29 September 2020
A public exhibition showcasing the shortlisted designs for a memorial to acknowledge the children and young people who were failed and harmed whilst in Jersey’s care system, is due to open next month.
In February, designers were invited to tender to create the Jersey Care Memorial, which will be located in Weighbridge Place. The memorial forms part of the Government’s response to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which recommended that the failures of the Island’s historic care system should be recognised and remembered. The memorial is one element of the four-part Legacy project recommended by the Citizens’ Panel in 2018.
The tender opportunity, which was extended by three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, closed on 30 July with a total of eight proposals received. The Citizens’ Panel, which was formed after the Care Inquiry and is made up of survivors and members of the wider public, selected three designs to go forward to the next stage of the process following an evaluation process held in August. The shortlisted designs will be exhibited at Private and Public, Phillips Street, St Helier, from Thursday 8 October to Saturday 10 October, between 10am and 6pm each day.
Islanders will be able to visit the gallery to see the designs as well as viewing them online. The link to the virtual exhibition will be posted on gov.je. The Citizens’ Panel would like to hear Islanders’ views about the three shortlisted designs before the final decision is made. In the final stage of the selection process each design team will be asked to formally present their proposal before being interviewed by the Citizens’ Panel.
The final design, which is expected to be announced in November, will need to meet the eight ‘looking back’ criteria set out by the Citizens’ Panel, to ensure the memorial includes an apology; honours victims and survivors; does not shock survivors and bring back memories; and, is easily accessible to the public. It is hoped that, subject to planning permission, work to construct the memorial will begin in 2021, before being finally unveiled on Jersey Children’s Day, 3 July 2022.
The Minister for Children and Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, said: "The Government is committed to the creation of a memorial as a key part of our response to the Care Inquiry.
"I hope that the final memorial will become a permanent focus for reflection and represent our enduring promise to Jersey’s children that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. I would urge Islanders to share their views on the designs – we want to make sure that everyone’s views are considered before the Citizens’ Panel makes its final decision."
A spokesperson for the Citizens’ Panel said: "We were delighted with the quality of the submissions we received for the Memorial competition. We are looking forward to the public exhibition and we will be taking the public's comments on the designs into consideration when we make our final decision."
The Jersey Citizens' Panel 2018 report is available online.
The Citizen's Panel's eight looking back criteria, in full, are as follows: "The memorial is the element that focusses on the past and must therefore meet the Panel’s looking back criteria (agreed in June 2018), which are as follows:
1. Include an apology
2. Is thought provoking and forever
3. Honours victims and survivors, those lives lost, lives ruined and those who are still suffering
4. Ensures that what happened does not get forgotten and stops the past being repeated
(When the Citizens Panel met to write this commissioning brief they agreed that it is extremely difficult for a monument to achieve this).
5. Is easily accessible to the public
6. Is highly visible and cannot be ignored. A memorial should be located in a highly prominent position so that all are constantly reminded of the injustice that took place and how the children were failed in the care system. It should remind the Jersey government as the corporate parents (i.e. acting parents), but not shock the survivors and bring back memories.
7. Is meaningful to a range of experiences suffered in the whole care system
8. Is a transparent and clear acknowledgment of what happened."