Wednesday 13 June 2012

The Singing Canary

So now we have it, after almost two weeks of promises the Vote of Censure relating to Senator Philip Ozouf has now been lodged in Senator Ferguson’s name. The proposition and supporting report are well drafted but the outcome will depend on the support each Senator is able to rally because those defending Senator Ozouf’s actions will find any number of red herrings to deflect from the fact that Senator Ozouf has lived a charmed life. The Senator by doling out money to his fellow Ministers on “Worthy” causes is doing his best to win friends and influence people. However I thought he was in trouble because of his actions whilst carrying out the difficult job of raising taxes and implementing cost savings.

Right from the outset of Scrutiny the Senator has cocked a snoop at anyone who has disagreed with him. Deputy Geoff Southern to his credit was more than a match for Senator Ozouf but even when the truth was the elephant in the room Senator Ozouf and his supporters were oblivious and untouchable. This is evident because Geoff lodged a similar proposition not that long ago which was heavily defeated.

There is now another attempt to enable the Senator to account for his actions, something which should not only have been done by the current Chief Minister but also by the two previous ones. Senator Gorst has failed miserably and to suggest that the problems were caused by pressure and stress was an insult to those who have suffered from Senator Ozouf’s aggressive style over substance approach. Unfortunately whilst his commitment and enthusiasm cannot be denied he is so wrapped up in his own importance to understand that his behaviour is akin to bullying and cannot be allowed to continue.

Perversely he is only being asked to account for his handling of the Lime Grove transaction. Whilst I don’t defend the manner in which it is alleged that he handled the transaction, I do believe that the decision not to occupy Lime Grove was the right one even if arrived at for the wrong reason. In fact I am not enamoured with the prospect of building any Police Station near tunnels and roundabouts and am disappointed that an alternative site is still being pursued at that location.

No doubt when the Censure proposition is debated Members will stray into other areas including the former Chief Executive’s claim that he left because of the difficulties he encountered in his working relationship with Senator Ozouf. That claim is stretching things a bit too far because I believe that the Chief Executive’s position was untenable following the Napier findings. The publication of the Napier Report was delayed because consideration was being given to disciplinary action being taken against one of the people identified in the Report, by the process of elimination that person could only have been the former Chief Executive.

His leaving was more than co-incidental. It would not have been in the Council of Ministers’ interest to have taken disciplinary action against him because no doubt he would have become a “Singing Canary” which would have exposed the failings of many Ministers. It will be interesting to see how much dirty washing will be displayed during the forthcoming Censure debate.

The “Singing Canary” scenario was the reason why outrageous steps were taken to ensure that the former Police Chief, Graham Power was never given the opportunity of defending the allegations trumped up against him by the Wiltshire Police following their costly and mishandled investigation.

During yesterday’s Oral Question time questions were again being asked about John Day, the Hospital’s former Consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology who was wrongfully prevented from carrying out his duties for several years, yet no one was ever brought to account. Connetable Phil Rondel was asking Senator Gorst why an agreed statement had not been read during a States Sitting. The question was a follow up to one asked a couple of weeks back and to the great numbers that have been asked since John Day was suspended way back in 2006.  

We had learnt two weeks previously that a large sum of money (£448k) was paid as a settlement to Mr Day in relation to the net losses suffered by him, including in relation to the loss of private income. It also included a contribution to his re-training and legal costs. When pressed about the cost, the Senator stated that the payment was not a package but a settlement, or resolving of an outstanding legal claim from the consultant. In fact the settlement was only a part of the true cost of the suspension which totalled in the region of £3 million.

Again we have the scenario when public money was being used to prevent the truth from being exposed. It would appear that the reason why no disciplinary action was taken against those responsible for keeping John Day away from his duties was because it would have been embarrassing for senior hospital employees and Ministers.

John Day like Graham Power would have loved to have had their “day in court” but that event was denied them. Let us hope that those who have a tale or two to tell are not denied their opportunity when the Committee of Inquiry into the Historic Child Abuse eventually gets under way.


  1. You are a great loss to the integrity of the Jersey Government Bob, how can anyone say Jersey is a well run democracy and honest with the tax payer, when Mr Ogley, and Mr Pollard disappear leaving a mess carrying bags of money.

    The States police have gone strange, still not resolved the lotus crash, how long now ?

    The fact that an investor is ripping Jersey apart, for its lack of regulation and the electoral commission is a complete farce. You were and still are a force for good Bob when you look what is going on in corrupt Jersey.

  2. This is an excellent blog posting Bob, you have hit many nails on the head, and indeed as the previous commenter stated you are a loss in the States.

    Yes, pay 'em off, shut 'em up and all is ok. However the old adage 'the truth will always out' will come up and bite them on the rear end eventually and moreso 'when' the Committee of Inquiry gets the go ahead. How so much of this could all have been avoided had the words truth, transparency and justice been applied to all these cases.

    Words which do not seem to be understood by many in Jersey Government.

  3. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes you are correct, it has been easier to pay people off and sadly it is still going on. However it is not so easy to run away these days and persistence is paying off.

    I note that you, like me have recently seen Mr Williamson re the Committee of Inquiry, let us hope that there will be no more delays and the long promised TOR are published in line with the Verita recommendations. The truth must be revealed.

  4. Bob.

    There ought to be a vote of confidence in the Home Affairs Minister. He has only given us one side of this story and We need BOTH SIDES