Monday, 29 February 2016

You’ll Catch your Death of Cold

I have a rotten cold and cough. It is strange that you take for granted being healthy until you get a cold, and then you remember how nice it was not to be coughing or have a runny nose.

Probably because of security, Waitrose self-scan checkout flashes red when you have bought anything like Lempsip or Beachams Capsules, although I’ve never heard of anyone under age overdosing on them or getting any kind of high from them.

There used to be a silly rule which limited the amount you could but, so if you wanted one packet at home, one in the office, you had to buy one there, then pop to the nearby chemist. Fortunately that silly rule has gone.

Condor Ferries seem to have caught a cold, in a sense, with two vessels having problems.

I feel sorry for Condor. They bought what they had promised as a shiny new ship, which suffers continual problems, and all kinds of other troubles - ramps etc seem to be happening. They must be thinking: when will this nightmare end?

I remember buying a car - an Opal Cadet, I got someone mechanically minded to look over it, all seemed ok, but the problems I had with it stalling and calling the AA to tow me to town, get it checked etc etc. Then the petrol tank leaked into the back of the car. I was lucky - I got rid of it, and got a second hand Mini. But what options are there for Condor, with a large loan on their new ship?

Certainly, as the Facebook crowds tend to say – hitting them with heavy fines will do no good, and would only damage which must by now be increasingly problematic cash flow. What would probably help more would be some kind of investigation by an independent maritime engineer as to why their ships are so beset with engineering failures. Problem solving is what is needed.

I see that Tributes have been paid to Irish actor Frank Kelly, best known for playing Father Jack Hackett in the comedy sitcom Father Ted, who has died aged 77. His character would say that a drink is called for as part of the wake! DRINK!

There were really no redeeming features to Father Jack. He was a monster, played without sympathy, and that is why he was so funny. Sometimes playing it straight can make for better comedy, and that horrendous ruin of a priest, who swore and drank, and hardly moved from his chair, was a wonderful creation by the actor.

Despite the cough, I managed to go for a walk and visited the cemetery next to the new housing estate being built. I had gone there to get a photograph for La Baguette about the opening of the new estate. But by way of rest, Jeff and I paused to sit in the graveyard, which is looking very tidy, and it was sheltered, and sunny, and very peaceful.

Which brings me to the end of this blog, and at the end of each day I put “And so to bed... quote for tonight is from…” on Facebook. A recent one by J.R. R. Tolkien addresses these themes of mortality, and is appropriate for this bitter cold weather, whether sitting beside the fire, with a hot toddy to easy the cough and cold, seems like an excellent idea.

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter - Part 9

For the next weeks, my Sunday postings will be a transcript of the book "Simon Whom He Surnamed Peter" by the Jersey historian, the Reverend G.R. Bailleine (1873 – 1966).

Most of Balleine's books are either currently in print - as for example his History of Jersey - or online in the form of PDF versions. This book is not, so this is something different. As well as being a Jersey historian, Balleine was also a priest in the Church of England, and Ministre Deservant at St Brelade's Church for a time.

The Disconcerting Messiah
by G.R. Balleine

WHEN next we meet Peter, he and his Master are still on foreign soil. They are now in the far north, near Caesarea Philippi. Here was the cave of the goat-god Pan, and as Pan's Sanctuary the district had the right of asylum. The exiles had found rest for a moment under the protection of a pagan god.

Now Peter had to face the question, what did he really believe about Jesus? By the Jordan Andrew had said, `We have found the Messiah!' Had Andrew been right? Jesus was quite unlike any popular conception of the Messiah. Some expected the Messiah to be a human King. Courtiers had even hailed Herod as Messiah, and Josephus hinted later that the prophecies were fulfilled in Vespasian.

Others thought of him as a triumphant warrior like Judas Maccabaeus. Others expected him to be an Archangel descending in the clouds of heaven. But no Messianic doctrine had been accepted as authoritative. Jesus, however, did not seem to fit into any known category.

Yet from the moment of His baptism He had been convinced that this was His vocation. The Voice that had said, `Thou art My Son,' could have no other meaning. To modern Christians the words may suggest the Incarnation or the Virgin Birth; but to a Jew of the first century `Son of God' meant `Messiah'.

The Second Psalm contained one of the great Messianic texts, where Jehovah says to the Messiah: `Thou art My Son. I will make the ends of the earth Thy possession.' The Gospels show that in the days of Jesus everyone took `Son of God' to mean `the Messiah'.

Nathaniel said: `You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.' Martha said, `I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God.' Caiaphas said, `Tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.'

But what kind of Messiah? In the Wilderness Jesus had ruled out as Satanic every popular expectation. This imposed on Him a heavy handicap. He dared not mention His Messiahship for fear of rousing in His hearers disastrous, chauvinistic delusions.

On this vital point He must remain silent. He must train His friends to believe in His methods, before He could trust them with His Messianic secret.

This was not easy. The question kept arising. Demoniacs growled, `Are you the Messiah?' The Baptist sent to ask, `Are You He that is to come, or must we look for another?' Once came a serious crisis. Jesus had crossed the lake in Peter's boat to try to escape the miracle-gapers; but the crowd ran round by the shore, and, as the wind was light, they got to the other side first. Jesus faced the inevitable with a smile, and began to teach.

Towards evening His friends reminded Him that the people would be getting hungry. He said, `Give them something to eat.'

Startled they asked, `Do you want us to go and buy ten pounds' worth of bread?' He said, `Make them sit down.' A boy shyly offered his five barley cakes and two small pickled fishes. Then the supply seemed inexhaustible. When all were satisfied, Peter filled his basket with unused portions of bread.

It seemed miraculous, and later it was told as a miracle. Where the bread came from no one can say; but it seems unlikely that it was supernaturally multiplied. There was no urgency. No one was far from home. At worst they would only be late for supper.

And Jesus had firmly rejected in the Wilderness the temptation to attract notice by unnecessary marvels. Was the real miracle perhaps the result of the boy's example? Did others too, who had brought food, bring it to Jesus; so that, when all had pooled their store, no one remained hungry? Or had some rich disciple, to keep the people from scattering, sent to Bethsaida Julias for bread? (The probable site of the feeding is not far from that city.) Or-a not impossible suggestion in the light of what followed -did Zealots from the hills, seeing a chance of starting a revolt, bring down some of their stores of food?

The main fact, however, of that open-air supper is historical beyond a doubt. It is told in all the four Gospels, and the two reports of the feeding of four thousand are probably two more versions of the same event.' Somehow the crowd was fed.

[High numbers in the Bible are usually rough estimates. Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses; the Temple had 4,000 musicians. For the building of the Temple 5,000 talents of gold were prepared; 5,000 small cattle were sacrificed at its restoration.]

Revolutionists seized their chance. `Let us kidnap Him,' they said, `and make Him king.' It was a dangerous moment. Jesus could not trust even the Twelve, who thought the time of triumph had arrived. `He constrained them' (a strong word conjuring up a picture of Jesus grasping Peter by the shoulder and pushing him to the boat) `to embark and put out to sea.' He Himself, while the people were arguing together, walked up the mountain, as darkness fell, and disappeared.

Now comes a story, which was retold later in different ways.

The Apostles' boat ran into one of the squalls for which the lake is noted. Straining at their oars and making little headway, they saw, according to Mark, Jesus apparently walking on the water.

They thought it was a ghost; but He said: `It is I. Don't be afraid,' and stepped into the boat.

Remembering how hard-pressed soldiers at Mons thought they saw Angels, we might have guessed that the exhausted Apostles had a similar experience. But the Fourth Gospel, writes Archbishop Bernard, `retells Mark's story in such a way as to correct it by omitting any suggestion of a miraculous walking on the sea'. `John' says: `When they had rowed about four miles' (and therefore were almost home), `they saw Jesus walking by (not on) the sea. And immediately the ship was at the land.' Like the crowd on the previous day, He had come round by the shore.

We now reach the point at which this chapter began. Away in the pagan North Jesus decided to stake all on a visit to Jerusalem. But He wanted the Twelve to understand His aim. So He asked, `What are people saying about Me?' Their answer showed that no one now thought of Him as the Messiah. Those who did not shun Him as a sorcerer called Him a Prophet, perhaps the Baptist or Elijah risen from the dead. Next Jesus asked, `Who do you say that I am?'

