Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Panorama: TV Review

Panorama Review

Having seen the spotlight shine into the darker crevasses of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Panorama last night took a look at the Church of England.

I was very impressed by Bishop Alan (Bishop of Buckingham) but I thought Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells. came across as slippery as Michael Howard in that celebrated encounter with Jeremy Paxman. He evaded a question on numbers again and again, and took refuge in generalities.

A few tweets in response to the programme:

Jeremy Pemberton@canonjpemberton: Impression of @BBCPanorama was STILL that the response of @churchofengland is not victim/survivor centred, but is about protecting the institution. Thank God for @alantlwilson

Richard Scorer: “There was a lot of massaging (of numbers) going on at the centre, it was deeply suspect”. Damning comments about Church of England’s Past Cases Review of clerical sex abuse allegations from @alantlwilson in today’s @BBCPanorama

A Better Way Ahead

And finally a recent publication is also worth noting as pointing to a better way ahead:

In recent years churches have found themselves all but overwhelmed by safeguarding concerns and allegations of abuse. Rosie Harper and Alan Wilson – who share almost seventy years of pastoral ministry – have listened with increasing dismay to many of the people who have had seriously damaging experiences within the Church. To Heal and Not to Hurt presents 15 narrative examples of these experiences, and examines the deep institutional roots of the abusive attitudes that caused them and the Church’s often equally damaging responses. 

It concludes with the suggestion of a calm, reasoned, and practical basis on which the Church could shape a more adequate and sustainable policy of prevention and response. Rosie Harper is the vicar of Great Missenden, chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, and a Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. Alan Wilson is the Bishop of Buckingham

Here are some snippets of reports on the TV programme:

Two former Bishops of Lincoln failed to act at the time when informed of alleged abuse, BBC Panorama has found. The BBC investigation also revealed the names of 53 Lincoln Diocese clergy and staff were passed to police - amid concerns about the handling of past abuse allegations - years after they could have been. The eventual police investigation led to three people being convicted.

The Church of England's Past Cases Review was announced in 2007 but Lincolnshire Police was not told about the 53 names - some, but not all of which, related to child abuse allegations - until 2015.

The Church of England had told its dioceses they were not expected to examine files relating to dead clergy as part of the review, nor to talk to survivors of abuse.


Church of England leaders allegedly 'turned a blind eye' to child abuse claims against a teacher who was allowed to move to an Anglican school in Papua New Guinea despite facing child sex assault claims, an investigation has revealed. Neither Lincoln Cathedral School nor Lincoln Diocese informed the police at the time and they only heard 45 years later, BBC Panorama found.

Griffiths admitted abusing six boys at Lincoln Cathedral School last year, and was sentenced to six years and seven months in prison.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Chamberlain, Bishop of Grantham and now lead bishop on safeguarding for the Diocese of Lincoln, told BBC Panorama: 'The Diocese of Lincoln wishes to acknowledge that past matters have not been handled well. The diocese is committed to learn from its mistakes. I am very sorry that it took so long for justice to be served. Our safeguarding team have developed an effective partnership with Lincolnshire Police, working together on Operation Redstone.


The Dean of Lincoln The Very Reverend Christine Wilson said: "The conviction of Roy Griffiths recognises the appalling crimes he perpetrated while in a position of trust and responsibility at the then Cathedral School. On behalf of the cathedral, I want to say that I am truly sorry that these matters have only now been brought to justice. It is deeply shameful that those who were abused have had to spend most of their lifetime dealing with the aftermath of the abuse perpetrated against them.”


The Church Times reported in the past week that two senior members of staff at Lincoln Cathedral, the Dean and the Canon Chancellor, have 'stepped back' temporarily from their roles while a historic safeguarding matter, thought to involve vulnerable adults, is investigated.


Panorama has also interviewed Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding.

He told the programme: “The Church is very clear that we’re aware that we’ve failed and I hope that we are increasingly transparent. We take this now very seriously. It will be my hope as we go forward I hope it will be increasingly understood that if survivors and victims of abuse wish to come forward, what they need is a response from a church that is compassionate, that is fair, that is appropriate, and that is swift.”

However, when pressed by Panorama on how many past abuse cases have been reported to the Church of England, he was unwilling to give figures.

He said: “We’re building an ongoing picture between years to see how many cases we’re looking at, what sort of cases they are. Looking at an overall number isn’t, I don’t think, the most helpful way. Those numbers are being brought together at the moment, they will go to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, they will be made public.”


Saturday, 27 April 2019



Beltane comes, the burning day
The time of fire, bonfires blaze
This is the one true pagan way
Burning brightly, does amaze

Come fire of justice, fire of hope
Come fire of passion, fire of love
I walk the hillside, clime the slope
And see the embers rise above

Around the Maypole, turn and turn
And dance above, and dance below
The ribbons to the pole return
The past is no more long ago

With acts of memory, enact once more
The ritual openings of a door

Friday, 26 April 2019

Lions Club Jersey - February 1971 - Part 1

My mother having a sort out of old bits and pieces came across a “Lions Club” magazine for Jersey, from February 1971, which has some interesting material in it. Here’s a selection and some of the advertising material - and I would be surprised if BG Romeril could get away with theirs today! [My father was a Lions Club member at the time.]

Extract from the District Governor's Newsletter

First Leo Club: I also have good news from Jersey Club where under the expert leadership of John Stilwell they have formed the first Leo Club this year. The Leo president is James K. E. Dwyer. Jersey are first in the field but I am sure that other clubs will not be far behind. 

