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Haut de la Garenne – No Final Chapter to be Written


Haut de la Garenne - House of Horror

It has been announced that the Jersey Council of Ministers have broken their 2008 promise to hold an inquiry into the historic child abuse scandal!  They have now changed their minds, saying it would achieve nothing and would cost millions.

The news has angered those both outside and inside the States.

Noting the ministers didn’t have the decency to consult them, the Jersey Care Leavers’ Association (JCLA), who represent victims of abuse on the island, say they are ‘dismayed’ at the decision, and said it was “the final straw” for them.

Read JCLA’s scathing response at Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret Blog.

This decision just caps a long string of sad and painful insults to many.

I began watching the horror unfold several years ago.  Jersey, a tiny Channel Island, had become the focus of a major child abuse scandal.  While the investigation involved several children’s homes, the scandal will ever remain synonymous with the infamous Haut de la Garenne home.

Over 160 people came forward and told horrific stories of beatings, rapes and torture that occurred at the Haut de la Garenne home in St Martin in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Witnesses told frightening stories of being drugged and abused at drunken parties organized by the staff and to which people from outside the home had been invited.

Stuart Syvret was a senator for 17 years and helped initiate the child abuse investigation. Syvret has been an outspoken critic of alleged conflicts of interest between business and political interests among the States of Jersey’s members.  While he has made many enemies in the political arena, he has won the praise and admiration of many for championing the rights of the abused.

As the months unfolded we began to see the depths of corruption, collusion, lying and criminal activity by the government in Jersey.

It should be remembered that the media in Jersey is basically in the pocket of the government and pretty much tows the company line.  Their lies as well as glaring omissions of the truth have helped to create apathy on the island.

After watching many cases being dismissed, the libel and slander by the government against Chief Investigator Lenny Harper, the illegal firing Chief Officer Graham Power, the illegal invasion of Stuart Syvret’s home and his subsequent illegal jailing I have to wonder why the very same puppet masters still hold the reigns of government.

Why hasn’t the populace risen up and slashed those strings that bind them?  I befriended several folks from Jersey over the years and because the media in Jersey is so dismal, I often asked them what the general public thinks about all this.  Sadly, besides apathy, there is a great deal of fear – fear of reprisal.  On such a tiny island, everyone knows everyone.  Fear of you or a family member losing a job in this economy seems to be in the front of everyone’s minds.

For the victims, Stuart, Lenny, Graham, and others who placed themselves in harms way, you have the care and support of many and the fight wasn’t in vain!


  1. ritanita
    02/02/2011 at 9:02 am

    Donchais, having followed along with this story from the get-go, I am well beyond disappointed. I hesitate to say what I really feel, you’ll have to edit me out. How many ways can one spell “politics first”. The victims were nobodies to this crew and what they suffered did not meet up with the need to cover so many guilty people’s rear ends.

    The voters in Jersey are “cowed” by their leaders and don’t feel they have any power over what happens on their island.

  2. donchais
    02/02/2011 at 9:07 am

    Sadly, some of the scum still have their jobs, but nobody won in this story!

  3. 02/02/2011 at 8:21 pm

    I was right there with you when you started covering this case. I too, was appalled at the level of government corruption and lack of oversight in Jersey. Sad that there is only a single news outlet in Jersey and their coverage of the case was clearly in favor of the government from the get go.

    Government reprisals against the citizens (in a country with no checks and balances) appears to be a reality for the citizens, otherwise, I would hope the citizens would have presented a united front against the cover-up and horror of Haut de la Garenne.

    One wonders what will it take for true political change to happen in Jersey. Just unbelievable sad, for the victims and citizens of Jersey.

  4. 02/02/2011 at 9:21 pm

    Donchais, I am so dismayed but not surprised by the broken promises of the the Jersey Council of Ministers. I want to reiterate the last sentence of your article.

    “For the victims, Stuart, Lenny, Graham, and others who placed themselves in harms way, you have the care and support of many and the fight wasn’t in vain!”

    If it’s any consolation the world is now aware of what happened. The fact this has repeatedly been swept under the rug only validates the claims made and also, IMO, lumps the JCM right in with the pigs who are accused of these atrocities.

    OT- And here I was so happy to hear that Jose Baez was being investigated before I read this. pooh!

  5. donchais
    02/03/2011 at 5:34 am

    It had been hoped because of the publicity swirling around Haut de la Garenne the government might have undergone some ‘behavior modification’. It seems some of the old guard continue, behind the scene, as the puppet masters!

    You said exactly how I felt when I heard the news. It began as anger, but by the end of the short article, it was more a resigned acceptance that things remain status quo in Jersey!

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