There are times when a public response to criticism levelled in the media is the best solution, and other times when ignoring it can be the best option rather than helping to fuel a debate in public.
But when a representative from the House of Lords stands up and claims that Jersey is ‘one of the most secretive jurisdictions in the world’ and that claim is then published on the front page of the local newspaper, it should not go unchallenged. A response needs to come from the Government ministers that represents Jersey and it should be directed at the high profile political figure making the claim – in this case Baroness Williams.
Jersey has copious evidence to refute such a claim including independent assessments by the IMF and other international bodies, a series of tax information exchange agreements signed with other countries, positive comments contained in a report from the World Bank and Jersey officials’ involvement at the highest level in a representative body which is reviewing the regulatory effectiveness of other jurisdictions. Furthermore, Jersey does not have a banking secrecy law though there are other jurisdictions that do and it has implemented laws that enable overseas authorities to investigate wrongdoing including fraud and tax evasion.
If no action is taken the next time Baroness Williams decides to repeat such a claim it might be on BBC ‘Question Time’ or a similar factual programme when the damage could be more far reaching.