Monthly Archives: November 2010

IN YOUR NAME?

IN YOUR INTERESTS?

What links economic melt-down

With child-protection failures?

The average Jersey politician.

When I sat down to prepare this entry, it was my intention to publish the Order of Justice – the legal document – I have recently had served on a number of Jersey authorities in respect of the criminal and civil wrongs they engaged in, in 2007 when they were attempting to illegally conceal child abuse.

The defendants I cite in the action are the Chief Minister, the States Employment Board, the States itself, and the Jersey Attorney General.

But – as terrible and reprehensible as the child abuse cover-ups are – they are, tragically, a symptom of a profoundly broken, corrupted and incompetent body-politic.

Readers in Jersey may be disgusted at the child protection failures – but otherwise be labouring under the delusion that – broadly speaking – the Jersey establishment is reasonably successful in other policy areas.

If only that were so.

I’ll publish the Order of Justice in my next posting – having described here the decayed governance out of which the legal action has arisen. This posting – and the next – will take us from the general – to the specific.

When a government – no, an entire political culture, fails catastrophically to deal with a specific issue of fundamental public importance – the great likelihood is that it is failing to deal responsibly and competently with all areas of public policy.

Sure enough – upon close examination, the Jersey establishment is responsible for a mind-numbing roll of failure – in virtually every single area of its responsibilities.

Only the determinedly un-intelligent could fail to draw the obvious conclusion.

That when we see hopeless inadequacy on the part of Jersey’s public administration – the real problem is not the particular policy failure that may have caught our eye – but rather the underlying chaos and dysfunction of the entire system – and the overt inadequacy of 90% of your elected representatives.

People will, obviously, have differing priorities as to what they expect of their government. Many will look for a high level of economic competence and financial efficiency; others may be more concerned with environmental policy; others still might regard social policy or education to be the priority.

And when observing the performance of the States of Jersey in those policy areas that may concern us, we may well – with justification – be frequently appalled. But do we look closely enough – if at all – at those parts of government activity that we wouldn’t usually be interested in?

Do we dare?

During the last few years, my overriding concern has been the tragic and wretched history of child protection failure in Jersey; the ‘Culture of Concealment’ – that permitted decades of abuse to take place – and which prevented the guilty from being punished.

Perhaps understandably, such concerns may have been secondary to people leading happy family lives, immediately concerned as many will be, with paying the mortgage and providing for their own children.

But all people should pause to think – and ask themselves a fundamental question: ‘if our government cannot get right something as fundamental as child protection – what else are they getting wrong?’

We are in the year 2010 – this is not the 1970s; good standards of child protection, and proper scrutiny and accountability of our child protection apparatus must be a litmus-test for any respectable administration. Does the Jersey establishment pass that test?

And if it doesn’t – do we then find the inevitable examples of other public policy failures which we must, sadly, expect, if our government can’t get right something as rudimentary as protecting vulnerable children in its care?

The Jersey oligarchy fails virtually every test we might reasonably expect of a modern, Western democracy.

The failure of the polity is endemic.

Jersey’s public administration is a chaos of unscrutinised incompetence and of toxic, fin-de-siècle decadence like unto ancient Rome.

Too concerned with compartmentalised areas of public policy failure, we’ve failed to see the big picture; we have failed to see that the unlawful concealment of child abuse – and taxation policy failures – and environmental destruction – and social policy inadequacy – and public finance chaos – and economic incompetence – are all disastrous symptoms of the same stagnant, intellectually bankrupt, rotten, system.

That failure of public perception may be about to change.

Change – when the full, awful reality of the magnitude of the collapse of the economic and fiscal policies of the Jersey establishment strikes home – as it soon will.

But it isn’t as though the failures themselves were the end of it.

Every bit as bad – and in many ways more breath-taking, is the absolute and rigid refusal of the Jersey establishment to ever acknowledge its failures – learn from them – and put right the mistakes.

Let’s remember just a few:

St. Helier’s land-reclaimed Waterfront; supposedly a “world-class” property development opportunity, the site is, in fact, a giant toxic-waste dump. The evidenced truth never officially acknowledged by the States – and to this day, an absolute refusal to conduct an inquiry into how such an unlawful disaster was able to occur.

I attempted to establish such a public inquiry – and wrote in detail about the subject here:

http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.com/2008/06/another-jersey-disaster.html

Naturally, the States refused to even investigate the matter.

In that blog posting, I asked the question:

 “Just how the hell our government landed us with a Waterfront contaminated with about 400,000 tonnes of teratogenic, carcinogenic and mutagenic toxic waste?”

It’s a question that still needs answering.

Consider another disaster:

The persistent absence of any kind of strategic planning for the community’s health and social care services.

I noted recent reports that Jersey’s Health & Social Services department were spending – in this time of austerity – a further £760,000 of tax-payers’ money on commissioning UK “experts” to carry out a review of care provision.

In around 2003, the old Health & Social Services Committee, of which I was President, required of the immensely expensive civil servants that they develop just such an all-encompassing strategy for health and social care provision in the island.

Notwithstanding repeated demands that the strategic document be produced – several years later, the by now mythical “New Directions” report was buried under a mountain of excuses.

Eventually, years later, I was finally handed the first draft of the New Directions strategy.

I was rendered speechless at the inadequacy of the document.

In response, I wrote a detailed, ten-page critique, dated 6th March 2007 – in which all of the obvious issues – and the startling defects in the Jersey civil service document, were pointed out.

My critique can be read here:

http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.com/2009/01/health-social-care-in-jersey.html

And here are the population of Jersey – nearly four years later – still, with no competent draft strategy even published – let alone agreed by the States.

And to add insult to injury – Jersey tax-payers now have to spend an additional £760,000 – employing more UK experts – because the recently employed UK experts in the management of H & SS “don’t have time” to produce the strategy – because they are too busy managing the services – that the existing senior management were too incompetent and defective to manage – but who haven’t been sacked – because your average States member is too terrified of the civil service to ever hold anyone to account.

