Friday, 13 January 2012

Funny Old World 8

Health Warning: what follows is not news, any more than the middle section of Private Eye is news, or The Impressionist is news, or Spitting Image was news. It is a light hearted spin on the real news, which can be found on genuine news sites, such as BBC Jersey. Other news sites are available. This is not one of them. None of the individuals mentioned have ever said anything quite like the words attributed to them. Which is perhaps a pity.

A major inquiry with powers to demand documents and force witnesses to answer questions could be held into "golden implants"  to departing civil servants. The Chief Minister's department has refused to answer questions from the JEP about payouts to top staff who leave States jobs. A spokesman said "It would be an unwarranted invasion of their privacy and we are not going to reveal who signed off their contracts with what has been known as a 'tits-up' clause." It  recently emerged that two Chief Officers retired early with "golden implants" rumoured to cost around £800,000.

Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey's Medical Officer of Health, said: "Chief Officers who take early retirement with 'golden implants' will naturally have been worried that they could be at risk of the facts becoming public, and the information emerging through the local media has been conflicting. We can give a reassurance that there is no evidence that will be forthcoming of any risk of the truth getting out."

But Deputy Roy Le Hérissier says a formal inquiry might be the only way to get the facts. "It's finally time to tear down the fence of secrecy," he said, "and I know all about fences having sat on several for a number of years."

News from Durrell. Last year saw the silverback gorilla Sy-Vret leave the wildlife park. He had been there since 1993, but because he had not bred for eight years, he was sent to his new home with a bachelor group of gorillas at La Moye de Prison in November.

Jersey-based designers are being asked how the design of new buildings could reduce crime as part of new proposals. Jeremy Castle, Architectural Liaison Officer in the States of Jersey Police, said buildings should be designed with drawbridges activated remotely by iPhones, moats with piranha fish, and CCTV on turrets with the option of computer sensor automated systems pouring down boiling oil on burglars trying to gain access.

A Waterfront report which said that the Esplanade Quarter project would cost taxpayers £50 million was kept quiet by ministers when it was delivered in 2008, it has been claimed.  It has been rumoured that Ministers were hoping the report would have sunk without trace, rather like the proposed Waterfront tunnel. The assistant Treasury Minister, Deputy Eddie Noel that any losses described in the report would have been for the developer, not the States.

An informed source says "Now the previous preferred developers are now out of the picture, the scheme has effectively been cut in half and the States of Jersey Development Company will develop it themselves without a third party, so any losses will be for the States, not the developer, and they'll only be £25 million."

Jersey politician supports narrow gauge railway trial. A Jersey politician said he would like to see the island's old railway track restored. It comes after UK railway enthusiast Nigel Harris suggested bringing trains back to Jersey running from the old Corbiere Station towards St Aubin.

St Brelade Deputy Sean Power said it was a good idea. He said: "There are lots of people out there who would like to see me passing by and giving them a cheering wave but can't because they have maybe mobility issues or disability problems. A small train on a narrow gauge like that would possibly afford them a chance to just see me as I chugged past, I think it would be good. I'd like to jump on the bandwagon."

Jersey used to have a railway until 1936 when the last train, the Terry Le Sueur Express ran between St Aubin and Corbiere. Despite its name, it turned into something of a slowcoach, and is now on display at the Steam Museum, alongside other vintage vehicles.

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