Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas and the Gods

God coming and being involved in creation, with an emptying or divesting of the powers of godhead, and becoming an infant, small and vulnerable is at the heart of the Christmas message.

But the communion of gods and humans is not unknown in the Pagan world. Notoriously, of course, there is the story of Zeus and Leda, described in Apollodorus:

"Zeus in the form of a swan consorted with Leda, and on the same night Tyndareus cohabited with her; and she bore Pollux and Helen to Zeus, and Castor and Clytaemnestra to Tyndareus."

The meaning of the word "consorted" varies but the Greek carries overtones of seduction or rape. We are with the gods as described by the pre-Socratic philosopher Xenophanes, who critiqued these antics of the gods:

"Homer and Hesiod have attributed to the gods all sorts of things which are matters of reproach and censure among men: theft, adultery and mutual deceit."

Xenophanes went on to criticise how human beings created gods in their own image:

But mortals suppose that gods are born,
wear their own clothes and have a voice and body. (frag. 14)

Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black;
Thracians that theirs are blue-eyed and red-haired. (frag. 16)

But if horses or oxen or lions had hands
or could draw with their hands and accomplish such works as men,
horses would draw the figures of the gods as similar to horses, and the oxen as similar to oxen,
and they would make the bodies
of the sort which each of them had. (frag. 15)

Xenophanes himself was not a monotheist, but tended towards monotheism:

One god is greatest among gods and men,
Not at all like mortals in body or in thought. (frag. 23)

This concept formed a foundation within Platonism and Neo-Platonism, where God was defined in terms far removed from the domain of human beings. This was a great god, a being above all beings, beyond the vices of mere mortals, a being apart, unchangeable, impassable,  not like "mortals in body or in thought".

Judaism approached the matter differently. Humans were made in the "image of God", they may not have possessed attributes of divinity, but they reflected that image, however disfigured and scarred it might seem.  And their God was very different. Sometimes the texts present a God of blood, a God who orders slaughter, but there are later texts which tell the Israelites that God is not on their side, he is a God of justice and mercy, and if their society becomes corrupt, he will destroy it.

The experience of the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem and the exile led to a divergence between those who wanted to return to a mythical purity of the past, and those who saw God suffering with his people, and called for an end to empty sacrifices, and spoke of the suffering servant, where God was deeply involved with his creation and his people, not as a distant ruler, but as one who suffered and wept alongside them.

This is very different from the Greek perceptions of deity, of gods and goddesses in the splendour of Mount Olympus, or the philosopher's God, remote and abstract. And that background, within Judaism, is where the Christmas story comes in.

That is why I think the story resonates with us today. And it is all about story, and the power of story to present images of deity and infancy which are so powerful that they still find their way into nativity plays today.

It would perhaps be disingenuous to say that whether or not it happened doesn't matter. Christians believe very much that it was something happening in history as well as story, but the power of the narrative comes from story, and not theology. It is not creed but narrative, a story of God becoming an outcast from himself, living among those outcast at the edge of society.

We are, after all, story telling creatures, and it is stories that we need to draw on for strength, inspiration, understandings of the world. Where our focus becomes too narrow, and we lose sight of story, we may be very successful - as in business - but we lost something of what it is to be human.

Children instinctively respond to stories, and unless we become deadened by the everyday, the Christmas story still elicits a response in us. It is an ancient story enacted and retold with a wide appeal that speaks to the inner child, and can reawaken, for Christmas at least, that sense of wonder and mystery.

That is part of the lesson of Scrooge. As an anonymous quote puts it -" the successful man is the average man, focussed", and Scrooge was an average man, supremely focussed on his business, and very successful as a result, but forgetting that, as Marley reminded him, mankind should have been his business.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Woodcraft Folk

Something autumnal... and with Hougue de Vinde in mind - an earthwork from Celtic times at Noirmont common, here is a pagan poem:
The Woodcraft Folk
The seasons come, and in the grove
Amidst the trees, our sacred rites
The magic path, the ancients wove
Be safe against all baleful wights
The deosil dance, three times around
Clasping hands, we chant and pray
And light five candles on the mound
An ancient earthwork, made from clay
And the dryad comes, our lady green
With soft and sweetly scented air
From trees around, almost unseen
A whispered note, so hard to hear
We work out craft, from time to time
Blessed by a presence so sublime

Friday, 28 November 2014

Jersey One World Group - Tear Fund Presentation

One of the last events organised by the late Ed Le Quesne in his capacity as Secretary of the Jersey One World Group was a presentation at Ogiers by Tear Fund, and a meal and talk at the Liberation Suite. I was unable to go to the latter, but was very pleased to attend the former.

The focus of the Jersey One World Group is to:

· enable people to recognise the links between their own lives and the lives of those throughout the world
· increase understanding of the economic, social, political and environmental forces that shape our lives
· develop skills, attitudes and values that enable people to work together to bring about change
· work towards a just, sustainable and peaceful world

The President of One Work Group, Jean Le Maistre opened the evening by thanking Ogier for hosting the event, and introduced the speakers, Tom Herbert and. Clive Mather.

Work in Laos.

The first speaker was Tom Herbert, although it was more of an interview which took place while he was busy showing us his baking skills. Tom presented the BBC Four documentary “In Search of the Perfect Loaf” and appears alongside his brother Henry in Channel 4's “The Fabulous Baker Brothers”.

Tom visited Tearfund's anti-trafficking work in Laos, South-East Asia, where he met beneficiaries of the programme and the Tearfund partner staff working on the ground to help prevent children being trafficked

He demonstrated how using basic ingredients from the local market in Laos, he could teach young women basic skills which they could make a living from. He showed us how he was making a doughnut from “sticky dough”, with added sugar and some orange zest and a nice chocolaty sauce to dip it into.

In Laos, the favourite beverage is a very sweet instant coffee made with condensed milk, which is apparently delicious, especially for those with a sweet tooth, and most of the people there have a sweet tooth! So those local ingredients could be used to make a sticky sweet sauce with some chocolate.

By teaching basic baking skills to young women, they can earn a living and feed themselves, and they can in turn teach others the skills. This keeps them from looking for work elsewhere, such as in neighbouring Thailand, where they can all too easily be exploited by traffickers.

Tom ran a baking workshop to help provide skills and employment for young girls at risk of being trafficked. He showed them how to make a version of his 'Sticky Sticks' recipe with a simple method and locally available ingredients. 'Many of the young girls finish school aged 12. Tearfund's partners provide skills and livelihoods training that can give people a hope for the future, an alternative to the dangers they face being trafficked across the border to Thailand.'

Tom met 12-year-old Nang, whose family joined a farmer's group. They recently received vegetable seeds and attended agriculture training from the project so they can have vegetables to eat during the rainy season. Their buffalos were also vaccinated by the project to prevent the buffalos from dying.

It is by working with people and giving them the necessary skills they need, that Tear Fund can make a difference on the ground.

Work in Zimbabwe

The second speaker was Clive Mather, the Chairman of Tearfund. He said that the image Tearfund often had was in supplying relief to disaster zones, and while they do that, they also have a focus on teaching skills to people to enable them to get out of poverty.

This year is the International Year of Family Farming, and the “River of Life” project is all about helping people in Zimbabwe to acquire the basic skills to farm the land properly. Currently more than a million people in the country lack access to nutritious food and many are at risk of severe malnutrition. Poor farming skills mean that farmers do no know how to farm sustainable in the context of climatic change, such as recurrent droughts in the region.

Teaching them skills to farm effectively means that they can learn how to farm in water scarce lands and make the most of what they have. Proper training means that farm yields are around four times the national average. On average one educator trains 20 local farmers to transform their crop yields.

The change from subsistence farming to sustainable farming means that families can eat more than one meal a day, and are no longer hungry. They also produce a surplus which can be sold, and that means better financial security, and the opportunity to send their children to school, and better quality medical care.