Then Peter had one of those flashes of insight that sometimes lifted him head and shoulders above his fellows. He surprised Jesus; he surprised the others; perhaps he surprised himself by answering, `You are the Messiah." Deserted by the people, anathematized by the Church, suspected of dealings with a demon, no one could have looked less Messiahlike. Yet Peter declared, `You are the long-awaited King!'

[The Gospels, being written in Greek, use the Greek word Christos for the Hebrew Mashiah (Messiah). Both words mean `anointed'. Hence the English word `Christ': e.g. `We have found the Messiah, which is by interpretation the Christ' (Jn. i. 41).

It is not clear what answer Jesus expected; but it was not this. The commendation in `Matthew', `Blessed art thou, Simon,' seems so well deserved, that one is loth to suggest that it was never spoken. But it only occurs in `Matthew', the Antioch Gospel, which is probably the latest of the Gospels. It shows what Antioch thought of its first Bishop by the time it was written. Mark and Luke, however, reveal that, so far from winning praise, Peter's answer received a rebuke. Mark, Peter's disciple, says that Jesus `rebuked' him, saying, `Tell nobody that.' And Luke uses the same word.

The rebuke was due to the fact that Peter's idea of Messiahship was widely different from His own. On Peter's lips the word still stank of blatant jingoism. Jesus shuddered at the thought of well-meaning blunderers like the Twelve broadcasting that He was the Messiah of Nationalism. This might have started an armed revolt, and would certainly have precipitated the Passion. So He began at once to teach them that He `must suffer much and be rejected'.

`And He said this quite plainly.'

That word `rejected' recalls the Servant Songs in the later chapters of Isaiah. They picture the Servant of the Lord `despised and rejected of men', `led like a lamb to the slaughter', and `cut off from the land of the living'. To the original writer this Servant personified the righteous core in the nation, who by patient endurance of persecution would eventually redeem Israel. It seems doubtful whether any writer in pre-Christian days ever thought of identifying the Suffering Servant with the Messiah.

[`The remarkable thing is that the disciples are represented as being rebuked. The verb, which R.V. renders, 'He charged them', is the same which occurs in t. 25 and viii. 3z and 33, and means properly `He censured them' (Bishop Rawlinson).

But Jesus, faced with apparent failure, had been pondering on these chapters. He had begun His mission with high hopes of success. His message seemed so gloriously true, that surely everyone would accept it! Now all but a handful had rejected Him and it. He faced the possibility of having to follow in the steps of the Suffering Servant.

To modern minds it may seem of small moment whether later events tally with forecasts by long-departed seers; but to Jews every prophecy in their Scriptures must be literally fulfilled.

With the Servant's fate in His mind, Jesus began to warn the Twelve that their coming visit to Jerusalem might lead to His death. No wonder Peter `took Him and began to rebuke Him: `God forbid !This shall never happen.' The thought of a slaughtered Messiah was preposterous! But this won him a severe rebuke: `Get out of My sight, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to Me. Your thoughts are man's not God's.' Again and again in the next few weeks Jesus repeated the warning. He would be delivered to the Chief Priests, who would hand Him over to the Gentiles, who would mock Him, and spit on Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him.

The Evangelists, writing after the crucifixion, probably phrased these warnings in the light of later events; but there is no doubt that this new note came into the Master's teaching.

He warned His disciples: `Following Me is dangerous. Let no one follow, unless he is ready to shoulder a cross.' The word was far more startling to Peter than it is to us. Pietists speak of hayfever or a neighbour's wireless as their `cross'. But to Jesus a cross meant public execution. To bear one's cross was to go to the gallows. If they went to Jerusalem, all who followed Him must be ready to risk their lives.

Peter's honest heart was puzzled. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah; but why was He so utterly unlike the Messiah they all had been taught to expect? The Scribes, the experts who should have known, had repudiated Him. Elijah had not returned to herald Him, as Malachi had foretold. But six days after he had made his confession, Peter's perplexities vanished. He saw a vision.' Jesus, as He often did, went up a mountain to pray, and He took Peter, James and John with Him. If they were still near Caesarea Philippi, the mountain was probably Hermon. From his boat Peter had often seen its snow-capped peak, but he had never climbed it. Fishermen are not mountaineers, and that afternoon the climb tired them. While Jesus prayed, His companions rolled themselves in their cloaks and slept.

[Matthew explicitly calls the Transfiguration a vision. `Jesus commanded them,the vision to no man.']

At dawn, while still `heavy with sleep', Peter saw Jesus transfigured. Light from within seemed to shine through His clothes,making them `whiter than any earthly fuller could bleach them'. He was after all the Supernatural Being of Whom `Enoch' had spoken! And Moses and Elijah were with Him,

Moses perhaps with the tablets of the Law, and Elijah with his camel's-hair cloak. Scribes might reject, but the Law and the Prophets through their senior representatives were welcoming Him. Not even a vision could repress Peter the irrepressible. `Rabbi,' he cried, `it is lucky we are here. Let us build three booths, for You and Moses and Elijah.' He owned later that he had no idea what he meant.

Perhaps he had some hazy hope of prolonging the scene. Then something happened that silenced even his chattering tongue. A cloud overshadowed them, the Shekinah, that in Jewish thought veiled the Presence of God; and a Voice rang out, `This is My Son, the Beloved' (i.e. the Messiah).

What Peter had confessed was now divinely affirmed. And the command was added, `Listen to Him.' The vision vanished. Peter rubbed his eyes. He saw `no one any more, save Jesus only'. But every niggling little doubt was dead. Jesus was indeed the Messiah, acknowledged by the Law and the Prophets; and God Himself had told Peter to obey. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The People’s Park: A Poem

Following my custom of recording notable events, this poem looks back to the 1946 Liberation Day celebrations in the People's Park, and forward to the celebrations last year, and retaining the Park for the future generations to come. Astute readers may notice that I also reference a very famous American speech, which gives it a different tone.

The People’s Park

We cannot consecrate, nor hallow, this land,
Where on Liberation day played the band,
Both in 1946, and again, even so, last year:
The first time, an ending of dark time of fear,
And the latter, remembering their distant kin,
Who came to celebrate the Allies victory win,
And VE day in Europe, in that self-same park;
And never may that light be dimmed, that spark
Of joy, of freedom, for where else should they go
But a People’s Park! Do not forget but know,
And know well, that noble and honoured past
That is the true Covenant, long may it last!
The fight on plans ended, there will not be a war:
And for now the Park is safe once more,
Where dogs are walked, children kick a ball:
Such treasured moments may seem so small,
But the world is made of tiny precious things,
To smell a rose, or hear a bird as sweetly sings;
The world will little note, nor long remember that,
But we should never forget the park where sat
Those remembering the darkest days of war;
And last year, we too came in homage and saw,
And heard the sounds and sights of yesteryear:
The music and songs which banished fear;
It is for us, the living, to be dedicated to save this
From the cold equations, the rationalist abyss:
The memory of the past, of our honoured dead,
And the tears and suffering which they once shed;
And would that we come also here in joy today:
Swings, roundabouts, the Battle funfare to play;
For this is right too: the park is for all to come,
And joy cannot be costed like accountant’s sum;
So send a prayer from distant St Thomas steeple
That a park of the people, and for the people
Shall not be stolen from us, perish from the earth:
For truly beyond precious stones is its worth.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 3

More from the 1834 Guide Book on St Helier and its surrounds. A few notes:


There were a large number of local newspapers,  For those interested, a detailed account of the situation between 1856 and 1862 and a few more radical papers can be read here:


St Aubin is described as “studded with Martello Towers. The name is a popular misnomer, as they were not constructed on the same lines as Martello Towers but to designs laid out by General Conway.

First Tower, despite its name, was not the first coastal tower to be built. It was designated St Aubin No 1, but has always been known as First Tower, the name adopted for the surrounding district, which was the first main extension of housing to the west of the town of St Helier in the early 19th century.

Also known as St Aubin No 2, Bel Royal Tower was built before 1787 and demolished by the occupying German forces on 7 January 1943 to make way for a concrete bunker. By then the sea had eroded much of the sandy bank which stood between the tower and the high water mark when it was built.

