Wait for pier fire justice

The Hastings Observer has today published an edited version of the letter submitted three weeks ago and given it the headline "Wait for pier fire justice goes on".

The letter as printed is indicated by Bold text, with the unprinted sections in standard text

Where were you when Eastbourne Pier was found to be alight? Me, I was at St Leonards Post Office, sending Mediation Support Ltd accounts to Companies House. Sadly this was another year with a bad debt carried over from Hastings Pier’s non-payment for my company writing a grievance policy and undertaking mediation work. As a "Community Development worker specialising in pier fires", it is an occupational hazard that I have even been accused of being behind Eastbourne Pier Fire!

"We Need To Act If We Want Justice" was the brilliant title you gave to my first letter in your paper; three years on the "Hastings Pier Fire Justice Fiasco" has not yet been turned around by a Community Justice -eg Truth & Reconciliation response. My attempt, via Amber Rudd MP, to secure immunity from prosecution for those who engage in a Community Mediation about the Pier Fire, acknowledging the 'victims' and responding to their stories, needs fresh impetus. Eastbourne Pier Fire may be part of this gear change; with each town influencing the other.

Sadly there are many misunderstandings arising from the process of indirect communication with those who were arrested after jumping off the burning Hastings pier. A further set back has been the resistance of The Hastings Independent to run adverts for the 5th October 2014 Truth & Reconciliation meeting, despite my company being the chief underwriter of that paper's advertising income at the time.

It seems hardly surprising to me that The Mirror newspaper on Friday 1st August published the following two sentences which are inaccurately damning of our "best" efforts: "Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd demanded the 144-year old structure should not go the way of nearby piers in Brighton or Hastings destroyed by fire in recent years. Insisting that two-thirds remained untouched, he added 'I'm very hopeful and confident that it will be reopening next year and be back in business.'"

Friday 1st August also saw the Prime Minister visiting Eastbourne Pier and announcing £2 million pounds emergency funding to those whose businesses (unlike the businesses on Hastings Pier) have lost money as a result of the fire.

Some understand the importance of a pier to a town that cares.
One temporarily disheartening response to the BBC News article "What Happens after Pier Fires?" I circulated was from someone aged 23 - ie from the same age group as those arrested after the Hastings Pier Fire: "Who gives a s**t?"

Yours determined as ever to show that we, in Hastings & St Leonards can do better at addressing our suspected case of pier arson , as documented on Sussex Community blog & now http://facebook.com/EastbournePierFire

P.S. to find out more about my commitment to this issue, please see "Pepe Le Pier" on YouTube

or "What I did that led to Hastings Pier Fire" on http://YouTube.com/toothpaste007
Paul Crosland
Mediation Support Ltd

No comments: