AN independent investigation into Broad Street bullying allegations should be carried out, Reform Jersey has said, as the fall-out from the resignation of government chief executive Suzanne Wylie continues.
The party, in a statement, has suggested Chief Minister Kristina Moore failed to give any strong indication that she is taking the bullying allegations seriously and has criticised Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel for telling the States Assembly that he was unaware of any future resignations when it has since transpired that he knew of Mrs Wylie’s intention to leave a week before.
Deputy Moore has been facing criticism for her timeline of events – and moved to clarify comments made to the media, saying that her ‘public comment on this matter was unclear’.
The Chief Minister confirmed this week that she received Mrs Wylie’s letter of resignation on 14 March, despite having previously indicated that the formal written letter of resignation came on 22 March, when the news was announced publicly.
And speculation has been mounting as to the reasons for Mrs Wylie’s departure, with allegations of a toxic culture of bullying within Broad Street.
Reform Jersey say: ‘Just eight months into this government’s term of office, we have already seen the return of the dysfunctionality that the public had hoped we had left behind us. Last night’s ITV Channel report, featuring damning comments from a government whistleblower, raises serious questions which must be addressed.
‘While politicians are entitled to require high standards from civil servants, Reform Jersey believes this must never manifest itself into bullying. Ministers must work collaboratively and with courtesy towards public employees at all times.’
The party says that it finds it ‘hard to accept’ Deputy Moore’s claims, made during an interview with ITV, that she opposed bullying, adding that her assertion is ‘further undermined’ by the fact that Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet broke ranks last week to criticise the government.
The statement continues: ‘We are also greatly concerned that Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel misled the States Assembly on 21 March, when he said that he was not aware of any future resignations when it transpired he was aware of the impending resignation of the chief executive. He has provided an excuse for this which does not add up, and feels like a retrospective attempt to make his words fit the agenda.
‘In her ITV interview last night, the Chief Minister did not give any indication that she was considering serious action in response to these allegations. Reform Jersey therefore calls for an immediate independent investigation into the toxic culture in Broad Street and the circumstances which led to the resignation of the chief executive.
‘If the current government leadership cannot govern in a way which meets the standards that the public expect, they should step aside.’