Disaffected unemployed young men are those who are most likely to get caught up in Zimbabwe’s internal strife, where most villages have young men who have lost limbs in armed conflicts. Better farming, and the better education it makes available, means that there is hope for those young men, and that they will be less likely to turn to military means as an escape from a life of poverty and hunger.

Concluding Remarks

Jean Le Maistre finished the evening by reminding those present of the ideals of Jersey One World Group, that we have a moral responsibility to help those who are our brothers and sisters in other countries, who live lives of poverty, hunger and suffering, and he called on those present to also consider making a donation to Tear Fund to help the work they are doing.

And with Jean’s plea for us to reach out and help others not as fortunate as we are, I would like to end with one of my favourite quotes from C.P. Snow, which I think is just as true now as it was when he made it back in the 1960s, and it reflects my own philosophy on the matter:

“I have said before, and I shall say it again, because it is the most imperative social truth of our age, that about one-third of the world is rich and two-thirds of the world is poor. By this I mean something very simple. In North America, in most of Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, and now in the Soviet Union, the great majority of the population get enough to eat and don't die before their time. That is what ‘riches’ means, in a world whose harshness those of us born lucky don't willing admit.”

“In the rest of the world the opposite is true. The great majority of the population don't get enough to eat; and, from the time they are born, their chances of life are less than half of ours, These are crude words, but we are talking about crude things, toil, hunger, death. For most of our brother men, this is the social condition.”

“It is different from our social condition. That is one reason why there is a direct call upon our magnanimity. If we do not show it now, then both our hopes and souls have shrivelled.”

It is time for magnanimity, and for those of us who can afford it, who do not go hungry, to come to the aid of those who are, not by just sending aid, but more importantly, by teaching skills, so that they can help themselves out of poverty.

Just £91 will pay for 7 farmers to be trained that will ensure there is enough food for 35 people.

We can all make a difference.

If you wish to make a donation, or to find out more about Tear Fund or the Jersey One World Group, you can contact Jean Le Maistre on 484004 or

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Jersey and New Jersey - Part 2

For today, a follow up from “The Pilot” article yesterday, describing links between Jersey and New Jersey during 1963. I came across this quite by chance, and thought it would be interesting to show how the links were forged back in 1963.

I was extremely excited, as finding obscure historical gems is something I really like to do! I hope the reader enjoys seeing these photos and text too.


Trenton 1966

NEW YEAR'S EVE - Governor Richard J. Hughes officially opens the Tercentenary observance in a New Year's Eve Party at the State House. Left to right: Mrs. Hughes, Governor Hughes, Francis De Lisle Bois, Deputy Bailiff of Jersey, Arthur L. Thomas, President of the Delaware Tribal Council. In background is Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission.

The Governor's New Year's Eve Party
On December 31, 1963, Governor and Mrs. Hughes held a Tercentenary New Year's Eve party in the State House to which the public was invited. In the rotunda was a birthday cake twenty-one feet high baked by the students of Frank Verheul at the Bergen County Vocational High School and contributed by the New Jersey Bakers Board of Trade.

The guests of honor were the deputy bailiff of the Isle of Jersey and representatives of the Delaware Indian Tribal Council from Oklahoma. The program featured Indian tribal dances, the Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps of Morristown, the Belvidere Coronet Band, and Princeton High School Choir. At the stroke of midnight the Governor formally opened the Tercentenary year. Then, to signify New Jersey's growing pride in its heritage, he symbolically threw the switch that turned on the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City for the first time in thirty-one years. This first official act of the new year was an apt reminder that the preservation of the state's historic sites was one of the cardinal goals of the Tercentenary observance.

Visitors from the Isle of Jersey and a delegation of Delaware Indians help to inaugurate the Tercentenary. Center: Francis De Lisle Bois, Deputy Bailiff of Jersey. Right: Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission.

On the Isle of Jersey - Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission, presents a Tercentenary plaque to the Bailiff of Jersey, Robert H. Le Masurier. (Photo by Sennett & Spears, Jersey, C. I.)

Visit From the Isle of Jersey

In the course of the Tercentenary year a good many citizens of New Jersey learned something of the Channel Isle of Jersey, from which the state derived its name. This knowledge largely resulted from the visits of several representatives of old Jersey.

The preliminaries for these visits had been made by Professor Richard P. McCormick when he visited the Isle of Jersey in the summer of 1960. In December, 1963, the deputy bailiff of Jersey, Francis De Lisle Bois, O.B.E., came to participate in the New Year's Eve ceremony at the State House.

"PRECIOUS GALINTHIA" - Prize calf presented to New Jersey by the Isle of Jersey. Shown with Galinthia are Robert H. Le Masurier, Bailiff of Jersey (left), Governor Richard J. Hughes, Dennis W. Ryan, Constable of St. Helier, Phillip Alampi, Commissioner of Agriculture (second from right).

In January, 1964, Paul L. Troast, chairman of the Commission, and Mrs. Troast went to Jersey in order to deliver a personal invitation to officials there to visit New Jersey. In May the bailiff of Jersey, Robert H. Le Masurier, and the constable of St. Helier, Dennis W. Ryan, arrived, accompanied by Mrs. Le Masurier and Mr. and Mrs. Max G. Lucas. The bailiff presented to Governor Hughes a replica of the mace received by the Isle of Jersey from King Charles II in 1663 in appreciation for the refuge given him and his family during the English Civil War. It will occupy a permanent place in the new State Museum.

The bailiff and his party made a series of public appearances which included a Bergen County Tercentenary Luncheon in Rochelle Park, Whitehall Farm in Pittstown, Seabrook Farm, Morven, the Governor's mansion, Batsto State Park, a dinner in Salem County, and the races in Camden County.

In addition to the mace, the bailiff presented Governor Hughes with a Jersey calf named "Precious Galinthia," a gift of the Jersey Cattle Breeders Association. The Governor in turn presented the calf to Linda Lee Harrison of Stockton, at the World's Fair on New Jersey Day, June 24, 1964. Miss Harrison was chosen to receive the calf by the State Board of Agriculture because of her outstanding work as a 4-H Club cattle raiser.

In July, 1964, the final visitor from Jersey arrived in New Jersey. Philip Malet de Carteret, descendant of one of the two colonial proprietors of New Jersey, was invited with Mrs. Carteret to participate in local Tercentenary activities in Elizabeth

BATSTO DEDICATION - Official guests from the Isle of Jersey at dedication of Batsto State Park in 1964. Left to right: Governor Richard J. Hughes, Dennis W. Ryan, Constable of St. Helier, Paul L. Troast, Chairman of the Tercentenary Commission. Robert H. Le Masurier, Bailiff of the Isle of Jersey. Robert A. Roe, Commissioner of Conservation and Economic Development.

Batsto State Park

On May 16, 1964, Batsto State Park was dedicated. This marked the culmination of many years of effort by the Department of Conservation and Economic Development and the people of Burlington and Atlantic counties to restore the eighteenth century iron and glass making village of Batsto, which played a prominent role in the Revolution.

Governor Hughes and Commissioner Robert A. Roe were joined by the chairman of the Commission, Paul L. Troast, and an official delegation from the Isle of Jersey, led by Bailiff Robert H. Le Masurier, who was accompanied by a group of British reporters. Members of the Jerseymen junior historians clubs also took part in the ceremonies.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Jersey and New Jersey - Part 1

I had no idea of the complex connections between Jersey and New Jersey, which are mentioned in this article, published in “The Pilot” in 1963.

Trinity Cathedral in Denton has a granite altar stone from Gorey Castle, while in Jersey, there is an acknowledgment of that gift, and a replica of the seal of New Jersey in the States Chamber and a flag of State and Diocese, which I hope is still in place.

It is a pity that today’s church in Jersey cannot rekindle the links of the past, but in the meantime, here is a fragment of Jersey history that you may not easily find elsewhere.

Incidentally, Francis de Lisle Bois was Deputy Bailiff from 1962-1968, but never became Bailiff.

