of the day can prove to have been wrong. Organophosphate pesticides and asbestos were at one time not regarded as posing a particular health risk. Likewise BSE was thought to be not transmittable to people and thus did not represent a human health risk. The prevalent scientific orthodoxy of the day was wrong.

However – it must be recognised that when considering the incinerator ash we are not dealing with speculative toxicity. As shown above, many of the components of the ash are proven, known toxins.

The long-term failure of the Environmental Health Department (now known as the Health Protection Department) has to be regarded with the utmost seriousness. There is simply no hiding place from this fact. Until the arrival in the department of Dr. John Harvey and Steve Smith, the Environmental Health Department, preceding MOHs and Health and Safety at Work failed in their duty to intervene and seek to protect the public from a health risk posed by the mass dumping of an unambiguously toxic material. How could this have happened and what needs to be done to ensure that no similar failure occurs again?

For example, questions need to be asked of Dr Richard Grainger, a former Medical Officer of Health, concerning his failure to act appropriately in this matter.

In a letter to me, dated 15th August 1995, Environmental Adviser, Dr. Michael Romeril, enclosed a letter he had received from Dr Grainger, dated 11th July 1995. In this letter Dr. Grainger said –

“I have liaised with Tony Bruce, who has taken over from Tony Littlewood as Chief Environmental Health Officer, and can confirm that we will be involved as and when necessary on this issue. Certainly, investigations that we have taken up to now, do not show this to be a major health issue, although obviously a highly emotive political problem.”

Dr Grainger’s intransigent attitude to the subject is further demonstrated in the fact that the Public Services Department quoted his media comments in their report concerning future ash dumping strategies:

“All of these statements have originated from uninformed sources. The reality is, as usual somewhat different –

(a) The Medical Officer of Health was reported in the Jersey Evening Post on 7 September 1993 as follows: “Dozens of people die every year from smoking related diseases such as cancer and emphysema but not one death has been traced to refuse waste – if we want to clean the atmosphere we should do something about it (smoking).”

A number of observations have to be made concerning Dr. Grainger’s comments –

• Smoking is indeed a serious human health threat and that fact is widely known amongst the public, most of whom are able to take decisions to cease their exposure to tobacco smoke. People are generally unaware that that the ash is a threat to their health, and the exposure of workers and the public to its toxic components is entirely involuntary.

• Exposure to the toxic components of the ash of people who may face other health risks, such as smoking or pre-existing medical conditions, represents an additional health burden – not an alternative health burden.

• Dr. Grainger refers specifically to “refuse waste”, not the combined incinerator ash and its toxic components – a demonstrably toxic material, tens of thousands of tons of which are layered across the reclamation sites. The ash was dumped in a manner that routinely exposed workers and the public to it.

• Dr Grainger asserts that “not one death has been traced to refuse waste”. This assertion is certainly wrong. For decades medical science and health protection experts have recognised the fact that refuse waste, especially in concentrated dumps, represents a variety of threats to human health. These include infection from putrescent waste, threats from vermin, exposure to dusts from such material, lung damage, the ingestion or inhalation of toxic substances in the refuse and the potential for illnesses such as emphysema, cancer and renal failure as a result of chronic, long-term exposure to hazardous substances emitted by waste dumps, for example to the air or water supplies.

• Can it be considered remotely professional or ethically acceptable to simply brush aside and dismiss public exposure to thousands of tonnes of material that contains a cocktail of toxins, such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, lead, dioxins, furans and PCB’s, by simply pointing to another hazard, such as smoking?

The attitude of Dr. Grainger came as no surprise to me, it being all of a piece with the self-interested denials of every other culpable States agency. In the early 1990’s former Senator Nigel Queree and I arranged to meet with Dr. Grainger to discuss our concerns with the ash dumping. We pointed out that the ash was toxic and presented photographic evidence that showed the haphazard and irresponsible dumping of the ash next to areas where the public were walking. His response was to angrily and fearfully dismiss our concerns. The most he conceded was that the seagulls feeding on the unburnt putrescent waste in the ash might be contaminated. It should be remembered that we are not considering a material that might, hypothetically be toxic. The ash contains a cocktail of proven toxins.