Thus the response of the States to one gross management failure, has been to pile on top of it, not one – but now two – additional layers of very expensive “expert management” – and still, all these years on – no competent strategic plan for health and social care in Jersey yet exists.

The issues that confront health and social care provision in the island are blindingly obvious; I wrote about them in the critique I produced in March 2007.

But yet your politicians are quite happy to spend £760,000 of your money – on an exercise that can only end up stating the obvious.

We have to wonder who is getting the kick-back.

And if people thought they were already angered by the incompetent and unnecessary expenditure of their taxes – they had better brace themselves.

If people feel things are financially tough at present – I can – quite honestly – imagine civil unrest when the brutal truth hits home.

You could be forgiven for not knowing this – if you relied upon Jersey’s media – but the taxation policies of the Jersey government have crashed and burned.

The island faces a period of economic and fiscal upheaval, every bit as dramatic – but different – to the Irish euro bail-out.

That is not an exaggeration.

Do not be surprised if, in the next year or two, Jersey has to turn to the IMF – to seek its own, self-inflicted bail-out.

The very foundation-stone upon which the States of Jersey’s taxation strategy – and thus the island’s economy – was built, has crumbled into sand and dust.

The dramatic upheaval in recent years in Jersey’s tax policy – such as “20% means 20%” – and the Goods and Services Tax, which is even levied on such basics as food and heating costs – that huge transfer of the tax burden away from corporations, and onto the shoulders of ordinary people – has failed in its central purpose.

That purpose was to facilitate the introduction of the so-called “zero/10%” tax policy – the “ingenious” mechanism that was going to – supposedly – satisfy the European Union that we did not harbour “harmful tax practices”, and thus enable the happy continuation of the off-shore finance industry – upon which we are massively dependent.

Zero-10 was never going to work.

And a lot of different people – myself included, said so at the time.

Few things are as important to a successful society as a stable economy. So when the EU pressure began, and the Jersey establishment started panicking, I took the time to research the issues and the alternatives in some depth. I spoke to a lot of people.

I heard a lot of different things – but one theme was consistent – whether I was speaking to bankers – or to some of the less ideologically crazed members of the Institute of Directors – or to members of the Tax Justice Network.

Not one of them believed, even for one instant, that Zero/10 was going to work.

Sure enough – it hasn’t.

You might expect that when faced with such a serious external threat to the industry from which – regardless of what the “official” figures may say – 80% of our GDP derives, the States would wish to make certain that all of the different possible policy responses were carefully appraised?

But – remember – this is a polity that, even in the year 2010, can’t get something as basic as accountable child protection systems right.

Seeking only a thorough examination of all of the issues, I wrote a detailed report and proposition concerning taxation policies, and took it before the States for debate.

That document – P.41/2004 – was recently published in full by Rico Sorda on his blog, and can be found here:

http://ricosorda.blogspot.com/2010/09/010-proposition-p412004.html

Obviously, the proposition that we should pause and properly plan our new fiscal and economic policies was thrown out – so the work was never undertaken.

Instead the States chose to put their faith in Phil Ozouf – a vacuous nincompoop who has inherited everything, never had to do a day’s real work in his life – and who thus possesses all of the consequent economic “skill”.

The result has been six years of mind-boggling economic and financial incompetence – the full horror of which is being carefully massaged away from public recognition in Jersey.

Today sees a perfect example of the spin.

It has been drawn to my attention that today’s leader comment in what passes for a “newspaper” in Jersey, concerns the Goods and Services Tax. Under the heading “Exemptions now will ease the pain later”, it says this:

“The truth, of course, is that budgeting is not really like that. As in warfare, the first thing to be destroyed by unpredictable events in the spheres of public and private planning is the plan.”

It goes on to conclude:

“Against this background, it could be preferable if the principle is accepted sooner rather than later that, at higher rates, GST exemptions are not merely permissible but essential.”

Remarkable – isn’t it – how in such a simple, low-key manner, the Jersey oligarchy and its house-journal can introduce their support – for the very policy they have rabidly opposed hitherto?

The fact is the events challenging Jersey’s economy and taxation policies – were not “unpredictable”. They were predicted. By lots of different people. Myself included – not least in the report and proposition I referred to above.

I campaigned – from the outset – for exemptions to GST – because only an utter fool could ever have imagined the tax would stay low.

The Jersey establishment is in a state of febrile panic; they know their economic and taxation policies have failed; they know all of those who said they would fail, have been proved right; they know that to now be supporting exemptions to GST represents nothing less than acknowledgment of their failure and shows the Jersey government to be thrashing around in naked panic.

They’re just hoping the population of Jersey doesn’t notice.

And – really, although I’ve written often enough about the spin-doctoring of the Jersey oligarchy – and just how passive and tame the local media usually is – even I’m impressed – if that is the right word – that such a seismic occurrence as the failure of zero/10 can have been so air-brushed from news reports and analyses.

Here is what the Guernsey government have said:

“November, 23rd, 2010, The Policy Council confirms that it has received confirmation that, at its most recent meeting (19th November, 2010), the EU Code of Conduct on Business Taxation (‘Code Group’) agreed with unanimity that the zero/10 corporate tax regimes have harmful effects. It is understood that, whilst the formal assessment process has not technically been concluded, the expectation is that the Crown Dependencies will be required to introduce revised corporate tax regimes.”

“Although Guernsey’s zero/10 regime has not been subject to review by the Code of Conduct Group the implications of last Friday’s conclusion by the Code Group will need to be thoroughly reviewed and assessed.”

Translated into plain English – a frank admission that Zero-10 is dead in the water.