The Diocese of New Jersey-A visit paid, A link strengthened Ancient And Modern 
From "The Pilot",  1963

The link between the ancient Deanery of Jersey and the modern Diocese of New Jersey, U.S.A., has been strengthened by the recent visit of our Deputy Bailiff, Mr. Francis De Lisle Bois.

During his brief stay in that1 American State, Mr. Bois displayed a keen interest in the Diocese and Cathedral Church of Trenton, with its altar of red granite stone from Mont Orgueil Castle. In the following article, exclusive to "The Pilot", Mr. Bois recounts his experiences.

The association between the Island of Jersey and the State of New Jersey in recent years has probably been closer in the ecclesiastical sphere than in any other. No less than three Bishops of the Diocese of New Jersey have visited the Island. The first visit was by Bishop Paul Matthews in1930.

Eighteen years later, in 1948, Bishop Wallace J.Gardner visited the Island in the company of the Very Reverend Frederic Magee Adams, Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. More recently, we have had a visit from the present Bishop, the Right Reverend Alfred L. Banyard, D.D., S.T.D., and, in August of this year, we are to receive the Reverend Henrv A. Male on a visit of goodwill from the Diocese of New Jersey.

When I was in New Jersey for the opening of the Tercentenary Celebrations, I asked if arrangements could be made for me to visit Trinity Cathedral, particularly as I wished to see the Jersey altar in the Crypt of the Cathedral. The altar incorporates a red granite altar stone from Mont Orgueil Castle, the offer of the stone by the Island to the Diocese resulting from the visit of Bishop Gardner in 1949.

Visitors to the States' Chamber will see hanging on the wall an acknowledgment of the gift under the Seal of the Diocese. They will also see, at the members' entrance to the Chamber, a display consisting of a replica of the Seal of the State of New Jersey, which was presented to the Island by Governor Harry Moore, flanked by the Flag of the State and the Flag of the Diocese, both presented to the Island by Bishop Gardner to mark his visit. In due course, the Cathedral will have another piece of Jersey built into it, as it is intended, when the last two bays of the Church are erected, to include a stone from the Parish Church of Saint Helier amongst the stones of the floor.

I was invited to attend matins on Sunday, January 5th, but I was unfortunately unable to accept this invitation as I had to leave for home on the preceding day. I was, instead, invited to visit the Cathedral on the Friday, when I was most kindly received by the Bishop, the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Lloyd D. Chattin, and Canon Edwin W. Tucker of the Field Department, as well as by Mr. Arthur J. Holland, the Mayor of Trenton.

Trinity Cathedral is situated in West State Street, Trenton, a wide, winding, wooded avenue. Steps for the creation of a Cathedral parish and the ultimate construction of a Cathedral were first taken in 1930. The site chosen was that of All Saints Church, now a chapel of the Cathedral. This was the second church of that name, the original having been converted for use as a parish hall. This has now been reconverted into a Synod Hall and is used for diocesan, church school and parish activities.

The Cathedral Church and the Crypt are new, and the tower, in which hangs a carillon presented by Dean Adams, is that of All Saints Chapel.

All the buildings form a single unit and include a suite of offices. There are many things of interest to see, some fine stained glass windows, and, to my mind, the most attractive of all, a number of framed ikons forming the reredos of an altar.

The Bishop made me a most welcome gift a memento of my visit: a framed drawing in colour of the Seal of the Diocese. The Seal has a strong association with Jersey as the shield in its centre symbolizes the historical connexion, both ecclesiastical and secular, between the Island and New Jersey. The shield's dexter bears the three bend lets or (gold) on a field azure (blue) of the Deanery of Jersey and the sinister bears the Arms of the Island, with a variation of colours, the lions being sable (black) and the field argent (silver).

I had a very happy hour at the Cathedral and, while I was sorry to have been unable to attend a service there, I was glad to have had the opportunity of seeing the results of the efforts of members of a vigorous and living church.

My all too brief visit to the State of New Jersey has left me with many pleasant memories, and one outstanding memory is that of the cordial and friendly way in which I was received at Trinity Cathedral.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

In the Local News

The Duke’s Speech, or Legislation will be brought forward to....

I have come to the conclusion that what we don’t really have as such is the equivalent of the Queen’s speech – a clear indication of the legislative programme that the States will be planning for the next three and a half years. Cut out the aspirational statements from Ian Gorst’s speech to the new assembly, and substance is thin on the ground.

A statement such as this - “We must ensure that our legislation maintains our competitiveness; our approach to regulation must encourage and foster new enterprise while upholding fair competition and open markets.” – actually tells you nothing at all. It is like an astrological forecast, hedged round with so many qualifications that it could mean anything.

Now there is nothing wrong with aspirations, and Senator Gorst lays down some very good ones. But in the UK, in the Queen’s Speech, Parliament opens with the broad details of a legislative programme, not an aspirational one.

When one cuts out the aspirational sentences, or the heavily qualified ones, there are two items left which are solid nuggets:

“I will be proposing to establish a new monetary authority; and the monetary authority will be tasked with identifying and assessing the threats to financial stability in Jersey and with providing independent advice on actions to meet these threats.”

“Mental health has not received the attention it deserves, and I am supporting plans to update the Mental Health Law and to radically improve the support available for people with mental health issues.”

As it now stands, the best way to find out what is intended is to look at the sittings and debates that are forthcoming, and to ask questions about what legislation is currently at the law draftsman office.

But in future, as well as sounding out nominations once elected, I think space should be given somewhere in the States sittings for laying out the legislative programme for the States agreed between Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers. The Medium Term Plan is a fiscal measure, not a legislative one, and we need to know more, and earlier.

Open and wealthy economy.

I find it strange that a recent report praised Jersey as having a “mature political and institutional settings, transparent economic decision-making, and high fiscal flexibility” and said we had an “open and wealthy economy”.

Is this the same economy which has given rise to a 95 million pound deficit? Evidently it is as open as a sieve, with taxable income draining away. The recent scrutiny report criticised the budget for being a hotch-potch of ad hoc measures. In fact what we need is to have the two adjectives reversed, and “mature economic decision-making, transparent political and institutional settings”.

But now we are after the election, I’m sure the new Treasury Minister does not want to be reminded of the black hole in the States finances which he has just inherited. Expect a lot of fiscal and verbal flexibility from that direction!

Street Wise, not Street Works

Kevin Lewis promised if elected to bring in a Street Works Law by the end of the year. Will Eddie Noel manage to do this? Or will the Sir Humphreys in the Civil Service press the “reset button” and push it all back onto the drawing board yet again? Please, someone ask a question in the house.

Schools and Religion in Assembly

"Tobias Gosselin says his four-year-old daughter is being subjected to religious propaganda after a group called the Bible Society were invited into her school to hold assemblies on Christianity."

Parents have the right to ask for their children to be excused from school assembly on grounds that they do not agree with the religious element. Even when I was at school, the Jewish and Catholic students did so. So I really don't see why there is such a fuss.

In terms of the general content, what would alarm me would be that evolution would be denied, and creationist views proposed. If that was the case, even regardless of the right to take out a student, I would be extremely concerned. But no such accusation has been made, nor is there any indication that this is the case.

Most of the Old and New Testament is story - which may or may not be history - and sometimes more like a good yarn than fact. Moses is about to be the subject of a Ridley Scott blockbuster movie but I doubt whether any more than Cecile B De Mille, the religious element features highly. The story is a fabulous one, like European folk tales, or Greek myths. Stories like these form part of the English cultural heritage, and even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that.

Is it indoctrination for a religious element to be present in school assemblies? Going from the legacy of my own school days, I would say that generally it is a highly ineffectual one. As long as kindness, compassion, and not intolerance is the result, I have no problem with it.

But most parents can opt out and choose not to do so. Mr Gosselin would like to impose an "opt in" instead of an "opt out". I can't see why except that he would in fact like his own atheist views to be the default. Is that really fair either? It is substituting one kind of belief for another, and imposing it on children. I know that some of the more fervent atheists proclaim loudly that it is not a belief, but for those of us of a more agnostic frame of mind, it certainly seems to be, especially when expressed so forcefully.