Dr. Grainger’s approach should be compared and contrasted with other expert medical opinion. Neither the previous Medical Officer of Health, Dr. John Harvey, the then acting MOH, Dr. Duncan Nicholson or senior Health Protection Officer, Steve Smith have ever disputed the facts that the ash was toxic, that people should not be exposed to it and that the dumping practices of the 1980’s and early 1990’s were wrong and unacceptable.

In May 2002, at the request of my Health and Social Services Committee, the United Kingdom Chemical Incident Response Service was asked to undertake chemical hazard investigation of the West of Albert site. That report, by Giovanni Leonardi, is included as an appendix. As a part of this work, an overview of previous documents was undertaken. Mr. Leonardi summarised some earlier findings:

“Arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in stockpiled or fresh combined ash from the site, as well as quenched bottom ash, are considerably higher than the threshold values considered acceptable by ICRCL guidance for domestic gardens and allotments, parks, playing fields, open spaces, hard cover and built up areas. Mercury concentration in the same samples is at the ICRCL threshold value for domestic gardens and allotments. Ash, arsenic, cadmium, lead, copper and zinc content exceeds the Dutch action level for contaminated land, whereas chromium content exceeds the Dutch trigger level.”

Later in the report, Mr Leonardi went on to address the following question:

“24. Is there a pathway between the source of the contamination and any potential targets (human, animal etc.)?

There are four potential pathways:

– direct contact between humans and contaminated soil on the site

– bioaccumulation of dioxins and mercury in the food chain, and possible human exposure via the food chain

– migration of dioxins and metals to the sea and impact on sea life. This is the major potential effect of groundwater flows described in section 11

– migration of dioxins and metals to fresh water and possible human exposure via water. It is unclear how much this pathway can in fact be confirmed, but the potential is implicit in the groundwater flows described in section 11.”

To recap – we can see from the evidence – I repeat, evidence – of the Warren Spring Report, the table from Hazardous Wastes: Sources, Pathways, Receptors, the observations of Dr. John Harvey and Steve Smith, and the report by Mr. Leonardi that the ash from Jersey’s municipal waste incinerator is a toxic waste.

Moreover – the ash is not merely a simple, single toxin. The ash is clearly a multi-component cocktail of many proven toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic elements.

HEALTH & SAFETY AT WORK ISSUES.

Having laid out the human health issues above, I need not repeat those facts in this section. We must, however, come to grips with another clear and shocking failure of public administration in the island. Jersey has legislation – the Health & Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 – designed to protect workforces from occupational hazards. Under this Law employers have a range of legal duties which include:

• making the workplace safe and without risks to health

• keeping dust, fumes and noise under control

• ensuring that articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely

• to take proper precautions to prevent employees being exposed to substances which may damage their health

• to give employees the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for their health and safety

Whilst this particular Law came into effect in 1989, the five requirements listed above represent a commonsense approach to protecting a workforce of the kind that we would expect any decent, ethical employer to follow. It is also the case that, whilst codified in this law – there has always been an inescapable general duty of care by a government to protect the public and workers from exposure to known toxins.

By these standards what can we say of the States of Jersey? From the late 1970’s when the incinerator first came on-stream until the mid-1990’s the States of Jersey caused and allowed all five of these principles and practices to be broken and cast aside in respect of employees – either their own or those of contractors – working on the reclamation site projects.

There are a variety of photographs which show merely some of the degree of worker exposure to the ash. The actual dumping was carried out without any visible health and safety precautions for workers transporting, tipping and levelling the ash. Of equal concern is the fact that construction workers carrying out excavations and other such works on the sites were not protected from exposure to the ash and its toxic components. I personally witnessed on many occasions workers shovelling through ash pits and infill contaminated with ash, without any protection. This approach continued until the mid-1990’s. However, even now, workers are exposed to the material. To illustrate this fact I quote a further passage from the CIRS report by Giovanni Leonardi:

“The form of the chemicals present at the site is likely to have been influenced by the presence and movement of water, and predominantly sea water, across the site. This impression is confirmed by reports from the builders that the workers were awash with slurry during the construction work. However, the effect of sea water on the chemicals present on site has not been described in the reports available to CIRS.”

I witnessed these construction works and the workers were indeed exposed to pure ash, contaminated infill and ash-rich slurry. This last form of exposure was particularly noticeable during piling operations when water black with ash would gush into the air, often contaminating the men operating the rig.

