Sunday, May 11, 2008

Haut de la Garenne Scandal, Jersey Politicians and the JEP – It’s Just Wrong!

OK, so we know how Phil Bailhache and Frank Walker shamefully co-opted the Jersey Liberation Day celebration as a means to slam the media, downplay the child abuse investigation, profess innocence of any governmental cover-up and pitifully insult the victims.

Well, it comes, as no surprise the Jersey Evening Post is right behind them as their mouthpiece.

From the JEP:
Liberate us from lies

By Carly Lockhart

THE Bailiff has called in his Liberation Day speech for an end to the international media's 'remorseless denigration of Jersey' over the Haut de la Garenne abuse scandal.

Speaking to an audience of over 1,000 Islanders and visitors at the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Jersey's liberation from the occupying German forces, Sir Philip Bailhache paid tribute to those who 'kept alive the flame of freedom' here and in the UK throughout the Occupation.

But he said that the 'feeding frenzy of righteous indignation and further wild speculation' that had spread across the world since the discovery of part of a child's skull at the former children's home in February was an unjustified smear on the Island and its inhabitants.

Published 10/5/2008
More from the JEP:
Chief Minister in call for 'a new liberation'

By Ben Queree

CHIEF Minister Frank Walker has called for 'a new liberation' from the cloud hanging over the Island from the historic child abuse scandal in the traditional Liberation Day States sitting.

On the 63rd anniversary of the Island's liberation from the occupying German forces, and to a reception of sustained applause, the Senator said that Islanders should never forget how precious the gift of freedom was, and the price that so many paid for it.

And Senator Walker - who described giving the Liberation Day speech to the States as 'one of the greatest honours a Jerseyman could aspire to' - hoped that Jersey would soon be liberated again, this time from what he described as the judgment of 'kangaroo courts' of the international media that sought to portray the Island as a den of iniquity.

'In the past few months at Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere we have learned of another, darker side of life which existed in the intervening years between our liberation and today,' said Senator Walker. 'A cloud has descended over us all and it is clear that it will not disperse until we have met the challenge it represents.'

Published 10/5/2008
See? It’s all about the image of Jersey and how unfairly they are being treated. Stop with the self-pity. What about the victims? What about the truth being told?

As Frank says, a cloud is hanging over the island. It’s time Phil, Frank and the JEP realize they are part of that cloud!

More happening in Jersey –

Today, an independent team - the Howard League for Penal Reform – will begin its investigation of Jersey’s child protection system. The Howard League for Penal Reform was invited to Jersey by Senator Stuart Syvret.

On Monday, Gordon Wateridge, a former warden at Haut de la Garenne, will appear in court charged with sexually abusing three girls in the 1960s and 1970s.

Also, later this month, Claude Donnelly, will appear in court. He has been charged with raping a girl between 1971 and 1972.


Anonymous said...

The only hope I see is for Stuart Syvret and Simon Bellwood to coordinate with Lenny Harper and the adults who were victims of abuse, to give the complete story to an investigative book author.

Would anyone dare to place a bet upon the truth coming out through the proper governmental and legal proccess? The JEP?

Not only does the local press, and even the local Jersey BBC(!) minimise and discount the horrors of the abuse, before the investigation is yet completed, but on one of the most popular local forums there are citizen comments that actually echo that outrageous self-pitying sentiment. Scary!

As soon as the age and identification of the scull fragment and were determinined to be unverifiable, some Planet Jersey forum posters actually joined the JEP and their shameful overlords to spin that into complaints the investigation and publicity were just "over the top," and too much press about very little.

One commenter, in a number of recent postings, tried to make a case for the scull fragment just possibly making its way there as part of a bag of contaminated cement mix. No kidding! And this was never put into any context of other shocking evidence or all the reasons for that lengthy investigation prior to the discovery of that fragment.

These people never seem to incorporate the overwhelming evidence of the larger picture into their wierd thought proccess.

The defensiveness in Jersey can be extremely bizarre to outsiders. As far as we know, there are still no evidenciary challenges to the many claims of missing children and child suicides in Haut de la Garenne.

That meant some in Jersey managed to disregard not only the statements of over 160 victims, but also the fact that the bloody evidence later discovered hidden in cellars only verified the accuracy of the victims' horrific memories.

It was as much the vivid and lurid tales of the victims themselves which brought the sudden reaction from the global press right at the time the fragment was found. Then, the aforementioned underreaction in Jersey, denial of the most blatant sort, only served to pique the outrage of the rest of the world and serve as significant background to the press coverage.

If, indeed, the scull fragment had been the only important physical evidence of child abuse, it still might have been worthy of all the investigative reporting. But, given that a child's scull fragment was found buried under an old orphanage in a hidden, booby trapped and lime-contaminated dungeon, it simply demanded explanation.

That it was buried near shackles and a gigantic blood speckled bathtub, which clearly matched the stories told by abuse survivors, it is at least a little suspicious, no?

Now, mainland journalists may even have another field day over the obnoxious speeches and editorials, and who's fault is that?