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Rather than conform to standard biography practice I decided to simply outline the answers to a number of questions that I have been asked since first being elected back in 2008. While most questions are clearly of a practical/political nature a few are also purely personal. Yet I make no apologies for using these.

For as one of the questioners put it to me, if nothing else the responses might help reveal something of the individual existing behind the politics. This I had to agree could only be a good thing. They can, of course, be read or ignored as the reader chooses.

Nevertheless, as long time readers will notice one thing I have done in re-vamping the website for November 2012 was to create entirely separate pages for ultra personal stuff such as posts on my favourite music and books. Why…I have even added a page dedicated to what for want of a more apt description might be termed my ‘heroes’ both political and otherwise. You can click on all of these new pages above as they are completed and ‘go live’..

 

1: FULL NAME  Trevor Mark Pitman

2: PLACE OF BIRTH  Jersey

 

3: EDUCATION
I was educated in Jersey firstly at St. Mark’s, then, due to my parents moving house, at Le Squez Primary School. I then moved to St. Helier Boys Secondary Modern School as I recall it was named then. Later on I graduated from De Montford University having decided to change my career from a long-standing business management orientated one to Youth and Community Development – an area where I had already been involved for a number of years locally in a voluntary work capacity.

 

Trevor Pitman

"You can disagree with politics' outsiders, its rebels: vilify, even hate them for their outspokenness, their total lack of deference for the established order. But you can't ignore them. Because they're the ones most likely to turn the spotlight of truth on to what society needs to change. Historically this is every bit as true locally as it has been globally  – just consider Norman Le Brocq; (Mrs) Chris Wakeham; Stuart Syvret and Ted Vibert to name but a few"

4: EMPLOYMENT AT TIME OF BEING ELECTED

As indicated above, at the time of my first standing for election in 2008 I was a Senior Youth Worker employed by the Jersey Youth Service; the centre that I ran being the island’s largest - the Grands Vaux Youth Project. Though hard work and regularly demanding very long hours due to the inadequate funding provided for support staff, I would nevertheless state without any hesitation that this profession can be very rewarding in terms of professional satisfaction. So long as you can accept – as is also the case with politics – that it may take a very long time before you see the results of your hard graft come to fruition.

Looking back, as well as some of the initiatives I developed with my staff on issues such as anti-racism, empowerment, employment and political awareness, I am also really proud of the £250.000 + funding we raised in my time there to support a budget that was pitiful when I first started. I can honestly state that the Jersey Youth Service really does deliver some truly excellent work in support of the island’s young people year after year. It also has some first class staff, both professional and volunteer who regularly go way beyond the call of duty to help young people achieve their potential.

Not surprisingly I would recommend anyone who has any spare time on their hands to get involved. You won’t regret it. To this regard the service can be contacted for an informal chat on: 449394.


5: MARITAL STATUS
I am married to  Shona Pitman. First elected in 2005 and who was elected into her third term of Office - in spite of the concerted efforts of the Establishment Party ‘smear machine’ - I first met Shona when she was doing some research into ant-racism education as a part of her Masters Degree in international Peace Studies (a Human Rights/Conflict Resolution based discipline). We eventually married in Sark – a place we both consider to be one of the most beautiful and unique little places anywhere in the world – in 2004; making a little bit of local history by having the island’s first ever Humanist wedding there. Indeed, a truly special day in a truly special place and one we try to return to whenever we get the chance. Currently under threat due to the arrogance of the Barclay Brothers – should they ever seize control of the island I pledge to lead an armed guerrilla struggle to liberate it!

6: WHY I BECAME INVOLVED IN POLITICS
Having been interested in and followed politics since my teens I had considered standing before on a number of occasions. However, there had always just seemed to be too much going in my life, whether in regard to my career or otherwise, to take the plunge. Finally deciding to do so in 2008 was due to a mixture of three things.

