Lessons for the tax havens – keep your people happy

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Michael Gillard of Private Eye was also at the conference I attended on tax havens in the USA.

Michael is one of the best respected investigative journalists ion the world. And he is vehemently opposed to offshore. If anything he got a more robust response than I did when taking part in a conference session.

But one thing Michael said, which was incredibly useful, was how important has been the clear disquiet in Jersey regarding tax reform to allow them to continue as a tax haven, and to its new GST in particular. 19,000 people, representing over a third of the adult population of Jersey have signed a petition against this tax.

Michael hit a raw nerve with that one. The BVI admitted there is also a major social problem in BVI with what they identified in public session as white, young lawyers coming into the place, making no attempt to integrate and earning salaries beyond the reach of many local people.

Even Tim Ridley of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority recognised the special significance of the problems Jersey has faced, and urged all conference participants to be concerned about the people who 'clean their cars and provide their phones'.

It's not often said, this blog excepted, but the resentment of many of the local populations who have had offshore financial services centres inflicted upon them, at cost to their own well being, is one of the biggest threats to their long term future.

Tim Ridley and those like him would be well advised to take especial note of the mess Frank Walker has made of Jersey, and the opposition to his actions. It sounds like that opposition have begun a movement that might spread to the BVI and onwards - even to Cayman if its own press is to be believed.

I'm proud to know some in that Jersey opposition.