Here – by way of contrast – is what Jersey’s government have said:

“The Group considered a paper prepared by Commission officials that was concerned solely with whether the deemed distribution provision and the combined effect of taxation at company and shareholder levels came within the scope of the Code as business taxation.”

“With the exception of that provision, the 0/10 tax structure has not been formally addressed by the Commission or the Code Group. Therefore, with the exception of this anti-avoidance measure, nothing has been conveyed to the Island authorities that would indicate that the present 0/10 tax structure is in conflict with the Code criteria. This is fully in accord with the view expressed by the Island authorities to the Code Group and the Commission.”

Translated into plain English – a panicked and brazen mish-mash of truth-denying sophistry. ‘Zero-10 is dead in the water – but we’re messing ourselves in terror and we dare not admit the truth to the Jersey public.’

The fear dripping from the Jersey press-release is almost palpable.

I’m reminded of the recent 50,000 strong protest in Dublin.

If I was Philip Ozouf – I’d seriously be making plans to leave Jersey.

However – that one departure wouldn’t rescue this community from a hopelessly stagnant, wilfully ignorant and morally corrupted body-politic – as most of those remaining are clowns – every bit as much as Ozouf.

We in this community have suffered – and are now going to suffer even more – because of decades of mythology. Generations have allowed themselves to be conned into believing that the average, traditional States member, can be regarded as a “safe-pair-of-hands”.

In describing the average Jersey oligarchy politician in a posting I wrote in 2008, I said discovering truth was like this:

“We pull back the curtain, as in the Wizard of Oz, and find lost and insecure individuals, thrashing around in a panic, like a drunkard at the controls of a 747 after the flight-crew have all had heart attacks.”

The full posting – titled “The Horsfall/Walker Years” – can be read here:

http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.com/2008/02/horsfallwalker-years.html

In that posting I wrote of the very carefully maintained spin and lies by which the average Jersey politician is marketed to the public as being competent and responsible; of that mythology I said:

“In that regard, the Jersey oligarchy – which includes the local media – have been startlingly successful in propagating and maintaining the mythology. I say startlingly successful, because so divorced from facts – from reality – are the accepted assumptions about the Jersey establishment; so wholly divorced from the evidence and consequences we see around us – that it could even be regarded as one of the most successful propaganda exercises in any post-World War II democracy.”

Yes.

In reality, the customary Jersey politicians – who so many islanders vote for expecting sober and responsible governance – are a collection of ignorant and frightened imbeciles – with about as much grasp of ethics and responsible economic planning as Bernie Madoff.

Is there any sign of hope for the community of Jersey?

Surely – given the brazen mis-governance of the last 30 years – and in particular the various disasters of recent times – all of which stand like indictments against an entire political culture – a few of the current establishment States members must be mending their ways?

Sadly, no.

On the contrary, the arrogance and hubris on display just gets worse.

Consider the evidenced and profoundly serious and wide-spread planning corruption – which was recently attested to under oath in open court.

The corruption in question encompasses many individuals – and even stretches so far up the power-structure, that the States assembly were mislead into re-zoning a large amount of protected land, to enable it be developed. At great profit.

Even though the subject has been raised in open court under oath – the States assembly refused to even inquire into the matter.

As I often remark – you just couldn’t make it up.

Yet – things simply get worse.

Who could forget the absolute and solemn promise made by the Jersey authorities that public inquiries would be held into the child protection failures?

Eventually, one such inquiry was proposed – an examination of the management of the Health & Social Services department. Yes – that being the same structure – and the same individuals – who are now costing islanders an additional £760,000 because they are too defective to do the work themselves.

In November 2009, the States assembly rejected undertaking the promised inquiry.

As I wrote of the vote at the time: –

“A result so immoral and imbecilic, that you’d have had a hard time getting a room full of Palermo Councillors to support it – even if each of them was blindfolded, handcuffed, and had a Beretta to the side of their heads.”

I was repeatedly reminded of that betrayal last Thursday and Friday – as I sat with a group of survivors while they waited for the jury to return the verdicts on Morag and Tony Jordan, the two States of Jersey employees who had abused them and made their childhoods hell.

Having met so many survivors during the last three years – and listened to them – and shared their sense of grievance and loss – I find it impossible to understand what goes through the minds of that majority of States members.

For me, it remains the case that the true, defining political moment of the entire disgusting scandal was the occasion I attempted to give the customary Christmas speech as Father of the House, in December 2007. I thought I would use the opportunity to express on behalf of the States some recognition, acknowledgment and empathy towards survivors of child abuse.

I was howled-down by a baying mob of States members. The first time ever any public acknowledgment of child-protection failures was spoken in the States assembly – and so inadequate and ethically bankrupt were the majority, they refused to even let it be heard, with their boss, Phil Bailhache, cutting my microphone and adjourning the meeting.

As I stood at my desk, trying to absorb what had just happened, I felt as though the temperature in the chamber had just dramatically dropped – like a scene from a horror film. It was a real physical sensation. Looking around at the members as they rushed off to their Christmas lunch – I suddenly realised – in a kind of dark epiphany – these people were not what I had thought them to be. Not civilised human beings, with whom I might have political disagreements – but rather the makings of a mob – no autonomous thought or ethics on display – instead an accretion of ignorant and a-moral fools – not so many steps removed from the kind of collective madness that blighted Europe in the 20th century.

And those are the people – and that is the political culture – that governs the community of Jersey.

Reflecting upon the unceasing litany of failure by Jersey’s polity – only a few of which I’ve touched on above – can we be surprised?

When a majority of our elected representatives – will not hear words of empathy towards abused children – can we really expect them to act effectively and reasonably in other matters?

When they can’t even keep a promise to hold a public inquiry into decades of concealed child protection failure?

No – we can’t be surprised that they are still incapable of requiring the civil service to produce a meaningful health & social care strategy.

Nor that they would rather deny their various incompetences and sleaze and not inquire into evidenced planning corruption, of a kind that would be a national scandal in any respectable democracy.

