Review of the year – February

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Review of the Year – February

THE former Transport Minister was accused of flippancy by the Health Minister after he refused to support a campaign to make it compulsory for rear-seat car passengers to wear seatbelts. After former Deputy Guy de Faye also rejected an invitation to a Headway workshop on the issue, he was described by Senator Ben Shenton as being ‘stuck in the past’ and ‘blinkered’ to the injuries that could be suffered by unbuckled passengers in the event of a crash. Senator Shenton said that Jersey should follow the lead of the UK and make it compulsory for passengers to wear seatbelts but Mr de Faye stuck to his guns and said that it was a matter of ‘personal freedoms’.

JERSEY took another green step after two leading environmentalists called for the Island to become free of plastic bags. The honorary director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lee Durrell, and wildlife photographer Sue Daly led the campaign and asked Islanders, retailers and politicians to back the move. The pair were inspired by a natural history film about the damage suffered in Hawaiian waters because of plastic bags. The campaign was eventually backed by all Island supermarkets and several retailers, who introduced a small charge for the use of bags.

THE Housing Minister announced plans to freeze the scheduled one-year drop in housing qualifications because the property market could not cope with the extra 300–400 buyers. Senator Terry Le Main said that reducing the qualifying period from 12 to 11 years – the aim is to reduce it to ten as part of the migration strategy – would put huge pressure on the market. The announcement came just days after the release of figures showed that the average price of a three-bedroom house in Jersey was £470,000. Senator Le Main promised to re-examine the issue at the end of the year and in December took the unprecedented step of preparing a proposition asking the States to bring the qualifying period down by two years to help the ailing housing market.

JERSEY was invaded by an army of UK journalists after police released reports of the discovery of a child’s remains at Haut de la Garenne. Police said that they were responding to tip-offs from witnesses giving evidence in the ongoing investigation into child abuse at the former children’s home. The sniffer dog that was used during the Madeleine McCann case was brought in to examine the site, the story became headline news around the globe and the Council of Ministers held an emergency meeting to discuss their plan of action following the revelations. Following their meeting, the Chief Minister at the time, former Senator Frank Walker, said that the police would be given a ‘blank cheque’ to assist them in the investigation. Former deputy police chief Lenny Harper said that the site where the bones were found would be treated as a homicide scene.

JERSEY’S former Chief Minister, Frank Walker, suffered an embarrassing ‘grilling’ live on BBC Newsnight as Jeremy Paxman accused him of caring more about Jersey’s reputation than about the child abuse victims. In front of millions of viewers, the former Senator, standing alongside Senator Stuart Syvret, argued with Mr Paxman over the wording of his earlier comments to Senator Syvret. Mr Walker had been recorded saying ‘You’re trying to shaft Jersey internationally’ but Mr Paxman accused him of saying ‘We are trying to show off Jersey internationally’. Mr Walker accused the BBC of being unprofessional and said that they had breached basic ethics by broadcasting a private conversation.

Pictured: The media converge on Lenny Harper at Haut de la Garenne after reports of the discovery of a child’s remains

A giant crane makes its way through the St Helier pierheads

Ben Skinner rides the 50-ft Aileen’s wave off the west coast of Ireland

Lee Durrell and Sue Daly launch a campaign against plastic shopping bags

Julie and Ken Thomson of Bona Togs, which closed its doors for the final time

HD1 in dry dock in Portsmouth waiting for repairs

Chief Minister Frank Walker and Senator Stuart Syvret on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman

A sniffer dog that was used during the Madeleine McCann case was brought to Haut de la Garenne

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