Jersey Lions: Welfare Committee's Report
By John Wishart

As "Meals on Wheels" were not delivering dinners on Christmas Day, Lions Club Welfare took over their list for just this one day.

Two car loads of meals in special containers were collected from St. Saviour's Hospital at 11 a.m. and a very excellent meal was eventually taken to 17 old people all of whom we established would not otherwise have had a hot meal.

It is a very sobering thought that several of these people - alone in their rooms - were not even expecting any visitors on Christmas Day and one old lady had neither television nor radio.

I wished her a very merry Christmas as I gave her the plate of turkey and vegetables, and she replied: "It's no different from any other day for me."

It only helps to prove once again that the small Welfare activities of any Lions Club are very important at all times – no matter how many major projects are forging ahead at the same time.

Around the Christmas period, the organization of the coal and wood distribution has been a major time consumer. It is one thing to find a list of deserving people, but something entirely different to find a list who also have coal fires ! The District Nurses and Health Visitors were a great help in this respect however, and eventually, a week before Christmas, about 70 people received delivery of a bag of coal, a sack of kindling wood and some logs.

A further delivery is anticipated in the near future and the club's sincere thanks go to Mr. Lawson of the Jersey Coal Distributors Ltd., for his help in arranging the delivery of this fuel by his lorries.

Another Welfare activity has been to supply a good second hand television set to a semi-invalided man who lives alone and cannot work. The club paid for his licence as well and the gentleman concerned expressed pleasure that he would be able to see all the Christmas programmes after all, having originally feared that he would miss them.

He said 'Since my old set has broken down my little dog has pined terribly for Basil Brush ! "

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Social Security: A Fair Contribution Towards the Less Fortunate

One of the silliest remarks I heard on Facebook (on the Politics Jersey Group) was as follows:

Social Security is like a charity, I understand that it hands out over £200,000,000 every year to help people... do they ever get any of it back ?.......I thought that there was a saying. "You Help People to Help themselves" ....is there ever a payback time or has all that money gone for good?

So let us look at the principles behind Social Security, and how it acts as a safety net for those who need help.

Perhaps nowhere was this principle better stated than by David Lloyd George in a speech about his “People’s Budget”. This was from his 1909 Limehouse speech, “Why should I put burdens on the people?” It looked at pensions, but the budget also looked at sickness and unemployment benefits. 

And it explains with great clarity why those who are richer should help those who are poorer in this way.

Here's an extract:

“Why should I put burdens on the people?”
by David Lloyd-George

Deception is always a pretty contemptible vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest of all. But they say, 'When we promised Pensions, we meant Pensions at the expense of people for whom they were provided. We simply meant to bring in a Bill to compel workmen to contribute to their own Pensions'. If that is what they meant why did they not say so?

The Budget...is introduced not merely for the purpose of raising barren taxes, but taxes that are fertile, taxes that will bring forth fruit—the security of the country which is paramount in the minds of all.

The provision for the aged and deserving poor—was it not time something was done? It is rather a shame for a rich country like ours—probably the richest in the world, if not the richest the world has ever seen—should allow those who have toiled all their days to end in penury and possibly starvation. It is rather hard that an old workman should have to find his way to the gates of the tomb, bleeding and footsore, through the brambles and thorns of poverty.

We cut a new path for him—an easier one, a pleasanter one, through fields of waving corn. We are raising money to pay for the new road—aye, and to widen it, so that 200,000 paupers shall be able to join in the march. 

There are so many in the country blessed by Providence with great wealth, and if there are amongst them men who grudge out of their riches a fair contribution towards the less fortunate of their fellow-countrymen they are very shabby rich men.

We propose to do more by means of the Budget. We are raising money to provide against the evils and the sufferings that follow from unemployment. We are raising money for the purpose of assisting our great friendly societies to provide for the sick and the widows and orphans. We are providing money to enable us to develop the resources of our own land. 

I do not believe any fair-minded man would challenge the justice and the fairness of the objects which we have in view in raising this money.

We are placing burdens on the broadest shoulders. Why should I put burdens on the people? I am one of the children of the people. I was brought up amongst them. I know their trials; and God forbid that I should add one grain of trouble to the anxieties which they bear with such patience and fortitude.

Monday, 22 April 2019


An extra poem today, mourning the at the devastation wrought in Sri Lanka by the bombs on Easter day. Blood stains are seen on the wall and on a Jesus Christ statue at the St. Sebastian's Church after blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. More than two hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured in eight blasts that rocked churches and hotels in and just outside Sri Lanka's capital on Easter Sunday.


