Can We Rely Upon Them? A Simple Test.
I thought regular readers of this blog might find this e-mail interesting. I have written it to Jersey’s Chief Minster, Senator Frank Walker, his Council of Ministers and his Chief Executive – who has responsibility for the “performance” of the senior civil service of the island.
Whilst the awful truth is obvious to any decent, thinking person – the culture of denial and concealment persists – even to these days – amongst Jersey’s leaders.
So – as an experiment – lets us see if – even at this stage – they can accept the truth.
To quote Bob Dylan: “let us not talk falsely now, for the hour is getting late.”
From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 22 March 2008 18:14
To: Frank Walker; Council of Ministers; Bill Ogley
Subject: Child Protection: The Reckoning.
To Senator Frank Walker, Chief Minister of Jersey, each member of his Council of Ministers, and his Chief Executive, Bill Ogley.
Chief Minister, Jersey Ministers and Chief Executive.
As you may know, I have been writing a blog for some time now.
I hope you have found it interesting.
I must say its readership is beyond any imagining of mine. 13,821 unique site users – and 31,644 hits – so far.
But in addition to the blog – I am to begin uploading a variety of information and reports onto several campaigning websites based in other jurisdictions. So, with luck, the truth will receive an even wider audience.
This approach will, of course, also have the added advantage of placing the dissemination of the truth in the hands of those who will champion it – quite regardless of whatever oppressions you and your child-abuse-concealing judicial cronies may visit upon me.
My purpose in writing to you is to remind you that Senator Walker has noticeably failed to respond to my e-mails of the 7th January and the 18th January.
Whilst both e-mails constituted a detailed account of the various gross incompetences and profound misjudgements manifested by the Jersey Council of Minister throughout the child protection disaster, I thought I would give each of you – another – opportunity to address the key question within both e-mails.
And I do so because that question – and what its answer reveals – is of central importance to the objective of improving child protection in Jersey.
That question is quite simply: “Do you, Senator Walker, and each of the other Ministers, and the Chief Executive still stand by the assertions and arguments you relied upon in seeking my dismissal, as detailed in your proposition P.115/2007?
I have been carefully collating and re-reading all of the archive e-mail correspondence from this episode. The degree of stupidity and absurdity manifested in your various communications to me – and your dismissals of my warnings – would be funny – were it not for the fact that this Council of Ministers chose to engaging in what was simply another horrifying display of the culture of cover-up and concealment.
The very ‘cultural’ attitude and response which has seen over six decades of the most foul abuse go unreported and unpunished.
You know – I know – and you know that I know – as does every impartial observer – that the report and proposition you relied upon in engineering my dismissal was a farrago lies, distortions, half-truths, omissions, irrelevancies and politically opportunistic betrayals of child protection.
It was in a league of it own in terms of Cabinet incompetence, idleness and ethical bankruptcy.
I am, as time permits, going to begin posting the archive e-mail correspondence – with commentaries – either on my blog or other sites.
So I thought I would offer each of you an opportunity to re-appraise your actions in the light of the awful knowledge which must, surely, be graspable by now.
Do not let anyone say I’m unfair. I have given you months to respond to my initial e-mails – and even now I am giving you yet another opportunity to recant.
In order to help you all a little – as your grasp of these issues is clearly so poor – I will give you just two, brief, examples of the unsustainability of your current position. Two fundamental points which constituted the very foundations of your case.
1: The punitive and coercive use of extended periods of solitary confinement against children when held in Les Chennes and Greenfileds was – clearly – illegal and abusive. Contrary to the assertions in your report, this fact was obvious and evidenced – from the moment I first raised the subject. Simon Bellwood was totally correct in having this opinion. Should you require further evidence, simply reflect upon the fact that the management case against Bellwood collapsed at his recent employment tribunal – and the man whose assertions you relied upon in defending the “Grand-Prix” regime is now suspended.
2: In reckless and ignorant abandon – you blindly accepted the self-serving assertions of Marnie Baudians, Directorate Manager of Social Services – in her letter signed by Iris Le Feuvre – to the effect that ‘to publicly speak out against failing systems was to place children at increased risk’. A few moments research would have demonstrated to you the fact that every respectable child protection organisation in the UK takes the directly opposite view – namely, that it is, ultimately, always preferable to speak out against child protection failures. To illustrate just how plain this fact is, even Andrew Williamson – although it was like extracting teeth – finally admitted under questioning that we all have a duty to speak out if we are aware of failures and abuses.
Although you almost certainly will not have grasped this fact yet – the denial of obvious truths, the indecent instinctive reaction to conceal failings, the oppression of those who speak out against incompetence and wrongdoing, the ‘lets-all-stick-together’ culture of invulnerability amongst civil servants – all are fundamental reasons for the decades of abuse against vulnerable children Jersey has permitted in its midst’s and the awful fact that 95% of such abuse has gone unreported and unpunished.
The polity of this community needs to learn that lesson – if we are to root-out such systemic failure and protect children in future.
The decisions and actions of this Jersey Council of Ministers were catastrophically wrong – at every turn.
So let’s see whether – when faced with immutable truths – the Jersey establishment can acknowledge errors and learn lessons.
Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey.