Jersey activists take part in the global climate strike

Environmental activists in Jersey have been taking part in the global climate strike.

Around 35 people gathered in Jersey’s Royal Square today to protest against a ‘climate crisis’.

The strike is part of a wider movement worldwide, which will see students in over 150 countries are taking part.

Naomi Refault West from the group Extinction Rebellion, who organised the demonstration in Jersey, believes it is vital for demonstrations like this to happen.

“We are here in support of [student] strikers. It’s important for everyone to act. It’s hard for us to wake up and not be in denial. We have to act very very quickly.”

– Naomi Refault West, Extinction Rebellion

Guernsey politician hits back at criticism of States' draft discrimination law

The President of Guernsey’s Committee for Employment and Social Security has hit back at calls to extend the consultation period for States’ draft discrimination law.

The proposals are currently out for consultation until 30 September, but in an open letter, Deputy Michelle Le Clerc warned against concerns based on ‘misinformation, misinterpretation and fear of the unknown.’

It is hoped that the law, which could be introduced as early as 2021, would offer more protections on the grounds of religion, carer status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation and trans status. It would also introduce stricter penalties for employers who are found to discriminate against staff.

However, the States have faced calls from some business groups to extend the consultation period.

Deputy Le Clerc warned against this, saying a Policy Letter containing finalised proposals will be put forward for debate in 2020.

Following continued calls from the Guernsey branch of the Institute of Directors, the Guernsey International Business Association, the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Guernsey Industry (the G4) and the Guernsey branch of the CIPD, for an extension to the consultation period, as President of the Committee for Employment and Social Security I wish to stress that we are consulting regarding draft, not final, policy proposals for new discrimination legislation – the whole point is to hear people’s views.

If the local business associations are concerned about any aspects of the proposals, this is their opportunity to provide feedback. We are listening and we will carry on listening until we submit our final proposals to the States in 2020.

I would really urge the business associations to engage and apply the time remaining to understand the proposals, how they compare to other jurisdictions and respond constructively, rather than continuing to press for an excessively long consultation period which they know the Committee is not prepared to give if we are to meet our timetable. A Policy Letter with finalised proposals, taking into account consultation feedback, will come to the States in April 2020 for debate and, if approved, the legislation will be drafted. We must remember that there are those in our community that have waited patiently for years for these proposals.

– Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of Guernsey’s Committee for Employment and Social Security

Deputy Le Clerc has urged islanders and businesses to actively engage with the the consultation to express their concerns and help shape the legislation going forward.

I am aware that the Chamber of Commerce have published a survey including ten questions regarding this matter. We’re pleased that the Chamber of Commerce are engaging with their membership through the publication of their own survey. However, it’s important that people still respond to our official consultation as we’re concerned that the Chamber survey has many factual inaccuracies and includes leading questions.

I would like to encourage everyone who has views on any aspects of the Committee’s draft proposals to engage directly with the Committee either by completing the Committee’s consultation questionnaire or by emailing or writing to the Committee. This is the only way that people can be assured that we’ll receive their feedback in full.

– Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of Guernsey’s Committee for Employment and Social Security

Almost 200 posts vacant at Jersey General Hospital

Almost 200 roles remain unfilled at Jersey General Hospital with shortages, meaning that some procedures could be cancelled in future.

Responding to a written question from Deputy Kevin Pamplin, Health Minister Richard Renouf said that 194 posts are currently vacant, including 74 in nursing and midwifery.

He also suggested that in rare cases when staff shortages were extreme, ‘activity may need to be reviewed and potentially reduced’ if the hospital was unable to support safe care.

As well as a full breakdown of current staffing levels at the hospital, Deputy Pamplin asked what provisions were in place to manage shortages due to staff illness – particularly in areas which are under-resourced.

In response, Deputy Renouf said that ‘bank’ staff can be brought in to meet demand, but medium to long-term sickness could mean making short term appointments of agency staff from the UK.

Jersey's deaf community concerned by changes to government support

People from Jersey’s deaf community in Jersey are unhappy with changes to support provided by the government.

In April, the government’s lead support officer for deaf children and adults Angela Goddard was forced into compulsory redundancy but said nobody was going to replace her.

It means that families have had to manage without dedicated support for almost five months.