The westernmost of three towers built to defend St Aubin's Bay, Beaumont Tower, also known as St Aubin No 3, was cruicial to protect the approach to St Aubin, the island's main harbour at the time. It was built before 1787 and is now owned by the States.

It can be seen that the three towers, spaced out along the coast which was mostly not built upon at that time, would give that impression of “studs” in a collar, but the destruction of Bel Royal, and the encroachment of housing, has removed that aspect seen by the visitor of 1834.

Elizabeth Castle

The British government withdrew the garrison on Elizabeth Castle and relinquished the castle in 1923 to the States of Jersey but it can be seen from the description in this guidebook that it was already in decay in 1834: “Not more than a solitary sentinel is to be seen pacing on the ramparts. The Barracks appear desolate ; the cannon are dismounted, and the grass has sprung up and flourishes in the courts, among the shot and shells and other implements of destruction.”

That’s quite useful, because most of the history of the 19th century just mentions the abandoned plan to link the castle to the mainland as part of an ambitious harbour project.

In 1834, of course, there was no breakwater, and St Helier’s Hermitage Rock was only accessible at low tide. The breakwater is described in Alban Ragg’s Popular History of Jersey

“The plans for it were passed by the States in 1871, and the cost of the whole estimated at about .£240,000. The breakwater (on paper) ran along the west side of the Small Roads, starting at the westernmost corner of Elizabeth Castle, with the landing stage starting on the east from La Collette cliff, running at first in a direction nearly due south for 1760 feet, then bearing east to west for 1840 feet, a length in all of nearly three-quarters of a mile. The convenience, comfort and maritime importance of such a scheme could not be doubted, and it is only a pitiable task to have to record its entire collapse.”

More of what Reverend Ragg had to say can be read on my website here:

It seems likely that the failure of the scheme was in part due to a severe economic depression which hit the Island in 1873. Ragg speaks of  a "commercial depression which wrought such havoc in 1873" including the collapse of Jersey Mercantile Bank, and a Jurat involved with embezzlement at the bank. The Jersey Coins website notes:

"The closing of the doors, on February 1st, 1873, of the Jersey Mercantile Bank was a very sad time for the Island of Jersey. News later followed that one of the Judges of the Royal Court, Jurat Le Bailly, had been charged with embezzlement in connection with the Bank's failure, a crime for which he was, on May 13th, sentenced to five years' penal servitude."

On the legend of the storm bells, I make us of that in my book "Jersey Wonders":

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 3

Newspapers.—The inhabitants of Jersey have the advantage of no less than nine weekly Journals, conducted with considerable ability ; their names and days of publication are beneath :—

British Press—Proprietors—Philip Payn and Co., Royal Square, published on Tuesday and Friday ; Chronique de Jersey—Proprietor—P. Perrot, Royal Square, published on Saturday; English and Foreign News—Proprietor—Abraham Jones Le Cras, published on Friday, Office 5, Hope-street; Gazette de Jersey—Proprietor—Philip Mourant, Royal Square, published on Saturday ; Jersey Times—Proprietors—Messrs. Kay and Co., Office on the South Pier, published on Tuesday and Friday; Le Constitutionnel—Proprietor—Chadwick Le Lievre, 5, Halkett-place, published on Saturday; Impartial —Proprietor—Francis Romeril, 7, Parade place, published on Wednesday ; Patriot—Proprietor—A. J. Le Cras, 5, Hope street, published on Tuesday, and L'Observateur Chretien— published on Saturday by J. Le Ber, 18, Royal Square. It will be distinguished by their names, the English from the French Papers.

Boarding Houses.—Blanchard's family and commercial Boarding House, Halkett-place; Mrs. Date's, 28, Don-street; Mrs. Farrell's, Mulcaster-street, and Wilkinson's family Board and Lodging House, Don-street.

Hotels.—There are in the Town of St. Helier's, several respectable hotels, where the following lines are not inapposite :—

I fly from pomp, I fly from state
I fly from falsehood's specious grin,
Freedom I love, and form I hate.
And choose my lodgings at an Inn.

British Hotel, Almond, Broad-street; Old London Hotel, Mrs. Collins, North Pier; New London Hotel, South Pier; Union Hotel, Le Veslet, Royal Square; York Hotel, Mrs. Le Gros, Royal Square; Mrs. Paton's Commercial Hotel, Don street ; Deal's Hotel, Pier Road; Gregory's Hotel, Pier Road; Market Inn, Brabin, Halkett-street, and several others of respectability.

Oft the traveller lists
The roar of that wild torrent, headlong dash'd
O'er the rude precipice.

Elizabeth Castle.—The bay of St. Aubin's is embraced by a crescent of smiling eminences, thickly sprinkled with villas and orchards. St. Helier's crouches at the bane of a lofty rock, which forms the Eastern cape; St. Aubin's is similarly placed, near Noirmont point, the West-ward promontory; and between the two stretches a sandy shelving beach, studded with Martello towers.

The centre of the bay is occupied by Elizabeth Castle, a fortress erected on a lofty insulated rock, the jagged pinnacles of which shoot up in grotesque array round the battlements. The Harbour is artificial, but capacious and safe, and so completely commanded by the Castle as to be nearly inaccessible to an enemy.

The rock on which this fortress is built, is nearly a mile in circuit. In time of war with France it was of great importance, and strongly garrisoned; but now, not more than a solitary sentinel is to be seen pacing on the ramparts. The Barracks appear desolate ; the cannon are dismounted, and the grass has sprung up and flourishes in the courts, among the shot and shells and other implements of destruction. Esto perpetua. May this be the state of all such fortresses till time shall be no more.

An Abbey, dedicated to St. Elericus, once stood on the site of Elizabeth Castle; the fortress was founded on the ruin of this edifice in 1551, in the reign of Edward the Sixth. There is a tradition that all the bells in the Island, except one to each church, were seized by authority, and ordered to be sold to defray in part the expense of its erection. The confiscated metal was shipped for St. Malo; but the vessel was lost in leaving the harbour, to the triumph of every good catholic, who regarded the circumstance as a special manifestation of Divine displeasure.

If thou wouldst view this castle right,
Or visit it by the pale moon-light,
For the gay beams of lightsome day,
Gild but to flout the ruins grey."

The Hermitage of the Saint, from whom St Helier's has its name, is an insulated peak quite detached from the fortifications. A small arched building of rude masonry, commanding a noble view of the bay, having the resemblance of a watch tower, covers an excavation in the rock, which was the abode of this ascetic.

Here indeed he was shut out from the world; for little could be seen but the blue firmament and the expansive ocean; or heard, besides the dashing of the mighty waters. The sea retires so low that it leaves a free passage to the Castle, which is called the bridge: but it is by no means pleasantly accessible on foot.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

TV Reviews - Midsomer, Death in Paradise, Call the Midwife, The Night Manager

Tim Hiddleston in The Night Manager

“Midsomer Murders” was rather good last week, for the second week running. Lots of quirky characters, a good murder count, and at the heart of it, a story about family, about loss and suffering, and enough twists and red herrings to get the viewer going the wrong way more than once.

How anyone could refuse an appeal for a genetic match that could save a child’s life is beyond me, and I did think that the crusty husband who ran the riding stables was rather cruel to do so.

The on and off semi-romance between the sergeant and the pathologist is rather irritating me though. This week it was one-upmanship about looking after Barnaby’s dog while the family was away. It felt too contrived, and there doesn’t really appear to be any spark between the characters.

Barnaby and his wife, their child, and the dog Sykes are well done, even though the poor woman has very little to do with the plots. On the other hand, as most people who do end up dead, perhaps that’s a bonus.

“Death in Paradise” was good, but felt rather as if it was ticking the boxes, phoned in, written by numbers (choose your own cliché). Unlike last weeks, when Wendy Craig shone as the dotty aunt, there really was not any standout guest part.

The murder and the coincidence which gave the person framed an alibi seemed rather contrived, and there was not that “aha” moment which one really wants in a locked room mystery. As usual, the surroundings, the sunny weather, gorgeous scenery, make it a must for brightening cold, wet and windy evenings, even when it is not at the top of its form.