Witnesses to faith, weep this day
Burnt, bloodstained, torn apart
Easter ending with a heavy heart
The evil when men go astray

In fire and anguish, cast away
Desolation planned, an evil art
Witnesses to faith, weep this day
Burnt, bloodstained, torn apart

Here bombs to maim, bombs to slay
They crucify, such hate impart
But peace will not be silenced or depart
Tends the wounded, comes to pray
Witnesses to faith, weep this day

Saturday, 20 April 2019

After the Fire

After the Fire

There are the shards of fallen bricks
But there also golden crucifix
Still standing silent in the wreck
Ruins lit up by one shining spec
Of light. And this it ever was
First the greatness, applause
The crowds in awe and praise
But ephemeral: nothing stays
And burning anger cries in rage
Thrust Pontius Pilate on the stage
Crowds called for blood, and for death
The Son of Man gives up last breath
Forgive, they know not what they do
Over wooden cross,a cold wind blew
The wind comes, and the wind goes
And where it comes, only one knows
From Jordan’s bank to wilderness
A time of trial, a time to bless
When Nero’s fire swept over Rome
Burnt peasant quarters and fine home
Such a consuming fire, raging fast
The citizens stood just there aghast
Just as today, the crackling sound
As wooden rooftop falls to ground
And crucify, the call once more
Is heard as ashes fall on floor
Now flames burn fierce, and timbers fall
And at Notre Dame, the spire tall
Comes crashing down, and all seems lost
And all some do is think of cost
But there in the ruins, an altar stays
In the darkest day, after such blaze
France’s Golgotha, a time to hear
Of communities of hope, without fear
In the upper room, cowards, afraid
The eleven trembled as they prayed
Lost courage, lost vision, they retire
But the Spirit comes with tongues of fire 

Friday, 19 April 2019

New Church of St. Bernadette by Father J. O'Regan

New Church of St. Bernadette 
by Father J. O'Regan
from Jersey Catholic Record, 1972

Ah Bob! a job well done!

As time flies and the opening day looms nearer, I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Bob Le Clercq, foreman of J. Troy and Sons, Jersey Builders, for the care and devoted interest expended on our new church project, and expert attention to 'all things great and small' connected with the building.

I admire him most of all for his patience and tolerance with personnel problems, weather interference, and the non-arrival of materials due to strikes, go-slows and slipping clutches, not forgetting the late arrival and survivals.

The Two `Derricks'

Once upon a cold and frosty day, the troubled sea chaffing with La Rocco, our Bishop Derek arrived on the site to appraise the progress of the project. Since his consecration as Bishop of Portsmouth in 1965 on a wintry day, he has experienced his fair share of rough weather in these islands. He has also since that day `hoisted' many a new church including St. Bernadette's `in between' St. Peter and La Moye for the mutual benefit of these districts, and which has received its fair share of advice and fatherly concern. 

Our picture shows our Bishop Derek overlooking nothing and noting everything with his shepherd's eye, and perhaps recalling the day when he decided, as the Davidic psalmist expresses it (Ps. 79) to `transplant the Vine out of Egypt', closing Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, St. Peter's and St. Teresa's, La Moye-so that in Les Quennevais, `in this chosen place, the name of the Lord would be blessed for evermore, and endure like the sun; and every family shall be blessed in him, and all the nations shall bless his name.' 

Not far away, but out of our picture, a noisy derrick was hard at work hoisting up the materials of the new House of God, and appropriately enough, sporting a scarlet coloured cowl sixty feet up.

Derek's every wish became for our own versatile derrick a command, with fingertip obedience. 

The Walls of Troy !

Our second picture reflects the persevering labours of all concerned. With apologies to the few classical scholars still about, for the liberal use of the accommodated sense of interpretation, we see the new struggle for the walls as a reflection of the Trojan war. The Homeric Epic, with all its drama of trial, endeavour, love and battle which gave rise to the ancient Dunasian adage, pregnant with a depth of human analysis of experience of human nature: `cherchez Ia femme' has a certain similitude here.

Alexander (the saviour) renamed Paris, son of Priam and Hecuba, and grandson of Hercules, needed all his inborn ancestral traits to help him deal with some of the goddesses, especially Evis (strife) and Ate (troublemaker). Illion-Aeneid of Homer, poet of Troy, recalls the needs, deeds and greeds of the gods.

Helen of Troy, whose face launched a thousand ships and caused twelve thousand ships to cross the Agean Sea to rescue her from the Homeric City near the sea, in Asia Minor. The key note was the great interest all had for Helen, the source of all their joy and woe, and the Walls of Troy, which held her captive.

Our struggle for St. Bernadette's has also been a testing epic: to find a suitable site, at a reasonable price; to find sufficient capital; to beg and borrow, to press on in search or permissions, approvals and alterations, adaptions; to find God-sent helpers, advisers and benefactors.

Helen of Troy, wife of Menalaus, the king of Sparta, daughter of Zeus and Leda, may never have existed save in the erudite mind of a Grecian scholar, but our St. Bernadette's, though now only inanimate materials, will become a 'temple of the living God', and all its cost, in terms of cash, human effort and anxiety, will be repaid a thousand times and more, when within these new 'Walls of Troy', the adorable sacrifice of the Mass will be offered for the first time.

Our people will share in the presence of the Lord, and hear His word-the Gospel-the Good News of Redemption- a scriptural Aeneid with all the chosen coin of fancy, flashing out from many a golden phrase'; they will share too in the 'Supper of the Lord', and relish a joy the ancient Greeks never had-`far away on the ringing plains of windy Troy,' the joy of having our God with us - Emmanuel.

We have a new church raised up for the Lord at Les Quennevais, but as St. Paul writes to the Ephesians (2.7) `He has raised us up . .. that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus'.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Cat Protection in Jersey: Some Issues to Debate

Cat Protection in Jersey: Some Issues

The recent petition regarding the need to report cats hit by motor vehicles throws up a number of issues:

  • How will fines be administered and what scale?
  • How can pets be identified easily? With dogs it is usually simple, as they often have collars, name tags, and are chipped for easy biometric id.
  • If a cat is taken to the JSPCA, will the owner (if traceable) be liable for care? Or if not, will the cost be suffered by the JSPCA? Or by the States?
  • What might a law look like?

