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“It’s a much wider issue and we need to speak about it”

“It’s a much wider issue and we need to speak about it”

Friday 15 March 2019

“It’s a much wider issue and we need to speak about it”

A local Deputy has been flooded with comments from islanders sharing experiences of racism at work, in social circles and even at school, after Police confirmed they were investigating abuse against her during her election campaign.

Kazakhstan-born Inna Gardiner, who took part in her first States Assembly meeting this week, was elected on Wednesday 27 February to represent St. Helier 3/4 - the former district of the late Deputy Richard Rondel.

But during the lead-up to the election, the Deputy alleges she encountered racist abuse, particularly online, which Police confirmed yesterday they were investigating

police siren

Pictured: Police are investigating allegations of racist abuse against Deputy Inna Gardiner.

Since then, the Deputy told Express she had been inundated with so many emails from islanders “describing racist abuse in Jersey” that she “didn’t have time to reply to all of them”.

“I have had online comments - these email describe [the abuse that] people experienced at their work places, social circles and also between children at schools. It means it's a much wider issue and we need to speak about it.”

The Deputy continued: “I believe in our community, we need to care for everybody. Who does it need to realise how wrong it is? I don't want to prosecute them because of their ignorance. For me, highlighting this issue is important, so everyone understands exactly what is and isn't acceptable in our society.”

Video: Deputy Gardiner spoke to Express about her priorities after being elected.

While her experience is one of many accounts, the Deputy added that by speaking up, “hopefully it will go some way to stopping it.”

The news comes as new figures released under the Freedom of Information Law revealed that racial “hate crimes” hit their highest level in 2018, with 24 incidents reported – two thirds of all hate crimes reported that year.

So far, there have been two incidents reported for 2019.

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