Jersey politicians 'lost sight of victims of abuse'

Jersey's lieutenant governor has told the States that politicians lost sight of the needs of the victims in the historic abuse inquiry.

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Ridgway gave a final address to the States.

The speech was only the second time he has addressed the States Chamber, the first was when he arrived in the island in 2006.

He was retiring on Thursday after five years in office and is moving to Devon with his wife Lady Valerie Ridgway.

'Low point'

In his final media interview with the BBC, Sir Andrew revealed the historic abuse inquiry at Haut de la Garenne had been one of the most testing times during his time in office.

He said life in the island had reached a low point during that time.

Image caption Sir Andrew said the historic abuse inquiry was one of the most testing times during his five year term

Sir Andrew told States members it had been a challenge to make sure that authorities in the UK understood what was actually going on as opposed to what they were reading about in the press.

He said: "When everyone should have been focused on that they were diverted away by these extraordinary allegations of mass murders and people attempting to exploit the situation for political purposes.

"I think that was a great shame because it distracted from the real effort, which was caring for the people who had been abused all those years ago."

Also during his farewell address, Sir Andrew said politicians should conduct themselves with more common courtesy in the States.

'Demeans the States'

He spoke out in support of the role of the senators and constables in the States.

And said by focusing on detailed internal matters and attacking fellow members in the States, politicians ran the risk of losing the respect of islanders.

"I would simply ask if any member plans to get to his or her feet and plans to be patronising, derogatory, insulting or condescending then please stay seated and think again.

"Such behaviour goes down very badly with the public at large, it demeans the individual, it demeans the States as a whole and it demeans the whole political process in the island."

After his address, Sir Andrew and Lady Ridgway inspected a Guard of Honour in the Royal Square and met islanders.

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