I’m not sure how many people listen to States debates? Most certainly only a tiny number of people.

Hopefully another blogger will be able to post the audio of States question time – from those occasions when people such as the Chief Minister and the Home Affairs Minister have been answering questions concerning the corrupt concealment of child abuse – and the unlawful suspension of Graham Power.

If you are a civilized human being – what you hear will disgust you.

Not because of the brazen dishonesty and sophistry of the answers – though those are, indeed, disgusting enough. But, rather because of the response to the questions and answers, from most of your elected representatives.

It is against the rules to applaud in the States chamber – so the customary way for members to express their approval of a speech or of an answer, is to drum their feet on the floorboards. This traditional “foot-stamping” being the officially approved means by which the majority grouping intimidates and undermines minority members.

Hence the reason why most States members are increasingly known as the “Foot-stamping Lackeys”.

There are any number of States assembly ‘question times’ – when serious questions – of the utmost gravity have been asked – asked on the basis of hard evidence – about the many failures of the States of Jersey to protect vulnerable children – and a majority of Jersey politicians can be heard, sneering and sighing at the questioner – and furiously stamping their feet in rabid approval of the inevitably dishonest and evasive answer.

What kind of politician – no, person; what kind of person groans contemptuously when hearing a question about the need to protect vulnerable children from abuse?

What kind of person drums their feet on the floor – in furious applause – at a dishonest answer that seeks to cover-up child abuse?

What kind of politician can so unashamedly and noisily endorse the evidencedly unlawful suspension of the Chief Officer of the Police Force?

The same kind of politicians who can contentedly ignore an illegal toxic waste dump under St. Helier’s waterfront.

The same politicians who will refuse to investigate the wide-spread planning corruption that most of the population knows to exist.

The same kind of politicians who will idly throw money at a senior management structure of Health & Social Services – even though the same people have already shown themselves willing and capable of concealing child abuse, causing – and then attempting to cover-up corporate manslaughter, and incapable of producing a health & social care strategy in spite of having had over seven years to do it.

The same politicians who enthusiastically embraced their own ignorance – and refused to examine the realities of taxation policy – and who consequently have brought the looming economic meltdown upon their constituents.

Be under no illusions – the child abuse cover-ups are supported and enabled by exactly the same system – the same political ‘culture’ – the same inadequate individuals – the same broken, rotten system – that is responsible for the looming economic hardships about to be endured by the community.

These are the same people – the same oligarchy – who are desperate to ‘draw a line’ under the child abuse investigations; these people who have so grossly failed the community – are desperate for the subject to just ‘go away’ – and be forgotten – along with the rest of their mistakes.

But the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster cannot be set aside – until Jersey’s authorities have faced the full truth. Not only are there still a significant number of individual abuse suspects who should be prosecuted – not least the Chief Officer of Jersey’s Education Department, Mario Lundy – there is also the hitherto untouched subject of all of the criminal concealment of child abuse.

All of those perversions of the course of justice.

In the face of many decades of unlawful concealment of child abuse – how many individuals have even been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice?

None.

There are dozens – upon dozens – of people out there, who have betrayed the fundamental public trust placed in them – by unlawfully concealing the abuse of children – instead of protecting them.

And for as long as none of those who have criminally concealed child abuse are brought to book, Jersey’s child “protection” systems will remain unaccountable and, actually dangerous to vulnerable children.

As Rico wrote on his blog, when speaking of the “foot-stamping lackeys” that make up most of the States assembly – “These States members are a Danger to Children in Care, the reason for saying this is simple. Who now will be prepared to blow the whistle in Jersey if they see malpractice towards Children? Do these States members not recognise the magnitude of what they are doing?”

Indeed. And as the average States member has so little concern for the safety of vulnerable children – we can’t be surprised that they’ve failed catastrophically at everything – including the island’s economy.

A broken system of governance – is a broken system of governance.

If it won’t protect vulnerable children – then it won’t do anything responsibly.

Stuart.

PROTECTION?

I KNOW THE SHATTERED LIVES

It has been a long, long time since I put up a new blog posting.

I was trying to think why that was so, as I hadn’t made a conscious decision to stop writing the blog?

I suppose the answer is – it’s very difficult being an innovator.

During the last four years I have become the first public figure in Jersey political history to:

(a) Recognise and speak out against decades of concealed child abuse.

(b) Attempt to tackle the out-of-control and ethically bankrupt senior civil servants.

(c) Begin writing hi-profile investigative journalism.

(d) Get unlawfully arrested and imprisoned in a ten-strong police raid, and have the home searched from top to bottom – without a search-warrant.

(e) Become Jersey’s first hi-profile anti-corruption campaigner.

(f) Become Jersey’s first political prisoner since the Nazi’s left.

All-in-all – a pretty demanding work-load.

So – I haven’t been idle – and rest assured, I’ll resume writing the blog more regularly soon.

Let’s face it – it isn’t as though there is any shortage of material.

But the bulk of this blog-posting is not new.

What I re-produce below is a posting I wrote and published on the 1st October 2008.

It is largely self-explanatory.

Readers who are comparatively new to this blog may find it shocking.

I’m prompted to re-produce it by two occurrences.

Firstly, local readers may have been following the trial in the island’s Royal Court of two individuals – former States of Jersey employees – accused of child abuse when working at Haute De La Garenne .

During the trial, several of the prosecution witnesses have named Mario Lundy – the present Chief Executive of Jersey’s Education Department – as a violent child abuser.

In response to comments under the previous posting, I wrote this:

“I’d like to thank Web Guru for posting the link to my entry on Tom McKeon and Mario Lundy.

I just had a quick look at the beginning of it – and, you know – it reinvigorates me and gives me strength to be reminded of all that we’ve exposed before.