Sex and Statistics

“More than 40 prostitutes – many of whom fly in from the UK to meet clients in hotels – have been working in Jersey during the past year, the JEP can reveal following a three-month investigation into the Island’s hidden sex trade.” (Jersey Evening Post)

The JEP loves to go for large showy headlines that give scary figures. But are the figures as scary as made out. While it says “more than 40”, it cannot mean many more, or it would put “more than 50”.

So let us look a a few facts.

40 in a population of around 100,000 even if transient, amounts to 0.04% of the population. That is a very small number.

In 2010, the number of prostitutes in the UK was estimated at 100,000, and the population at around 62.8 million, giving a percentage there of 0.16% of the population.

Were Jersey to have a comparative percentage, it would mean around 159 prostitutes in Jersey, which is considerably more than the headline JEP figure.

So whatever people think of the issues about whether it should be legal – and the JEP is conducting a self-selecting online poll – the fact is that the situation in the UK is that there are significantly more prostitutes as a percentage of population than Jersey.

The Legal Situation. 

In Procureur Général v Sangan, the accused was convicted of keeping a "maison de prostitution". 

It should also be noted that enforced prostitution is a crime under the Geneva Conventions Act (Jersey ) Order. Meanwhile, the Sexual Offences Act 2003, "criminalises the commercial sexual exploitation of children under eighteen for prostitution or the making of pornography and creates a range of gender neutral offences punishing those who exploit others by receiving money from prostitutes of either sex, those who manage or control the activities of prostitutes of either sex for money or reward and those who recruit men, women or children into prostitution whether or not for gain."

And there are also the procurement offences found in the Loi (1895) Modifiant le Droit Criminel and the offences of using a house for the purpose of prostitution, living on immoral earnings, soliciting for purposes of prostitution or controlling prostitutes with a view to gain, which latter offences are found in the Loi (1915) Modifiant le Droit Criminel.

Where the law has a gap is where prostitutes solicit without coercion (or evidence of coercion). However, they must have somewhere to ply their trade, and that might come under the offense of using a house for the purpose of prostitution.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Jersey Pottery - A great success story

I remember enjoying looking around Jersey potteries, and going for a sandwich with friends in the cafe they had - the Sail Loft - the restaurant was rather too expensive for me, and probably more the proper preserve of States members for dinners! My son also had an 11th birthday there, with the children all painting tiles which were glazed and taken to school in the week with a photo of each of them painting the tiles, as well as a birthday tea in the cafe.

So I will always have good memories of the pottery, except for the time when I first had sushi there, and dipped it in a generous portion of wasabi sauce, thinking it was mild, and nearly blew my head off. My son Roy was most amused at my downing a glass of orange juice in 10 seconds flat as tears streamed down my cheeks!

It was always a wonderful place for tourists - something to see, something to buy as a souvenir, and somewhere for a "comfort break". This article comes from Jersey Topic in 1965, when the tourism side was really starting to take off.

Sadly, it is all gone now. The site is well into being developed for housing. And the pottery is now made in the UK and shipped to Jersey for the town pottery shops. Quite how they have the nerve to call it "Jersey Pottery" when it no longer has a Jersey connection with manufacture, I do not know. It seems rather like an infringement of trades description, although the company HQ is still in Jersey, even if the pottery is made elsewhere. But the restaurant side flourishes elsewhere in the Island, strangely with the Jersey Pottery name, a legacy lingering on of a lost manufacturing and artistic past.

Jersey Pottery - A great success story

It was in a bar in New York that I first realised how far Jersey reaches out to many parts of the world. The bar was one of those crazy Ye Olde Englishe Pubs with waiters dressed in ridiculous hunting outfits-and the ashtrays were from the Jersey Pottery.

Two days later at the World's Fair I stopped to have a drink in the real English pub on show there. I turned over an ashtray advertising Courage and Barclay's Beer to find they too bore the stamp: "Jersey Pottery, C.I." So popular were these with the Americans that the pub went through 500 in less than a month-and even the Chairman of Courage & Barclays had to send an S.O.S. to Gorey to have one made for him.

I asked the owner of the Jersey Pottery, Mr. Clive Jones, just how far abroad he sent pottery made in Gorey. "It goes all over the world" he said. "We have regular orders from places like Kuwait, the Philippines, Peru, and Canada-anywhere you can think of". That day he had received a letter from Tenerife addressed to Mr. Clive Gorey, Jersey!

The success story of the Jersey Pottery is a remarkable one and there are few people in the island who know the extent of the business or who have ever been into the Potteries. This is a pity because it really is an eye-opener.

The Pottery started in 1946 at a time when English decorated ware was not permitted to be produced for home consumption but solely for the export market. This policy did not apply to Jersey and the Pottery began to produce colourful decorated fancy ware such as cruets and vinegar and oil bottles boldly decorated in gold and enamel. These were snapped up by people in England seeking colour for their homes after the utility years of the war and just after.

By 1950 however this lucrative market had come to an end. Increasing tariffs abroad and the release in England of home produced fancy goods had a telling effect on the fortunes of the Pottery and by the end of 1954 production had been drastically reduced and the staff consisted of only eight.

But before the light went out completely Clive Jones, then a young stockbroker who had been in the island since 1935, bought the company lock, stock and barrel for £5,500. He and his wife then set about completely re-shaping the activities of the company. In a year they had wiped off the debts of four years and made a profit of £112.

They re-shaped their policy around the tourist. "We decided that half a million people annually visiting the island we had a captive and transient population with a desire to take home something produced on the island as a permanent reminder of their visit to Jersey" said Mr. Jones.

So they replanned the Pottery to bring visitors right into the works to watch craftsmanship pottery being made in all its stages of production-the clay being thrown, cast, fettled, decorated, glazed and finally fired in the kiln.

"We set out deliberately to make the visitors feet as if they were, in fact, part of the operation. The movement of traffic was so arranged that visitors finished their progress through the works in the showroom where the goods could be purchased" he said. "By making this direct approach it was possible to attain a lower cost level by the simple mathematics of eliminating costs of transportation, agents' fees and retailers' overheads".

New designs had then to be created and production was stepped up to meet the demand. Highly skilled craftsmen in design and mould-making were brought in from Stoke-on-Trent and a thrower was obtained from one of the Devon potteries. Up-to-date modern equipment was installed. And by 1959 the company was well on its feet again.

"It was then that we took stock and planned for future development" said Mr. Jones. "I had a vision of the Pottery being set in a garden with trees and hundreds of rose bushes and flowers, pools and playing fountains. I saw all this against the backdrop of undulating farmlands and Mont Orgueil Castle and knew it could become a wonderful attraction."

The company acquired four acres of farm land from the Crown on lease to extend and modernise their buildings and provide adequate parking space for the busloads of tourists who were visiting the Pottery. This vision is now a reality for rose bushes have been growing for five years and the Pottery has become a major attraction for tourists. Last year over a quarter of a million visitors saw the craftsmen at work on all stages of production in comfortable, airy surroundings. And it has established itself as one of the major industries of the island, maintaining a staff of approximately 50 all the year round.

Production has increased from the use of 30 tons of raw material in 1959 to 100 tons last year of two different types of prepared clays and this material is used in the sixty designs of utility and fancy lines at the moment being produced in all shapes and sizes from ashtrays to posy bowls, large vases and coffee sets.

The products of the Pottery have, over a short span of time, developed a style and technique that has about it a feeling of `difference'. The chief designer, described by Mr. Jones as "a brilliant young man with two travelling scholarships and a Diploma of Distinction to his credit" works with a team of twelve decorators including Continental artists. Once the designer has produced his designs they go before the board of the Jersey Potteries which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their daughter, 28-year-old Carol and 25-year-old son Colin, who is Works Manager. "This is when the battles begin" said Mr. Jones with a smile. "We have a good struggle lasting about four days before deciding on designs.

Once the designs have been agreed the decorators interpret the basic designs in their own individual style, which ensures that each piece is individual in character". This individual licence in design, together with an all round high standard of craftsmanship has created a world-wide demand of Jersey Pottery.

