Saturday 14 July 2012

Double Standards

The Voice for Children has produced some excellent Blogs on the Graham Power suspension affair. Although a recent Blog refers to Senator Ozouf’s claim that he was the victim of unfair treatment being dished out by his fellow colleagues it is never the less still on the Graham Power theme. This is because Mr Power was also a victim of the same treatment from States Members which included Senator Ozouf.

The Senator’s memory must be short because he has certainly scored an own goal. Voice has claimed that the Senator does not deserve his “day in court” because Graham Power was also denied his. However two wrongs do not make a right and States Members are supposed to honourable and certainly be “Statesmen like” when going about their business. This being so the Senator does have a case.

If the four States Members believed they had the evidence to lodge a Censure proposition then they should have had the courage to debate the matter. They should certainly not have bolted after the first shot had been fired by one of Senator Ozouf’s allies who seemed to have been found from the other side of the world Their case was not weakened either by the Comptroller and Auditor General's decision to resign, possibly fearing that he like Graham Power may be stitched up on some phoney charge. The resignation should have been taken as an example of the alleged fear some Civil Servants have of the Senator.

The decision to withdraw the Proposition was a poor one because it gave Senator Ozouf the opportunity to cry foul and then claim that he should have been allowed his day in court. Also because the proposition had been withdrawn he was entitled to an apology.

Like the Senator’s decision not to buy Lime Grove I find myself in agreement with his demand for an apology. However before I shed too many tears I would like to remind him and the four signatories of the Censure Proposition that not one of them felt honourable enough to ask the former Chief Minister to apologise to Graham Power for the way he had been suspended.

In 2010 after Brian Napier QC had published his much watered down Report, he never the less did have some pretty powerful things to say, particularly about the shortcomings of a small group of senior States Members along with Bill (golden handshake) Ogley and the former but not sadly missed David Warcup who could not wait to jump into Graham Power’s shoes.

In an attempt to get the States to take some positive action to address the points made by Brian Napier, I lodged  P166/2010 To counter my proposals the Chief Minister lodged P166/2010 Comments As one will see, my Proposition was asking States Members to request the Chief Minister to respond to eight of the failings identified by Mr Napier. The seventh part of my proposition was as follows:

(b) to request the Chief Minister to issue a formal apology to the retired Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police in relation to the failure of those involved, as identified in the Napier Report, to deal with the Chief Officer’s suspension in accordance with the procedures set out in the Disciplinary Code;

During the subsequent five hour debate I pointed out that in his report Mr Napier had made it quite clear that those responsible for Mr Power’s suspension had failed to follow set procedures, as such Mr Power was entitled to an apology. Although Mr Power was also entitled to an apology for his unlawful suspension, that was not being asked for. The apology was just for failing to follow set procedures. Unfortunately only sixteen States Members were big enough to accept that an apology was merited. Among the thirty Members who did not share that view were Senator Ozouf and the four Censure seeking Members, Senator Ferguson, Connetable Dan Murphy and Deputies Le Herissier and Le Fondre.

The Minutes recording the votes on each of the 8 parts of my proposition can be found by clicking onto this website.   

Senator Ozouf, unlike Graham Power, John Day and now David Flowers was not bound by any gagging order and was able to enjoy unprecedented media support when calling for justice. I would like to believe that lessons about integrity, justice and double standards will have been learnt and that the Senator along with other States Members will forget the spin and play with a straight bat and treat others in a manner that they would like to be treated, but I shall not be holding my breath.


  1. Bob.

    You're absolutely correct in your analysis. One cannot help making a comparison between Ozouf's call for natural justice and the clear denial of such justice to Graham Power, amongst many others.

    Just to take this comparison a step further, let us be honest in expressing our personal knowledge of these two gentlemen.

    Anyone who worked with, or for, Graham Power will know that he is a tough cookie - no doubt about it. But he was highly intelligent and highly professional as a Police Chief. As an individual he always behaved in an appropriate manner and was always fair and even handed, especially when dealing with difficult issues often under significant pressure. He was neither a bully nor a coward.

    Anyone who has worked with, or for, Philip Ozouf will know that he is also highly intelligent and has the ability to behave in a highly professional manner. His problem, however, is his total belief in his own infallibility. He is always right, especially when he's wrong. He is prone to emotional outbursts and has undeniably bullied a great many people in his time. I hasten to add that he has been able to be the bully solely because of his political power and influence, not because of his physical or intellectual prowess. He is both a bully and a coward.

    I agree with you that, for whatever reason, Ozouf deserves his "day in court" - but, as you say, so do/did many many others. Although I sympathise with the principle of the denial of natural justice to Ozouf, I simply cannot find sympathy for him as an individual.

  2. Thank you,

    A very good analysis. What we have to hope for is that lessons have been learnt and we shall see a much more humble and rounded Senator. Unless he becomes more Statesmen like, he will find that he is unelectable.