While it is extremely upsetting (I know, having buried many of my own cats over the years) to find a dead cat, clearly hit by the roadside, these are questions which must be asked.

What legal measures might look like?

Looking at the USA, we see various measures in place. In Portsmouth, USA, for example, there are very direct laws:

“In Portsmouth, cats are covered more directly. The city has an ordinance Section 6.713: “Abandonment of Animals,” which states ”... It shall be unlawful for any person who, while operating a motor vehicle on any public way in the city, strikes and injures or kills any dog, cat or domestic animal, to continue without stopping such vehicle at the scene as soon as possible, to render aid and assistance to such animal.””

Here the drivers who hit a cat have to report it to the pet owner or police officer either at the scene or at the nearest police station or they can be issued a summons, and the fee schedule for that would be $50 for a first offense, $75 second, and $100 for the third (and each subsequent offense).

Who pays for care?

Then there’s the question of who pays for the care of an animal that’s hit if the owner cannot be found, which is something raised by Victoria MacDonald in the USA:

“Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dry solution for the animals,” said Virginia MacDonald, of the NHSPCA (New Hampshire SPCA). “We really handle it on a case-by-case basis. What we’re hoping is, obviously, to put the animal’s best interests in mind. Because this cat or dog has a potential owner, we can contact the owner and they can step in as soon as possible.”

If people call in having found an animal that was hit, the NHSPCA will sometimes ask if they will take on the responsibility of bringing the animal to the vet and if the owner cannot be found and the vet will not donate their services for all the medical attention required, to help with the bill.

“Certainly, we’ll help out to try to find the owner. But, we’re a nonprofit organization. We don’t have an endless pocketbook, either. It’s a tough situation,” MacDonald said. “The NHSPCA is absolutely there for you, but it’s also a partnership with the community. ... We don’t have this endless pot. If people behave in a humane manner, that only benefits the entire community.”

She recalls trying to be a good Samaritan herself once, after finding a dead animal on the side of the road: “I tried to do the right thing. I went to the police, I went to the neighbors, I tried to find the owner and never did,” MacDonald said. “And this was somebody’s pet. One of the big messages is to put an ID on your dog or your cat.”

Why dogs are different?

Another article makes clear why dogs are different. They are expected to be controlled, and not just wander loose, so that the dog owner is as much to blame as the driver. However this is not the same with cats, and no one has ever advocated keeping cats in such a controlled fashion to avoid accidents. As Dan Elsom reports:

Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations at Cats Protection, said: “It is commonly thought that road traffic accidents involving dogs have to be reported to the police so that owners are notified their dog has been involved.

"However, the legal reasoning behind the requirement to report for dogs is two-fold. Firstly, accidents involving dogs are more likely in the eyes of the law to lead to damage, either to property or people, so drivers need to report the details to the police to establish liability.

"Secondly, dogs are required to wear collars and be kept on a lead on the highway so drivers need to report accidents involving dogs in case an offence has been committed by the owner. We don’t have this argument for cats as they can roam freely.

“That said, we would always urge anyone who injures a cat while driving to take the cat to a vet for emergency treatment or report it to the police as it is most likely someone’s pet and it can be heartbreaking for owners not to know what has become of a missing animal."

So how could matters be improved?

Hugo Griffiths reported on a car buyer survey in the UK which suggests a mood for change, albeit 59% - more than half, but still not as much as perhaps one would like:

Drivers who run over cats on the road should have to report it to the authorities, an exclusive Carbuyer survey has found, with 59% of 1,600 readers saying the requirement to do so if you run over a dog should be extended to felines.

Those results closely echo a new 'Animal Welfare Plan' policy proposal from the Labour Party, part of which would “require motorists to report accidents where an animal has been injured”.

Present rules mandate that motorists who hit a dog must report the incident to the police, yet hitting a cat requires no action from the driver at all.

And while reporting so many dead cats to the police would be problematic, more could still be done – not least because only 25% of cats struck on the road are said to survive their initial injuries, meaning many are left to suffer and pass away at the roadside instead of receiving medical attention.

An RSPCA spokesman told Carbuyer the organisation “would always encourage people to stop [and] see if they can help the cat by taking it to a vet for treatment”. The animal charity added that Highways England could also do more to help, as in 2016 it “agreed to scan dogs found dead on roads for microchips so their owner could be traced”. The RSPCA would “like to see the same [policy] for cats”.

What advice can be given now?

Cats Protection offers the following advice to anyone who discovers an injured cat:

If the cat can be moved, take him to a vet and inform them that you are not the owner. If the cat can’t be identified, inform your local community that you have discovered an injured cat and taken it to the vet. Putting up posters may help raise awareness and inform the owners of their cat’s whereabouts.

What might a law look like? A Private Cats Bill

An MP wants to make it illegal for motorists to drive away if their vehicle hits a cat 'The Cat Bill' would create a new law, which would make it a crime to drive off after hitting a cat. This means that a law could be amended and adopted for Jersey without reinventing the wheel, should such a thing be desired.

The bill - proposed by Tory MP Rehman Chishti - will "require the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a cat to stop and give information or report the accident to the police", according Parliament’s website .

Summary of the Cats Bill 2017-19

A Bill to require the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a cat to stop and give information or report the accident to the police; to require the keepers of certain cats to ensure they are microchipped; and for connected purposes.