It was also the case that during the construction of the Esplanade underpass, workers were needlessly and unsafely exposed to substantial volumes of dumped toxic ash when re-excavating the dump site.

The fact that construction workers were needlessly – and unlawfully – exposed to such risks is beyond argument.

What we must do is face up to how things could have gone so wrong – and what new safeguards we need to enact to prevent a repetition.

Conclusion.

So – why then did the States of Jersey – why did every relevant public administration agency in the island – not only fail to handle the ash appropriately from the outset – but for at least 15 years pro-actively engage in deception and cover-ups when concerns were being expressed?

Why did Public Services, Health and Safety at Work, Agriculture and Fisheries, Environmental Health, and Planning & Environment all fail to prevent this disaster – and instead pro-actively engage in concealment?

In many ways – these questions contain within them, their own answer. Which is – having failed to act appropriately at the outset – every agency of the States of Jersey – and the relevant staff within them – then had a mutual interest in closing ranks, maintaining the fictions, deceiving both politicians and the public and engaging in the culture of concealment.

Indeed – precisely the same syndrome we see manifested all too clearly in the Jersey child abuse disaster.

There is simply no escaping the fact that we are dealing with a gross, irresponsible, dangerous and mendacious example governmental failure.

We need to know:

Why that happened?

How it was able to happen?

Who was culpable?

Why did such a complete breakdown of checks and balances occur?

What lessons need to be learned?

What action we may need to take to remediate the site?

What action we may need to take to examine, on a long-term basis, human health risks and impacts?

What action we may need to take to prevent the many tens of thousands of tonnes of toxic ash escaping into the marine environment in the event that the reclamation sites become eroded, or threatened by rising sea levels and increased wave action as a result of global climate change?

These are just some of the questions which must be answered.

Finance & Manpower Statement.

There will – unavoidably – be a significant cost associated with undertaking such an inquiry. For example – expert witnesses will need to be called.

The inquiry will need some support from existing officers but no additional staff should be required.

Obviously – it is possible that some significant costs could arise as a result of putting into action any recommendations the inquiry may make.

But what price human health?

What price protection of the environment?

APPENDIX.

Report by Giovanni Leonardi, of the United Kingdom Chemical Incident Response Service, 22nd May 2002.

SITE: INCINERATOR ASH DISPOSAL SITE NEAR ALBERT PIER, ST HELIER, JERSEY.

DATE: 22 – 05 – 02.

TIME: 9.50: 17.00.

WHO VISITED: DR JOHN HARVEY, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES, JERSEY; STEPHEN SMITH, EHO, JERSEY; JOHN SCALLY, WATERFRONT ENTERPRISE BOARD LIMITED, JERSEY; GIOVANNI LEONARDI, CIRS

INCIDENT SUMMARY:

1. States of Jersey Health & Social Services have been asked to review possible health impacts of contaminated land (including incinerator ash) in view of the current building developments on that site and possible risks to those who will live there, or those who will use the leisure facilities.

2. States of Jersey are also preparing new waste management strategy and need to discuss potential impact of new incinerator.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

1. Who has identified the issue to the Health Authority?

The issue was identified within the Health and Social Services Committee

2. How was the issue discovered?

Investigation by the Environmental Health Department at the request of the Health & Social Services Committee.

3. How long has there been a problem?

The problem was first identified in the mid 1980s. It became an issue in 1995.

4. Who is currently involved in the incident including the incident investigation?

Health and Social Services Committee: Senator Syvret (President), G.E. Jennings (CEO), Dr J Harvey (Medical Office of Health), S. Smith (Environmental Health Officer)

Planning and Environment Committee: Senator N.L. Querée (President), J.H. Young (CEO), J. Rice (Environmental Service Unit)

Policy and Resources Committee: Senator P.F. Horsfall OBE (President), Dr M. Romeril (States Environmental Adviser)

Employment and Social Security Committee: Senator T.A. Le Sueur (President), C. Myers (Health & Safety Inspectorate), Mrs L. McGurty (Health & Safety Inspectorate)

Public Services Committee: J.D. Richardson (Chief Executive Designate)

Housing Committee: E. Le Ruez (CEO)

Waterfront Enterprise Board Limited: M. Bralsford (Chairman), John Scally (Managing Director)

SITE SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

5. Where is the site? (Postcode if possible)

St Helier waterfront Land Reclamation Site
(Postcodes are available in Jersey)

6. How big is the site (acres/hectares)?

14 hectares.