Every year a little more development is initiated. 1964 saw the building of an annexe to the showroom to house two new sections for making basketwork and Bondaglass jewellery. Visitors can now also watch the thrower and mould maker at work. And only recently they opened a new modern showroom on the corner of Bond Street and Mulcaster Street.

What of the future? Has the Jersey Pottery reached its peak of development? "I like to think it has" said Mr. Jones. "I don't want it to get any bigger but would prefer to improve what we have here. But I say this every year. It's so difficult to stay static".

Somehow I have a feeling that this winter the concrete mixer and carpenter's hammer has been heard in the background as this remarkable industry takes a deep breath before plunging into another busy season. If you're in Gorey-go and see for yourself. It's an eye-opener.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Parable of the Good Pagan

A old parable with a modern twist....

The Parable of the Good Pagan
Desiring to justify herself, a priest's wife asked the Lord, "Who is my neighbour?"
The Lord answered:
A certain man was going down from Winchester to Canterbury. While he was still in Winchester, he fell among muggers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side, because the man was lying in another Diocese, and he said to himself, "I have no oversight there, and I must obey my Bishop, and not interfere in another Bishop's domain. If he would only crawl to my side of the path, I could help him. But I will pray for his soul". And he went on his way, assured that he was a righteous man who never did any hurt to others.
In the same way a politician also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side, saying "This is not my jurisdiction. My district ends on this side of the road. The other side is for another politician to look after. I must keep faith with my own constituents, and respect the boundaries of my neighbour. But I will inform the authorities, when I come to a village." And he went on his way, feeling satisfied that he had done his duty.
But a certain Pagan Druid, as he was travelling to Stonehenge, came upon where he lay. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil, and giving him mead to sip. He brought him to an inn, and took care of him until he was well.
And the Lord said: Who showed the greater pastoral care?
She said, "He who showed mercy on him."
Then the Lord said to her, "Go and do likewise

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Grey Day in November

Today's poem is a villanelle, a poetic form particularly suited to evocations of mood.

A Grey Day in November

Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain
And I am wondering what to do today
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Driving, misty windscreen, car in the slow lane
A long road, much traffic, town full of delay
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain

At the sea front, car parked, sea a muddy stain
Blue overlaid with grey, looking across the bay
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Waking in the damp leaves, mud is such a bane
Leaves rain showers, and the sky is grey
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain

The goddess of the waters comes into her reign
And the cat slumbers by fire, dreaming of its prey
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

I like to be inside, warmth, such wetness to disdain
When the weather is so overcast across the bay
Damp, drizzle, of so wet, wet November rain
As water trickles slowly down the window pane

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Political Outsider - J.J. Le Marquand

Here’s an article from “Jersey Topic” on JJ Le Marquand, who was the “maverick politician” of his day. Clearly not left-leaning – he opposed the introduction of compulsory social security – he is perhaps best described as an independent Jersey libertarianism. Certainly his experiences during the Occupation taught him to value freedom, and the restrictions of post-war planning on the farming community irked him.

John James Le Marquand (1915-1975), universally known as 'JJ', was a prominent politician in Jersey in the 1950s and '60s. Coming from a St Ouen farming family, he taught himself law and became an Advocate of the Royal Court and then entered the States as a Senator, developing a reputation as a campaigner and champion of the ordinary Jerseyman.

He was a Deputy for St Ouen and then a Senator between 1948 and 1960, and a Senator between 1966 and 1975, the six year gap accounted for by his decision to change career from that of farmer to lawyer. This interview dates from 1965, while he was still studying for the law.

The carrying of a coffin into the Royal Square, mentioned below, was an act of protest in opposition to opposition to Insular Insurance, which is what Social Security contributions used to be termed. The Jersey Law review also mentions another amusing case:

“There is room for one anecdote about J.J.; in one case; after submitting to the Magistrate that "all the authorities were with [his] client”, the Magistrate is reported to have asked him to which authorities he referred. "They're too numerous to mention" replied J.J.”

And Mike Bisson from the Jersey Evening Post has this anecdote on Jerripedia:

"I recall an early Court case when he was defending a motorist who was accused of careless driving, for being responsible for a head-on collision at Hautes Croix. His client had been found to be driving on the wrong side of the road. This presented 'JJ' with what he thought was the perfect defence, because the parish boundary between St John and Trinity ran down the centre of the road at this point. "If my client was on the wrong side of the road, he was driving in St John, and the case has been improperly brought by the Centenier of Trinity, who has no jurisdiction," he argued to Magistrate Mr Michael Newell, who was not interested in this legal technicality and found the motorist guilty.

And I have an anecdote as well. My father once met him in the Royal Square on his way to the States building. There was a debate on some issue, and JJ said that he would be speaking against the proposition. “Actually, I tend to agree with it,” he told my father, “But I have to oppose it. It’s what people expect of me.”

Jersey Topic Article on J.J. Le Marquand, 1965

J. J. Le Marquand would not win any popularity polls amongst members of the States of Jersey. But outside of the House he commands great respect, He was perhaps the greatest political agitator of his day and many of his crusades are now part of our political history.

Two spring immediately to mind-his bitter opposition of the introduction of compulsory contributory pensions in 1950 when his supporters carried a coffin through the streets of St. Helier and his fight against National Service when he petitioned the Queen.

He believes passionately in the freedom of the individual and it was to gain this freedom that he first entered the States in 1948. Typically he was not asked by anyone to stand-he decided it was time he did. He won enormous support in his later Senatorial campaign when he was elected for nine years-but before he had completed this term he decided, at the age of 45, to become a lawyer. He passed his final examinations and was called to the English Bar last February. He was to be called to the Jersey Bar in late February but because of a legal technicality he now has to pass the examination in Jersey Law, which he intends to do.

J.J. Le Marquand on Jersey Politics in 1965

I first started to hate controls during the German Occupation of the Island. I learnt to put up with them because in the background was the firm and unshakeable belief that the end of the war would bring us back to the freedom which we lost and which I was sure the allies were trying so hard to restore.

With the Liberation of the island came a partial restoration to freedom - partial because one knew that some controls were necessary for a certain time whilst the island re-adjusted itself.

As time passed I, in common with many of my fellow islanders, realised that the tendency of the now so-called reformed States--the majority of whose members had stood on a progressive platform-was to encroach even further upon the liberty of the individual. It soon became obvious to me that the very freedom for which so many had died in the arena of war was now to be whittled away by power-crazy local politicians. It was my strong revulsion as a Jerseyman to the fact that the ordinary people of Jersey were being pushed about and virtually led by the nose that prompted me to stand as a Deputy for my native parish, St. Ouen.

If things were bad then, they are desperate now. Freedom of the individual is no longer apparent in this island of ours. The degree of control now administered by the Island Development and the Housing Committees, for instance, makes me very angry, particularly when I think of the wide discretionary powers granted to these Committees with no right of appeal. Jerseymen, brought up in a way of life that is basic and humble, at least felt masters of their own homes and free to do what they pleased with their own property, I can never see them continuing to abide by a policy that demands them to become completely subservient to the State and to have to beg permission for this, that and the other.

Even worse, this permission is sought from Committees very largely influenced and more often than not in the power of civil servants suffering from an exaggerated sense of power whose sole aim seems to be the creation of an all-embracing Establishment in the island.

The argument about land and property that is constantly advanced is that the sale of it must be strictly controlled in the interest of the public and the natural beauty of the island. This is all very well. But the property owner's position in Jersey is becoming one where he is expected to hold and maintain the responsibility of ownership, yet is deprived of the rights of such ownership. Surely if the State debars owners of their rights-in the so-called interest of the public - then equity demands that the State should take over the responsibility of such ownership.

At this very time there are countless numbers of Jersey originaires who find themselves with a considerable indebtedness attached to their land - often through no fault of their own but through a succession of disastrous years of farming. They find that they could more than clear this indebtedness by disposing of some of their land for building. The State forbids it - yet offers no compensation. I believe this to be utterly totalitarian in outlook.