Monday, 15 April 2019

Education Journey in Jersey

A superb infographic document that allows parents to quickly see what routes they can consider for their children's education. It goes from nursery to higher education. Many thanks to Rod Bryans, who commissioned this before leaving the States and sending me the link.

"The design, created by Freedom Media, we based it on the New York Subway map. The reasoning behind that is because a subway map clearly shows the connections and you only need to know two things where you are and where you are going to find your way through."


I've also split it into bite size chunks below:

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Three Palms Sunday

Something from Gloucester, 1980. This was based upon a vivid dream. Make of it what you will!

Three Palms Sunday.

One palm cross
for you
in your place
To break the dark enchantment
of the river demon 

One palm cross
for me
in my place
To take the dark enchantment
from your embrace 

One palm cross
for us
at our place
Guiding us from stagnant waters
to green meadows 

And there we take our rest
three palms sunday
sunday rest

Gloucester, 1980

Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Impressionist Spy

There is nothing quite like a soupçon of truth to stir into a made up story to make it appear plausible and true. This poem is about a spy who wanted to emulate Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), but perhaps ended up emulating Woody Allen as James Bond in Casino Royale (1967).

Any resemblance to any persons living or dead, or appearing in the JEP is purely coincidental.

The Impressionist Spy

Je suis un spy, je suis un spy
And all that I tell you, it is true
Pinocchio’s nose grew and grew
Mon ami, I do not lie, I do not lie

I came to search, I came to pry
Female lawyers, seduced them too
Je suis un spy, je suis un spy
And all that I tell you, it is true

Just like James Bond, I am not shy
Publication date, that is my cue
Please buy my book, I beg of you
Or you will leave me high and dry
Je suis un spy, je suis un spy

Friday, 12 April 2019

The Helpers of the Holy Souls in Jersey

The Society of Helpers, formerly known as the Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls, is a Roman Catholic religious congregation of women founded in Paris, France in 1856, with the objective of assisting the souls in Purgatory through their service to the needy of the world. The Sisters use the postnominal initials of "A.P." (French: Auxiliatrices des âmes du purgatoire) in Europe, or, alternately, "H.H.S" in English-speaking countries.

The Helpers of the Holy Souls in Jersey (1880- 1950)-by one of the Helpers
from Jersey Catholic Record, 1972

The Helpers of the Holy Souls came to Beaulieu, Jersey, in June 1880. Owing to the anti-clerical laws in France it was deemed necessary to seek refuge abroad in case of expulsion of religious orders. So together with several other orders, the Helpers pitched their tent on the hill that was later to be known as the Holy Hill'. A noviciate was opened in 1885, and was known as the `Noviciate of the Missions'.

There were forty novices in 1919 when it was decided to transfer this noviciate to San Remo, Italy. The English novices had already been sent in the same year to London to form the English Noviciate.

Their Work in Jersey

The sisters gave religious instruction daily in three Protestant schools, St. Luke's, St. Saviour's and Halkett Place and also in three Catholic schools, St. Thomas, Vauxhall and the Faithful Companions of Jesus.

Strange as this may seem, the Faithful Companions were not allowed then to teach religion in their own school! They also tended the sick in their own homes and visited families throughout the Island, caring freely for the poor and needy and looking after the needs of the dying.

Many adult converts were instructed throughout the years and the Sisters were also engaged in various parish activities, including meetings for children and young people, Children of Mary and adults of all ages. These meetings were in a certain sense 'doubled' owing to the French and English sections of the population. The large hospital in St. Helier was also visited regularly.

Association of Prayer

Devotion to Blessed Mary of Providence, the foundress, spread in the Island and many joined her Association of Prayer for the Holy Souls. A monthly Holy Hour for these associates was held in the convent chapel and was always well attended. 

This association of prayer is still kept very much alive in Jersey, thanks to the unflagging efforts of our devoted promoter, Miss Jessica Ahier, who still continues to gather them several times in the year at Beaulieu in spite of the fact that the Helpers left the Island over twenty years ago.

The Sisters in company with the rest of the inhabitants of the Island suffered great deprivation during the last war and their work was much curtailed by the German occupation. In 1950, it was decided that owing to its inaccessibility and that apostolic needs required the Sisters' presence more urgently elsewhere, with great regret the society withdrew them from the Island. 

The Blessed Sacrament however did not leave the chapel, for the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception came to occupy Beaulieu and started a day school for girls which is very flourishing and an asset to the Island.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

What Happens at the Sewage Treatment Works? - Part 2

Thanks for this report to Duncan Berry, Assistant Director Liquid Waste who gave me a guided tour around the plant, and for Deputy Kevin Lewis, who facilitated my tour. Part 1 deals mainly with liquid waste treatment, and part 2 with solid waste treatment.

What Happens at the Sewage Treatment Works? - Part 2


Having seen what happens to the water and how the particulate matter is filtered out, and the water treated to become chemically pure, in 2015 in improved process was introduced for dealing with the sludge removed from the process.

As stated before, the larger waste matter is filtered out at the start of the process and burnt at the energy from waste plant.

But further along the process the sludge is removed in the primary settlement tanks. Before 2015 this the digested and dewatered sludge was conditioned with imported lime, but matters have improved considerably since then.

