25 February 2008
Jersey ’s Council of Ministers met this afternoon ( 2-3pm Monday) to ensure the police are provided with every possible resource for their ongoing investigation into child abuse. I would repeat their request asking anyone with relevant information to contact them, if they haven’t already.
The protection of children is our highest priority and we are totally committed to supporting the Police and Criminal Justice authorities in uncovering any historic abuse and bringing those responsible to justice. There will be no hiding place for anyone who abused children or in any way colluded with or helped to cover up that abuse. We will commit whatever resources are necessary to the investigation and any subsequent criminal cases.
Now is not a time for political point scoring, but as Senator Stuart Syvret has claimed he was sacked for making allegations about child abuse in island institutions, I feel I have to set the record straight. Senator Syvret was not sacked from his job because of allegations he made about the island’s children’s services. I asked the States of Jersey to remove him from the post of Health Minister because his behaviour was not appropriate for a Minister and in the view of the Council of Ministers was actually undermining our child protection arrangements and increasing the risk to our vulnerable young people. It had nothing to do with any historic issues and certainly nothing to do with this police investigation, which began more than a year before Senator Syvret became involved.
I and the Council of Ministers are confident that today’s child protection arrangements are successfully protecting our most vulnerable children. The police have said, as is normal practice in such cases, that if their enquiries raise concerns regarding the suitability of anyone to have access to vulnerable people then they will place the interests of the vulnerable first and make a disclosure to the relevant authority.
I can confirm that there are no people currently employed in a role with access to children, about whom any disclosures have been made.
Now is the time for the democratically elected representatives of our community to pull together and ensure that Jersey does what is necessary to right these wrongs.
Senator Frank Walker