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Solidarity in Our Community
By Deputy Sean Power
Deputy Power is calling for islanders to believe in the independence, competence, ability and integrity of Jersey’s Crown Officers.
If you would like to have your say on this or any other issue why not write a Speakers Corner article.
Sometimes in the life of a community, an event occurs that shakes and tests it to its very roots and core. This is happening now in our much loved Island of Jersey.
Whether you were born here or moved here as I did, we all love Jersey and know it to be a good place to live and work.
The events unfolding at Haut De La Garenne by the work of the Police and forensic specialists are horrific to behold and almost unbearable to watch. I try to imagine the pain and suffering that occurred in this Home to those unfortunate few children that may have paid the ultimate price. We will know the extent of that in a few weeks and months. We are now beginning to see the extent of the alleged suffering by those children, now adults who are now coming forward.
Of the thousands of children that went through this Home, there are also thousands of stories of those that were happy there and went on to lead useful lives.
We are now witness to a media driven focus of negativity and analysis of Jersey in all the worst possible light. Some of this is justified as it exposes the wrongs of 30, 40 years ago and maybe longer.
Some of us feel helpless, frustrated and appalled by the turn of events.
However, as in any community around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, what we see unfolding here has happened elsewhere. It with this in mind that we must now, as Jerseymen and women, Islanders and those that love this Island, focus our attention and make sure that our day to day lives are not taken over and influenced by the worst excesses of the UK media reporting.
I have watched the Newsnight interview, Channel 4 News, and have read some of the national press. There has a great deal of unfairness, inaccuracy and downright sensational reporting. There are those in the media that think this is an opportunity to cast a shadow over the whole Island and damage the stability and ability to self-govern.
Jersey and our Island community now need to believe in its strengths and in itself. Our community now needs to realise that the biggest threat to our peaceful way of life is not from outside the Island. This wave of interest will pass to the next big story somewhere else when the satellite trucks and the serried ranks of cameras, microphones and reporters will be gone. The threat will not come from the mandarins in London’s Whitehall. It certainly will not come from the national media.
In my opinion, the biggest threat to the Island is from within. There are those who are born here and living here that would strip our individuality, independence and self-governing sovereignty and turn us into part of a UK constituency. There are those here that would like the Channel Islands to send one MP to Westminster. There are those that would like to tear apart the venerable institutions of the Island and replace them with a Westminster and Brussels variant.
Aaron was in care in Jersey in the 80s
So, I say to my fellow Islanders. This is a time to mourn and pray for those children that have suffered. This is a time for calm collective thoughts. This is a time for collective responsibility and justice. We must believe in the ability, competence integrity of the investigation taking place. Above all else, we must believe in the independence, competence, ability and integrity of Jersey’s Crown Officers and especially the Attorney General and his department.
It would be very easy now to turn inwards and attack all our institutions. That is not the correct thing to do, nor is it the Jersey way.
This is a time for solidarity and fellowship. We will share pain, anxiety and grief. However our fellowship as an Island community is strong. We will see our common responsibilities pull us through this.
I believe that the clear solidarity in our community and that life in Jersey will go through a turbulent period but that it’s resolve and democratic ways will see it and us pull through.
last updated: 06/03/2008 at 11:03
Have Your Say
Frankly, I agree
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Police say it is vital that any alleged victims still unidentified contact the incident room as soon as possible, on 0800 735 7777.
There is also an NSPCC helpline on 0800 169 1173 within Jersey, or + 44 (0)20 7825 7489 from outside.