Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Reflection on 2013

During 2013 I published 33 blogs and in common with other Bloggers have seen an increased readership. Whilst a large proportion of my posting have been in relation to the Dean's handling of HG's complaint I have covered other topics. I shall devote this blog looking back on some of them and will also take the opportunity of updating readers.

In January drug dealer Curtis Warren was still very much in the news and so he remained throughout the year as the Authorities were determined to make his life as difficult as possible. I have no time for drug dealers but it appears that every possible step was taken to ensure that Curtis Warren remained behind bars for as long as the Authorities could justifiably do so.

There was an ongoing battle to either get some of his ill gotten gains or to keep him locked up. He was due to be released this month but was ordered to pay back almost £200m or face a further period behind bars. Following the Court's ruling a statement from Jersey's Law Officers' Department read; 

"The Royal Court of Jersey has today ordered that £198m be confiscated from Curtis Warren. It is believed to be one of the largest ever confiscation orders made in the British Isles and Europe.
"The confiscation proceedings are the result of several years of extensive investigation into the criminal career and financial affairs of one of Europe's most notorious organised criminals." 
I did not attend any of the Hearings but from reports I have read it was reported that during the Hearing it was alleged that Warren was laundering £10m to £15m a week from smuggling drugs. It was also revealed that from his cell at Jersey's La Moye prison while awaiting trial between 2007 and 2009, Warren was alleged to have used several illicit mobile phones to contact a network of associates in an attempt to continue his drug trafficking empire. Some 35,000 calls across 41 countries between March 2008 and October 2009 involving Warren's mobile phones were analysed during the investigation.
If the above occurred one wonders who knew about it, why was it permitted, how many people have been arrested and if none, why not? When one also considers the controversy over the way evidence was obtained to convict Warren where no drugs came into police hands nor the drug supplier arrested, it ‘s not surprising that he has lodged another appeal. He might well be asking who guards the guardians or who watches the watchman?
Interestingly one the judges involved with one of the earlier appeal Hearings was certain Dame Heather Steel.
In February I published a blog about a film company called Canbedone Productions who having originally asked for £2m settled for £200k to film in Jersey. The Blog has received a considerable number of visits throughout the year and I am sure that readers will be looking with interest as to whether the promised filming actually gets under way later this month.
I am much saddened every time I pass St Martin’s School’s former playing field which is very much a building site because of the construction of the new school.The new parish Deputy, Steve Luce was a leading light in support of building the school on its field rather than on its existing site. I had hoped Deputy Rob Duhamel would have remembered that he is also Minister for Environment as well as Planning and would have saved the field but it was not to be. It is therefore amusing to read that Steve Luce lodged a proposition claiming that he has no confidence in Deputy Duhamel. It is said that one has no friends in politics.
I posted a Blog reporting on the lot of many of the Island’s immigrants who have little protection in respect of the deposits they are required to leave with land lords. The promised legislation still has not been lodged but I am informed that it should be lodged in the near future.
The States continued to make a pig’s ear of Reform and as long as it remains in Member’s hands, apart from the odd tweaking nothing substantial will be forthcoming. The one regret I have is that I voted in favour of Ministerial Government way back in 2001. I believed that reform in line with Clothier would immediately follow but it certainly has not been the case.
It was my proposition that established the Carswell Review into the role of the unelected Members of States. These include the Bailiff, the Deputy, the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, the Dean and the Lt. Governor. One of the recommendations to come from the Review was that the Bailiff’s dual role should end.
Connetable Crowcroft has lodged a proposition requesting the States to agree that the Bailiff should cease to act as President of the States and the States should elect their own President either from within or from without the ranks of their members.  I have always been relaxed in relation as to who presides at States Sittings but my main concern is that who ever it is, that person should be accountable and there should be a right of appeal against decisions made by that person in relation to the lodging of propositions and questions from States Members.
I devoted three blogs in which the former Bailiff was able to able to act in a partial and conflicted manner and yet not be accountable to anyone.
The debate on the Bailiff is due on 4th February and it seems ironic that a Connetable is lodging a proposition to remove the Bailiff from the States in line with the Clothier recommendation yet the Connetables are totally ignoring Clothier's recommendation to remove them selves from the States.  
In March it will be 3 years since the States agreed to establish a Committee of Inquiry into Jersey’s Historic Child Abuse. I published a couple of Blogs relating to that topic but it this Blog on Jimmy Savile published in 2012 which is still receiving a large number of visits. I am looking forward to the Committee actually getting under-way.
As mentioned above I have devoted a considerable amount of time to the Dean’s handling of HG’s complaint. As is so often the case it is not what was done at the time but what was not done that leads to problems. This could be said in the Dean’s case where sadly his handling of the complaint has caused a tremendous amount of distress not only to him and his wife but to HG which was also life changing.