There are many people who regard me as a trouble maker and a rebel. It is true that I was more often than not swimming against the tide when I was in the States-until I went out on parish meetings to discuss a particular subject with the ordinary electorate to find out that my views were their views.

This is hardly surprising for my background is their background. I was born of Jersey farming stock of many generations with a fair proportion of sea-faring ancestry on my mother's side. Being brought up in the country meant that all the influences surrounding me were traditionally Jersey and contributed greatly to my development as a person of simple but independent thinking. The way of life that I enjoyed was one based on hard realities with little or no time for artificialities. Our code-and indeed the code of all Jerseymen of this background - was to expect something out of life as a return for what one put into it.

Perhaps the biggest shock of my life was when I first experienced the heavy formal atmosphere of the States Chamber. I was soon to learn that to disagree with the majority was to invite sharp recrimination.

I was glad to have played an important part in breaking down a procedure that gave the public little or no chance of knowing just what was being foisted upon them until it was too late. I refer, of course, to the practice that was prevalent in those days of breaking the constitutional procedure as laid down by Her Majesty in Council for observance by the States when passing legislation. This procedure lays down quite clearly that all legislation must be presented, debated and then lodged for fourteen days to allow members to meet their constituents and find out their views. What was happening was that the subject was presented, then lodged without debate for fourteen days, then debated and voted upon immediately.

I violently opposed this and made it my business to have all important legislation lodged after debate and then called public meetings to ascertain the views of the electorate. It was at these meetings that I realised that my voice-which was alone in the States - was not unorthodox and that of a trouble-making individual but was shared by countless islanders. This was not surprising for their background as the same as mine, and those views were strongly re-inforced by those English people who had come to Jersey, tired out with strict controls and high taxation of a then Socialist England. I am sorry to see this practice has reverted back to what it was.

I have always had a strong interest in the law and about seven years ago decided to study and qualify. This I have done, thanks to the help and encouragement of two States members and indeed the former Bailiff, Lord Coutanche. It was they who made my acceptance by the Middle Temple possible without the normal educational qualifications for entry.

These have been difficult years, particularly in the initial stages when I found I had lost the technique for absorbing information. But fortunately my studies are now behind me and I look forward to taking my place in the legal profession in Jersey feeling that I do so with a profound knowledge of human nature and long experience of dealing practically with day to day problems.

What the future holds for me I do not :now. I have had many setbacks and disappointments, perhaps the greatest one being in February when, on a legal point, my application for admittance to the Jersey bar was turned down. But I am utterly determined to take my place here as a practising advocate and all I can do is pray that I will be given the strength, the health, the courage and the ability to fight for justice for all sections of the community.

Politically my future is less certain. I feel that in fairness to my family f must establish myself here in practice. Secondly my return to the States depends on the Island electorate. If the people of Jersey are satisfied with present-day trends of high unnecessary expenditure and strict controls over their way of life they have my sympathy - for well they need it. But if, as I believe, they are determined to see Jersey return to some vestige of its former way of life I will be only too happy to put every effort into realising this.

For conversations with many people recently have convinced me that the majority of islanders are highly dissatisfied with present trends. Their views were summed up by a good friend recently who declared: "Never in the history of Jersey, have so many people been pushed around by so few".

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Borderlands of Sark

What is happening to Sark?

The BBC news report notes that

“All the hotels in Sark owned by the Barclay brothers will be closed in 2015. The four hotels, Dixcart Bay, Petit Champ, La Moinerie and Aval du Creux, are no longer accepting bookings. No-one from the management company, Sark Island Hotels, has yet commented on the closures.” (1)

It also notes that “Two of the four hotels, Aval de Creux and Petit Champ, did not open this summer.”.

Now that gives a slightly different complexion on the story from that reported elsewhere, as a number of reports give the impression that all the hotels have closed. In fact, two were already closed for this year, so it is just the remaining two which will be closed. Another report from the BBC gives this impression:

“The closure of most of the hotels in Sark could affect tourism in the rest of the Bailiwick, VisitGuernsey has warned. The closure of the four hotels run by Sark Island Hotels was revealed on Thursday” (2)

But it is not the closure of four hotels, it is two hotels last year – which does not seem to have caused much notice, and the closure of the other two this year, Elsewhere on Sark, of course, there are two more hotels, 10 guest houses, and 16 6 self-catering properties and two campsites. It is by no means devoid of beds for tourists. In fact 160 of the 500 beds for visitors will be lost.

So why is there so much notice this time, and not earlier when two of the hotels did not open in 2015? The answer has surely to be the press release in the Sark News by Kevin Delaney. The paper is the organ of news produced by Mr Delaney and very much reflecting the views of the Barclays brothers, although they rarely make pronouncements, and appear to prefer to let Mr Delaney, as their lackey, do so.

The Sark News reports as follows:

“The CEO of Sark Island Hotels, Kevin Delaney, has announced that he will not open any of the hotels in the group for the 2015 season. Whilst acknowledging that this was a difficult decision to take, Mr Delaney made it clear that he was not prepared to request further investment to develop these iconic Sark businesses. Furthermore, had the establishments opened next year he would have been left with no option but to resign his position as CEO of Sark Island Hotels.”(3)

And the key issue to which this all relates is not having a customs post:

“Mr Delaney pointed to the continual refusal of Michael Beaumont and the members of his one ruling party government to consent to a Customs post which would allow Sark direct access to the vast tourist markets of the West coast of France and beyond as the principal reasoning behind his entirely commercial decision.” (3)

Now this is a bone of contention which has been rumbling on for many years. In 2010, the Guernsey Press carried this story:

“Direct service to and from a Normandy port is being pursued by Sark Estate Management. Writing in the latest edition of his Sark Newsletter, SEM’s Kevin Delaney said that during 2011 the company will be working towards establishing a daily passenger route between the island and one of the small coastal ports of north-west France.” (4)

The obstacle was, of course, the lack of a customs post, which meant that anyone travelling to Sark had to first pass through the customs post of St Peter Port or that of St Helier (or even possibly that of Braye in Alderney)

In May 2011, this again was the subject of a news story:

“Officials in Sark are in talks with the Guernsey Border Agency about establishing a formal customs area for the island. Currently anyone entering or bringing goods from outside the British Isles to Sark must register with the agency. It currently has three offices - in St Peter Port and St Sampson in Guernsey and Braye Harbour in Alderney. “

“Conseillier Jan Guy said if they introduced a port of entry "the practicalities would be huge". She said: "In many ways we would have to replicate everything that is available at all the other ports of entry. "It's a very good thing for Sark to look into, but when you talk about practicalities you also have to consider the cost." (5)

But in a report issued in November 2012, the ideas were very much shelved. The Harbours and Pilotage Committee asked about approved ports into the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and Chief Officer Rob Prow of The Guernsey Border Agency responded.

He noted that in the first instance, Sark would need to introduce legislation

“Sark has no Import & Export legislation so it has no protection should goods (all manner of restrictions inc. firearms, explosives, offensive weapons, dual use goods, WMD, CITES, counterfeit goods, trade sanctions et al) be allowed to enter directly without first being cleared though an approved port.”

But even if the legislative problems could be resolved, other issued remained, such as passport controls, and custom and immigration resources:

“The Bailiwick of Guernsey is part of the Common Travel Area. All passengers who arrive directly from outside of the CTA must be examined by an accredited Officer, passports electronically scrutinised and Home Office warning index checks initiated. The UK has the power to remove the Bailiwick from the CTA if the controls do not match those in place in the UK.”

“In a modern and sometimes dangerous world, trained and accredited Officers are required to discharge these statutory based regimes. Drug trafficking, financial crime and immigration legislation is extremely complex and criminals ever more sophisticated. In addition Human Rights based legislation provides a demanding framework of compliance”.

