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Bailiff's criticism of Care Inquiry is 'wrong and damaging', says Children's Minister

Senator Sam Mézec says the States Assembly's presiding officer should not unfairly criticise the work of the inquiry as the Bailiff did. Credit: States Chamber

The Bailiff's criticism of the Jersey Care Inquiry is "wrong and damaging", according to the Children's Minister.

Senator Sam Mézec says the States Assembly's presiding officer should not unfairly criticise the work of the inquiry the way he did at yesterday's States sitting.

He added that doing so could "harm the healing process" post-care inquiry.

This comes after Sir William Bailhache rejected suggestions of a lack of fairness and transparency in his decision-taking with regards to historic child abuse.

Where the government makes mistakes or adopts policies which are wrong, it is for elected members of the Assembly to challenge the government, and the presiding officer must facilitate that challenge, but not take part in it from a position of privilege where he is not able to be held to account himself.

In the context of the Care Inquiry, the ‘Jersey Way’ was identified as a way of describing a lack of transparency and fairness in decision making, a reluctance to challenge the status quo and an absence of redress for those who suffered what were considered to be injustices.

The Bailiff’s statement this morning was a clear attempt to influence and a clear example of the Jersey Way. This will harm the healing process post-Care Inquiry. It will have damaged the journey for those who are pinning their hopes on the government to carry out the recommendations of the Care Inquiry.

– Senator Sam Mézec, Jersey's Children's Minister