Much time and expense has been given to investigating the matter and it is already evident that there will be no winners. The two Reports are due to be published some time in the near future but I doubt whether either will really put an end to the affair and will probably pose more questions than answers, but Bloggers will ensure that questions are asked.

Finally may I wish all readers a safe and healthy 2014 and ask that if you are minded to make a New Year's resolution you might consider one I made at the millennium and still keep. When ever possible use the stairs rather than the lift. Its good for your heart and spirit, try it even for a month and see if it makes a difference, I am sure it will.  

20 comments:

  1. A diverse range of subjects Bob and all well researched and professionally handled. I regard your blog and most of the Jersey blogs as compulsive reading that are making the MSM become more redundant as I very rarely read the JEP online anymore because it is full of trolls and nothing more than propaganda for the Bailhache mob. Keep up the good work for 2014 Jersey needs credible news sources and the blogs are all there is.

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    1. Thank you and also for mentioning the other blogs because a number of them are well researched and imparting valuable information that is not always found in the main stream media.

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  2. Dear Bob, if there is a Sir, MBE, OBE to be given in the hearts of people, it would be given to you. Bless you for being you, being determined and mindful that 'one person' can make a huge difference. One who does not follow others, one who leads, and you Sir Bob are a leader! may 2014, bring truth and honesty as you have been. Julie x

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  3. Hi Bob,
    just to wish yourself Anne and all the family a happy new year , and look forward to reading what mischief you get upto in 2014.x


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  4. Could not agree more with the '2nd January 2014 12:36 posting.

    Arise Sir Bob of the People.

    Stirlling work and very motivating. I look forward to your future postings.

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    1. Thanks Mo. Shame about our old school field and I am surprised how much of the field is being taken up.

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  5. Thank you for all of the good work you did last year Bob.

    Given how much there was to say on all of the subjects you've tackled, it isn't surprising at all that there wasn't much time to talk about Jersey's deteriorating economic situation.

    According to the annual social survey published at the end of last year, only 25% of the public have faith in the States. 3,200 islanders are out of work (the highest it's ever been) and 1/6 workers are feeling under-employed. 76% of people in States, Parish or housing trust accommodation are struggling to make ends meet.

    And still, the States is incapable of reforming itself!

    My group 'Reform Jersey' is hoping to campaign on these issues over the next year, especially in the run up to the general election in October.

    We need politicians with the right set of values to tackle these issues in a way that is in-line with what we as an island community want, as well as having the integrity to stand up for the issues you and others have blogged about that most of our States Members lack the courage to speak out on.

    A cheap plug, but if any of your readers are interested in getting on board with Reform Jersey, the easiest way to find us is on Facebook -

    www.facebook.com/ReformJersey


    All the best for you and your family in the new year. Keep up the good work.

    Sam

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    1. Thanks Sam and best wishes for 2014 and with the elections. Not sure if the Island really wants reform but the outcome of the debate on the Bailiff on 4th will give a clue. If it is decided that the Bailiff is to go it may lead to the Connetables going too, but I am not holding my breath.

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  6. Happy New Year to you and your family thanks for all your excellent work

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  7. All the best to you and yours for 2014 and beyond.

    I look forward to every new post on your blog, whether it is documenting a wrong or venturing a considered opinion.

    Your documenting and commentary on HG's detention was one heartrending cry of pain and made me so angry.

    Please stay with it. I know you not only write but act behind the scenes and give a huge amount of yourself to what you believe in.

    Stay well.

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  8. Thanks Polo for your support.

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  9. What do you think about the Pitmans being forced out of the States?

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    1. I think it is a sad day for them personally and also for the States. Jersey does not have a Party system so the Government does not have any official Opposition therefore it is left to individuals to question and challenge the Government. Trevor and Shona were two such members who prepared to undertake that task and were effective..

      It is most unfortunate that on top of finding them selves in debt they also lose their home and job. I thought the cartoon about them was offensive but some times that is the price one has to pay when one becomes a politician.

      It is very much a pyrrhic victory and no doubt there will be some smug faces but there are no real winners.

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    1. Another interesting Blog from Rico and well worth a read. The Council of Ministers at their best or should it be their worst?

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  11. Hi Bob.

    Happy New Year.

    Just but a Post up about the new Child Abuse Scandal. You and your readers can listen HERE

    TJW.

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    1. An interesting number of interviews. One question I wish had been asked of Senator Le Marquand was why has it taken over 6 months for the information to enter the public domain. If it is known that there is a group of men attempting to groom young girls, parents of young girls should be made aware so they can advise their daughters.

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