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Monday, 13 June 2011

"Jersey's Wacko Politicians - Take Another Beating"

We have been far too soft on our politicians

Oddballs 'or' Screwballs ???
From Paul Jackson.

IT was wonderful to see Paula Thelwell (comment, JEP, 3 June) express what most Islanders must feel about this Island’s government and, in particular, those ‘pay-offs’ to top civil servants.
I personally have felt sick of the never-ending cock-ups and profligacy that our ministers collectively are responsible for. We live in a beautiful Island but have to suffer an over-blown government and civil service who (or is it just me?) seem to always make the wrong decisions and are determined to steadily erode the pleasures of individual citizens of Jersey.
I wonder how many politicians actually read or take any note of the many negative comments about them that appear regularly in the JEP’s pages. I suspect not many.
There are undoubtedly a few political figures, Alan Breckon to name one, who are dedicated and conscientious, but they are surrounded by inept colleagues who continue to ride the gravy train. These latter types perhaps read the adverse comments at the end of the day but no doubt shrug their shoulders and open another bottle of wine.
You cannot keep masking inefficiencies and errors by raising GST every year, or to help fund ludicrous appointments and subsequent pay-offs. GST sends out bad messages to tourists, especially from the UK, who find it is more expensive here than at home to buy a newspaper or pint of beer, among other things. With the size of the finance industry’s future in doubt, we surely need tourism to bolster the Island’s income and related tax revenue.
Our sister island, Guernsey, has some financial problems but has no plans to introduce GST or raise the basic rate of income tax.
These are worrying times. There have never been so many houses for sale in the Island with prices softening, nor so many people unemployed. What about our rainy day fund? Is this not the elusive ‘rainy day’? Chief Ministers seem scared to touch this fund but, if they get things right, it can be replenished in future years.
At present, there is a lack of will to address the problems of a government far too big (why do we need 53 States Members to run an Island of 45 square miles?) and complex and far too expensive.
Surely the tax-paying public should know, as Paula Thelwell says, who negotiated or sanctioned the contracts for the highly paid civil servants who didn’t even finish the job before departing Jersey, and those persons should resign because I, for one, fail to see that these highly paid employees have made any noticeable contribution to the Island and, if they have, let’s hear the details.
In the private sector, those responsible for blunders pay the price, so it should be the same in the public sector.
We have been far too lenient with our politicians as a whole and their endless mistakes in the past but, with rising taxes and living costs and unemployment causing some real problems, I get the impression that people’s patience is wearing thin – so this may be about to change.

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