“Call the Midwife” doesn’t seem to sound a duff note at all. I am so amazed that even after so many series the characters and the stories are so realistic, and so brilliantly brought to life. The nun (Cynthia) who was brutalised by a Russian sailor who had been attacking other women, and the way the elderly nun took care of her and bathed her, was one of the most moving scenes. As was her realisation that she was the only victim who could speak to the police, as the others all had fears and secrets to hide - "It was not a test of faith, but a test of strength". With a home birth with no midwife going wrong, and the attacks on women, this was certainly another fraught episode.

But I’ve noticed it is also leavened with a touch of humour, in this case, Doctor Turner and his family attempting to take a holiday in a couple of tents, one of which collapses, one of which leaks, and the youngest daughter’s fear of squirrels – “she’s even afraid of Squirrel Nutkin, and he’s only a fictional character in a book”- was just what was needed before it became intense again.

“The Night Manager” was one I wasn’t sure of, but the standout performances from Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie made for riveting television. The locations were exotic enough from Egypt to the Alps, but it was Tom Hiddleston who drew the attention, so suave and polite, while at the same time, starting to play a very dangerous game, and all the time, this palpable sense of a hotel in the dark hours of the night when most people have retired to their beds.

We’ve moved on from George Smiley and the Cold War here, and it is disposable mobile phone sims cards which can hold secrets about covert arms dealing and terror. Making the MI6 central character a woman was also a smart move by the adapter, and one that Le Carrée has approved.

I’m certainly looking forward to it next week, and to seeing what happens next. There is the sense that the main character may be found out, and that ratchets up the suspense. The glossy cinematography is a bonus, but it is with its characters and plot that this series will succeed.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ministerial Misinformation

Although Senator Green and the Council of Ministers agreed to withdraw the People’s Park from the list of options, it didn’t go to a vote. As the Minister noted:

“The Council was not divided but there was clearly pressure put on backbenchers by the campaign lobby. I can only apologise to people who did not have the chance to have their say."

This is not entirely the whole truth! While Senator Lyndon Farnham wanted the site to be kept in the consultation process, he also said he was opposed to it. The JEP also noted another unnamed Minister who was opposed. That is not precisely what I would understand as "not divided".

And there was a final bit of spin: “There were 5,000 Islanders against but 95,000 who had not yet shared their views.”. Well, there was nothing to stop those Islanders emailing the Council or setting up their own facebook group. But again, the Minister is being disingenuous. By including the whole population he is also including babies, toddlers, children under 16 without a vote. Speaking as a mathematician, that's a pretty low use of statistics.

The result meant that the Minister neatly sidestepped questions of cost, and in particular, how the dual site – put by way of comparison – had risen to £504 Million from £29 million in November 2014. That is a steep rate of inflation! I tend to agree with Deputy Richard Renouf who wanted a debate so that matters such as this could be addressed. It will be harder to get that without it.

So it is worth reprinting Jim Perchard’s letter below, which addresses the matter of costs. And looking back at the costs for the dual site, questions should also be asked.

According to the JEP, the Jersey General Hospital Manager, Helen O'Shea, said: "The Westmount Health Centre will include a fantastic new building where patients will be able to come for a single day and get all their diagnostic and outpatient appointments taken care of." So why did she change her mind? And when did she change it? Has she changed it since 2014 when she made that statement?

And this report “Re-design of Health and Social Services Scrutiny Report (S.R. 10/2014): Joint Response of the Minister for Health and Social Services and Minister for Treasury and Resources” is most interesting.

Of the dual site, we were told in gushing terms: “The Design Champion coordinated clinical engagement to test whether a dual site option was clinically safe and feasible. WS Atkins produced the SOC Addendum which reflected the dual site design developed by the Design Champion in consultation with clinicians.”

Are these the same clinicians who now think it is a bad thing? What made them change their minds so rapidly?

“The Ministerial Oversight Group Expert Panel identified a number of strengths and positive aspects of the health and social care transformation programme, including its focus on system change and progression towards a single patient record. It stated strong support for a new hospital, on dual sites,”

The Ministerial Oversight Group (MOG) was chaired by the Chief Minister, who in 2014 was none other than Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst. The project was described as being “consistent with best practice thinking internationally”. And Senator Ozouf and Deputy Pryke also supported a dual site as the best option in positive and enthusiastic terms. Are they now going to apologise for being wrong, or do they still support all the arguments they mustered?

And finally, we have also not been told who came up with the idea for the People’s Park. Senator Green says he cannot remember. That is extraordinary. Was it not minuted somewhere, or are we talking about a casual conversation in the General Don before it was rebranded as something green and pseudo-Irish?

Here's Jim Perchard's letter. I should note that I have not made up my mind on Overdale or the Waterfront, but have no problem letting Jim's views be known.

Ministerial Misinformation
by Jim Perchard

After the islands 2014 general election Senator Andrew Green was elected as our new Health Minister. He replaced a disappointed Deputy Anne Pryke, who made it clear during her election campaign that she had unfinished business at Health and Social Services (HSS). She, with her professional advisers, had developed and costed a detailed plan for a new hospital and she wanted to see the project through.

Only months before the elections, the then Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, to a fanfare of press releases, interviews and road-shows informed us that “£297 million will pay for the redevelopment of the existing hospital site and the extension of the Overdale Hospital”.

Deputy Pryke told us that “the plans would provide a safe, sustainable and affordable health care system for years to come." She informed us that the detailed costed plans included "8 new operating theatres", "new laboratory facilities", "a new accident and emergency department", "a refurbished maternity unit" and "single bedrooms with private bathrooms for everyone instead of old outdated wards”

The General Hospital Manager said: "The Westmount Health Centre will include a fantastic new building where patients will be able to come for a single day and get all their diagnostic and outpatient appointments taken care of."

I took the time to visit one of the road-show presentations and was informed that the two centre plans had been endorsed by the HSS senior management team, our hospital clinicians, the Treasury Minister and the Council of Ministers, Senator Ozouf informed us that the £297 Million required for the new hospital project would come from the strategic reserve. We were all systems go! The new two centre hospital project was to be delivered!

So what happened?  Well, Deputy Green was elected as Senator and was appointed Minister for HSS, he then exercised an extraordinary level of personal authority when deciding to discard Deputy Prykes detailed, costed plans and return everyone back to the drawing board.

This obvious failure of the Ministerial system now presents us with a new set of problems, to say the least! Where should a new hospital be sited? Can Jersey really afford this new price ticket, expected to exceed half a billion pounds?

I maintain that in these fragile economic times is it not prudent to spend at the levels being proposed by the Minister and it is certainly not sensible to build on treasured and extremely valuable “greenfield” land.

The public opposition to the plan to build on People’s Park cannot be ignored nor indeed can the impracticality, the long term implications and financial consequences of the proposal to build on the Waterfront. If Jersey’s economy is to prosper in the future, much will depend on a successful financial services centre and welcoming gateway to our Island.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Breaking Covenants

The Ministerial Decision of 15 February about breaking or abrogating a covenant is now receiving attention in the media.

La Motte Street School - former, St. Helier: Validation and Abrogation of Covenants (Jersey) Law 201-

To validate the use of land formerly known as the La Motte Street School and to abrogate certain restrictive covenants attaching to that land, and for connected purposes.

The preamble to the proposition states:

“There were 2 existing covenants contained within the contract by which the Public of the Island acquired the former La Motte Street School from the Parish of St. Helier on 25th September 1964. The covenants in effect require that the buildings and site on which they stand should be used in perpetuity for the religious instruction and education of infants and primary school aged children. The effect of abrogation would mean that the Public of the Island would be able to use, sell or lease the former La Motte Street School free from those covenants.”

It cites two clauses relating to the purpose of the school, and notes:

“The above-mentioned clauses of 1840 and 1926 respectively are no longer relevant to the provision of an education service in the Island. That has been reflected in previous decisions to cease operating a school from the site, and to exclude the property from the “Education (Jersey) Law 1999” as a “provided school”. Due to the passage of time and the passing of the original covenanters, the clauses are no longer considered to be enforceable.”

The principal argument is that the people who put in place the covenants are long since dead, so the covenants cannot be enforced legally.

Why is this small item important? I think it sets an important precedents which strengthen the way for the Council of Ministers to abrogate other restrictive covenants on the basis that the situations have changed. 

