Friday 2 January 2015

2014=== A Reflection

As another year passes it is customary to review it. When looking back at the blogs published last year I note that I covered a variety of subjects and in no particular order I will comment on some of them.

The Plemont debate saw how a small number of States Members were able to “cook the books” to provide a get out of jail card for their colleagues who were then able vote in support of restoring the headland on the grounds that it was not at the taxpayer’s expense. The money came from the Criminal Offenders Confiscation Fund which is intended to be spent preventing, suppressing or otherwise dealing with criminal conduct and/or the consequences of crime. There is no way that money from that fund should have been used to purchase Plemont but a device was found and thus Plemont was “saved.”

What is ironic is some money in the near £8 million Confiscation Fund comes from criminals found in possession of cannabis and other illegal substances. Last month the States debated whether those suffering chronic illness should be permitted to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately none of those Members who wanted to spend money from the Fund on Plemont gave any thought of taking money from the Fund to fund cannabis based but legal “Sativex Spray” to ease the pain of those Islanders suffering from debilitating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.

In the lead up to the debate some Islanders admitted that they had to resort to breaking the law to obtain cannabis for medicinal purposes. If the Fund is intended to prevent crime would it not have made sense to use some of it to provide comfort for the suffering rather than putting them at risk by illegally purchasing cannabis for medicinal purposes or simpler still funding the cannabis based “Sativex Spray which is licensed but only available to those able to afford it. 

One positive move was the arrival of the Residential Tenancy Deposit Scheme which had been in the pipe line for many years. Regretfully there will always be bad tenants and land lords and there will be teething problems but the Scheme should prevent the abuse that has been all too prevalent for far too long.

One of my highest readerships was my blog on the bankruptcy of Trevor and Shona Pitman and how they were made bankrupt whereas Ian Christmas the Island’s former Magistrate was not. The Pitman’s pursuit of justice ended in bankruptcy and loss of their livelihood. Ian Christmas and his cohorts were involved in criminal activity which led to some Islanders losing their savings which will never be recovered. They could have received some compensation had the culprits been stripped of all their assets as was the case with the Pitman’s; however it was not to be. Who says that crime does not pay?

I published a blog about Connetable Crowcroft’s proposition which requested Members to agree that with the impending retirement of the Bailiff, the States should honour the Clothier recommendation that the Bailiff’s dual role of Chief Judge and President of the States should cease. The proposition was scuppered by the former Bailiff and brother of the next Bailiff, Senator Bailhache who felt the matter should be addressed via a referendum. The issue will not go away and we could be in for an interesting year where the Deputy Bailiff and Attorney General are both moving up a notch and a new Solicitor General and Attorney General taking up Office.

The role of those 4 unelected Members of the States conveniently leads me to the other unelected Member that being Jersey’s Dean who was not slow in coming forward when speaking in support of the Plemont proposition but was conveniently out of the Chamber during the cannabis debate. If it is deemed necessary for the Dean to be an unelected States Member is it asking too much of him to speak for the sick and needy.

It would appear that it’s not only the Dean who has been keeping his head down, has anyone seen Bishop Dakin or Bishop Gladwin and Dame Heather Steel or their Reports?

Whilst on the subject of reports I published a number of blogs relating to the Independent Care Inquiry which commenced with much optimism but is now coming up with more questions than answers. History is littered with Inquiries that started with good intentions but failed to deliver because those tasked with seeking the truth were more concerned with protecting the guilty than exposing the truth.

£6 million has been set aside for the Inquiry therefore the public, victims and those whose reputations were tarnished and careers ruined are entitled to know the truth and it is incumbent on Frances Oldham to deliver without fear or favour. The Terms of Reference appertaining to Operation Rectangle will feature this year and I’m sure it will spark interest and controversy.

I covered the Taser issue but am still unsure whether Tasers are a necessary evil, however if they are intended to be a substitute for firearms because they are supposed to be less lethal, then why are the US police officers are still using firearms and killing members of the public?

Jersey experienced its first ever General Election albeit that 17 seats were uncontested. Our Chief Minister was re-elected and will head an Executive which will operate a collective responsibility system which I understand extend to Assistant Ministers. In his Christmas message the retiring Bailiff commented on the reduction of propositions and questions lodged. Jersey does not have a party system however one of the features of our parliamentary system is that Members who are not part of the Executive can attempt to bring about change through propositions.  

What is of concern is that too much power is now with our Executive which will be required to close ranks and stifle what opposition is left among backbenchers. This will lead to even fewer propositions and questions being lodged and also to less transparency and accountability.

2014 was an interesting year and who knows what this year will bring. On Sunday morning just after the 10am news I will be appearing on Radio Jersey’s Politics Hour with Ben Queree and Amy Vatcher looking ahead to what could be the key issues for Jersey in 2015. As always population and unemployment will feature but I do hope that our Government will look to addressing some of the social issues such as why there is increasing number of people relying on charity to survive and of the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

On a personal note I am falling way behind with the book I am trying to write about the St Martin’s farms which I must devote more time to and prioritise my work load. One simple way is to cut back on the time given to blogging. 

I therefore I wish inform readers that I will be cutting back on the time I give to blogs which will mean that I will be publishing a lot less this coming year.  

I would like to thank readers world wide for their continued support and look forward to an interesting and informative year.


  1. Thank you for a very illuminating and balanced review of the year. Your vast experience and sense of detachment is most important in these turbulent areas.

    I am sorry you will be devoting less time to blogging in the coming year, given the importance of the blogs in the absence of proper mainstream media on the island. I fully agree you deserve to devote more time to your book, which will also be a valuable legacy. You have given up much of your current life to blogging and to championing the cause of others, often under great stress, sometimes with little thanks and all in the cause of justice and without any direct individual benefit to yourself. Respect.

    I know you will be following developments during the year with interest, even if not blogging so intensively about them. I do feel, however, that we would all benefit from your experience and analysis in some strategic blogging during the year. I look forward to this.

    Wishing you and yours a contented and less stressful year in 2015.

  2. Happy new year to you and your family Bob. All the best.


    1. Thanks Sam and good luck with your endeavours.

  3. all the Best for your new year and a big thank you for your contributions,

  4. Sad to hear you will be cutting back on your blogging Bob. Your posts are always well balanced, interesting and informative. However, I do hope you keep an on-going eagle eye on the CoI.

    Very best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to you and your family, and good luck with the book.

    1. Thanks Jill,

      Don't worry, I will be keeping two eagle eyes open.

  5. Jersey blogs are crap.
    Full of half finished stories and claims that never get ratified elsewhere.

    1. I am cutting back on my blogs so if you would like to publish a few guest blogs to show where we are going wrong please let me know.

  6. Bob.

    Preview of up-coming interview with US journalist Leah McGrath Goodman discussing Jersey Child Abuse INQUIRY.

  7. Happy New Year Bob and good luck with the book. I wish to echo all that has been said by others so far, except for anon at 13.49. In light of the insubstantial local media, we are blessed to have such good blogs on Jersey issues. Yours is certainly one of them. I am so glad you will continue, if only very occasionally.

  8. Bob.

    Exclusive interview with Stuart Syvret discussing #CSAINQUIRY.

  9. Bob.

    Lord Reginald Hamilton Tooting Rawley Jones III and Democracy day.........JERSEY STYLE.