7.Is the area predominantly rural or urban?

Urban, waterfront.

8. What is known about the history of the site and the adjacent land?/strong>

History of the site was studied on old historical maps, construction plans, etc by Arup & Partners. A harbour plan in 1838 shows the site to be offshore. A plan of St Helier in 1848 shows the location of a large sewer outfall at the end of the esplanade. Albert Pier was constructed between 1847 and 1856. A plan dated 1878 shows the western side of Albert Pier to be protected by what appear to be boulders. In 1896 the two outer berths of Albert Pier were reconstructed on rock and the berth dredged to 2.60 m. Aerial photographs in 1944, 1979, 1980 at low tide show no changes to the site, which was underlain by sand. The marina to the East of the site was constructed in 1981 (the “old marina”). The site was reclaimed from the sea in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the “West of Albert Pier Reclamation Works”. As part of this development, an area west of Albert Pier was enclosed in the early 1980s by the construction of a rockfill bund some 10m high. Filling of the enclosed area began in May 1985 with completion in late 1995. The principal source of fill material was demolition debris and surplus soil arising from nearby building excavations. The annual filling totals increased from about 90,000 m3 in 1985 to nearly 170,000 m3 in 1993/94. By 1993 the site was substantially filled, and a new rockfill bund was built to the west of the first one, to extend the area of the filling. Figure 2 shows the reclaimed sites, with “land reclamation area” being the new site between the first bund (east) and the second bund (west). This new reclaimed site was closed by a new vertical wall, which forms the northern limit of a “new marina” development. (From Arup Rothwell Report)

The average height of the fill at the site is 9 to 10.5 m AOD .

1) AOD (Above Ordnance datum) – Land levels are measured relative to the average sea level at Newlyn Cornwall. This average level is referred to ‘Ordnance Datum’. Contours on Ordnance Survey maps of the UK show heights above Ordnance Datum.

The Bellozanne municipal waste incinerator was built in 1972. Ash from incineration in the period from 1972 to mid 1980s was stockpiled near the site of the incinerator. From May 1985, ash from the incinerator was disposed at Albert Pier Reclamation Site. Initially, ash was tipped together with inert fill material in the area behind the Albert Pier wall. From September 1987, the method of ash disposal was changed, in order to restrict it to pits above mean high tide level (see Figure 2). Senator Syvret, President of the Health and Social Services Committee, is in possession of photographs documenting tipping of incinerator ash on several locations within the site, with no apparent restriction of the tipping to any specific location or pit even later than 1987, however only some of the photographs’s year is documented.

When the reclaimed site was filled, incinerator ash from Bellozanne incinerator started being disposed at the La Collette landfill outside St Helier. The Waterfront Enterprise Board was established to develop the reclaimed site on the waterfront at St Helier, and they commissioned an assessment of the reclaimed land to WRc Environmental Management in November 1995. Several waterfront developments were planned, including housing and a leisure centre. The Waterfront Enterprise Board then commissioned a geotechnical report on the Albert Pier Housing to Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers, this was published in December 2000, and construction work started the following year. A public health opinion on the possible health hazards of incinerator ash on the site was requested to the Health & Social Service Committee in mid 2000.

9. What is the site currently used for?

A housing development is currently nearing completion on the site marked “area 2” in Figure 2. A leisure centre including a swimming pool, park area and other facilities is in advanced stages of completion.

10. What is the soil type?

Mixed waste material .

11. What is the underlying geology/hydrology?

(A) Is the site on/near an aquifer?

From the WRc report:

A. Perched groundwater. Groundwater was encountered in 26 of 32+16=48 trial pits (page 50 for denominator, page 69 for numerator). These seepages were generally encountered at levels well above mean sea levels and had low chloride contents, indicating the presence of “perched” groundwater deriving from infiltration of rainwater (page 69).

