In 2012, an American author and journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, found herself banned from the UK and Channel Islands, which she says followed the Jersey establishment discovering she was writing a book about the historic child abuse inquiry focussed on Haut de la Garenne. Both the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Jersey’s customs and immigrations service insist her ban was unrelated to her journalistic investigations. […]
A spokeswoman for the UK Border Force told the Guardian: “Ms Goodman was refused entry to the UK because we were not satisfied she was genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for the limited period she claimed. Further enquires showed that she attempted to mislead the Border Force officer about her travel plans and the reason she required entry to the UK.”
Goodman disputes this. She said: “To date, the UK Border Force can do little more than accuse me of intending to possibly commit a future transgression, as it has been forced to admit there has been none. This has been a bit like the film Minority Report, in that I am being pursued for something that hasn’t actually taken place. As a former Tier-1 visa holder with a spotless record, I was surprised to be locked up, denied legal representation and banned from a country for which I’ve always held the highest respect. I have never misled the UK Border Force, nor have I ever intended to. I do realise it is a delicate situation, but I hope I might finish my work.”1
Click here to read the full Guardian article published on 28th June.
Shortly afterwards in July, Leah McGrath Goodman gave an interview on the BBC:
As did Michael Robinson, who was speaking on behalf of Jersey’s Custom and Immigration Service:
Then in September, Max Keiser interviewed Leah McGrath Goodman [Episode 339 of Keiser Report], asking about her ban from the UK for reporting on the Jersey scandal, as well as discussing the “$5 billion per square mile” in laundered money that keeps Jersey afloat:
[Jersey] is a peculiar possession of the British Crown. It is the largest offshore tax centre in the world – has more money than in any other. And it’s a very secretive island. It runs itself as a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy – it’s very complicated. Technically Britain has legal ties to it but it runs itself. […]
Well, I was researching Jersey for a while – a couple of years. And at the time that I got property over there, I met with immigration to just make sure that my affairs were in order and they said that they were, but when they found out what I was researching, they flagged me – they didn’t tell me – and the next time I crossed the border I was imprisoned underneath Heathrow Airport, and they went through all of my things, they refused to give me a lawyer or let me call my consulate, all my rights were taken away from me, and then they sent me back to the United States. I still have not gotten a straight answer as to why. […]
Jersey has a really polished international reputation as a tax haven, but internally it has a lot of political problems ever since scandals involving an orphanage in 2008, where it seems that for decades, children were allegedly tortured, raped, murdered – and there were many victims who are still alive, who can tell their stories very clearly. They’re being completely ignored and my feeling is that it does need to be investigated more thoroughly, and they need to be able to speak their truth.
Everyone who has come near this particular scandal to look into it – from the policemen to the health minister – have all been either driven off the island or thrown out of their jobs. It’s been very bad, and it seems like there’s been a big effort to try to keep eyes away. […]
I know that when the BBC interviewed me about this recently, and the Guardian this summer, when they found out I was being banned, what ended up happening was, Jersey said: Miss Goodman, we invite you to come back to the islands. They have not removed my ban, but they are publicly stating that I am welcome to come back even though I’m still banned. And the UK says Jersey’s not letting me come. Jersey says the UK is not letting me come. So you can see how they can kind of toss it back and forth, and try to create confusion for someone who’s just trying to do the right thing.
Leah McGrath Goodman is still denied entry back into Jersey. To mark the ban’s one-year anniversary, Trevor Pitman, member of the parliament of Jersey launched a petition on Change.org, urging the UK government to restore her UK Tier-1 visa.
UK Member of Parliament John Hemming tables motion in support of this petition: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/504
Click here to read more about Leah McGrath Goodman and the Jersey case on her own website.
1 From an article entitled “Jersey’s ‘secrecy culture’ led to my suspension, says former police chief: Graham Power claims he was punished for daring to investigate allegations against some of the island’s power players” written by Helen Pidd, published in the Guardian on June 28, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/28/jersey-secrecy-culture