In particular, two spring to mind:

The Bellozane Covenant and the Sewage Charge
When the Bellozanne site was sold by the Parish of St Helier to the Public of the Island, a covenant was included, stipulating how waste should be received. The legal advice to the Committee is that it is implicit in this obligation to accept the refuse free of charge. The Committee has made preliminary investigations into the options for resolving this situation, and will negotiate with the Parish of St Helier to find a satisfactory way forward. This may incur some costs which cannot be quantified in advance of discussions with the Parish

But as Bailliwick Express reported:

"The 1952 sale of the Bellozanne site by the Parish of St Helier to the States included a clause that the States could never charge St Helier residents for waste disposal. But now, with a £10 million user-pays waste charge forming part of the plan to fill the £145 million deficit expected by 2019, TTS want to set that clause aside to get the charge set up.”

And in 2013, Simon Crowcroft, the Constable, made the position very clear:

“Just to put this one firmly to bed, the fact that the incinerator has moved to La Collette does not affect the covenant one jot. The Parish of St. Helier is still entitled, under the terms of the covenant, to deposit its refuse up at Bellozanne and it would have to be removed, processed by the people operating the incinerator, so the covenant is in very good fettle. It is not something that I have any control over either. It is a matter for the Parish Assembly and it has not been raised with me recently but if the Council of Ministers is anxious to have the covenant removed so that it can start charging for waste disposal, then it needs to come along to the Parish Assembly as, indeed, some Ministers are going to come to the Parish Assembly to ask us to allow a substation to be built on Parish land.”

The People’s Park Covenant
While the “People’s Park” is on the radar as a new hospital site, there is also a covenant on part of that site, as mentioned by Christian May:

“The land that comprises People's Park was gifted to the Parish of St Helier for the enjoyment of the residents and Islanders and is protected by legal covenant which can be found in the Jersey Archive. This is a protection that both Mary Ayling-Phillip and I have sought to apply in the past and remains very much in force. It would take a full Parish Assembly vote or a forced change in legislation by the States Assembly to remove it.”

Covenants and Housing
The report from 2009 “Achieving Affordable Housing as a Proportion of Private Housing Development” noted that:

“Covenants can be attached to a property to bind the property in perpetuity in respect of the discount at which it must be sold on.”

This was to prevent owners from property whose purchase was supported by the States selling it off at a profit, which sadly happened frequently in the past. And it noted:

“Jersey law does allow covenants in perpetuity”, quoting the law:

“Perpetual servitudes and restrictive covenants may be created in or over land which is described as le fonds serviant in favour of other land which is termed le fonds dominant.”

“Where … the purchaser and vendor … create new restrictive covenants or servitudes, the parties will … covenant specifically for themselves and their respective heirs, and if the covenants are intended to bind the land in perpetuity they will be à fin d’héritage.”

And in conclusion...

Why not use the school site as a centre for young people, for the Jersey Youth Service, when it would surely still be fulfilling an educational remit?

Monday, 22 February 2016

Can we have some real figures please?

Reading Between the Lines

Andrew Green responded to Christian May in a letter addressing some of the issues raised.. It is interesting to note what is unsaid as much as what is said, and read between the lines.

"I can confirm that the website was originally conceived in November 2015 at a time when Ministers were planning to engage in a different way. This was based on the fact that the People’s Park appeared to be a strong contender, but this was always subject to compensatory regeneration proposals that were still in development."

So what was the "different way" of engagement? As this is a reply to questions about why the People's Park was the primary image on the new hospital website, and on Twitter, and Facebook, we may safely conclude that the People's Park was not only "a strong contender" but also "the favoured option". The website, then, was designed to promote that at the expense of the other sites. It was biased.

And finally, the Council of Ministers has come out with The People's Park openly, after prevarication by the good Senator. I recall Senator Green on ITV when he stated he was not going to give a preferred option in case it might cause "bias"! And now they have! Why couldn't he be honest about it in the first place?

The Figures that Don't Add Up.

My preferred option for a new hospital is open at the moment, but either the Waterfront or Overdale, probably weighed towards the former.

My blog on costings from industry analysts shows figures across the UK

Having read a few accounts of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital, especially the claim that the development is "luxurious" yet, apparently seeming to offer impressive value compared to Jersey proposals, I would appreciate some sort of explanation for the differences.

While Jersey will be higher, we need a breakdown of costs.

Are fitting out costs being included (which are below the line same for all options)? How much is land purchase? And should the States have to pay for the Waterfront site which is essentially theirs anyway?

Anywhere which is not the People's Park will also have, as Ben Shenton noted, the old hospital site available, either for housing, or as an offset to costs.

We should certainly have some figures which allow us to see where the base cost comes in relation to Turner and Townsend's reports. At the moment all we have is a complete nonsense.

Well it would help if the unknowns were made clearer! I think it is an insult to the public to provide one figure, no breakdown, and hide behind a smokescreen of confidentiality.

The lack of information is why I can't make up my mind between Overdale and the Waterfront. Also the build on existing site doesn't as far as I can tell, involve the purchase of the hotels and Kensington place properties, which is ridiculous when the People's Park option does!

I think Andrew Green has probably got around 90% of support when it comes to needing a new hospital, that argument is not needed. What is needed is a closer look at the sites.

Valuations will be shared with Scrutiny and States members on a confidential basis, but not with the general public.

Part of the problem is a lack of trust and transparency. The Turner and Townsend's reports are an industry analyst report of construction costs of hospitals, including site preparation, and are not to do with land value.

I'd like to see that cost of a hospital build shown separately so we can all see what is base cost of build, and what is extra. That way we could at least see what how the base cost compares on a UK based comparison. As it stands, there is no data at all for comparisons, which has led to a number of people, not surprisingly, finding large hospitals at cheaper builds in the UK.

What I do not understand is the costings which include all kinds of extras over and above bare hospital builds, making any comparison with the UK almost impossible. I find it difficult to make an informed decision when the information is not forthcoming.

I don’t want to be told it is a good valuation, I want to see for myself, and at least have some idea for comparison with the UK. I don't want to be told that Scrutiny will check the figures. I want to see that the figures stack up for myself. Or at the very least, if in confidence, the figures given to people I can trust - Christian May - a lawyer, and Ben Shenton, a former States member with financial acumen.

If this means splitting off figures and giving separate details on basic hospital build, land and compensatory purchases, fitting out costs - at least we would have three figures, one of which would enable us to see value for money. If the figures include moneys raised by borrowing (and include interest payments), we should know that.

Compensation - When is a Promise not a Promise?

At present, we are told to take the figures on trust, and there is precious little of that. Chatting to an acquaintance, he mooted the view that if the People’s Park went ahead, the compensatory schemes might not because that is the point when we would be told the money had run out. There is no trust that they will be delivered, and that is hardly surprising when you consider that the promised Millennium Park was only passed by an oversight in misplacing a ring binder.

So I think is quite a widespread attitude: that the Council of Ministers is not trustworthy. The erosion of trust has come in degrees.

We had empty promises not to raise GST, followed by a GST rise. We had promises to have an inquiry into historical child abuse, followed by an attempt to renege on that promise. We had a Treasury Minister tell the Scrutiny that any talk of a black hole of 100 million was scaremongering, followed by a post election discovery that it was worse than it seemed. Would he have been re-elected had we known?

We have a pre-let promise on the Waterfront explained as a mistake, so that the scheme could go ahead. The way in which Scrutiny had to try to get information about the Jersey International Finance Centre was like pulling teeth. We had Tracy Valois taken into the Treasury Ministry, given nothing to do, but effectively silenced. (Of course once she resigned, suddenly all kinds of projects that were about to be given to her emerged!).

And we have collective responsibility gagging independent free votes. Can we have a free vote in the States on the People's Park? Do the Council of Ministers trust the States enough to allow that? If they don't, why on earth should we trust them?

And the list could certainly be extended, but basically it has meant an loss of faith in the Council of Ministers to be open, transparent, and honest with the public. It is extraordinary that the Chief Minister, acknowledging the unpopularity of the Council of Ministers, suggests that poor communication is the cause, and better PR could turn matters around, rather than being more open and honest!

If that is the case, they had better employ Alistair Campbell to talk the public into the People’s Park, using the dark arts of spin. Or alternatively, they could just try to be more open and honest, and less like politicians whose bedtime reading is obviously Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”

Sunday, 21 February 2016

40 days and 40 items - Easter Appeal

It's not the first day of Lent, but it is not too late to start this appeal, which was sent to me by Catriona Fern which I have put below.

