Let’s leave out some words, shall we? It won’t do any harm will it? If we just take these words and leave out those words, and the meaning changes completely, am I being honest or am I lying? Or am I just being “misleading”? See here for how this sort of dancing on the head of a pin plays out in the States. You see, Graham Power did say, “It is my firm wish to assist Mr Napier with his review” and so maybe Terry Le Sueur thinks: ‘if anyone notices that I have left some words out, I can always say that that is what Mr. Power said.’
Is that really how our Chief Minister’s mind works? Or did he read out answers given to him by John Richardson, currently Acting Chief Executive of the States, without checking them ? In which case, is that how John Richardson’s mind works?
See what you think.
Here are the facts. On 30th November 2010 our Chief Minister told the States: “The former Chief of Police confirmed to the Deputy Chief Executive in a letter dated 31st of March 2010 that he would fully participate in the investigation (i.e. the Napier review).” (Hansard, oral questions my emphasis).
What Graham Power actually wrote in that letter was: “For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, it is my firm wish to assist Mr Napier with his review provided that I am able to do so with a clear understanding of my position (my emphasis).” And there are further caveats and conditions, going on for about a page. (see here for text of Mr. Power’s letter)
Terry Le Sueur’s misleading account of what Mr Power, our former Chief of Police, actually wrote, was repeated again and again by our Chief Minister in both oral and written questions. Here for example is an answer to a Written Question asked by Bob Hill on 29th March 2011:
“The previous Chief Officer of Police was not informed that part (d) had been removed as the Chief Officer agreed to fully participate in the review (my emphasis) being undertaken by Mr. Napier. ”
From first to last, when Terry finally admits the truth – sort of – see here. (sorry, not published yet)
Now why was it so important to maintain this line which to an impartial observer is plainly misleading? What is going on? The answer is that saying that Mr. Power was willing to take part in the Napier review was a vital “brick in the wall” of a story which had to be kept standing.
Mr. Power’s agreement to cooperate with the Napier review (into how Mr. Power’s suspension came about, and whether it was correctly handled) was based on the assumption that part d) WAS in the Terms of Reference (TOR), as that was what he (Mr. Power) had been told. Part d) told Mr. Napier to look into Graham Power’s Affidavit which he had made to the court in Jersey. This affidavit goes into a lot of the background surrounding Mr. Power’s time policing in Jersey, for instance, it describes top civil servants acting improperly, according to Power, and plotting to remove a Minister from office, and many other hot topics (The Affidavit is here, highly recommended, if you have not read it before.)
Meanwhile Mr. Napier was told, or believed, that Mr. Power was willing to participate fully in the review, and so the disappearance of part d) was of no consequence. But he was not willing, and so it was of consequence.
Yes it is complicated, yes it is devious, and yes, your politicians would be better off spending their time doing real policies and real laws. But instead we have to disentangle thickets of brambles like this.
Those who say – ‘oh, we do not need so many States members’ ignore two things:
- It would indeed take less members to govern the island if they all behaved genuinely and honestly. Dishonesty carries a huge cost.
- Some of our members do precious little work at all – and most have just been re-elected unopposed – but that is another story.
So, the moral? If we are ever to have clean politics, fair treatment of our top civil servants and police, if we are ever to be properly governed, there will have to be a cleaning out of the stables. And so I would suggest – one criterion for voting is: is this person from the old guard? Who put them up to stand? Or will they be a breath of fresh air? Or better still, a gale of fresh air?
The States needs a serious spring-clean!