  3. You have presented this case very well. I wonder if you would consider commenting on the leak to Rico Sorda, of in camera evidence the States was lied to about the basis for Graham Power's suspensions. It seems even the BBc is treating the leak itself as the bigger story than the cover-up. You were there when Brian Napier claimed to have been provided all the documents and evidence he asked for. What do you think of the official discrepancies shown by this latest disclosure on Rico's blog?

  4. Yes, your are correct about me being present during the “in camera” debate but there was another “in camera” debate when the States debated my proposition P9/2010 a year later when I sought approval for a Committee of Inquiry to review the suspension. As is so often the case the debate was won but the vote was lost. In order to defeat an open COI Terry Le Sueur successfully proposed replacing it with “in house review” which was to be carried out by a Commissioner. That is where Brian Napier QC appeared.

    You may recall that following the debate I was on record for saying that the review would be a cozy in house affair and the Chief Minister could not be trusted. I was subsequently ordered to appear before the PPC.

    In an attempt to give the review credibility I was asked to partake in the Commissioner Selection process. I only agreed after I had received the following assurance from the Chief Minister “I also confirm that I am happy for you to be involved with me in reviewing the ongoing work of the commissioner, the reporting mechanism and the reports themselves, including the Final Report to be presented to the States.”

    I met Mr Napier several times and certainly ensured that he was well briefed but I never saw or discussed at least two of his draft reports nor his final one. When I was given the final draft I saw that part “D” of the TOR had been removed and questioned its omission with John Richardson and Terry Le Sueur but was never allowed to question Mr Napier because once he had submitted his report he refused to be involved any further.

    I always considered Mr Napier to be an honourable and professional man and am convinced that once he had seen how his final report was doctored he no longer wanted to be involved. That is why he never appeared after his report was published. When I lodged my official complaint against John Richardson for removing part “d” without reference to me, Mr Napier was not interviewed and he has consistently refused to discuss his report with me or others on the grounds that he was obligated to the Chief Minister.

    The way in which a small group of people were able to manipulate the suspension process, both before and after is a disgrace but they have only been able to partially get away because so many States Members have chosen to do nothing. I say partially because thanks to the Blogs the truth is emerging. As is often the case the Jersey media takes the soft option of questioning the credibility of the messenger rather than the message that is evident by questioning the leak rather than the lies that have emerged.

    During the first “in camera” debate I am on record for saying there was a nasty smell about the suspension, what is so disturbing is that so much time and money has been spent in attempting to justify it and the smell has got even worse.

  5. I don't think there are any diffulties in finding other examples of double standards and that for some Ministers a don't do as I do, but as I say policy applies.

  6. Bob.
    You must be terribly saddened by what is still going on in the States. Indeed, it seems to be getting even worse now that we have a load of new members who seem to know nothing about anything. Of even more concern, these new members do not want to know anything that might be just a trifle difficult to do something about!
    I am frankly sickened by what is still going on in the name of Jersey.

  7. The public has the choice of electing the Members they want. Jersey is still very conservative with a small "c" and the public becomes uncomfortable when sacred cows are questioned.

    I was elected on an a openess and accountabilty ticket and soon after being elected, a senior States Member whispered in my ear that if I wanted personal advancement I should not ask too many questions.

    You can see why I never became a President or Minister, but I did keep to my principles. Ministers are not always elected on merit but on loyalty. One gets the feeling that there is no shortage of potential candidates for Ministerial posts in the new House.

  8. Mr Hill,

    A few questions:

    What do you think of Rico's new posting of the In Camera Debate Transcript?

    There is a good argument to be made that Mr Napier is an honourable man, as you say, and that he was misled in a "conspiracy" to hide the conspiracy from him.

    Do you think the Chief Minister and cohorts no longer deserve any obligation or deference from Mr Napier?

    I believe Mr Napier could consider his original contractual agreements with the States of Jersey to have been voided by the breach of faith on their part when they deliberately misled him to an inaccurate final conclusion. There is almost always some kind of breach clause in that type of contract, and he has an opportunity now to put right a terrible wrong he was misled into partially defending. There was a sinister conspiracy, and Napier would have to see that is true by reviewing newly available evidence.

  9. I believe that the only time there should be "in camera" debates is when there is a serious Island security matter. As one can see in Rico's posting there was nothing said that would not have been said in open debate. I don't think Andrew Lewis would have said anything different either because there was a belief that Members would not question what was said.

    Thanks to a small number of States Members and responsible reporting in Blogs, questions were asked and asked again so even if not all of the truth has been disclosed the public are better informed.

    I believe that Mr Napier is far too wise to get involved again with Jersey. If there was nothing to hide in his first two reports why was I not allowed to see them, in fact it was only after I had received the Report that was published that I realised that there had been two earlier drafts and that Part "d" had been removed.

    I made repeated requests both in and at of the States Chamber to have sight of the reports but was refused. People with nothing to hide would have made them available, "nuff said."