And he concludes by looking at the resources needed:

“For a port to become Customs approved there are requirements that would need to be resourced. Passenger examination requires passport control facilities, search benches, search equipment and private interview rooms, commensurate to the services envisaged. The Port would also require fully appointed, trained and accredited Officers to man those control points. By way of example Braye Harbour in Alderney is an approved Port and is so resourced. Such resources, facilities, Officer training and accreditation, come at a considerable cost and the GBA is not currently resourced to meet those costs and neither does Sark’s harbour have any customs or passport examination infrastructure.”

Braye Harbour in Alderney, of course, falls within the jurisdiction of Guernsey, and Alderney has representation in the Guernsey States of Deliberation. Sark being independent could not expect Guernsey to bear costs, and would have to incur those itself. This would almost certainly require full time paid officers and suitable training.

The present situation is that a Constable and Vingtenier (junior officer) are elected by Chief Pleas, and these are part-time voluntary roles. The volunteer officers are at times supported by full-time officers from Guernsey Police.

In July 2014, the issue came back again, as the BBC reported:

“Visitors to Sark may be able to travel directly to the Channel Island if the roles of police and immigration officers are combined. Currently, people have to go via another Channel Islands customs post - either Guernsey, Jersey or Alderney - to meet immigration and customs laws. The suggestion of a joint role has been made in a review of policing in Sark. The island currently has two voluntary part-time officers for the 600-strong population. Supt Nigel Taylor, from Guernsey Police, is assisting the Sark authorities with the review. He said: "There are opportunities for a dual-warranted individual... to carry out the functions of customs and policing providing the necessary training is in place. "[We're] exploring all the options to make sure it's cost effective policing in Sark, but it's also fit for a modern day society."

“The Guernsey Border Agency and the island's police force have been united under a head of law enforcement, but no plans to merge the two organisations have been released.” (6)

The review considered the following options:

1) Keep policing as now – to weigh up the pros & cons – hear comments from the Sark Constables, from the Guernsey Police and take questions from the floor.

2) Employ a retired Police Officer to be stationed permanently on Sark. The Island could advertise this position, but the questions arise of housing, pay and under whose responsibility such a position should operate. Specialist Units of the Guernsey Police may still have to be called in if a situation warrants it.

3) For the Guernsey Police to take overall responsibility for policing in Sark.

And the review noted that:

“If Options 2 or 3 are adopted there will be an additional cost element and that would lead to an increase in taxation. Weighing up the pros & cons of these options would lead to the question as to whether Sark needs that level of policing and whether it would be cost effective to change from the status-quo. It all hinges on the willingness of local people to come forward and be prepared to volunteer as Vingtenier and then Constable – a two year period of commitment of service to their Island.”

In this respect, it is worth considering this news story:

“Direct taxation on the island of Sark will rise by 11% in 2015 because about 10 islanders are predicted to leave in the next year. Sark's finance committee chairman Robert Cottle said the move was necessary to meet a 1.8% increase in the islands £1.3m budget. A 15% increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes was also passed at the meeting of Sark's government, the Chief Pleas. Direct tax is a levy on income on Sark, which is home to about 600 residents.”

Clearly the cost of running Sark’s infrastructure is easily affected by small changes in the population, because it has a relatively small total number of inhabitants. So a customs post, properly manned by trained and fully paid professional staff, of which two would seem to be a minimum, would impact upon the economy, and Sark’s levels of taxation.

It is notable that while pressing for a customs post, neither the Barclay brothers nor Mr Delaney have made any offer to fund such a position. If it is so much to their economic advantage for their business in Sark to do so, why don’t they offer a contract to pay for the post for, say, the next ten years, subject to review after that time.

Instead, for the putative but unproven advantages to some tourism businesses – theirs – of a fully operational customs post, they would like the burden for that to fall upon everyone in Sark in terms of increases in taxation.

As with the elections a few years ago, when they closed businesses when their preferred slate of candidates failed to be elected, the modus operandi of failing to get their own way has repeated itself, To an outsider, like myself, it appears like a temper tantrum, a stamping of feet loudly, a throwing of toys out of the playpen because they have not got their own way on a customs post.

The problem, of course, is that because they own a considerable proportion of Sark, they can apply economic pressure where political pressure is not an available route. It appears to be an ill-judged attempt to bully the government of Sark into submission. It may certainly damage the Sark economy to some degree, though not perhaps as badly as might be feared. But it is about time they learned the lesson, so hard for millionaires, that money simply cannot buy everything. Not everything has a price.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 2 by A.C. Saunders

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders, the second part on the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne. It notes the political destruction of records, which means that much of Jersey under the Commonwealth is seen only through later (and Royalist) eyes.

The narrative mentions "doleance". The Jersey Law Review has this to say on doleance, which is still a remedy in place today:

"The doléance has been most recently described as providing a remedy where the court has refused to hear an appeal, despite a right of appeal existing, or where an order or judgment contains a manifest judicial error and there is no right to appeal. In such circumstances, an aggrieved litigant may ask for the impugned decision to be reviewed by the superior court."

The Restoration – Part 2
By A.C. Saunders

On the 20th May 1663, the States considered a letter they had received from Charles II, relating to the Juratships vacant under the new order :-

"Wee have thought fit pticularly to recommend ye enjoyne it to ye care that when you come to fill up ye said places so vacant and all others as they shall hereafter become void you take order that such persons onely be chosen as are of knowne loyalty and good affection to Us and our Governmt & of orthodox principles in matters relating to the Church."

The Jersey people did not require anything in their endeavours to show their loyalty to the Throne, and those who had been in power during the rule of Cromwell, had great difficulty in avoiding trouble and obtaining justice.

We hear of trouble between Michael Lempriere, the former Bailiff, and John Bailhache, who took their dispute before the Court. The States condemned Lempriere to pay Bailhache the sum of 333 crowns and interest. Lempriere felt that he had been unjustly treated and appealed but the States refused to hear his appeal.

So by way of "Doleance",  Lempriere took his case to the Privy Council, and their Lordships having heard the explanations of the Bailiff, and Jurats, gave judgment that " considering the injurious and careless culumniacons of the said Lempriere against the proceedings of the Bayliffe and Jurats " they decided that they approved of the said sentence, and in addition they ordered Michael Lempriere to pay John Bailhache the sum of twenty pounds sterling for costs and unjust vexations. Later on the Bailiff and Jurats charged Lempriere the sum of forty pounds sterling for costs.

Lempriere was having a very had time after having been Bailiff for nearly ten years, and his enemies were only too eager to see his downfall. He evidently resented the judgment of the Privy Council, and, being a man without fear, had made no effort to suppress his indignation at what he considered the injustice done to him.

Evidently the States had reported his conduct to the Privy Council, for, on the i8th May 1664, at the Court of Whitehall an order was issued :

"It has been reported to the Council that incivilityes and affronts had been cast upon the Bayliff and Jurats by Michael Lempriere, that, during the sitting of the Court Lempriere breaks into high & unseemly passion speaking disdainfully & scornfully of and against the Lieutenant Bayliff and Justices there assembled, saying some or one had done Unjust false and horrible things & calling Mr. Elias Dumaresque Sr. Des Augres (one of the Justices present) foolish fellow scornfully repeating what he had said, as dispicable & ridiculous in a most unhansome uncivill and unbecoming manner."

Lempriere was making his fight against odds, but.he had no chance with his past record. Sir Philip de Carteret was Bailiff, and he remembered what had happened in 1643 when his namesake had died in Elizabeth Castle. Besides, a man who had been Bailiff of the Island under Cromwell, had no chance of favour from the Royalists whom he had persecuted in the past.

So the Lords of the Council directed that Lemprere should in the Court make the following apology

" I, Michael Lempri&.re do hereby testify and declare before you the Magestrates and Justices of the Isle that my behaviour towards you was uncivill and irreverent at such time as you were mett and assembled about a Commission sent to you from the Lords of the Council and the business of Mrs. Susan Dumaresq of the one part and myself and others on the other part and that I much misbehaved myself therein and was in too great a passion And I hereby begg Yr. pardon for the same."