Rather like milk, sludge also goes through a process of “pasteurisation” when it is heated to destroy harmful pathogens. There are three tanks which work in sequence. As one tank fills, one of the two other tanks empties while the third tank is isolated and in ‘pasteurising’ mode, cooking the sludge at 55C for a minimum of four hours.

There are three “sludge digestors” which take this material - they are solid concrete and have a capacity of 1,650m3 and this is kept for 18 to 20 days at 37 0C to further break down any pathogens.

The resulting “sludge cake” at the end of the process can be used as a slow-release fertiliser on farmer’s fields, although it cannot be used on all fields, depending on what is being grown. It is supplied free of charge, and by doing this, the States are helping farmers reduce their dependence on imported quick release inorganic nitrate fertilizers. This is a much better way which also recycles one product from waste back into the land.


An end product of the digestion process is biogas – mainly methane, which is stored in a spherical tank which holds 500 M3. The tank is also surrounded by lightening conductors to minimise any risk as it is inflammable.

A final stage of processing the gas is to remove gases which would disrupt the burning process. Untreated biogas contains high levels of sulphides, such as hydrogen sulphide, which many people will know as the “rotten eggs” smell. This is done via a “biogas scrubber”. The hydrogen sulphide removal protects the next part of the process (combined heat and power unit). If the hydrogen sulphide was not removed it would cause severe corrosion within the CHP engine and greatly reduce its lifespan.

The methane gas can then be used to power a generator – a Combined Heat and Power Unit (CHP)) - where it produces heat and electricity as it is burnt.
A CHP generates electricity whilst also capturing usable heat that is produced in this process. This contrasts with conventional ways of generating electricity where vast amounts of heat are simply wasted.

The hot water produced in this process can be used to heat the raw sludge feed to the required pasteurisation temperature.

The electricity can be used to reduce dependence on the JEC for running the plant, and saves around £1,000 a day.

Other Useful Facts about the Plant

In case of power cuts in the JEC supply, there are backup generators, which also power the First Tower pumping station.

Computer systems check the plant’s operations and the pumping stations. If there is a problem the operator’s mobile phone will receive an alarm. Operators are on call 24 / 7 to fix any problems ​straight away.

Finally, here is part of the area which will be used for the new sewage treatment plant.

The new facility will treat the sewerage from a connected population equivalent to 118,000 which is not estimated to come about until 2035.

The site clearance includes the removal of the Clinical Waste Incinerator (CWI) which is still on site. The new clinical waste incinerator can be seen next to the green waste recycling facilities at La Collette.

The Household Recycling Centre has already been relocated to La Collette and the hillside at Bellozanne is being excavated and stabilised providing more room for the new plant.

It is worth noting that one feature of the old plant was that because it grew by stages, it had to move up the valley, which meant pumping waste water uphill.

In contrast, because the new plant is designed “from the ground up”, the tanks in the processing of the liquid waste have been arranged in an order so that the “stages” go downhill, and can use gravity for flow.

Supplementary Photos and Descriptions:

Archimedes screw pumps

These are the Archimedes screw pumps which return the biomass to the beginning of the activated sludge plant. This Biomass contains the microorganisms to treat the sewage and is recycled again and again.

Below is seen the activated sludge return to anoxic zones:

This is the return activated sludge channel which the Archimedes screw pumps discharge into

Sludge storage tanks

More pictures of the Biosolids digesters

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

What Happens at the Sewage Treatment Works? - Part 1

Thanks for this report to Duncan Berry, Assistant Director Liquid Waste who gave me a guided tour around the plant, and for Deputy Kevin Lewis, who facilitated my tour. Part 1 deals mainly with liquid waste treatment, and part 2 with solid waste treatment.

What Happens at the Sewage Treatment Works? - Part 1

The sewage treatment works at Bellozane was built in 1959, and while it has been added to and substantially upgraded over the years, it is really now at the end of its lifespan. At its maximum, it can cope with sewage from 100,000 people, and the Island’s population is now in excess of that. Maintenance and repair has become increasingly more difficult and costly.

The new plant, which will be coming on line by around 2022, can cope with up to 118,000 people, with a leeway for an 10% extra if needed. It will also factor an 18% reduction in odour, and one of the main treatment stages, the primary settlement tanks will also be covered to reduce smells further.

For those interested, there is a device called an eNose, or electronic nose, which originated in the Netherlands, which uses sensor de detect the density of odours. (http://www.enose.nl/rd/technology/)

It is amazing to think that within an Island of 45 square miles, there are 354 miles (570 km) of sewers taking our waste along to be treated. Some of the waste comes naturally downhill, via Queen’s road from the North of the Island, but gravity cannot do all the work over the Island, and there are 110 pumping stations in operation, of which the main one is at First Tower, where sewers from West and East meet and are pumped uphill to Bellozane.

Stage 1: Screening

The first stage is when the sewage comes in from east and west, and via a pipe (visible at the back) from the north, and passes through a fine 6 mm grill to remove the larger particulates. This larger waste matter is burnt at the Energy from Waste Plant at La Collette. 

Stage 2: Grit Separation Tanks 

What remains is fine grained, and goes into the separation tanks. Within those tanks, the fat rises to the surface, and is swept off, while the grit sinks to the bottom (which is V-shaped) and is scraped out. This scraping across happens every thirty minutes. The process removes the fat (on top) and the grit (sinking to the bottom).

There are three of the separation tanks, which provide redundancy in case any one of them needs to be taken out of use for repair or servicing.