Firstly, my becoming so completely frustrated with the unaccountable, greed-orientated and elitist politics of the so-called ‘Establishment’ that was rapidly creating a two tier society of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in the island. Secondly, my coming to the conclusion that having already worked hard on behalf of Jersey’s community and young people in particular over a number of years, the reality was that I could now quite probably do more if I made the step into politics. The third – though nowhere near as influential as the others – was the number of people who either from my work with young people, or through my involvement with the JDA (where I was Chairman in the lead-up to the 2008 elections) expressed the opinion that I had what it takes to get elected.

To this regard, though having been persuaded to initially stand for Senator, having had approximately 70% of my youth and community work originating in St. Helier, and having lived in the island’s capital for many years, knowing that it was St. Helier that I wanted to represent first and foremost was pretty clear to me.

This feeling was further cemented by the fact that though not winning a seat the people of St. Helier had voted me into fifth place at the Senatorials out of twenty-one candidates; and much to my surprise a head of established members of the Council of Ministers like Philip Ozouf and Alan Maclean: seeming to confirm that many of my centre-left political views and focus on social justice were in tune with much of the electorate.


Scales of Justice7: POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE
All too often people – particularly journalists - wish to pigeonhole people into left, right or centre. This obviously makes it easier to try and label them for the purpose of the type of negative political misrepresentation we see all too often from the likes of some in the Jersey Evening Post. It is equally also long-accepted practice for those in our establishment to try and paint anyone to the left of Attila the Hun as a die hard communist - sad but unfortunately quite true.

My key political influences – for a variety of reasons – include starkly different figures such as Hugo Chavez, Martin Luther-King, John Smith, Che Guevara, Gandhi and a great many others. Not forgetting local figures either, such as Chris Wakeham MBE and Ted Vibert to name bit two who have also contributed much that is to be admired in striving for a fairer, more equal society here.

Nevertheless, though still an over simplification the reality is that on the widely accepted world political barometer my politics would fall into what would be classed as that of the centre-left.; or if you prefer, social democracy. To enlarge on this for those new to politics it is worth briefly considering how Wikipedia defines key ideologies associated with the centre-left. These are stated as social democracy along with modern liberalism and of generally denoting support, for example, of:
• A mixed economy consisting of both private enterprise and publicly owned or subsidized programs of education, universal health care, child care and related social services for all citizens.
• An extensive system of social security (although usually not to the extent advocated by socialists), with the stated goal of counteracting the effects of poverty and insuring the citizens against loss of income following illness, unemployment or retirement.
• Equal rights and opportunity – including every person to have a vote of equal weight and value..
• Government bodies that regulate private enterprise in the interests of workers and consumers by ensuring labour rights (i.e. supporting worker access to trade unions), consumer protections, and fair market competition.
• Environmentalism and environmental protection laws; for example, funding for alternative energy resources and laws designed to combat global warming.
• A value-added progressive taxation system to fund government expenditures.
• Fair trade over free trade.
• Advocacy of social justice, human rights, social rights and civil liberties.

Whilst some of those political and historical figures from whom I have found something inspiring are discussed at greater length within the page dedicated to Heroes: Political & Otherwise; probably the best way to illustrate where I am coming from politically as this relates to Jersey specifically is to simply click on the link to  Key Political Principles  

8: WHY I BECAME INVOLVED IN & EVENTUALLY LEFT THE JDA


While an analysis of the history of the JDA will have to wait for another occasion I joined the party shortly before the official launch at Fort Regent back in 2005. At this time Shona was already working for Senator Ted Vibert as a researcher. Like many people I thought that a move to a party or ‘alliance’ of similarly minded, socially aware politicians offered a real possibility for positive change. A change in essence from the smug, vested-interest driven politics of a right-wing establishment where ordinary working people were seen as just taxation cash cows to both cosset the wealthy from the real world, and to foot the bill for some of these great ‘elder Statesmen’s many cock-ups. A party – and a centre-left one at that - seemed the best possibility of actually bringing some accountability to all of this.

Though it was certainly difficult due to the long and anti-social hours I worked as a professional youth worker I subsequently agreed to join the JDA Council; eventually being elected as JDA Chairman about nine months before the 2008 elections. In this role I was responsible for putting together the business plan that led to the party gaining financial support from the renowned Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust; similarly much of the strategy that resulted in a hugely improved 2008 election result. As per the JDA constitution I had to step down as Chairman upon my being elected as a Deputy. I am very proud of what we achieved and nothing will change that.