In terms of giving, we feel so insignificant, but I think that's because we can't see the full picture. In the aftermath on 9/11, the late Stephen Jay Gould wrote this:

"Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ''ordinary'' efforts of a vast majority."

Why not add to the total acts of kindness, and follow this appeal?


Love Thy Neighbour is a small local Christian charity that provides help and support to the long term homeless, the poor and those in need in our community.

We often receive donations of all types of items from kind members of the public (clothes, books, toys, household items etc) that we pass on to those in need, or occasionally sell to raise much needed funds for our charity.

Today, the first day of lent, we are asking if any members of the public would like to take part in our appeal and place one item (not just clothes as anything would be appreciated, no matter how small) aside for each of the forty days of lent and to gift them to our charity at the end of this period, so that we can expand the help that we are able to offer to those less fortunate?

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Memories of Sea and Shore

My thanks to Horatius Bonar (1808-89) who provided the pattern for this poem with his well known hymn, from which I kept a few of the lines as well as the basic rhyming beat. This is not an overtly religious poem, although I find the beauty of the sea and shore evokes feelings of awe and wonder.

Memories of Sea and Shore

I heard the sound of sea and spray
Coming onto rocks to rest
Crashes on the rocks, and falling down
And my heart beats in my breast
The joys of childhood so it was
Now weary, worn and sad
But I walk back to memory place
The high tide makes me glad

I heard the sound of sea and spray
And rocks that never give
As breaking waves, just one by one
Crash down, and make me live
Of memory past, so deep I drank
Of that life-giving stream
With you beside me, joys revived
As music of a hymn

I heard the sound of sea and spray
And in the dark, beams light
That from the lighthouse shall arise
And shining forth so bright
I watched at dawn, and there I found
The rising glow of sun
And now together here we’ll walk
Till travelling days are done

Friday, 19 February 2016

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 2

Another section from the Guide Book of 1834.

The so-called Druidical Temple mentioned by the guide book was actually a Neolithic stone circle, which was given to Governor Conway and is now a listed site in England. Like the Elgin marbles, it is lost from its homeland and is never likely to be repatriated, which is a shame, as it was certainly quite spectacular.

The Theatre mentioned is Jersey's previous main theatre, the Theatre Royal in Royal Crescent, Saint Helier, which burnt down on 31 July 1863. It had only opened a few years before the guide book, on 5 May 1828. After it was burnt down, it took two years for a new theatre to be built: Henry Cornwall opened the Royal Amphitheatre in Gloucester Street - our current "Opera House" on 17 April 1865.

Notice the Post Office in St Helier was in Minden Place. Anthony Trollope was sent to the Channel Islands in 1851, and he introduced pillar boxes for posting letters, first in Jersey and Guernsey as a pilot scheme. Up until then, you could take mail to a post office (when it was open), and a postman could collect your mail when he delivered it, but there was no indirect means of posting mail. For more details on how pillar boxes were introduced see my posting here:

Gallows Hill is mentioned in the book. Until the 19th century, hangings were carried out on Westmount or Mont-Patibulaire (gallows hill) [Jèrriais: Mont ès Pendus (hill of the hanged men)] in Saint Helier. The last such execution was carried out on 3 October 1829, when Phillipe Jolin was hanged for murder, just five years before the guide book was written! After than public executions took place outside the prison in Saint Helier until 1905. Capital punishment was abolished by the Homicide (Jersey) Law 1986 in relation to the offence of murder and by the Genocide (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 1987 in relation to the offence of genocide.

There are a good many lodges! Some functioned as friendly societies whereby for a monthly due, payment for visits to doctor's surgeries or call outs would be taken care off. The British Unity Society Sick Club no longer exists, but the Oddfellows is still going strong, and anyone in good health can join and make monthly payments for free doctor's surgery visits. It is surprising that more people don't know about it.

Details can be found at:

The St Helier Fire Brigade was inaugurated on 1 January 1902 and originally consisted of Chief Officer, Captain Howard Eady, a second officer, foreman and 12 firemen - all volunteers. Before that, as can be seen in this Guide Book, Town Fire Engines are kept at the Engine House, near the Town Church and keys to them held by the Constable and Centeniers of St Helier. This would have been horse drawn, and manned by manual pumping action!

The Jersey Militia was very strong, as we see here - "Every inhabitant, from the age of seventeen to sixty-five, bears arms, either as an officer or a private". In the First World War, 6,292 Jerseymen who had Militia training went to fight in the trenches.

Compulsory schooling was into introduced around 1900, so the many Sunday schools mentioned here not only taught their faith, but also reading and writing.

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 2

Fort Regent, Mont de la Ville, or the Town Hill, rises more than one hundred and fifty feet above high-water mark, at the South end of St. Helier.

When it was private property, there were gardens to its summit; it was purchased by Government for the sum of eleven thousand, two hundred and eighty-six pounds sterling, as a site of a fortress which was finished about the year one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, and deemed impregnable.

It is built of granite, is bomb proof and covers more than four acres of ground. It is affirmed that the most powerful fleet would be annihilated by its guns. There is room within its walls for five thousand men; all that human art and strength could do, appear to have been called into service, to render this fortification inaccessible.

Store houses are hewn out in the solid rock for the ammunition ; —the well, from which the Garrison is supplied with water, is two hundred and thirty-three feet deep, one hundred and ninety-five feet of which is bored through the solid stone. A dozen men can raise the water into cisterns, by means of a forcing pump, and they can bring up about six thousand gallons per day.

This Citadel is said to have cost upwards of a million sterling; the prospect from it, seaward, is magnificent, and includes a vast labyrinth of rocks, called the Violet Bank, which runs round the South-East corner of the Island. In such scenes as these the enthusiasm of the Poet cannot but be awakened.

As on the ocean's shelvy shore,
He listens to its solemn roar;
Beset with awful wonders round.
Whilst sea-birds scream with grating sound;
And then the moon bursts from a cloud,
Majestic, fair, sublime and proud.

A signal-post, which communicates with others in the Island, gives information of every vessel which arrives.

In levelling the surface of the Town Hill, in 1785, a Druidical Temple was discovered, which the States presented to Marshal Conway, who removed it to his seat, at Park-place, in Berkshire.

Theatre.—This edifice has been lately erected at the East end of the Town, and stands in the centre of a crescent, a row of buildings very ornamental to the upper part of the Town, which for internal accommodation and external appearance, is surpassed .;in very few places, of the like magnitude, in England.

The Stage should he to life a faithful glass,
Reflecting modes and manners as they pass;
If these appear extravagant to view,
Blame not the Drama, the reflection's true.

The Literary And Scientific Institution was established in 1831, and now consists of between fifty and sixty members. It meets in its own hall every Tuesday evening, when a Lecture is given, and discussion on the subject of it follows. By a recent law, there are four Public Meetings in the year, besides the Anniversary; and by a still more recent bye-law, the Lecturer for the evening is allowed the disposal (if he pleases) of twenty-five tickets. The Society has a rising museum and apparatus. Last summer, under its direction, an exhibition of paintings, ancient and modern, was opened in the hall. The present office-bearers of the Society are

Mr. SINGER, President. Mr. INGLIS, Vice-President. Col. TOUZEL, Treasurer. Mr. SAUNDERS, Secretary.


On either hand,
Like a long wintry forest, groves of masts
Shot up their spires ; the bellying sheet between
Possess'd the breezy void.
The boat, light skimming, stretch'd its oary wings,
The roaring vessel rushed into the main.'

Harbour.—Beneath the Fort, on the South-West side, is a spacious Harbour, more than a quarter of a mile in length. It has a convenient Quay on each side, and will hold from three to four hundred vessels; it is unfortunately dry at low water; the tide rises at times, at the mouth, to from forty to: fifty feet.

A spacious Quay has been recently erected, at an enormous expense, running from the upper end of the Pier, near the Town, in a straight line along the water, towards Mont Patibulaire, or Gallows Hill. This commodious Quay is one of the most delightful Promenades in the Island, possessing an admirable marine Southerly view. It is intended to erect Houses or Warehouses along its line.

Post Office—Mr. G. W. Le Geyt, Post Master, appointed by the Post Master General.—The Office is situated in Minden Place, is open every day in the week from nine in the morning until nine in the evening, excepting the hours of Divine Service on Sundays.