Stage 3: Primary Clarifiers

The liquid is then taken through to one of four primary clarifiers, where an arm sweeps around and this removes all the suspended solids from the sewage.

Clarifiers are settling tanks built with mechanical means for continuous removal of solids being deposited by sedimentation. Concentrated impurities, discharged from the bottom of the tank are known as sludge, while the particles that float to the surface of the liquid are called scum. As the skimmer slowly rotates around the clarifier, skimmed floating material is pushed into the trap above the fenced enclosure. This process removes around 60% of the solids (grit). 

Stage 4: Anoxic Zone

This stage is where the sewage begins biological treatment. It is a bacteriological treatment, and the first tank is devoid of oxygen, so the micro-organisms break down the nitrates (NO3) in the water to take the oxygen. The technical term for this is an “anoxic zone”.

This is important because Nitrogen concentrations in treatment plant effluents must be controlled in order to avoid adverse effects in receiving waters. High effluent organic matter concentrations may result in depletion of dissolved oxygen in receiving waters, thereby having a negative impact on aquatic life.

Micro-organisms in this operation include ones like Pseudomonas which is a common bacteria found all over the world in soil, water, and plants. The plant itself generates the bacteria in the next stage of the process.

Stage 5: Aerobic Zone

The tanks in this area are bubbling away with air pumped through them, hence the term “aerobic”. This is a breeding ground for the bacteria. Aerobic wastewater treatment is a biological treatment that uses oxygen to break down organic matter and remove other pollutants like ammonia.

There is a feedback mechanism so that air is pumped through as needed to maintain but not exceed levels of micro-organisms, which makes the system very cost efficient.

Stage 6: Final Settlement Tanks

The water reaching these tanks is very much clearer, and ducks can be seen swimming in it. It still contains concentrations of microorganism suspended in the treated water, so if swallowed, would probably give you gastroenteritis.

The micro-organisms move to a sludge in the bottom of the tanks – the rotating arms scoop it up, and this “activated sludge” is passed back to the Anoxic Zone to start the cycle again. The clarified water is now ready for the final stage.

There were originally 4 of these tanks but there are now 8 extra ones, as this is a slow part of the process, and the extra tanks were needed as the population grew to cope with demand.

Looking at any of these tanks when full, it is hard to imagine how large they are, but they go down some distance into the ground. This is an empty tank currently being serviced. The extra number of tanks means that it is possible to take them out of service for routine maintenance.

Stage 6: Ultra Violet Treatment Plant

The final stage of treatment is by ultra violet light, which kills off any microorganisms and renders the water pure of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. This was brought in at the end of the 1990s and ensures that the process does not need chemical treatment (such as chlorine) for disinfecting the water.

Unlike other parts of the treatment process, this part takes bare seconds as the water flows past. A specific wavelength of UV ensures best results from irradiation.

Ultra-violet does not penetrate water deeply for more than about 2 cm, without losing its efficacy so there are grids each with 1,000 UV lamps to ensure the treatment is effective.

Although a UV grid can be seen in the photo, the flowing water with the live UV disinfectors pass beneath the floor of this room.

Once treated, this water can be discharged via the outfall into St Aubin’s Bay near the First Tower Pumping station at a distance of 0.5 km from the sea wall. The outfall also contains water from streams passing down the valley.

Storm Surges

At times when there is heavy rainfall, water is passed through the inlet works and primary settlement tanks t to remove most of the particulate matter, and from there via the UV treatment to the bay. This is partially treated, as it may still some smaller grains matter, but it has still been disinfected by the UV process.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

An Elected Speaker: The Wisdom of Transitional Arrangements

Elections and a Speaker: the proposition as it stands

The current proposition by Sam Mezec is to replace the Bailiff with a Speaker. The proposition says that:

“The Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be elected to serve for the duration of an Assembly. If elected in the mid-term of an Assembly, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker would serve for the remainder of that term. This approach is consistent with practice elsewhere in the British Isles and Commonwealth.”

“The Speaker and Deputy Speaker would contest their seats at a general election in the usual manner. At the beginning of a new States Assembly term, the previous Speaker and/or Deputy Speaker would be entitled to seek re-election to the post. Whilst a candidate’s previous experience in either role would no doubt be taken into account by States Members, it is not intended that Jersey adopt a system similar to that in the UK House of Commons, where a preference is given, at least in the first instance, to the previous incumbent continuing to serve if that is their will. Fresh elections would take place on their own merits.”

Disenfranchisement in a Small Island Community

That’s all very good, but there is an unwritten rule in the UK that the speaker should not be contested in elections by the major parties. In a situation where there are 650 constituencies, the loss of one seat is not a major issue. In Jersey, where we have just 49 members, and no parties, this could well lead to problems.

The Express and Star noted in 2017 how disgruntled voters were becoming in the current speaker’s constituency of Buckingham where the number of spoilt papers has reached record levels. Buckingham constituent Phil Harriss started a petition called "Give Us A Voice, Not A Speaker"!

Harriss told the Press Association: “Voters in Buckingham haven’t had democratic representation in Parliament since 2009 and their outrage is growing. As well as being undemocratic, the convention is iniquitous and archaic. My children are reaching an age when they are just starting to vote. They are likely to feel completely disillusioned with the political system if their vote counts for nothing and they are not given the opportunity to support the major political parties.”