As to why I decided to leave the JDA along with then Deputies Shona Pitman and Debbie De Sousa, and the then Vice-Chairman, David Rotherham there is a great deal that I could say about this – but having issued a deliberately measured but nevertheless starkly clear joint statement to the media - choose not to. The fact is that the people who truly had a right to know additional details were given these with every single registered member of the party being written to before our decision to resign was publicly announced.

I recognise that one day it may well still prove necessary to say a little more: For now, however, I feel it is sufficient to say only this. If matters get to a stage where some individuals feel that they can make statements and decisions without consulting others even though they possess no such mandate; proclaim policy and collective support for this even when no such support has been given or even discussed; can put personal interests above the collective interests and advice of others who stand to be effected by such actions then it becomes impossible to continue.

Does this mean that I no longer believe in party politics, or that an ‘alliance’ or ‘coalition’ of similarly minded politicians committed to working together, and under the umbrella of a few key principles for the benefit of the majority of this island’s ordinary working people is the best way of achieving effective and accountable government? Of course not! As such I will continue to work with any and all politicians genuinely committed to re-establishing an island where all who contribute are valued equally. And who knows – come 2013 I might even have a surprise in store…


9: ROLES PLAYED IN GOVERNMENT

 

St Helier Parish Deputy
St Helier Parish CrestNot surprisingly as a Town Deputy my constituent work i.e. working on behalf of those electors in St. Helier No.1 took up a major part of my time. Indeed, I am proud to say that I had one of the largest constituent case portfolios in the States (OK, not as huge as Shona’s who probably had the biggest out of all 51 Members.) But whilst this work was, indeed, very time consuming and often quite challenging – even frustrating - it was also very, very interesting as cases can be so varied. Many of the St. Helier Deputies do try to help each other which is a positive. In my own No. 1 District I often worked quite closely with Deputy Judy Martin who, in my view, is an excellent politician. In relation to the parish I was also a member of:

  • SHREG St. Helier Representatives Group

  • POSH Police Advisory Group

  • The St. Helier Youth Committee

  • Friends of the Town Park

Privileges & Procedures Committee (PPC)

Having always been extremely interested in both States reform and the workings of government generally I was pleased to be elected to the Privileges & Procedures Committee in early 2011. I stood again for PPC following my re-election and was disappointed not to be able to continue; this being when new Chairman Constable Simon Crowcroft appears to have rolled over for real Chairman, Senator Philip Bailhache, and selected a PPC dominated by neo-Conservatives. I was nevertheless on the following Sub-Committees:

  • Election law PPC Sub-Committee

  • Standing Orders PPC Sub-Committee

Scrutiny

Though I had been a vociferous critic of a Scrutiny process that was always doomed to failure given that it needed a UK style political system to make it work; never mind the utter contempt held for Scrutiny and most of those on it by all too many of those on the Executive I played a full role in this during the first three years following my election. Indeed, at the end of that Assembly’s life I was one of only 11 Members who had stuck in through from start to finish. I list a few of the highlights below.

  • Chairman of the Sub-Panel producing the acclaimed review into BDO & the review of the finances relating to the ‘Historic’ Abuse investigation
    Vice-Chairman of the Education, Sport & Culture/Home Affairs Scrutiny panel carrying out a number of reviews including Fort Regent, Prison Board of Visitors

  • Vice-Chairman of the H & SS Sub-Panel that carried out the Vulnerable Children’s Service Review

Chairman of the Sub-Panel undertaking the School Suspensions Review

That I decided not to participate in the Scrutiny process upon my re-election was pure and simply down to the contempt displayed by the majority of the Council of Ministers for the Scrutiny function; not least being an almost total unwillingness to take on board even the most conservative of recommendations: a excellent example being the Home Affairs Minister’s refusal, having initially agreed, to accept non-Jurats to serve on the Prison Board of Visitors.