The Mails are conveyed by His Majesty's Post Office Steam Packets, and arrive every Sunday and Thursday; are made up Monday and Friday evenings, and depart Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The box is shut at nine, but Papers are admitted for a penny, letters for two pence, and the mail entirely closed at eleven o'clock.

Delivery of Papers for public Offices, Clubs, Reading Rooms, and Letters on the public service, half an hour, and all others, an hour and a half after the arrival of the bags at the Office. Papers and Letters are delivered in Town gratis, but in the Country are charged one penny each.

Papers from England come free, as likewise Letters franked by Ministers of the Crown :—but the franking privilege of Parliament does not extend to the Islands, hence such Letters are chargeable with full postage from the place at which they are deposited ; nor will Petitions, addressed to either House, go to the Members of Parliament free of postage.

Letters cannot be franked from the Island. Papers are free to and from Guernsey, but to any part of Great Britain and Ireland they are charged three pence, and to the Colonies one penny half-penny.

The Clerks of the Foreign Post Office charge ten shillings and sixpence per quarter for forwarding Jersey Papers to France, the United Netherlands, Brazil, Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, Chile and Peru.

The Royal Court of Jersey has no jurisdiction over His Majesty's Post Office, although Letters containing money have been attached for debt by its Sheriffs. By a warrant from one of the principal Secretaries of State, Letters may be detained and opened; but if any person shall wilfully detain or open a Letter delivered to the' Post Office, without such authority, he shall forfeit twenty pounds, and be incapable of having any future employment in the Post Office. All complaints must be addressed to the Secretary, Sir Francis Freeling.

Lodges—Mechanical Lodge—Held at Miller's Royal Yacht Club Hotel and New London Tavern, every month.

Farmer's Lodge—Held at Godfrey's Kent Coffee House, Halkett-street, first Monday evening, every month.

Irish Lodge—Held at Strout's Navy and Friends, Waterloo-street, first Tuesday evening, every month.

Odd Fellows Lodge—Held at Godfrey's Kent Coffee House, Halkett-street, every Tuesday.

British Unity Society Sick Club—Held at Strout's Navy and Friends, every first Thursday in the month.

Banks—Old Bank—Messrs. Godfrey & Co., Royal-Square. Commercial Bank—Janvrin, Durell, De Veulle and Co. Jersey Banking Company—Messrs. Nicolle, De Sainte Croix, D'Auvergne, Le Quesne and Co., Broad-street.

Country Bank—Messrs. Gibaut, Falla, Alexandre, Le Quesne and Co., 60, New-street.: Their Notes are payable only in the Island, and its currency—These Banks drawn on London and Paris. The rate of exchange varies according to circumstances; it is usually on London from seven to eight per cent.

There are several smaller Banks in the Island which issue Notes equally guaranteed, agreeably to an Act of the States. —Bills are discounted by usurers according to risk, at from 1\ to 5 per Month I As the only interest of money recognized by law is 5 per cent per annum, borrowers may be discharged from their liabilities, by compelling lenders to action them before the Court for payment.

National School.—Patron—His Ex. Maj. Gen. Thornton.
President—Right Rev. Charles Rd. Lord Bishop of Winchester.
Acting President—The Very Rev. the Dean of Jersey.
Treasurer—Clement De Quetteville, Esq.
Secretary—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.

St. Helier's Parochial Sunday School.—Patron— The Right Reverend, the Lord Bishop of Winchester.
President—The Very Reverend, the Dean of Jersey.
Acting President—The Rev. the Rector of St. Helier's.
Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.
Church Missionary Association—(Jersey District)— Ph. Marrett, jun., Esq., Treasurer; Rev. P. Filled, Secretary. St. Rubin's Branch, formed July, 1824.
Rev. P. Filleul, President; Ph. Marrett, jun., Esq., Treasurer; J. Gallichan, Esq., R. N., Secretary.

St. Helier's Ladies' Branch, formed 25th August, 1824.
Mrs. Verner,' Secretary; Mrs. J. Le Couteur, Treasurer.

District Committee Of The Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge.—Patron—The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Winchester.
President—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.
Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.
Secretary—Rev. Edward Falle.

Female Auxiliary Bible Society—Patron—Right Honourable Lord Teignmouth.—Patroness—Lady Teignmouth. —President—Mrs. General Le Couteur.—Treasurer—H. Goron.—Secretaries—C. E. Bedford and C. Pipon.

Benevolent Society.—Treasurer—Mr. Peter Pequin of Sand-street.—Secretaries—Messrs. J. Anthoine, Francis Guiton, jun., and A. Giffard.

Philanthropic Society.—Patron—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.—President—Sir Thomas Le Breton, Knt.—Vice-Presidents—The Very Rev. Dr. Hue, Dean, and Philip R. Lempriere, Esq.—Treasurer—Thomas Lempriere, Esq.—Physicians—Drs. Hooper and Brohier.—Secretaries— Messrs. M. Tate, New-street, and W. Saunders, Druggist, King-street.

Seaman's Friend Society And Bethel Union.—President—Capt. George Le Geyt, R. N.—Treasurer—Lieutenant Sainthill, R. N.—Secretary—Mr. J. Robertson, R. N.

We have now mentioned many of the charitable Institutions, we cannot avoid stating that that useful Establishment the National School consists of about two hundred boys and one hundred and fifty girls, who are taught to read and write, and the first elements of arithmetic, with the addition in the female department, of plain needle work.

The Parochial Sunday School contains three hundred boys and girls. There is also an Infant School into which children are admitted from two to six years of age.

She feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want Bit smiling at the gate;
Her portioned maids, apprenticed orphans blest,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick ?—her hospital relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes and gives.

Town Fire Engines are kept at the Engine House, near the Town Church. Keys are kept, one by the Constable, one by each of the Centeniers, one at the Guard House, and one at Mr. James Bosdet's, Vine-street.

Custom House.—This building is a private house, situated well for the interests of commerce, being contiguous to the Quay, in the central part of Bond-street. It is neither! remarkable for external appearance nor internal arrangements Its officers are :—J. Durell, Esq., Principal; Mr. Joseph Ridder, Comptroller; Mr. H. Warne, Waiter, Searcher, and Surveyor of British Shipping; James Hardy and Joseph Beaton, Boatmen.

Harbour Masters.—Mr. J. Lerrier, for St. Helier's; Mr F.J. Luce, St. Aubin's, and Mr. Philip Bertram, Mont Orgueil

Foreign Vice-consuls.—Matthew Amiraux, Esq., for Sweden and Norway; Mr. P. J. Simon, for France; Nicholas Le Quesne, Esq., for Portugal; Mr. John Moisson, jun., for the Netherlands and Spain ; A. De Ste.-Croix, Esq., for Prussia; J. De Ste.-Croix, Esq., for Hanover.

Agent For Lloyds.—Thomas Mallet, Esq., Colomberie.
Royal Greenwich Hospital.—Mr. P. Warne, Receiver.
His Majesty's Receivers.—H. Touzel and Matthew Amiraux, Esqrs.

Collectors Of Duties On Wines And Spirits.— Messrs. Edward Nicolle and Ph. Le Geyt—Auditor—Mr. Peter Warne.

Inspector Of Strangers And Granter Of Passports. —Colonel Touzel, Government office, St. Saviour's.

Agents To The Fire And Life Assurance Companies. —Sun, Fire and Life office, Mr. J. Le Ber, 18, Royal Square.—Royal Exchange office, J. Benest, Esq., 5, Bond street.—Alliance office, P. Godfray, Esq., 25, Royal Square. —Phoenix, Fire and Life office, Mr. M. Tate, New-street.— Norwich Union office, Mr. P. Durell, 61, New-street.—West of England office, Mr. C. Kernot, 25, Halkett-place.—County Fire office, and Provident Life office, Mr. N. Westaway, 24, Don-street.—British Life office, Mr. D. Vonberg, Broad-street, —British Commercial Life office, Mr. C. Thoreau, jour.—Promoter, Life office, E. Marrett, Esq., Church

European, Life office, Mr. M. Amy, Queen-street.—Eagle, Life office, Mr. J. Blampied, Broad-street.