And so topical are the issues – I think I may well re-post that entry – as a means of revisiting – especially for new readers – just what we’ve been fighting for – and against – these last few years.”

I did, indeed, re-read the full posting – and the sense of déjà vu was ghost-like.

I remember how much abuse and oppression I suffered – and am still suffering – for writing what I did on the 1st October 2008 – and I think of what has come to pass since.

What the witnesses have said concerning Mario Lundy, in the current trial.

What Graham Power, Queens Police Medal, wrote in his affidavit, concerning him – and the determination of Bill Ogley, Chief Executive to the States of Jersey – to protect Lundy.

At paragraph 19 of his affidavit (fully published on this blog and available to read in the archive at 11th February 2010) Mr. Power wrote this:

“19. The third example I have chosen relates to a Strategic Planning Workshop held at the St Pauls Centre on Friday 24th October 2008. The Workshop was attended by a number of senior public servants including myself and the Chief Executive. At the commencement of the workshop the Chief Executive asked for silence and said that he had an announcement to make. He named a senior civil servant who was present. The person named is a suspect in the abuse investigation but has not been suspended. The Chief Executive said that the suspect had his total support and that “if anyone wants to get…….(the suspect)…….they would have to get me first”. This announcement was applauded by some but not all of the persons present. I took it as a further indication of the “in crowd” closing ranks against the “threat” of the abuse enquiry. The Chief Executive later played a significant role in my suspension.”

 The Chief Executive referred to being Bill Ogley – and the suspect being Mario Lundy.

The second occurrence that causes me to re-produce the blog-posting below was an interview with Jersey’s Data Protection Commissioner – Emma Martins – carried in the Jersey Evening Post last Saturday.

I was pleased to read the interview – as so riddled with sophistry, omissions and utter dishonesty is it – it affords an opportunity to provide for readers a detailed exposition as to just how their freedoms and their safety have been assaulted by the abusive misuse of Jersey’s data protection law.

In the near future I will write a detailed de-construction of the interview with Martins. And in stark contrast with the Jersey oligarchy propaganda she and the JEP peddled – what I write will be evidence-based.

I promise – readers will find it jaw-dropping.

Until then, and for the time being, consider this: the interview with Emma Martins spoke of the ‘heavy responsibility’ she had had to bear over the last 18 months on behalf of those I have named and accused of such things as corruption and child abuse.

One of those individuals – the poor, weak, defenceless soul – who Emma Martins so proudly defends – is Mario Lundy.

Mario Lundy – being paid £180,000 a year – plus gold-plated pension – all from your hard-earned taxes.

Think of the poor, defenceless Mario Lundy – being so heroically protected from me, by Emma Martins – as you read the blog-posting below – and hear the screams of his child victims echoing down the years.

Stuart Syvret,

24th November 2010

THE FOLLOWING POSTING WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON WEDNESDAY, 1 October 2008

TOM MCKEON AND MARIO LUNDY:

THE PINBALL WIZARD – AND HIS ACCOMPLICE:

AND WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER VOTE FOR MIKE VIBERT:

A WINTER’S TALE.

A Cautionary Tale.

And a Deeply Troubling Question.

Before I get into this post, I have to say I am addressing issues that some readers will find personally upsetting.

It is a long post – but, I feel, its length is merited given the importance of the subject.

I have written at such length, partly in the hope that many of those victims and witnesses who are out there – but who have so far chosen not to contact the police – will reconsider. Others have taken their courage in their hands – but they need the support of those who shared or witnessed their experiences.

These are the contact details:

States of Jersey Police: Historical Child Abuse Investigation.

Tel: 0800 735 7777.

NSPCC – UK-based dedicated helpline:

From within UK: 0800 169 1173.

From outside UK: +44 (0) 2078 257 489.

Should you wish to contact me, these are the details:

E-mail: st.syvret@gmail.com

In a recent post I ran a Readers’ Quiz in which the question was ‘guess the identity of “The Pinball Wizard”?’

Sure enough – readers rapidly came up with the goods and correctly identified “The Pinball Wizard” as being recently retired Chief Executive officer of Jersey’s Education department – Tom McKeon.

So why did McKeon earn this nickname amongst a very substantial cohort of people who were in child custody during the 1980’s?

Well – in the early 1980’s McKeon was the Head of the then child secure unit, known as Les Chennes; this place having gradually taken over child imprisonment responsibilities from the infamous Haute de la Garenne, which closed in 1986.

While McKeon was the Head of the “school” – as it was euphemistically known – his Deputy Head was Mario Lundy.

McKeon, miraculously, worked his way up the Education hierarchy to become its Chief Officer – a position from which he retired only last Christmas. And – wouldn’t you know it – his side-kick, Lundy, followed the same career arc – and replaced McKeon as the Chief Officer of Education at the beginning of this year.

Now before going on – if you’re a Jersey tax-payer – bear in mind the following facts:

Both of these characters will have been – and still is in Lundy’s case – on a salary of circa £200,000 per annum – plus vast, two-thirds, final salary pension.

Just absorb the thought of those astronomical funds coming out of your pockets in tax – whilst you read the rest of this post.

Tom McKeon and Mario Lundy were both in the habit of routinely committing savage, violent assaults on the male children in their care.

And so ‘normalised’ were both men to this criminal conduct they thought nothing of blithely carrying out such assaults on an open basis – in front of other witnesses – children and adults.

And we are not talking about the occasional slap on the wrist or tweaked ear.

McKeon was known as “The Pinball Wizard” because such was his calculated propensity for violent child abuse – he even had the furniture in his office at Les Chennes arranged in such a way as to afford a nice, clear run-up to the walls of the room.

He was then able to grab children by the arm, take a run-up – and swing them –wrestling-fashion – so that the child would smash savagely against the walls.

Bouncing children off the walls and furniture in this way gave rise to the nick-name “The Pinball Wizard”.

