ARTE – TUESDAY 1is JUNE AT 10:25 p.m. – DOCUMENTARY
Jersey, one of the most famous tax havens in the world. ” 500 billion dollars would be hidden there ”, esteem in Jersey, the orphanage of shame a former economic adviser to the government of the Channel Island. But it’s not just the dirty money hidden there. “If I could go back, I would have preferred not to know anything”, affirms, from the outset, Neil McMurray, “Citizen journalist”, whose work contributed to the opening of a public inquiry.
Because the green setting of the British Crown sheltered, for decades, the hell of children placed in homes. It was in February 2008 that the case broke. Rumors of abuse and mistreatment of children at the Haut-de-la-Garenne orphanage, from the 1950s until the establishment was closed in 1986, led the police to conduct searches. The fragments of what would be a child’s skull are found, then secret rooms in the basement, the suspected scene of sexual assault. The operation elicits the testimonies of more than 160 people, who say they have been physically and / or sexually abused as children. “Where were the authorities and what were they doing? “, asks one of them.
This is what the director, Camilla Hall, ex-journalist for the British economic and financial daily Financial times. Gathering the words of the actors of the time, including the political leaders in place, she retraced all the investigations, which, at times, could deceptively evoke to the French televiewer the case of Outreau as the twists multiply, until that justice be done.
” Mind your own business “
Depending on the island’s particular fiscal and banking status, part of the government has tried to hush up the affair in order to preserve Jersey’s reputation and its financial activities at all costs. The documentary filmmaker then shows the behind the scenes of the famous tax haven. The democratic shortcomings of its political and judicial system, in the hands of personalities appointed by the very conservative British Crown. The indigence of local legislation except when it comes to finance. The neglect of those, far from always being rich, who really live in this tax haven …
So Graham Power, the ex-chief of police who revealed the case, was warned as soon as he arrived, he said: “When I started working here, an old policeman gave me the following advice: Politicians expect you to lock up the Saturday night drunks and stop a few burglars. Other than that, mind your own business and don’t make waves. » Obviously, he will be sacked; like Stuart Syvret, then Minister of Health and Social Affairs of the island, who was a little too keen on listening to the victims, while Jimmy Savile, star BBC host and proven child criminal, could deny in all impunity his visits to the island of Jersey, as photos and films attest.
Over the course of events, Camilla Hall delivers rigorous work on a system of omerta entirely built to protect financial activities, without evading the role played by the tabloid press in discrediting the investigation and the police. By giving voice to the few survivors and seeing the struggle of those who held on, despite intimidation and media campaigns, she shows what it costs to pierce the screed.
Jersey, the orphanage of shame, documentary by Camilla Hall, (UK, 2020, 80 min), available from May 31 to August 29 on Arte.tv.