Friday, 23 May 2014
"Jersey Should First Deal With Its Own Disgraceful Human Rights Record"
"The Worship Of Money"
Jersey's government has come under fire for laying on a VIP welcome to dignitaries from 13 Arab states.
Senior politicians have rolled out the red carpet as part of a charm offensive to attract new business to the island which the Treasury Minister says could be worth £20 billion to the economy.
But opponents are tonight highlighting the human rights records of the countries involved.
One female States member says she's been made to feel like a "second class citizen" after women politicians were sent letters telling them how to dress to impress the guests.
Senator Sarah Ferguson told ITV News: “Whilst I appreciate the need for respect and protocol when dealing with dignitaries from different cultures, I do not wish to treated as a second class citizen in my own country.
"As a Member of the States Assembly, I would say that we do already dress appropriately for all functions and duties the position requires.”
There has also been anger from some who do not think we should be trading with ‘undemocratic’ nations. Deputy Sam Mezec said: “They are all brutal dictatorships, with incredibly poor human rights records and I think ultimately we've got to be honest about that.
“There's not necessarily wrong with doing business, but it has to be legitimate business, it has to be ethical business and I think Jersey really should be trying to distance itself from some of the nastier elements of these regimes."
But the man in charge of Jersey's finances thinks it is a wise investment. Treasury and Resources Minister Senator Philip Ozouf said: "If we're successful and we're growing in the recognition and the business that we're getting from this region - and these Ambassadors would not be coming to Jersey if there was not an interest, and indeed a growing commercial and cultural and diplomatic interest - if there was not business opportunities - and this is all part of our strategy for getting Jersey economic growth and Jersey jobs."
Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Gorst said of the visit: "This will reinforce our ties with existing partners such as the UAE and Qatar, and will help to promote Jersey more widely in the region.
"Direct engagement of this kind raises Jersey's profile and helps to identify opportunities for further, mutually beneficial relations."
Led by the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, the delegates will attend meetings with the Chief Minister and other ministers, including the External Relations Minister, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache; the Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf; and the Assistant Economic Development Minister, Deputy James Baker.
They will also meet with representatives from the finance industry and will attend a dinner hosted by the Bailiff.
The party arrived last night in blacked-out cars flanked by police escorts. Red carpets were rolled out at The Grand and Hotel de France.
Countries represented include Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the State of Palestine.
During their two day stay, they will also be visiting popular family attractions such as Durrell Wildlife Park and Mont Orgueil Castle.