So bad were some of these assaults, the sounds of the impacts and the screams of the children would be heard in other parts of the building.

But the assaults on children were not confined only to the office. Punching, pushing and slapping children was regarded as perfectly normal, acceptable conduct.

For example – on one occasion a female member of staff, wrongly, as it transpired, thought that a £5 note had been taken from her handbag. She went to McKeon and complained.

This is what happened.

McKeon stormed into the classroom where a number of children were having a lesson. These children were sat on high stools – of the kind you might find in a school science lab.

Amongst these children there happened to be a particular, troubled child – who was articulate and argumentative – and therefore particularly hated by McKeon & Lundy.

McKeon stormed up to this child – and punched him full in the face with a haymaker of a right-hook. The child in question was knocked flying backwards by the force of the punch, off the stool where he had been sitting.

As he lay, dazed, on the ground, McKeon then – to use the words of the victim himself – “he put a foot on my chest and kind of stood on me to keep me on the floor – and he was, like, screaming – I mean really screaming, you could see the purple veins bulging in his neck – “this is what we do to scum like you!””

This kind of behaviour from McKeon – recently retired Chief Officer of Education – was routine.

Just as it was for Mario Lundy – the present Chief Officer of Education.

Lundy committed violent assaults of a similar nature to those described above. He would be in the habit of punching children, slamming them against walls and doors, slapping them, grabbing them by the hair and generally treating them in an abusive manner.

For example, when Lundy was accompanying some children to the old swimming pool at Fort Regent, a child misbehaved – and was violently slapped around the head and then thrown to the floor by Lundy – with sufficient violence to break the child’s arm.

The child was taken to Accident and Emergency – where staff were told the injury “had been caused by an accident during sports at school.”

As a further illustration of just how ‘normalised’ violence against children was to Lundy, consider this.

A grown man – who is a survivor of Haute de la Garrene – explained this incident to me. This man’s son was a pupil at Granville School – by which time Lundy had become the Head Master of that institution. The man’s son had misbehaved in some way, so the man and his son had to go and see Lundy in his office to speak about the son’s behaviour.

Lundy – in the open presence of this child’s father – threatened to punch the child in the face. He made this threat of direct violence against this child in front of his father.

In addition to the routine, violent conduct of McKeon and Lundy themselves – both men tolerated – indeed, actively supported – similar conduct on the part of other members of staff.

For example, one Derek Carter, who worked at Les Chennes, was in the habit of using a tray to beat children over the head with. The same man was known to be commonly drunk during daytime working hours – yet McKeon & Lundy permitted him to drive the minibus in this state – it, apparently, being of no concern to them that this criminal conduct could lead to a crash in which many children might be killed and injured.

Tom McKeon and Mario Lundy are – for the type of violence described above – both suspects within the core-group of abusers being investigated by the States of Jersey Police.

And there are further examples of reprehensible behaviour on the part of McKeon – which I will return to later.

Much of the information described above, which has been made known to the Police, was uncovered by me during 2007 – in which period McKeon was still the Chief Officer of Education, and Lundy his deputy.

Let us now turn our consideration upon the conduct of present Education Minister – Senator Mike Vibert.

So, events are, by this stage in the latter half of 2007, in the political sphere. During September of that year, I was dismissed as Health & Social Services Minister on the supposed grounds that by “publicly criticising Jersey’s child “protection” apparatus, I was “undermining staff moral””.

I had made the first ever public utterance to the effect that things had gone very badly wrong in Jersey’s child “protection” system when I gave an honest answer to a question I was asked in the island’s parliament in July. I concluded my answer by saying words to the effect, “if I’m being asked do I have any confidence in Jersey’s child protection systems, honestly, I have to say no; and I’m going to commission an independent enquiry.”

I had spent much of the first half of 2007 conducting my own enquiries as Minister, so by the time that question was asked of me – I had accumulated through my own efforts, knowledge of some serious issues.

Though I didn’t know it at the time – my answer had caused wide-spread panic and fear amongst the ranks of Jersey’s senior civil service. People like Lundy & McKeon – and the Directorate Manager of Social Services, Marnie Baudains – will have known perfectly well the kind of issues I was uncovering – so immediately set about engineering my dismissal in a terrified effort to maintain the culture of concealment.

They thought – “get rid of Syvret – there will be a bit of a political fuss, but that won’t be our problem – and once he is out of the way, and the dust has settled, everything can go back to business as usual.”

A key fact which must be born in mind is that, at this stage – none of us – not me, not the civil servants, not the other Ministers – were aware of the covert Police investigation. Back in the summer of 2007, it still appeared to the civil servants that if they could remove me from Office – the cover-ups could continue.

To this end they lobbied senior civil service colleagues – not least the States Chief Executive, Bill Ogley – to make it plain to the other Ministers that I was “upsetting staff”. In addition to this, Baudians also wrote a three-page letter – and got the then Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee to sign it – which demanded my sacking because I was – supposedly – “undermining staff moral” – and “placing children at greater risk by publicly criticising the service.”

It should be noted that every single respectable child protection agency the length of the nation, rightly, takes the opposite view – which is that it’s always preferable that anyone aware of breakdowns in child protection systems should speak out.

“Secrets” are the friends of abusers – openness and transparency are the friends of vulnerable children.

That the Directorate Manager of Social Services – THE civil servant with key responsibility for child protection – could so brazenly write such lies speaks volumes about just how the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster was able to occur – and was able to be covered-up for all those decades.

Amongst the issues I was exposing – thanks to the brave efforts of Simon Bellwood – was the institutional abuse of children at Greenfields, by which children would be subjected to weeks and months of punitive and coercive solitary confinement. This conduct against children is – unambiguously – criminal.

A clear breach of the Children (Jersey) Law 1969 and the Children (Jersey) Law 2002.

Thus the efforts of people like Baudians and others to conceal the truth of this illegal practice was a straightforward attempted perversion of the course of justice.