When this type of attitude was compounded with the un-professionalism that later saw the Home Affairs Minister seeking to have me removed from the BDO review it finally became apparent that without adequate ‘teeth’ Scrutiny simply could not work as it was intended as a key ‘check and balance’ to Ministerial government. It was just keeping the ‘opposition’ tied up and distracted whilst the Establishment party took the island to the brink of the economic and social abyss.

Other Groups

Having made a concerted attempt to try and get Fort Regent’s future back on the political agenda after many years one of my 2008 election pledges I was pleased to be able to persuade my Scrutiny colleagues to undertake a review into this subject. From here I was subsequently able to initiate the move to convince the States to set up a working group overseen by the then Minister for ESC, Deputy James Reed, as a political ‘champion’ to take this forward. Following on from this, as a result of a further successful amendment I also became the St. Helier No. 1 District representative for what is known as:

  • The Fort Regent Strategy Working Group

The group was really getting somewhere for the first time in years, and the prospect of finally returning the Fort to thee social and community gem that it should be was looking achievable. Unfortunately, the new ESC Minister wanted only head-nodders around him and the group was allowed to stagnate. Even the actual instigator of the group – me – being removed from it. A shame.

With my having brought a proposition to the States on dealing with serious youth crime, and being very interested in policing matters generally, I was subsequently asked by the Home Affairs Minister to be a member of the:

  • Independent Police Authority Advisory Group

This eventually led to the change of law allowing us to finally create the much-needed Independent Police Authority first mooted by Senator Alan Breckon some 15 years before.

Major Propositions and Amendments that I Have Brought to the States
A constituent remarked to me recently that listening to the States they were amazed how many politicians played little or no role within States sittings. I am pleased to be able to say that I personally played a very full and active role. Analysis of the States website will reveal that I made prolific use of both oral and written questions in order to raise issues and to help hold Ministers to account. I also played a regular part in debates. Though a ‘new’ member I still brought a number of propositions and amendments to the States for debate. These have included the following issues:

  • Reducing the number of States Members to 47

  • Parity for States employees wishing to stand for election with those in the private sector

  • Naming offenders of serious youth crime

  • Increasing the States quorum to ensure debates are not consistently interrupted due to part-time politicians disappearing to the coffee room for hours; or still worse, to their day jobs whilst being paid by us the taxpayer!

  • Minimum wage increase

  • An attempt to put an end to Members of the Council of Ministers hitting taxpayers twice for Blackberry phone bills in the light of the fact that all States members already get an allowance for such costs

  • Fort Regent

  • Protecting the Jersey Youth Service budget by transferring £50.000 previously spent on ‘top heavy’ management to delivery of frontline services

  • Increasing accessibility to voting by moving Election Day to a Sunday

I also withdraw one proposition on setting up a ‘Youth Offenders Strategy Working Group’ following assurances that my concerns would be taken on board within the creation of the new children’s plan. Finally, in addition to the above, as a member of the ESC/Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel with my colleagues Deputies Roy le Herissier, Montford Tadier and Jeremy Mason I have also been involved in a number of propositions and amendments lodged in the name of the panel.

 

In



Pippa10: HOBBIES OR INTERESTS OUTSIDE POLITICS


 I would list these as being: family; walking the dog, reading; history; listening to rock music; football; creative writing; travel - whenever I get the chance, and weight training. A qualified fitness instructor this last one is an area that I just haven’t given enough time to since my election due to the long and irregular hours that go with this job. Having finally joined a new gym I am determined to put this right as a matter of urgency! A suit really can hide a multitude of ‘sins’…



Sark11: BEST PLACES TRAVELLED TO
I have been very fortunate enough to travel quite widely over the years but if pushed would still have to begin with… SARK! Love the place. Somewhere that even as small as it is you can really chill-out it’s just so peaceful, pretty, friendly and relaxed. Others right at the top of my list are Croatia, Cuba, Crete and much of what I have seen of Central America whilst following the Mayan Trail. As for specific towns or cities closer to home Dinard just has to be mentioned too. If you asked me to name the top destinations that I have not yet visited but hope to, it would certainly include Peru, Venezuela and New Zealand.

 

 

Don’t moan about politics – get involved and help change things!