Staff.—His Excellency Major General Thornton, C. B.; Colonel Touzel, Military Secretary; Major Fraser, Fort Major and Adjutant.

Ordnance Department.—Commanding Royal Engineers, Lieut-Col. Lewis; Commanding Officer Royal Artillery; Captain Haultain ; Clerk of the works, Mr. John R. Mills; Clerk, Mr. Bethel ; Overseer, Mr. John Le Sueur; Storekeeper, J. Hammond, Esq.; Master Gunner of Elizabeth Castle, Mr. Buckley; Master Gunner of Fort Regent, Mr. K. Fowler; Master Armourer, Mr. J. Tait; Surgeon, R. Cooke, Esq., M. D.; Barrack Master, Captain R. Treeve.

Royal Jersey Militia.—The Royal Jersey Militia consists of five regiments of Infantry, formed into six battalions. To each battalion is attached a company of Artillery. The Artillery companies are, upon occasions of exercise, formed into a battalion, which is armed with 24-pounders light, divided into six batteries. The whole is armed and clothed in uniform by Government, but do not receive pay.

Every inhabitant, from the age of seventeen to sixty-five, bears arms, either as an officer or a private.

The Militia Staff consists of an Inspector and assistant Inspectors, who are the Adjutants of their respective corps; the whole Island force is under strict regulations, but though the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor appoints the officers, and has this force entirely under his own command, yet all complaints against individuals are judged and punished by the Royal Court.

Shipping.—The commerce of the Island has increased in so great a degree since the peace, that it now employs upwards of two hundred and twenty vessels of various dimensions, belonging to the merchants and inhabitants of Jersey, calculated at between twenty and twenty-five thousand tons, besides upwards of sixty thousand tons of English and Foreign vessels, that annually enter the harbours of the Island.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Is Les Quennevais Precinct a lost cause?

The newsagent at Les Quennevais Precinct has been gone for a while now. At first it was the JEP's Pickwicks, then sold off and taken over as a Spar shop, and finally rebranded as Cost-Cutters, it has gone leaving two windows and door empty. Next door was Shoestring, which vanished a year ago and is also empty.

On the opposite side, the Corner Coffee Shop shut its doors last year, along with the next door butcher, and a little further down, the Barber in Color has letters falling from its fascia, and the HTL Computer Shop shut up shop at Christmas.

And at the back, the old Reegil Electrics shop, rebranded to a Tech Store, also closed its doors. Further down is a shop that has been closed for so long there is no trace of what it once was.

Back in the 1970s, I remember when it was a thriving square. Where Iceland is was a supermarket called “Grandfare”. There was a butcher, a fresh fruits and vegetable shop, a shoe shop, Roosters café / takeaway, the Hot Bread Shop, Panico’s Toy shop, and several banks (now there is only NatWest).

The high rents seem to drive traders away, but surely the landlord must be aware of that? Are there plans afoot to sell off the entire precinct to a third party, a new landlord? Obviously, empty shops would make the sale that much easier as there would be no sitting tenants. As it stands, there are a large number of shops which just sit empty. They are not even let out at peppercorn rent as charity shops!

I'm only a jobbing writer for a Parish Magazine, not an investigative journalist, and I don't have the accreditation to get in touch with the landlord (which was I believe KAV Jersey Limited) and ask searching questions. I notice that in November 2013, the JEP ran with this story:

"SHOP owners at Les Quennevais precinct have warned that high rents may force further closures unless the landlords offer more help to independent businesses."

"Passion and the Health Store have already shut their doors in recent months and some other independent traders have suggested that they may have to do the same if something is not done to combat their vast overheads"

Isn't it time the JEP or BBC revisited this question, and asked (and made public) questions of the landlords, and looked at what is really a scandalous situation?

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Money going to waste

The Jersey and Guernsey credit ratings have been downgraded for the first time from AA+ to AA by international credit rating agency Standard and Poor's. The agency blamed rising regulatory complexity and greater focus on low tax regimes by the G10 on the drop. (ITV News)

The document was evidently written before the budget for the new hospital, because it shows awareness of increased capital spend but not on that project:

"While we expect the government will continue to stabilize its state budget position over the next three years, we forecast that higher capital expenditure (mostly for a liquid waste facility) might contribute to delaying a return to surpluses until 2019, in line with our previous forecasts."

It also notes:

“After the introduction of a general sales tax in 2008, we expect further tax/fee increases would likely help if the fiscal gap were to widen”

Part of this is clearly linked to their note on the capital expenditure on the liquid waste facility, by which they mean a replacement sewage treatment plant, and probably also upgrading the sewage network, and for which the Minister for Infrastructure is trying to bring in a sewage charge.

This can be seen by examining details in the 29 Jul 2013 Waste Water Strategy which is a very good report on the problems with existing and very aged plant.

This notes Potential funding sources including:

• direct taxation (as currently);
• borrowing
• infrastructure charges to be levied on Developers (for which we have seen nothing!)
• direct customer billing for Sewerage and Drainage Services (as proposed in the Medium Term Plan)
• a combination of the above (potentially introduced in phases)

There is also Funding the Sewer Network Upgrade. The report notes costs of £135 million over 20 years:

“TTS has recently secured additional funding in the form of the Infrastructure Capital Programme for asset replacement, which contributes towards the provision of funding for rising mains, sewers and pumping stations. In order to meet the priorities and achieve sustainable management of the waste water for the next 20 years, investment in the infrastructure capital programme of approximately £135 million or £6.75m per annum over the 20 year plan period will be required to maintain or improve the levels of service and environmental status.”

This works out at an average yearly cost per property of approximately £170, allowing for the projected development, but not assuming any commercial income. The expenditure is a significant increase on recent levels, where the service provided has been funded directly from taxation. “

And on funding the Replacement of Bellozanne STW, it says:

“To enable Bellozanne STW to be replaced in the shortest possible timescale, additional funding would need to be secured, which would be a significant addition to the current allocated Infrastructure Capital Programme funding over the next 5 years. The estimated total project cost for the replacement of Bellozanne STW, including the relocation of the Clinical Waste Incinerator, is £75million, based on 2012 prices. This estimate is based on the feasibility outline design work completed to date, with the new Bellozanne STW being designed and constructed as a conventional activated sludge plant with carbonaceous BOD removal to achieve a BOD / SS standard together with Ultra-violet disinfection of the effluent. “

And it warns:

“This additional funding required for the new STW will either have to be funded by additional borrowing or direct taxation”

In fact, the contract has now been accepted by Doosan Enpure, as their website states:

“Doosan Enpure has been confirmed as the main contractor for a £50m replacement of the Bellozanne sewage treatment works (STW) in St Helier, which serves the Island of Jersey and is operated by States of Jersey Transport and Technical Services (T&TS).”

“The contract has been awarded on the basis of a framework agreement which will have two distinct packages of work. The first package is for a period of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) to develop the concept design followed by a second package to Design and Build (D&B) the new replacement STW.”

The contract is awarded for £50m, so it will be interesting to see if any extra expenses of £75m are incurred - that was the original amount budgeted in the Waste Strategy document.

Regarding the sewage charge, this is being held back by legal obstacles, as reported in the Bailiwick Express:

“St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft has vowed to fight a move by the Infrastructure department (formerly known as TTS) to set aside a legal agreement from 1952 that prevents the States charging St Helier residents for the disposal of waste.”

“The sale of the Bellozanne site by the Parish of St Helier to the States for the old incinerator included a clause that the States could never charge St Helier residents for waste disposal. But now, with a £10 million user-pays waste charge forming part of the plan to fill the £145 million deficit expected by 2019, the Infrastructure department wants to set that clause aside to get the charge set up.”

“If evenly divided between all Island households, the charge per home would be £223 per year.”

One question is whether it will be divided between all households, or whether it will be collected on an apportioned rates basis. We have no details yet, but this is the year in which the details not given last year were promised (alongside the health charge).

The move to indirect additional taxes – commonly referred to as “stealth taxes” because they usually present themselves rather deceitfully as “charge” rather than a “tax” – means Islanders will be worse off in 2016 as these taxes bite.

It is also not clear what scale of charges will be levied on businesses, but here is actually an opportunity to gain additional revenue from those businesses that pay no tax under zero / ten, and as a sewage tax, it could be levied using manpower returns to proportionately allocate a charge without breaching EU guidelines.