She is amongst those I have given formal statements against – to the States of Jersey Police Force.

Incidentally – she too is costing Jersey taxpayers a substantial sum in salary – around £120,000 per annum – plus pension.

Now we come to Mike Vibert – and why no decent person should ever vote for him again.

As Health & Social Services Minister, I was one third of the “Corporate Parent” – the States entity which has responsibility for all matters concerning children. The Other two thirds were the Home Affairs Minister, Wendy Kinnard – and the Education Minister, Mike Vibert.

One might imagine that any politician with some kind of responsibility for child protection – as Senators Kinnard and Vibert had – would be implacable in their determination to investigate and expose any system-failures in child protection?

That if a colleague raised serious concerns – they’d support that colleague in getting to the truth?

But – this is Jersey. Whilst all of the Council of Ministers needed no second invitation to do me down politically – two Ministers in particular were rabid and vociferous in their demands that I should be sacked. Kinnard quickly realised the error of her ways and found excuses to be “conflicted”. So who were the two Ministers who were desperate that the civil service should win their battle to eliminate a democratically elected Minister who was exposing their malfeasances?

Mike Vibert and Philip Ozouf.

Ozouf’s reasons were purely Political. As a rabid, devil-take-the-hindmost Thatcherite, hard Right-winger – he applied no greater consideration to the subject than as a means of eliminating me. He certainly deserves to not be re-elected for putting partisan Political opportunism over and above something so fundamental as child protection.

Looking back over events, you may well ask, ‘Philip Ozouf? I didn’t think he had played any prominent role in events.’ And you could be forgiven for having that perception.

For Philip is the arch-manipulator; the person who likes to be “the power behind the throne” – a Machiavellian schemer who strives to be meticulously careful in keeping his own head below the parapet – whilst driving forward and manipulating others to do his dirty work. So he made sure his name was not publicly associated with the controversy – just as he did in an earlier episode, when he manipulated others into a state of near-crises – because I had written a satirical open-letter.

It is, perhaps, also worth noting that Philip Ozouf is the campaign organiser for the Jersey Establishment Party. He is to the Jersey establishment what Peter Mandelson was to New Labour back in 1997. He spins, and co-ordinates which Establishment candidates will be standing in which district. For example, Alan MacLean was one of his great successes three years ago. You have to hand it to him – it must take some doing to get a predominantly poor, working-class district to elect a multi-millionaire property speculator like MacLean.

But as I said – Ozouf’s role in this matter was purely “Political”; it was simple opportunism on his part.

But what of Mike Vibert – the Senator presently seeking re-election – and current Education Minister? The man with all that responsibility for the island’s children?

Vibert is, essentially, thick. It’s not for nothing that he is known as Mike – ‘12 careers and all of them failures’ – Vibert. Admittedly, there is some poetic licence in the figure 12 – but the essential point remains.

But in this matter, his intrinsic stupidity was also heavily coloured by the fact that he is a former teacher himself – so would instinctively be on the side of the staff – as opposed to being on the side of the children.

He was desperate to keep a lid on things; to avoid any controversy – and, like most other politicians, not make an enemy of the senior civil service. The smooth and untroubled career of Mike Vibert was his overriding consideration.

But as the Minster for Education, no less – and as one third of the “Corporate Parent” – his instinctive desire to place his own and his civil servants’ interests over and above those of vulnerable children is simply beyond forgivable.

Who could forget his high-profile spin and, frankly, lies – in attempting to pretend there was nothing wrong with the so-called “Grand Prix” system of coercive and punitive long-term solitary confinement as used against already vulnerable children?

Throughout this episode Vibert has exhibited a rabid determination to carry on conning the public into thinking that nothing has gone wrong. Be it the solitary confinement of children, senior civil servants allowing staff to “resign” when they should have been sacked and prosecuted for child protection offences, the transportation of children in the same prison van as adult prisoners – or the investigation of the criminal conduct of his senior civil servants – at every stage he has sought to cover-up the truth.

Frankly, I find it difficult to comprehend such behaviour from any politician with any kind of concern for children. As one third of the Corporate Parent – and as the Minster with responsibility for Social Services – it would have been the easiest thing in the world for me to have ignored the problems, disregarded the whistle-blowers and survivors, maintain the culture of concealment – and to have given a dishonest answer to that fateful question I was asked in the States – back in July 2007.

But I didn’t. Instead I did what I believed to be right and honest and in the best interests of children. I told the truth, and in so doing I became the first States member ever to identify the disastrous, decades-long failure of the island’s child protection apparatus.

But rather than join with me and support me, people like Vibert preferred to be on the side of the cover-up merchants; those immensely expensive senior civil servants that your hard-earned money goes to.

Until this episode began, I’d had no particularly major rows with Vibert and I had no dramatic difference with him over political policy. So what I say is not based upon a history of animosity – it is simply my honest opinion.

Mike Vibert has – sadly – shown himself to be utterly unfit and unreliable to hold any public Office.

Should he still be a States member at the conclusion of these elections – it will serve as proof of that wise old saying, ‘people get the government they deserve’.

And it is not as though the revelations of the Police investigation – and all that has passed since 2007 – has caused the slightest modification of his behaviour.

On the contrary – as I will explain.

I stated earlier that McKeon and Lundy are both key suspects in the historic child abuse investigation – this for the appalling violence they inflicted on children.

The Police regard the allegations as well-evidenced and credible – and to that end, recently issued a Disclosure Notice to Lundy’s employers – the States – that he is under serious investigation for violent child abuse.

On the 22nd September, I drew this fact to the attention of Bill Ogley – the ultimate head of the civil service – and to Senator Mike Vibert – the Minister for Education.

Not only have both men refused to acknowledge the facts – both have refused to even suspend Lundy from his post, pending the outcome of the investigations.

