Senator Frank Walker, Chief Minister of Jersey responded to TJN's submission to the US Senate on developments on the finance industry in that Island on 27 June. Because the Jersey Evening Post ensures that it is as hard as possible to find out information on what is happening in that Island I reproduce his comments here to ensure they are available for the record:
This morning Senator Walker dismissed the TJN's a group with an unbalanced view that failed to take into account positive IMF reports and agreements with other countries.
"What we have here is a group of individuals whose entire agenda is about shutting down Jersey's finance industry and with it destroying the livelihoods of,a huge number of people in Jersey who work within the finance industry, or who rely on the tax paid by it for their employment and many other aspects of life", said Senator Walker.
This may work for domestic consumption in Jersey, but is wholly inadequate in any other sense, not least because it shows he knows nothing about what we said. Let me, also for the record, rebut the issues one by one:
1) We're taken seriously around the world. The only people who think TJN are unbalanced are the Far Right politically and people in tax havens. And if he thinks people don't take the issue seriously he should read the article in the Observer yesterday and note the familiarity of some of the issues it mentions.
2) Our paper analyses the IMF reports. In doing so we hint at the fear in Jersey that is mounting in anticipation of the next one, and rightly so. Jersey has not done what has been asked of it by the IMF, and that's apparent. Window dressing a day or two before the IMF come back five years after their first visit won't cover the cracks.
3) If Frank Walker thinks our entire agenda is shutting down Jersey's finance industry he just demonstrates his inability to see beyond the sea wall in St Helier harbour. We actually criticise all tax havens. Jersey is just one of many. And we don't do so for the purpose per se of closing down the finance industry. We do so because of the enormous harm it causes to the world at large, a harm that cannot be justified by any reasonable person anywhere outside a tax haven.
4) As my recent blog on Jersey made clear, the livelihoods of many people in the finance industry in Jersey are transient in that they are only there to pursue ill gotten gains from exploitation of the major economies of the world, both developed and developing. I need have no sympathy for those who do this: that is not a right livelihood. The world would be better off without their efforts. For those who remain there is no doubt that a) Jersey is going bust anyway, as we have shown time and again and to which Walker's own finance minister has no answer and b) Jersey's survival will within a few years be dependent upon substantial political change which will result in the rejection of Walker and all he stands for. I have no doubt that will happen as his bankrupt legacy unravels over the next few years.
So, nothing about Frank Walker's comment is based on fact and nor does it provide any intelligent defence as to the clear stratagem his government is pursuing of encourage tax abuse, a charge which he simply ignores. He'll have to improve his act soon, or Jersey will sink even sooner than I predict.