In a meeting public meeting, Health Minister Richard Renouf announced plans to introduce a new liaison service in addition to a social offering and online technology to help them.

But the move has been criticised by some who believe the new liaison role will not be able to provide the same level of support as was previously given by a dedicated social worker.

Jess has been losing her hearing since she was 15. Her eight-year-old daughter is also profoundly deaf.

She says they both benefited massively from the support of a social worker, leaving them concerned by the changes.

Health Minister Richard Renouf insisted the changes are necessary but admitted that things had not gone as planned.

As part of the government reorganisation this was up for reassessment. We needed to provide more of a liaison service rather than a professional social worker.

There will be a social work offering, there won’t be a dedicated social worker, at least not immediately, because all our social work teams will be trained to meet the needs of all those who need social work.

I think we have to acknowledge that in government, we started with the best of intentions but things hadn’t worked out exactly how we wanted.

There’s been delays, the community has felt let down and we haven’t been able to help them until now. Today we’ve been able to announce we’re going out to advertise for that post.

– Richard Renouf, Minister for Health and Social Services

Peter Le Feuvre sits on the Deaf Partnership Board, an forum of agencies and organisations which provide support to those who are deaf or hearing impaired.

He supports the decision, saying he believes this is an opportunity for the nature of the role to evolve.

What I’m hoping is that the new post will sit in the customer services and local government at the old social security building.

I’d like to de-medicalise it so that it is there but the post-holder would be able to support anybody that needs support anywhere. Whether it’s at education, whether it’s at house, whether it’s with business, so I’m hoping that because we’re working together, we can get the right person in who can help the community evolve and services evolve and that we can make it efficient.

– Peter Le Feuvre, Chair of Jersey Deaf Partnership Board Member

Motorists warned about string and rope across road in Guernsey

Motorists are being warned after reports of rope and string being placed across roads in Guernsey.

Guernsey Police have not said where it was reported, but have taken to Twitter to brand the practice ‘not just stupid but extremely dangerous’

They warn those responsible that it could have potentially fatal consequences.

They are calling for anyone with information to contact them immediately.

Islanders invited to give views on Jersey's tax and spending plans

Jersey’s government is looking for islanders to give their views on its tax and spending plans.

The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel wants the public to make their opinions known on the tax rises put forward in the Government Plan, as well as suggesting where tax money should be spent on the island.

The Government Plan, which is due to be debated in the States in November, includes rises in fuel duty to help tackle climate change as well as rises in tax on alcohol and tobacco.

The government plans to spend £914 million on infrastructure and public services in 2020 under the plan. Expenditure will increase to over £1 billion by 2023.

The Panel’s chair, Senator Kristina Moore says it is important for the public to make their views on the plan known.

The Government Plan shows that government spending will rise to over £1 billion by 2023. We want to know what Islanders think about this.

Is the government targeting taxpayers money in the right places? Do Islanders mind paying more for petrol in order to fund work to tackle climate change? What about the 1% increase to the Long Term Care Charge? Is the Government right to spend much larger amounts than in previous years on infrastructure projects and internal government modernisation?

Many of the proposals in the Government Plan will directly impact on Islanders in 2020 and beyond. It is important that we hear the views of members of the public, local businesses and other interested groups. We encourage islanders to get in touch with us on social media or by writing to us directly.

– Senator Kristina Moore, Chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel

Islanders can give their views by commenting on the States Assembly social media pages, via the States Assembly website or by emailing scrutiny@gov.je.

Man Avoids Jail Over Drink-Driving Death Threats

A Jersey man who threatened to kill several people by running them over with a car has avoided jail.

34-year-old Christian Patrick Henderson-Bell, who was suffering a ‘mental health crisis’ has been given 240 hours of community service.

Crown Advocate Emma Hollywood said that Mr. Henderson-Bell drove to the Les Platons Car park with alcohol during his lunch break in April, pointed the car at a catering truck, phoned the manager and told her he would kill the customers.

He then accelerated, causing people to run for cover, before driving through chairs and into a wheely bin.

The court heard that those who fled were ‘in genuine fear for their lives’.

He then fled when police arrived and refused to stop. When he was pulled over and breathalysed, he was more than double the drink-driving limit.

For the defence, Advocate Heidi Heath said he never intended to hurt anyone but himself – and this was a ‘cry for help’ caused by reaching his breaking point.