B. Other groundwater. Boreholes also found groundwater, with moderate to high chloride content, indicating significant influx of sea water beneath the site. As groundwater was carried out at the end of a long, dry summer period, it is expected that groundwater levels may rise in winter in response to winter rainfall (page 69)

C. Groundwater flows. Though an earlier report suggested overall limited permeability of the fill material, this initial interpretation was significantly modified by the 1995 report. This concluded that “the effects of flushing by sea water extend beneath the major part of the fill area” (page 83). At high tide the external sea level charges the ground with sea water; at low tide seaward gradients are developed, with important flows to the sea (page 83). Existing data provide a clear indication that interchange of groundwater between the fill, the marine sediments, and the bedrock takes place (page 83).

(B) Is there an abstraction point on or near to the site? Not on the site.

(C) Do any (plastic) water pipes run through the ground?

Sewage conducts discharging St Helier’s waste water to sea

(D) Other Bedrock: mostly granite, with some metamorphosed sands, silts and mudstones of the Jersey Shale Formation under the northern part (area 3 in Fig 2 in the present report), and some volcanic, pyroclastic and associated sedimentary rocks of the St Saviour’s Andesite Complex in the North East part of the site (From the WRc report, page 8 and Figure 2)

12. Does a stream/river flow through or near to the site?

The Grand Vaux stream comes through the middle of St Helier, and discharges near the site.

13. What is the topography?

Water permeable fill material.

14. What is the prevailing wind direction?

North Westerly and South Westerly.

15. How close is the nearest property to the site?

There is property on the site.

CONTAMINANTS IN THE SOIL:

Three sets of results were made available to CIRS:

1. Analysis of dioxins and metals concentration of incinerator ash that were requested by the Jersey States Public Services Department to the Warren Spring Laboratory in 1992.

2. Analyses of metals in ash, inert waste, stockpiled inert waste, and leachate as part of the “Assessment of reclaimed land at St Helier” by WRc Environmental Management, in 1995.

3. Analyses of metals and other chemicals, but not dioxins in ash, general fill, and rubble, by Amplus Ltd under supervision by Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers in July-August 1999, reported in 2000.

16. What chemical(s) is present?

1. Warren Spring Laboratory. That investigation looked at several emissions and outputs of the incinerator, including dioxins and metals in combined and fly ash samples. Samples were collected of precipitator fly ash, and combined grate residue ash. Concentration were estimated for mercury, vanadium, chromium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, cadmium, tin, antimony, thallium, and lead (Hg, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, Sn, Sb, Tl, and Pb). Results for dioxins and dibenzofurans in combined and fly ash were also obtained.

2. WRc Environmental Management. Ash and inert samples were examined for content in arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead, and chromium twice, first in March-April 1995, the second time in September 1995. Chlorine, SO4, pH, and organic carbon were only measured the first time; nickel only the second time.

3. Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers. Soil from eight boreholes was examined for content in arsenic, cadmium, chromium total and hexavalent, mercury, lead, selenium, boron copper, nickel, zinc , sulphur, sulphide, cyanide, thiocyanate, phenol, PAH screen, and toluene.

17. What form is the chemical(s) in?

1. Warren Spring Laboratory. Analyses were carried out using ICP-MS (therefore providing estimates of total mass for the metals, not the chemical form present in the ash).

2. WRc Environmental Management. Analytical procedures are described in Appendix (not included in copy available to CIRS).

3. Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers. Chemical tests are described in the Contractor’s Factual Report (not available to CIRS).

The form of the chemicals present at the site is likely to have been influenced by the presence and movement of water, and predominantly sea water, across the site. This impression is confirmed by reports from the builders that the workers were awash with slurry during the construction work. However, the effect of sea water on the chemicals present on site has not been described in the reports available to CIRS.

18. What levels of chemicals have been detected in the soil?

1. Warren Spring Laboratory (1992). Results for metals are presented in Table 9 of their report for combined residue ash and Table 10 for fly ash. Results for dioxins and dibenzofurans in combined and fly ash are presented in Tables 11A+B and 12A+ B respectively. Incinerator ash metal content was typical of UK incinerator residues, expect copper in combined ash that reached the value of 18,000 microgram/g, considerably higher than the value expected in UK plants of 1,500 microgram/g, and lead in fly ash with a concentration of 26,000 microgram/g, higher than the typical UK value of 5,000 microgram/g (Warren Spring report, page 10-11). At that time, dioxins concentrations were high in the Jersey ash compared with similar UK incinerators (Warren Spring report, page 11).

