LETTERS: RNLI are treating St Helier lifeboat crew like children

From Paul Battrick.

The St Helier lifeboat crew
The St Helier lifeboat crew

I AM deeply saddened that the St Helier lifeboat crew continue to be bullied and micro-managed, despite receiving an apology from the RNLI on 28 June. Having recently spoken to crew members, it is evident to me how demoralised and upset these volunteers who risk their lives for the people of Jersey, and are being treated like children who need to be contained, are.

Following the reinstatement of the crew in June, they have been subjected to a paid RNLI staff member sitting in the station observing their every move and undoubtedly reporting back to RNLI headquarters.

An advert was recently placed for a Jersey station manager. The crew have had no input on this or been asked to participate in the interview panel, and in my view have been deliberately excluded from any decision-making process.

I have carried out some research and there are only two stations in the whole of the UK which have a manager in this role overseeing them. These are two full-time lifeboat stations, on the Humber and the River Thames – quite a comparison with Jersey!

I understand that the interviews for this position will be held in Poole with only one Jersey panel representative who holds the role as the deputy launching authority.

There are many questions that need to be answered by the RNLI. The St Helier lifeboat crew and the people of Jersey should look to the States to take the lead in this matter on behalf of the crew.

Why do the crew of the St Helier lifeboat station require a ‘babysitter’ when no other crew in the UK has employed anyone else in a similar capacity (with the exception of the aforementioned RNLI stations)?

Questions need to be answered as to who is paying for the crew’s ‘babysitter’ to be here. And what about their hire car, flights and accommodation? I assume that, yet again, this is coming out of the pocket of the Jersey people, through their regular donations and generous legacies.

Following the reinstatement of the original crew in June, two highly qualified and long-standing crew members have resigned. Our island simply cannot afford to lose any more experienced crew members. I would ask that the Chief Minister’s department intervene and give our crew the support they deserve. Without this crew, the Island’s waters will not be as safe.

Having spoken to the coxswain, he is still being prevented from seeing the initial report which led to his dismissal. To me, this implies that the RNLI are being far from transparent.

In April, during the first supporters’ rally we held, Senator Paul Routier publicly stated that there would be an inquiry. To date this has not happened. I would urge Senator Routier to initiate this as a matter of urgency.

Chalet de Pavot, Grande Route de St Ouen, St Ouen.

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