REPORT TO BE PUBLISHED
AT PRESS-CONFERENCE IN JERSEY
FRIDAY, 14TH NOVEMBER.
Children in Custody In Jersey:
Let us Prepare to Compare & Contrast.
In this post I want to take readers back to those days far & lost in the mists of time. Well, at least it seems like a lifetime ago.
Back to the first half of 2007, before I was sacked as Health & Social Services Minister.
During that period, a few good men and women had explained to me that what I thought was a moderately competent and sometimes ethical senior management structure, was, in fact, a boiling cauldron of lies, incompetence, self-interest, deceit, nepotism and ethical bankruptcy – about as toxic as one of the radioactive acid ponds at the Cap de la Hague nuclear reprocessing plant.
Amongst those few good men who contacted me was Simon Bellwood, the social worker who had been recruited from the UK to manage the child secure unit known as Greenfields. He had immediately recognised that the use of extended periods of coercive and punitive solitary confinement against children was harmful, abusive – not to mention simply illegal.
Naturally enough, Simon had set about changing this regime to something lawful and more constructive. However – this had the decided disadvantage of actually requiring senior managers such as Joe Kennedy, to actually do some work.
So Simon – in a very – very – well-documented conspiracy, was driven out of the work-place, put on “gardening-leave” for months – and eventually sacked.
At this stage, Simon was unknown to me, amongst the 2500 employees of H & SS. I didn’t know him from Adam. But, as I was the Minister, he drew his case – and the practices he had taken a stand against – to my attention.
Even though I have no qualifications in social work, child protection, human rights or the law – within about 20 seconds of beginning to read the so-called “Grand-Prix” document I could see that what it described was a manifestly unlawful, abusive and harmful regime.
So I took up Simon’s case with my senior managers and began to ask questions about the illegality of this solitary confinement regime, and how it had come to pass that Simon had been sacked?
This triggered two events; firstly, a tsunami of outrageous lies from the inter-departmental claque of senior civil servants responsible for the conspiracy to conceal the illegality of the system they had been so incompetently running, and secondly, a determined and ruthless campaign on their part to have me removed from Office as Minister.
It is true that there were other serious child “protection” failures from the 1990’s I was unearthing, which added to their motivation to remove me in an effort to maintain the culture of concealment. But so recent – and so extensively well-documented – was their conspiracy to oppress Bellwood, that naked panic gripped them. They simply had no choice other than to get rid of me as well.
With me not being a part of the establishment, the Jersey oligarchy politicians needed no second invitation to have me removed from the cabinet.
So – with that little bit of history explained, I think we should set about refreshing our memories as to what the Jersey oligarchy have said in the course of the last 18 months in their various attempts to defend the Grand-Prix system – and how they’ve striven mightily to hide the truth – namely that the very recent practices of imprisoning children in solitary confinement for long periods of time were abusive and unlawful.
Now – it just so happens I’ve kept meticulous records of the many and varied assertions made by Jersey oligarchy politicians, the senior civil servants they are terrified of – and the local media.
And I, for one, am very much looking forward to comparing & contrasting the above disgraceful and contemptible stinking effusion of lies, half-truths and gross incompetence with the forthcoming independent report.
I never thought I’d say this – but I’m almost disappointed that Frank Walker is departing from the States – and that Mike Vibert has been sacked by the voting public.
I am in the process of co-authoring a formal report on the recent solitary confinement regimes, which will be laid before the States assembly. This report will be drawing on the independent, professional, expert opinions of a number of individuals and organisations – the Howard League amongst them.
The report – which will be professionally reviewed – will be taking a very close look indeed at all of the documents produced by the Jersey oligarchy which relate to Grand Prix – and the even worse practices which preceded it in the 1990’s.
Assertions by civil servants.
Statements by politicians.
Reports and propositions put before the States assembly.
Biased local media comments.
Assertions made in the media by politicians and certain civil servants.
Reports by civil servants.
Basically, the entire, festering ethically and intellectually bankrupt dung-heap of disgraceful and despicable rubbish is going to be incinerated.
So, it’s such a pity that Mike Vibert & Frank Walker won’t be in the States assembly when my formal report is published.
But speaking of Big Frank – who could forget his disgraceful outburst captured on TV cameras when he was shouting abuse at me – and said “you’re just trying to shaft Jersey internationally”.
What isn’t known is that that was just one, brief example from the tirades of abuse he subjected me to that day. In a state of near-breakdown, he would simply carry on shouting at me – “you’re wrong! You’re wrong! Ha ha ha! You just wrong! We’ll see, when the truth comes out! You’re just wrong ha ha ha – so wrong! We’ll see! Mark my words! You’re wrong”.
The infamous TV clip was captured at lunch time, but what wasn’t captured was an earlier, frankly deranged, tirade as described above, which he subjected me to as we waited in the news room, in the presence of journalists, to pre-record a short piece for BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
But the truth was always a very malleable concept in Frank’s mind. Even as more – and yet more – evidence has emerged over the months that people like me and Bellwood were right about the abusive solitary confinement – and he, his oligarchy colleagues and their civil servants were wrong – he has continued to assert – in the teeth of all accumulating evidence – that he was right; that black is white.
Even in this October’s edition of a local jobs magazine, which carries an interview with Frank, he asserts that, “Jersey will be seen to have acted properly and appropriately in all respects.”
A remarkable assertion – that the Jersey authorities have acted correctly in ‘ALL’ respects.
Yet he makes this assertion – even though his own “independent” expert, Andrew Williamson, has all ready stated in his report that the solitary confinement regimes “were never acceptable.”
So let’s look forward to the publication of the Howard League report.
And then reflect upon why an approach to imprisoning children deemed utterly unacceptable in the UK report of 1990 into the so-called ‘Pindown’ practices – was able to persist – and be enthusiastically supported by Jersey civil servants and States members up until they were forced to change in October 2006?