In sentencing, Lieutenant Bailiff Tony Olsen said it must have been “truly terrifying for victims and those who saw it” but that he agrees that Mr Henderson-Bell’s actions were caused by a mental health crisis and that his remorse was genuine.

The Court also heard that he has stopped drinking since the incident.

He’s also been given a one-year probation order, told to pay a fine of £2,800 and disqualified from driving for three and a half years.
 

More from Jersey News

Bath Street Developers Says Heritage Features Will Be Saved

The National Trust for Jersey has criticised Le Masurier’s plan to build a Premier Inn on Bath Street, because two historic listed buildings would be lost.

The Regency-era townhouses will be demolished if permission is given for the new hotel, apartments, restaurant, bar and shops.

Campaigners  ‘Save Jersey’s Heritage’ have suggested an alternative that would preserve them:

Alternative plans from ‘Save Jersey’s Heritage’

National Trust CEO, Charles Alluto says the development could jeopardise attracting visitors to the island:

“People are not going to come to Jersey to go to a place which just looks like somewhere in one of the cities in England. We’ve got to retain a distinctive sense of identity, and that’s part of the attraction. Over 70% of visitors have said that’s important, and we should consider that if we want Jersey to have a viable future in tourism.”

Property developer Le Masurier has responded to criticism, saying it has already carried out its own Heritage Impact report, which found the building is badly damaged.

“Le Masurier has carried out a comprehensive Heritage Impact Assessment Report, as part of our detailed planning application for the Bath Street Redevelopment. The report highlights that the exterior, interior and setting of 92 Bath Street has been significantly damaged and, indeed, the Listing does not extend to the pair of buildings (i.e. 90 Bath Street).

Le Masurier’s plans include a new Premier Inn hotel.

It has also promised to save the listed features like a mahogany staircase, wood paneling and fireplaces – which it says could be re-used by heritage groups:

“The schedule limits internal interest to features including a mahogany staircase, some paneled doors and matching joinery, windows with paneled lining and bedroom fireplaces. Le Masurier is sympathetic to any listed structure and we have offered to carefully remove and salvage these listed features, where possible, so they can be re-appropriated by heritage groups.

“It is also important to understand the commercial and economic reality of funding and delivering a major regeneration project of this nature. Le Masurier has undertaken viability testing of a number of alternative development options for the site, including the retention of existing buildings. The submitted planning application is, therefore, the outcome of a robust design and development analysis to ensure that our regeneration proposals are appropriate, viable and deliverable.”

Five new officers join ranks at States of Jersey Police

Five new police officers have joined the ranks at States of Jersey Police.

PCs James Alcock, Hannah Amy, Craig Fosse, Paul Hopper and Iain McCallum were all sworn in at a ceremony at the Royal Court.

The new officers were recruited locally in 2018 and have been waiting for spaces on the force to become available.

They will fly to the UK to complete their 10 week initial training with Norfolk Constabulary, before completing another 10 weeks of training under supervision of an experienced officer in Jersey.

The new recruits will replace officers who have left the force over the past year.

Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hafey says it is a moment to be proud of.

It’s always a proud moment when we bring new officers into the force. They’re about to undertake some world-class training with Norfolk Constabulary and we look forward to welcoming them back in December to commence supervised frontline duties.”

– Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hafey

110 people applied for the force’s recruitment campaign with 87 making it through the initial filter, 35 of which were female.

The applicants now face a series of mental and physical suitability tests before they can be allowed to join the force.

Rare Roseate tern spotted nesting near Jersey

Britain’s rarest breeding seabird has been spotted on rocks off the coast of Jersey.

As many as 3 Roseate terns were sighted nesting among Common terns at Les Ecrehous off the north east coast of the island over the summer.

The bird is red listed and only four colonies remain in Europe, nesting in sites in England, Southern Ireland, Brittany.

The Roseates were the last birds to complete the 3,500 mile trip from West Africa and are believed to have stayed on Les Ecrehous between June and August.

The area has been a common nesting site for common terns. However, the nesting seabirds have faced pressure from an increase in tourism in the area, with hundreds of visitors from France and Jersey visiting the site every day during the summer.

Around 80 nests were recorded in 2019 but some of the birds did not breed as successfully, which was most likely due to human disturbance.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!