It must have been a terrible time for the ex-Bailiff, a fighter, and one who had earned credit for his just actions when he was chief Justice of the Island. But the Privy Council had no mercy, and the States were directed that if Lempriere refused to make the apology, he was to be kept in prison until he died. In any case he was to pay costs of twenty pounds for the trouble he had given.

Thus passes one of the prominent figures of Jersey life in the seventeenth century. He was a man of good education, who had suffered from the injustice in the land which precluded he and others from taking active part in the affairs of the Island owing to the principal posts being in the hands of the followers of the De Carterets. Condemned to death and hung in effigy, he had managed to escape from the Island and, later on, when his party were in power, even his opponents admitted that his judgments were honest, but unfortunately all documents relating to that period were destroyed.

When in office he wished to exclude the Rectors from participating in the affairs of the States as he considered they talked too much and probably his actions in this respect were remembered in the days when he was deprived of his Bailiffship, and was held up to ridicule by those in power.

He died on February 1st, 1670, and we must recognise him as one of the principal. men of affairs in Jersey during the seventeenth century. We must remember that for a long period after the Restoration, any good work done by a Parliamentarian was belittled and ignored and held up to contempt and condemnation by those, in power, who revered the sacred name of the Martyr, King Charles I.

Thus all books and manuscripts of that time had no praise for any but those who belonged to the King's party and all records of the Parliamentarians were destroyed by order of the King.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Restoration – Part 1 by A.C. Saunders

I see that the last time I posted a transcription from A.C. Saunders was back in January this year. So I think that a return to Jersey history is long overdue. Because of the long shadow cast by G.R. Balleine’s History of Jersey, Saunders has been neglected, I think unfairly.

Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. And we have now come to the Restoration, when Charles II was returned to the throne.

The Restoration – Part 1
By A.C. Saunders

On the 29th May, 1660, Charles II landed at Dover, and in his train we find our old friend Sir George Carteret, and, among the deputation receiving him, were Hollis and Fairfax. All moderate people were anxious for peace, and were tired of the continual struggle for power between the many parties who wanted their own way in the government of the country. The good news soon reached Jersey, and Sir Philip de Carteret became Bailiff. The Earl of St. Albans was appointed Governor, and had as his Lieutenant Captain Thomas Jermyn.

We can well imagine the unsettled state of the inhabitants, who during the previous twenty years had been under Royalist, Parliamentarian, Royalist and again Parliamentarian rule, with estates confiscated or heavily fined, as the different parties came into office. We have heard of the acts of Sir George Carteret and his successors on the question of property.

Those who had owned property and been deprived of it, and those who had acquired such property without any permanent security of tenure, must have been of considerable interest to the lawyers who saw visions of much gain in settling the various disputes which must arise, now that the King had come into his own again.

Royalists who had been fined by the Parliamentarians, had many grievances, and hoped that their past services and losses would afford the King an opportunity to show his generosity. He did not fail, but he had little money, and most of what he had he wanted for his own use. There is no doubt that many royalists, in their loyalty to the throne, had sacrificed their all, to further the cause they had at heart. Rich men had had to spend long years in exile in the greatest poverty. These men welcomed the return of the King, and hoped that they would have their estates returned to them. They certainly deserved recognition for their past services.

It is however very interesting to read some of the claims put forward, and how the applicants wished to be recompensed for what they stated they had done. Many asked to have the sale of a baronetcy, so that, by the sale of the same to some rich person who wished a title, they could fill their pockets. Others asked for offices already filled, and on the 30th September 1662, an Order in Council was issued granting to Daniel O'Neil, the sum of five shillings on every French vessel arriving in Jersey.

Although a general pardon had been granted, some of those who had acted as agents for Cromwell must have felt very uneasy. The country was ablaze with enthusiasm for the King, and the Members of Parliament were ready to do anything which they thought would please him.

On the 2nd June 1660, Charles II was proclaimed King for the second time in Jersey by Edward Hamptonne, the Viscount, arnidst the acclamation of the people. All who could, attended the ceremony and there was a great crowd in the Royal Square, whilst cannons were fired and bells rung. What with the beating of drums and the sound of " musick," Jersey must have been a noisy place on that day.

Even in the parish of St. Martin, a stronghold of Parliamentarians, the tocsin was rung from 10 in the morning until 11 at night. People were glad to see the end of Parliament rule, when the people were oppressed by the soldiers and their churches desecrated. They remembered how Governor Gibbons had forced the inhabitants " with their cattel " to work at Elizabeth Castle, without pay, longer hours than under previous Governors. 

The people of St. Laurens had a special grievance against him for he made them work for two tides, with the result that on one dark night five people were drowned with some of their " cattel." No enquiry was made, but some of the " cattel " having escaped from drowning, they were seized by the soldiers at the castle, and slaughtered for their own use. Therefore as they welcomed the return of the King to his throne, we find that Michael Lempriere and his friends found it advisable to disappear for a time.

On the 30th October 1660, the States decided to send a Commission to London to lay before the Privy Council the condition of the Island, and authorised the Constables to levy in their parishes, certain sums to be paid to the Commissioners for their expenses. There is no doubt but that Charles fully recognised the services of his Jersey subjects. They had sheltered him during his days of adversity, and at the risk of their lives, proclaimed him King after the execution of his Father. Even those historians who are apt to criticise his actions severely, are always willing to agree that he was a good King to Jersey.

Now everyone was loyal in the Island and on the 16th April 1661, the oath of allegiance was administered to all Jurats, Constables, and officers of the state. At that sitting it was decided that the oath of allegiance should be administered to all men, over sixteen years of age in the several parishes, on the following 1st May. The undermentioned persons were ordered to see that it was done :

Sir Philip de Carteret for the parish of St. Ouen.
Francis de Carteret for the parish of St. Pierre.
Helier de Carteret for the parish of St Marie
Thomas Pipon for the parish of St Brelade
Philip de Carteret for the parish ofGrouville
Elie Dumaresq for the parish of St Clement
Le Greffier for the parish of St Martin
Carteret La Cloche for the parish of St Sauveur
Helier Hue for the parish of St Helier
Josue de Carteret for the parish of St Jean
Laurence Hamptonne for the parish of St Laurens
Jean Pipon for the parish of La Trinite

The oath was very clear and left no room for a man who later on might wish to get out of it, and it included the following paragraph :-

" Je declarey et reueleray toutes treshisons, conspirations et machinations contre Sa Majeste et heritiers qui perviendront a Enes oreilles et a ma connoissance, dauventage Je jure et promotez que Je detest et abjure cette doctrine damnable ]e qui permet aux subjets de deposer deprive ou occire leer Roy."

Charles had in 1661 pardoned all those who, formerly against him, were willing to take the oath of allegiance, and, in order to assist the authorities to settle the affairs of the Island as quickly as possible, he sent a regiment of soldiers, who landed in St. Ouen's Bay. These men mistaking their mission and thinking they had to deal with a conquered country, treated the Islanders very badly, and demanded of the best of everything from the owners of the houses they passed on the way to the quarters allotted to them in the Town.

Charles confirmed the charters, and privileges of the Island, and, as a proof of his gratitude to the people of Jersey, he presented to the States the mace now carried before the Bailiff when occasion requires. There is an inscription on the mace which recognises the loyalty of the inhabitants to the crown :-

" Charles the second, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, as a proof of his Royal affection towards the Isle of Jersey (in which he has been twice received in safety, when he was excluded from the remainder of his dominions) has willed that this royal mace should be consecrated to posterity ; and has ordered that hereinafter it shall be carried before the baillis, in perpetual remembrance of their fidelity not only to his august father Charles the first, but to his Majesty, during the fury of the Civil wars when the Island was maintained by the illustrious Philip and George de Carteret, Knights, Bailiffs and Governors of the Island."

Thus from 1663 until the present day, Jerseymen have had something to remind them that Charles took every opportunity to show his gratitude for the loyalty and protection which the Island gave him, at a time when he was hunted out of his native land by those who had put a price on his head.