2. WRc Environmental Management (1995). Results are presented for total excavated material in Tables 6 and 7 of their report (pages 28 and 29). Leaching test results are presented in Table 8, 9 10 and 11, and Figures 6 and 7 (pages 32-39). A comparative analysis over time is presented in Table 12 (page 40), whereas Tables 13 and 14 compare the Jersey ash with guidance by the Interdepartmental Committee on Redevelopment of Contaminated Land (ICRCL) and Dutch trigger values (pages 42-43). Arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in stockpiled or fresh combined ash from the site, as well as quenched bottom ash, are considerably higher than the threshold values considered acceptable by ICRCL guidance for domestic gardens and allotments, parks, playing fields, open spaces, hard cover and built up areas. Mercury concentration in the same samples is at the ICRCL threshold value for domestic gardens and allotments. Ash arsenic, cadmium, lead, copper and zinc content exceeds the Dutch action level for contaminated land, whereas chromium content exceeds the Dutch trigger level.

3. Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers (1999). Results are presented in Table 1-4 of their report. Similar results as for number (2): arsenic, cadmium, lead, copper, and zinc concentrations of the ash material exceed the ICRCL levels for domestic gardens and allotments. Cyanide, phenols and PAHs are below the ICRCL thresholds.

Overall, it appears that the concentration of several contaminants including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and chromium at the St Helier waterfront site exceed the Soil Guideline Values set by the UK Environment Agency (EA) for residential use of contaminated land, based on results of the CLEA model (see http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/landliability/pubs.htm). Mercury does not appear to exceed the Soil Guideline Value for residential use. Not all contaminants potentially hazardous to human health present in the St Helier contaminated site may have been evaluated by the surveys conducted so far, and the comparison with EA soil guideline values has been reported here only for the chemicals included in the available surveys.

19. How many samples have been taken?

1. Warren Spring Laboratory (1992). Only incinerator ash.

2. WRc Environmental Management (1995). Ash-like material (probably combined bottom and fly ash) was found in 15 out of 32 trials pits on site

3. Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers (1999). 8 boreholes on site.

20. Who has taken the samples?

See above.

21. How were the samples taken? (Sampling strategy?)

1. Warren Spring Laboratory (1992). Not applicable, as they only tested incinerator ash.

2. WRc Environmental Management (1995). Complex strategy (see their report, page 19).

3. Arup Rothwell Consulting Engineers (1999).

22. Where have the samples been sent for analysis? (UKAS accredited laboratory?)

No details on UKAS accreditation available, though it is likely that (1) was accredited.

INITIAL HAZARD & RISK ASSESSMENT:

23. Have there been any complaints of health problems that may be associated with exposure to the chemical(s)?

No complaints have been received by the Health and Social Service Committee either from workers on the site or residents nearby.

24. Is there a pathway between the source of the contamination and any potential targets (human, animal etc.)?

There are four potential pathways:

– direct contact between humans and contaminated soil on the site

– bioaccumulation of dioxins and mercury in the foodchain, and possible human exposure via the food chain

– Migration of dioxins and metals to the sea and impact on sea life. This is the major potential effect of groundwater flows described in section 11

– Migration of dioxins and metals to fresh water and possible human exposure via water. It is unclear how much this pathway can in fact be confirmed, but the potential is implicit in the groundwater flows described in section 11.

25. Is further sampling, environmental or biological, required?

The concentration of dioxins and furans, arsenic, lead, cadmium, lead, copper, zinc, chromium and mercury in much of the ash at the site is of concern for human, animal, and ecosystem health. Further sampling is considered in section 28 as part of the overall steps suggested to prevent further contamination.

26. What (if any) immediate action is required? (Evacuation etc.)

The site is not inhabited at present. Concerns have been expressed about possible exposure of workers at the building sites in this area. In meetings with two of the building sites management teams, it was reported that the workers at the site are aware of the potential risk to their health, and a programme of education of the workforce to prevent exposure to contaminated ash has been implemented by the contractors (Cameron’s Building Contractors). There are no residents on the site at present. It is difficult to estimate the health hazards to residents near the site in the absence of a survey assessing the fate of the leachate and its content; however such potential hazard ought not be ignored. The suggested actions are listed in the previous section.