Ask yourself this question:

What kind of Education Minister keeps in post – will not even suspend – a Chief Officer of the Education department – who is under investigation for child abuse?

I trust islanders will know the answer to that question – and come to their own judgments.

Setting aside the child abuse controversy – there are, as I said earlier, further examples of unethical behaviour on the part of the recently retired Chief Officer of Education, Tom McKeon.

I would not normally refer to such a subject; my views are essentially liberal, and I consider that which takes place in people’s private lives to be a matter for them. It is for this reason that I do not publish on this site the various ‘personal’ issues of other public figures which are made known to me.

However, as what I’m about to explain involves the senior civil service in various ways, it is a matter of inescapable public importance. As well as being a further illustration of “The Jersey Way” at work.

Those who have followed this saga closely will be familiar with the case of Simon Bellwood, the courageous whistle-blower. Around late 2006, early 2007 – he was oppressed by “the system”, and was unjustly driven out of his job by the established senior civil service.

A key figure in this episode was one Madeline Davies – a senior HR civil servant in the Education department.

Whilst – by some margin – the role she played in oppressing Simon Bellwood was the worst, there are many examples of her utter ineptitude and incompetence in the job for which Jersey tax-payers employ her.

So how did she secure this post – when – as is widely known amongst the decent middle ranks of the civil service – there were far superior candidates available?

It was a mystifying appointment – given that she was manifestly unqualified for the job – and even had no prior experience in HR.

Even more fascinatingly – in direct contravention of States policies – the post was not advertised throughout the civil service – and even more extraordinarily – no interviews were held.

So why did McKeon go to such extraordinary and highly irregular lengths to secure this post for Ms. Davies, a decision which mystified other staff?

[I have edited this post at this point following a request which I consider to be legitimate. However, the key point concerning the ethical bankruptcy of McKeon remains unchanged.]

McKeon was having a long-standing affair with an assistant director, Elizabeth Middleton.

And McKeon was using tax-payer provided resources to enable him and Middleton to engauge in what were ficticious “work” activities – which were merely a smoke-screen for McKeon’s and Middleton’s clandestine affair.

It is one thing for relationships to break-down and people find other partners – but quite another matter when one engauges in such utterly reprehensible behaviour as using work-time – and public money – to enable the deception. [End of edit.]

Utterly unforgivable.

Madeline Davies – being a close friend of Ms. Middleton – knew everything about the secret affair – hence her securing the lucrative – tax-payer funded job – for which she is manifestly unqualified, and in which she is plainly incompetent.

Wheels within wheels. “The Jersey Way”.

It is this kind of ethically bankrupt chicanery – senior civil servants working the system to their own ends, rather than honestly serving the public – which underpins the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster – and a significant number of other failings of public administration in this island.

An incompetent HR manger – only in post because her close friend is having an affair with the Chief Officer – a man with a history of violent child abuse; an HR manager who then goes on to participate in the unlawful dismissal and oppression of Simon Bellwood – who was simply trying to do the right thing for vulnerable kids.

Is it any wonder we in Jersey have this disaster on our hands?

But – as I said at the head of this post, there is a deeply – deeply – troubling question, which all decent people must reflect upon.

I have described how vulnerable children in care – frequently already the victims of inadequate homes, drunken parents, domestic neglect or abuse – would be further violently abused and treated like filth by people like McKeon and Lundy.

When you take children from already troubled circumstances – and then subject them to yet more – and frequently worse – abuse, the result is most unlikely to be positive.

On the contrary – most of the children who suffer such experiences will become even more damaged and dysfunctional.

Many of the children who had the great misfortune to fall into Jersey’s soi disant child “protection” system are not here to tell their stories – because they are dead.

Usually through suicide – but also drug overdoses and alcoholism.

So many children – in the “care” of the States – who needed protection and nurturing – yet who were betrayed and further harmed by Jersey’s very expensive and self-serving civil service.

Of those who survive, some – despite the States of Jersey – have managed to make some kind of life for themselves – but, alas, many others are the wreckage of society. In many cases languishing in prison.

I am aware of two men – now in jail – with, undeniably, a lot of very ‘bad-form’ behind them – theft, drugs, serious violence – and in one case, a killing.

This is the profoundly troubling question I referred to.

One of these two men was the child punched in the head by Tom McKeon and knocked to the floor.

The other – who is serving life for murder – was subjected to the same kind of treatment.

Whilst many will view these two men as simply ‘villains’ – who deserve the condemnation of society – let us remember – these two troubled, violent men were children once.

Children; 13 year-olds – from already troubled backgrounds – who needed love and support – not savage assaults at the hands of civil servants.

Of course – we cannot say for sure – but these two men – and many others like them – might have descended into a life of crime – quite regardless of how they were treated as children.

But by the same token – had they received some care and nurturing – they might not now be largely permanent inmates of the custodial system – and might not have left such a trail of victims and harm behind them.

In fact, I would hope no decent person could reasonably expect children to be treated in such ways – and to emerge from the experience as well-adjusted human beings.

In this post I have explained in detail just how poisonous, corrupt and toxic public administration is in Jersey.

So I repeat the request I made at the beginning of this post – if you are a survivor, a victim – or a witness – to any of these atrocities against children – please contact the Police, the NSPCC – or even me, in strict confidence if you wish.

I know – for a fact – there are people out there who will recognise absolutely what I have described in this post – but who now have settled lives, very successful lives in some cases – and just don’t want to revisit the issues and get involved.

I appeal to you – please – speak to the Police. Now is the time for everyone to take a stand – and contribute to the rooting-out of such barbarism.

And to those of you who have no direct personal experiences of such things – remember – you are still involved. It is your taxes that are flooding into the bank-accounts of people like McKeon, Lundy and Marnie Baudians.

Now is the time – finally – to repair public administration in Jersey.

Please – speak out.

Stuart.

Posted by Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret at 23:17