Friday, 16 December 2016

In the News: The Last Months of 1977

In the News: 1977

Some stories from November and December 1977.

St Ouen’s Manor Changes Hands.

All change at St Ouen’s Manor in November 1977, when the Jurats appointed to conduct the financial affairs of Mr. Reginald Malet de Carteret, the disputed owner of St. Ouen's Manor, suggested the possibility of an arrangement between him and his elder brother Philip.

The dispute ended with Mr. Philip Malet de Carteret becoming the Seigneur of St. Ouen's Manor, taking the title which went to his younger brother Reginald on the death of his father. The dispute which has split one of the oldest families in the Island is virtually settled following a Royal Court case concerning Reginald's finances and his need to sell the manor.

In December, nearly 100 vergees of farmland owned by Mr. Reginald Malet de Carteret, who at the time was shortly to hand over the Seigneurship of St. Ouen to his elder brother, was up for sale by tender.

Tax Haven Jersey

In 1976 James Callaghan had succeeded to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on the surprise resignation of Harold Wilson. The Labour government intensified its scrutiny of taxation and tax havens, and a Labour Party sub-Committee was set up to embark on a two-year investigation of taxation - and Jersey was to come under its scrutiny - the first of many such reviews.

Pensioner’s Christmas Bonus

In November, Senator Jim Scriven asked the States to pay a £20 Christmas bonus to Jersey's old age pensioners, and he lodged an amendment to Deputy Bobby Smale's £10 proposal.

Deputy Brian Troy wanted a Christmas bonus to also be given to widows and those in receipt of disability or attendance allowances, as well as to old-age pensioners.

But when the vote came early December, it was decided that Jersey's old-age pensioners would not get a Christmas bonus in 1977.

The possibility of an island-wide strike in protest at the States decision was being considered. But instead, a rally and march in protest at the States decision not to give pensioners a £10 Christmas bonus was mounted by the Transport and General Workers Union on December 13.

About 2,000 Islanders took part in the march from People's Park to the Royal Square in protest at the States decision not to pay pensioners a £10 Christmas bonus.

The Trade Unions stepped in to help, and in December Transport Union official Mr. Rene Liron said he would be handing out £10 notes to old-age pensioners on a first come, first served basis. The money would go to the first 80 old people who arrive at his New Street office by 10 am.

But the pot increased to £1,000, so that at least 100 pensioners received a £10 at the at the TGWU offices in New Street.

As the year drew to a close, moves were being made by States members to secure a regular Christmas bonus for Jersey's old-age pensioners, starting in 1978. This came to pass.

Now, of course, it has been restricted to be means tested, after nearly being scrapped. Plus ca change!

Care Homes under Scrutiny

Old people were also the subject of an investigation when letters calling for help have been dropped from upstairs windows at an old people's home, according to information passed to Deputy Arthur Carter. The claim was just part of a catalogue of stories of ill-treatment and bad conditions in some of the Island's private homes, licensed by the States.

Every member of the Public Health Committee was given a copy of Deputy Arthur Carter's list of complaints about Jersey's private old people's homes. "And if they don't like it, I will give a copy to every Member of the States," said Deputy Carter.

Traffic and Parking problems in Town

There is nothing new under the sun, as parking is lost to the waterfront development. St. Helier had no more parking space now than it had in 1971 said the Constable, Peter Baker. Extra space created by the building of car parks had been cancelled out by the loss of other areas. Mr Baker told the States that more needed to be done and described Jersey’s traffic problems as “St Helier’s Problems”

Meanwhile, plans for a comprehensive road improvement scheme in the town, including a second tunnel under Fort Regent, were scrapped.

I wonder how long it is before the "sunken road" idea currently on the development agenda is also quietly scrapped.

Peak Tourism

In December, Jersey's Tourism industry had "just about reached its peak," the Tourism Committee's president Senator Clarence Dupre told representatives of the British travel trade in London. He told tour operators, transport managers and travel trade journalists that Jersey's tourism figures have this year been five or six per cent up on 1976, with 800,000 British visitors and 300,000 from the Continent.

Back in those days, the Island's population almost doubled in the summer months, and there were plentiful hotels and small guest houses.

Law and Order

In November, it was decided that the two States Police Officers suspended from duty since last May, while allegations of perjury were investigated, were not to be charged.

A man died in November after he was hit by a car near the Bay View Hotel, St. Aubin's Road. This was the sixth road death in the Island this year.

The Assistant Magistrate, Mr. R. J. Short, criticized the management of a Le Riches supermarket for pressing a charge of shoplifting against a 78-year-old woman.

A former assistant head waiter at the Hotel de France was been charged with murdering his wife.

A 17-year-old youth who went to the La Collette area of St. Helier to attack homosexuals, yesterday asked the Royal Court if he could he birched instead of being sent to Borstal.

In early December at least three States departments and the Crown Office were interested in the status of a private school in Trinity which soon became the subject of a CID investigation. A complaint was made to the CID that students at Greylands School, housed in Highfield Hotel on the Route d'Ebenezer, had not been receiving adequate tuition. Police officers were now waiting for the students to provide documentation. -

Later in the month three pupils were removed from Greylands, the private hoarding school in Trinity, and taken into the care of the Children's Department. The children aged 14, 15 and 17 were foreign students staying at the Highfield Hotel, Trinity.

Some of the children at Greylands the private school based in a Trinity hotel, were within the ages of statutory education it was disclosed. The Director of Education, Mr. John Rodhouse, informed the school proprietors that he wished to know about the educational programme of these children if they were attending the school next term

Five people were taken to Police Headquarters in late December for drink driving tests - and most of them had been involved in road accidents.

The States Music Adviser, 41-year-old Derek Walters, was jailed for three months for publishing an obscene libel. Walters, of Waterloo Street, St. Helier, admitted two charges of showing two 14-year-old boys obscene magazines - magazines described in Court as "exceptionally filthy."

A horde of petrol bombs was been found in a derelict cottage at First Tower following CID investigations, and a 14-year-old youth was been interviewed, and the matter has been referred to HM Attorney General, Mr. V. A. Tomes. An early arrest was expected.

And a 15-year-old youth was also charged with manufacturing an explosive device. The youth is alleged to have unlawfully and maliciously manufactured an explosive device with intent to use it to endanger life or cause danger to property.

And Finally... New Year Honours

Two Jersey residents feature in the New Year Honours List for 1978. They were the Chief Officer of the States Police Force, Mr. Edward Cockerham, who becomes the first Jersey police officer to be awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Distinguished Service and Lt.-Cdr. Philip Le Marquand, who is made a member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the Sea Cadet Corps.

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