Now the good voters of Buckingham can do little to rectify the situation. Three candidates outside the mainstream – Independent, UKIP and Green Party – stood last time, but really didn’t stand a chance against the party machines supporting – on all main parties – John Bercow.

The same can almost be guaranteed not to happen here. We only have one political party, and that is not dominant in the States. Deputies in particular are linked to Parishes, and the loss of a Deputy, especially in a small Parish with only one member, would be felt keenly. Senators need to command an Island mandate. The inability to take part would be almost certainly detrimental to their prospects of re-election, especially when fighting a seat against someone who promised not to accept the role of speaker.

Perhaps, ironically Constables would be the least likely to feel the displeasure of voters if all they did in the States was to act as Speaker because they would still administer Parish affairs, and the Connetable's Committee would bring to the fore any Island issues with Parish impacts. The others - Senators, Deputies - would almost certainly face elections from disgruntled parishioners who felt disenfranchised, and it could well become a poisoned chalice with few prepared to accept the role.

Simon Bree notably lost votes in 2018 when he declared he'd try for Chief Minister if elected. What would be the answer of a candidate if asked if they'd agree to be speaker which could also be a similar vote loser?

Just what is a local issue? 

Ian Gorst’s proposition of 2017 suggested that:

"The Speaker would continue to serve as a Senator, Deputy or Connétable and would carry out their duties as a Member of the States Assembly in assisting constituents. The Speaker would be permitted to become involved in local interests and would be available to advise constituents and discuss their problems and concerns."

"The Speaker would be able to raise these matters privately with the relevant Minister, Department, Committee or agency. It would be expected that the Speaker would receive replies and have issues addressed on an expedited basis. This would mirror arrangements which work well in the United Kingdom."

But what are local interests? In a 650 constituency parliament, over an area of 94,060 square miles, there will certainly be local issues for a constituency- planning, parking etc etc - which have no national impact..

It is not so clear what would be local in an area of 45 square miles! Would the issue of camper vans in St Ouen’s Bay be a local or an Island issue? Would housing and rezoning in St Peter be a local or an Island issue?

What if the Deputy of St Peter was the speaker? Would they be able to speak to a Parish assembly and have that reported? Would they be able to campaign for a housing issue? Or would that be an island issue on which they should remain silent?

In the UK, the speaker “will no longer address any issue in a party political manner in accordance with the convention that the Speaker remains impartial.” But how on earth does that translate to a small Island community where there are many independents and only one small party? Granted, the Speaker could not vote or take part in debates in the States, but there are many other times when politicians take up causes before they even get to the Chamber. Should they be silenced on those?

The overlap in a small Island community between local and island interests would be considerable, and while fine in theory, the proposed solution by Ian Gorst would simply not work well in practice. There are not 650 Parishes over an area of 94,060 square miles!

An Interim Solution?

The best interim solution, as I see it, would be that proposed by the Bailiff for an interim transitional arrangement, whereby the Speaker and Bailiff would both be available, and the Bailiff could gradually reduce his role in the States. If then it turned out that the kinds of issues I have noted here proved insurmountable, then a return could be made seamless to the status quo. If it worked perfectly, the Bailiff would come out of the States.

A potentially irreversible solution which turned out to be unworkable would be the worst of all political worlds.

Speaker’s Veto?

“At present the Bailiff is responsible for approving requests from Members when lodging questions, both oral and written, propositions, amendments and making personal statements. If the Bailiff rejects the requests there is no ability to appeal against that decision. I have personal experience and the current arrangements should not continue.” (Former Deputy Bob Hill, giving evidence to Lord Carswell)

The Carsewell review noted that:

“Outside the Chamber, the Bailiff has to consider draft propositions and draft questions, which he must admit unless they contravene Standing Orders. The Bailiff may on occasion discuss these matters with individual members of the States. If questions are not properly framed, the Greffier or the Bailiff will regularly suggest amendments to address the defect and allow the questions to proceed.”

“It was represented to us by a number of respondents that although the Bailiff must apply Standing Orders in all decisions which he makes and is bound to give all members an opportunity to speak when they express a wish to do so, he nevertheless exerts a degree of political influence by the manner in which he carries out his function.”

What is more, as a recent FOI request illustrated, no public record is maintained of the decision making process

“What is the Number of propositions not allowed to be brought to the States by members and effectively vetoed by the Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff over the last three years per year?”

“The States Greffe does not keep a record of the propositions which, in accordance with Standing Order 21(7)(c), are not approved for lodging.”

And there is no clear route for appeal:

“Practically speaking, any member who has a proposition ruled out of order can speak to the Bailiff and discuss with the Bailiff how the proposition could potentially be amended to ensure that it meets the requirements of Standing Orders.”

“There is no right of appeal to the Royal Court against a decision of the Bailiff that a draft proposition is out of order. The correct way to challenge such a decision is to bring a proposition to the States under Standing Orders 98(3) and 167(3)(b). Although technically such a proposition also requires the consent of the Bailiff to lodging under Standing Order 21, the test on whether it would be allowed would also be whether it was in order. It would not be out of order simply because it challenged the Bailiff’s ruling on the earlier proposition.”

This is a serious lack of transparency at the heart of the Bailiff's power. By all means he should be able to veto propositions, as it is within his powers, but he should also make available to public scrutiny the reasons for this, if this is requested.

Would an elected speaker have the same powers and be able to exercise them with the same lack of transparency? That is something which no proposition for an elected speaker has ever considered, and yet it strikes at the heart of democracy.

See also