27. Can the chemical be controlled/contained immediately?

The basement of the building developments appears to have been constructed to minimise potential exposure to future residents via direct contact with contaminated soil. However, all this 14 hectares area still contains large amounts of incinerator ash, much of which is heavily contaminated. The ground surrounding the building site, and the remaining of the 14 hectares of the area.

Grounds immediately surrounding the building development: It is reported that about 1 m of uncontaminated fill material separates contaminated ash from the surface of the site. This will need to be checked and documented as part of the survey suggested as short-term action in section 28. A fresh clean top soil cover of 60 cm has been suggested by Arup Engineering Consultants as additional protection above that (please refer to correspondence between S Smith of the Health and Social Service Committee and Arup Engineering Consultants). The adequacy of such intervention for human health protection is questionable in the light of recommendations by experts, for example, the International Ash Working Group describes 4 types of disposal practice of municipal solid waste incinerator ash:

1. total containment,
2. leachate containment and collection,
3. controlled contaminant release, and
4. unrestricted contaminants release

This working group does not recommend the last of these options as adequate for optimal hazard containment (see attached copy of chapter describing this). It would appear that the past practice at the St Helier site may be classified as unrestricted contaminants release. It would seem desirable that the future management of ash remaining there would match the requirements of the International Ash Working Group or similar recommendations of best practice by qualified technical experts.

28. What steps need to be taken to prevent further contamination? (Short and long term considerations)

An intervention is needed to manage the dispersion of contaminants from the site towards the surface (built and landscape areas developed on the marina), the sea, the foodchain, and the freshwater.

As CIRS is a service providing health and not engineering advice, CIRS is not qualified to suggest specific technical (engineering) details of such intervention, and our suggestions in this section have to be seen in the light of any specific further findings describing the location of the hazardous materials contained in incinerator ash at the site, their fate as content of leachate from the site, and interventions planned for containment of the mentioned chemicals. This is because all of the above would affect the extent of the potential public health implications. Within these limitations, CIRS suggests that a survey is desirable to assess the actual extent of the protection afforded by interventions so far, and the need for further intervention (see “in the short term” below). CIRS also suggests that a monitoring programme would be necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of any planned interventions (see “in the medium-long term” below). Therefore CIRS recommends:

1. In the short term: A survey to describe the hydrogeology at and nearby the site and the distribution and chemical forms of the contaminants in the soil and the water leaching from it at the present time. This seems justified as the amount of ash left in site after the currently ongoing building work is likely to be considerable, and the chemical form of the contaminants and the distribution of the leachate have not been clearly characterised so far. In addition, a fresh survey could document changes in contaminant concentrations compared to the 1995 survey as a consequence of the both the recent building work and the effect of water exchanges in and under the site. Dioxins and furans as well as metals should be considered for such survey.

2. In the medium and long term: a programme to monitor the concentrations of several key chemicals in terms of potential impact on human health at and near the site. At the site visit on 22 May 2002, CIRS recommended a programme of testing for dioxins, arsenic, cadmium and lead. In the light of the evidence presented in the published reports summarised here, it may be relevant to add copper, zinc, chromium and mercury to that list. However, a strategy for further sampling should be defined only after sampling phase (1) has been conducted, so that a monitoring programme may be informed by the findings of a more complete and current survey.
ACTIONS:

REFER TO ABOVE SECTION 28.

SITE VISIT REPORT WRITTEN BY Giovanni Leonardi

DATE 10 June 2002, revised 7 August 2002

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH ON JERSEY.

Why should Channel Islanders
Have to Fight for an Impartial Judiciary?

The Daily Telegraph Reports the Battle.

I reproduce below this brief post an article from The Daily Telegraph which deals with the Jersey child abuse disaster.

It reports, amongst related matters, on my submission to the United Kingdom Justice Secretary, Jack Straw MP.

Whilst Jersey is self-governing, as are all of the Channel Islands, ultimately the Crown – in practice, the UK government – has responsibility for the good administration of justice in what are known as the Crown Dependencies – these being the Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann.

For a variety of complex reasons – no part of the Jersey prosecutory authorities or judiciary can remotely be regarded as impartial in any matter arising from the Jersey child abuse disaster.

