25 February 2011

Planning Applications Panel gives consent for Petit Port to be turned into a Building Site

Panel chairman John Gallichan and Graeme Butcher (Photo: JEP)
Yesterday, the planning applications panel met to give permission for the demolition and rebuilding of two houses at Petit Port, with the accompanying drilling and excavation work into the granite cliff face that will go with it. The properties, one of which was only bought in 2008 for over £1 million, are smack bang in the middle of an 'area of outstanding beauty.' Moreover, the whole area is designated as a National Park Area in the current draft island plan. Below is the open letter which I sent to Senator Freddie Cohen, Minister for Planning and Environment. 


Dear Freddie,

I am writing to you to express my disappointment at the planning applications panel's decision to approve the destruction or two houses at Petit Port and the rebuilding of two new properties, with accompanying excavation that will accompany it.

It is sheer folly, in my opinion, that in an area that has been designated as a national park in the 2009 draft island plan, you have given consent for the whole area to be turned into a worksite for an extended period of time, with the consequential impact that this will have on the surrounding environment and residents who already live there.

Currently, the properties themselves are in the green zone (C5), but the immediately surrounding areas are designated a zone of outstanding beauty (C4).
I did ask (twice) that an environmental impact assessment be done to see what impact there would be on the C4 zone, but this point was completely ignored by the panel.
It should be re-emphasised that not only the surrounding area, but the houses themselves, will be part of the national park area if the 2009 draft plan is approved as stands.

If the plan is passed this year, as is anticipated, it will be interesting to see how a quarry and building site will be welcomed by islanders and visitors smack bang in the middle of a national park.

Your thoughts on this would be most appreciated.

Kind regards,


15 February 2011

Committee of Inquiry - The Forgotten Argument

There has been much talk about the Council of Ministers' stance on not wishing to pursue a Committee of Inquiry. I am not going to rehash the rights and wrongs of this decision, save to re-iterate my firm belief that this is not a decision for the Council of Ministers,  but for the States Assembly.

I am supportive of the Committee of Inquiry, and have related some of the grounds below. To summarize, though, it is unfortunate that in all the recriminations that have been fly about regarding alleged mismanagement and mishandling of the investigation, the two things that seem to have been forgotten are (i) the (feelings of) the victims/survivors themselves and (ii) how it was that the abuse was able to occur at all.

The following statement is something I posted on my facebook wall last night in response to someone who was sceptical that the CoI would acheive anything worthwhile and not represent value for money:

'The question, for me, is why and how this abuse was allowed to happen in the first place. These were particularly vulnerable children who were entrusted into State care. When abuse did occur, the victims at the time were generally not belie...ved, punished and so the cycle continued. In order for this to have happened, there needed to be people in key positions of power who either passively or actively facilitated this culture. There were suggestion at the time that senior figures - politicians, police and civil servants were involved. If we are to learn lessons, we need to know what went on.

Much like what happened in Ireland, Belgium and other notable places, Committee of Inquiry did help to expose decades of corruptions and cover-ups (and/or general bad practises, neglect) that allowed those cowardly and sick individuals to get away with what they did.

And it is exactly to stop allegations of conspiracy theories on the one hand and exaggeration on the other that this needs to be investigated.

I will not be able to sleep at night or face future generations, having heard what I have heard, and knowing the vast amount of unanswered questions that still remain, if I do not at least give an opportunity for this Committee of Inquiry.

The message is simple though. If you do not want to incur huge costs (social and financial) as a Government, do not let children get abused in the systematic way they were allowed to be in the recent past. The blame must always rest with the abusers and political facilitators, not the victims or those who are trying to help.

10 February 2011

Farewell to an Old Friend

Emile addresses the crowd at the Time4Change anti-child abuse rally, March 2008

Emile Collins passed away today aged 98. Emile was a seasoned political campaigner, an enthusiastic follower -and often a critic- of Jersey politics. He was an avid contributor to the lunchtime BBC phone-in. He was both passionate and compassionate.

Emile, will be missed but not forgotten.

For a more detailed posting visit:

09 February 2011

The Butterfield Diet

Are the mid-winter blues getting you down? Have the best laid New Year's resolutions of mice and men gone awry and the zealously bought January pass been put on hold?

Then what you need is the Butterfield Diet plan. It is gruelling to start with, but you do get to treat yourself once a week...