St Helena Online

Tag: Daily Mail

No cover-up, no corruption, no routine abuse: Wass inquiry dismisses claims that ‘grossly and unfairly’ tainted St Helena

Allegations of corruption and of child abuse being covered up on St Helena and Ascension Island have been searingly dismissed at the end of a 13-month inquiry.

Sasha Wass QC and her inquiry team found no justification for “lurid” headlines in the Daily Mail.

“St Helena and its people have been grossly and unfairly tarnished by the allegations which the inquiry was asked to investigate”, she says.

A report leaked to the paper by social worker Claire Gannon was found to have been “compromised” by her own unfounded evidence to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Evidence given to the Wass Inquiry by her fellow social worker Martin Warsama was also dismissed.

Its report – published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday (10 December 2015) – says:

“The Inquiry Panel found no evidence that child abuse was either endemic or routine.

“The allegations made by Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama were taken extremely seriously by the inquiry and much of the inquiry’s time was spent investigating what they said in order to establish whether it had any foundation.

“Having conducted this detailed exercise, the inquiry panel was able to demonstrate that there was no truth in the sweeping assertion made by Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama that St Helena was a ‘paedophiles’ paradise’ or that the police and government were corrupt.

“Inevitably, we examined the conduct of Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama themselves.

“The panel was left in no doubt that each of them was professionally incompetent and unable to fulfil the terms of their employment.

“We have considered in detail the cases cited by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama in which they have alleged corruption in others and have been able to dismiss their claims.”

But Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama may nonetheless have been responsible for spurring officials in London and Jamestown to take proper steps to protect children.

The Wass Report says:

“Following the sensational allegations made in the Daily Mail in July 2014, the St Helena Government has made a concerted effort to address safeguarding.

“One witness told the inquiry panel: ‘It took two of the most incompetent people that I have ever met to go to the papers and exaggerate, for St Helena to give social services the resources it needed.'”


Daily Mail tricked into printed lurid stories based on ‘compromised’ abuse report

Stunning island images – but not quite the whole picture

Some truly stunning pictures accompany a travel article urging tourists to seize a last chance to make the “iconic” voyage to Jamestown on the RMS St Helena.

As seen on Twitter: click to read
As seen on Twitter: click to read

One panorama, looking across Bamboo Hedge to Lot and Lot’s Wife, presents an image of an exotic paradise (except, perhaps, for the farm buildings).

The article is slightly geographically confused, putting the island 1,200 miles off Angola and 1,200 miles from the much-more-distant Cape Town.

But it does a good job of promoting a one-off holiday package:

“The 20-day tour offered by Discover the World also includes a unique hosted farm stay in a former East India Company plantation owner’s home and offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy the island’s scenery and historic sites by car.”

It also quotes managing director Clive Stacey, who says: “There are so few places left on the planet that enjoy the veneers of modern civilization but yet are so unaffected by the stresses these can produce.”

This being a promotional travel puff, no mention is made of the very dark stresses that have blighted island life for many, and brought unwelcome media coverage.

Some might find this slightly surprising, given that the article is published by The Daily Mail… the paper that first reported the contents of the leaked report on sex abuse on St Helena.

Read it here