This is not merely my opinion – it has also been the opinion of every lawyer I have asked for a view on the subject.

It is for this reason I have written to Jack Straw on behalf of my constituents asking that he meet the United Kingdom’s obligations to ensure the good administration of justice in Jersey.

Read the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper which has reported on the Jersey child abuse disaster in an accurate and ethical manner.

Stuart.

Jersey abuse case: Jack Straw urged to step in.

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter
Last Updated: 5:42PM BST 02/06/2008

Jack Straw, the justice secretary, has been urged to personally oversee the prosecutions of alleged child abusers in Jersey by campaigners who fear the island’s rulers will try to sweep the scandal under the carpet.

Stuart Syvret, a former minister in Jersey’s parliament who lost his job after drawing attention to allegations of abuse, has written to Mr Straw asking him to ensure justice is done.

Mr Syvret, who remains a member of the parliament, claims there is a very real danger of political interference in the judicial process, because of significant overlaps between the legislature and the judiciary.

Mr Straw has the power to impose his will on the otherwise autonomous Channel Islands because the Privy Council, which comes under his jurisdiction, must ensure ‘good governance and the proper administration of justice’ on the islands.

Since the investigation into alleged abuse at the Haut de la Garenne former children’s home began, some of Jersey’s ministers have criticised and even ridiculed the police inquiry.

The Bailiff of Jersey, who is both the speaker in the island’s parliament and the head of the judiciary, used a speech last month to claim that the true problem in Jersey was the media’s coverage of the ‘so-called child abuse scandal’.

The island’s Chief Minister, Frank Walker, has accused Mr Syvret of trying to ‘shaft Jersey internationally’ by drawing attention to the problem.

So far three people have been arrested in connection with the child abuse inquiry, but police expect up to 70 arrests in total.

Mr Syvret said: ‘The Jersey establishment will do everything in its power to minimise these prosecutions, and if any of the people (charged) are even faintly senior the sentences they get will be negligible, if they are found guilty.

‘I have asked Jack Straw to intervene by imposing independent prosecutors and judges from the UK because Jersey’s judicial system just can’t meet the test of being impartial.

‘In the longer term I have also asked him to force permanent change on Jersey and the other Channel Islands to ensure complete separation of the judiciary and legislature.’

Mr Syvret claims victims of abuse have in the past been ‘betrayed’ by Jersey’s judicial system, with previous investigations being dropped.

If Mr Straw does not agree to send British judges to Jersey, Mr Syvret says he will seek a judicial review of the decision on behalf of more than 40 alleged victims of child abuse with whom he is in touch.

Police in Jersey are currently awaiting the results of laboratory tests on bone fragments and children’s teeth discovered during months of excavations of cellars at Haut de la Garenne, which closed as a children’s home in 1986.

Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper, leading the investigation, has said some of the bones had been cut, indicating ‘homicide or unexplained death’ and if carbon dating shows the bones to date from after the Second World War, a murder investigation will be launched.

The police have a list of 116 alleged victims of physical and sexual abuse at the home and at other Jersey institutions, who claim they were tortured in the cellars below Haut de la Garenne.

Mr Straw is already awaiting the outcome of a judicial review into another decision on Channel Island affairs.

Last month Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, the proprietors of Telegraph Media Group, challenged Mr Straw’s decision to approve a proposed new constitution for the island of Sark, which has been run as a fiefdom for hundreds of years.

Critics of Sark’s proposed constitution say it does not amount to true democracy and could violate European Human Rights legislation.

:: A 45-year-old man appeared in court today in connection with the sex abuse probe at Haut de la Garenne.

Michael Aubin, who was born in Jersey and lives in Southampton, Hampshire, faces two counts of indecent assault on a seven-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy and one count of buggery on an eight-year-old boy.

The charges relate to three different children and are alleged to have been committed between January 1, 1977, and December 31, 1980, at Haut de la Garenne.

Aubin, who lives in St Denys, Portswood, Southampton, was remanded in custody during the hearing at Jersey Magistrates’ Court.

He will appear before the same court on June 30, for committal to the island’s Royal Court.

Aubin was arrested in the Southampton area by Jersey officers on Thursday and taken back to the island, where he was charged on Saturday.