Why have you done this to your Island?From Lawson Cartwright.
I HAVE recently returned from a two-week break in your beautiful Island and feel compelled to write about my experiences and the changing face of Jersey.
My first trips to the Island were back in the 1980s, when I worked as a summer student on potato farms. The 80s in jersey were happy days, your tourism was booming, the farming community was thriving, bars and restaurants were busy, and the Islanders were strong, independent and proud.
What a contrast I found this time around, I could write a thesis and on where I feel your States have allowed the Island to fall into decline. Such a paper would include chapters in consumerism, greed, corruption, nostalgia, self-pity and resignation.
What ever happened to customer service in your Island? In the 80s it was excellent, happy chatty bar staff, helpful polite waiters, and shop assistants that could speak English and pass the time of day.
On my holiday, I found waiters who came to your table and handed you your plate, rather than place it on the table. I also found waiters who did not know what was on the menu and appeared not to care, waiters with false smiles whose expression changed when they left your table.
In one restaurant I asked three separate waiters for Pernod or Ricard but not one knew what it was – yet your tourist board promotes the Island as being closer to France than England.
In another restaurant I was unable to explain that I did not want a particular table, because the waitress did not understand what I was saying. In the end I was forced to leave. I found polish bar staff in nearly every bar I visited; many had a limited knowledge of the English language and at best could only take your order. None had any concept whatsoever of the English pub atmosphere, ie chatty and friendly.
Your elections are coming up soon, so perhaps it’s time to put people in power who care about the Island. In my view you need broad-minded people, people who understand what it means to be a Jerseyman, strong people who are not afraid to return to the immigration policies of the past.
You need people who want to encourage tourism. In order to do this they will need to revise your tax laws, look at ownership of bars and restaurants and the apparent lack of business acumen, they will need to examine monopolies and, if necessary, force sales.
From an outsider’s point of view the States seem to be in cahoots with your financial services industry. Perhaps the States feel they have no alternative.
It’s also clear that developers have had a hand in taking away a lot of the Island’s heritage; Jersey Pottery, I understand, is to be the next victim.
Many new developments are an eyesore and are not in keeping with the Island’s architecture, Portelet apartments being the latest in a long line of projects that should never have been granted planning permission, in my view.
I feel you should reduce income tax for local people, so that they can work in your bars and restaurants, and compete with the cheaper Eastern European workforce.
You should also look to recruiting from the UK. British people may not have socialist working values, but British people today, in contrast to those of 30 years ago, have excellent business skills.
In the long run I feel your Island will be better off. You have had the good times. Make sure you leave some for your children.