Jersey's dark past


The early-flowering daffodils of the Channel Islands wave their yellow trumpets innocently in the stiff sea-breezes but there are black secrets buried deeper than any bulb on these undoubtedly beautiful islands.
There is thrilling sailing to be had in and among these islands, and though I have only ever been to Jersey once, I will not forget the uncomfortable silence that greeted the unwitting questions, I and others put to civic dignitaries about their role during World War Two.
It was as though I had burned copies of the Koran in order to barbeque pork outside the gates of Mecca.
These islands were the only part of the British Commonwealth to be occupied by Nazi Germany, which was their misfortune, and one which they did not invite. But stories of Jews being rounded up by local police for the transports to camps within the Third Reich; accusations of collaboration and slave labour (there was even a death camp on Alderney) have left many with an uneasy conscience to this day.
Which is why I find the claims of silence and cover-up about child abuse, involving hand-cuffs and dungeons, coming from scores of adults who were once in care on Jersey, very disquieting. I hope they prove to be unfounded, but it is not looking good and seems to be a chilling echo of an even darker past.