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Business leader ‘depressed’ by island’s lack of progress

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BUSINESS tycoon Jon Moulton has called for the island to adopt a party system of government because he said the current set up is ‘cripplingly inefficient and bureaucratic’.

Jon Moulton addresses the audience at the Chamber of Commerce lunch. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 24712739)

The venture capitalist would like to see the current consensus system change. ‘We should probably push for a party system, it’s unlikely to be much worse.’

‘We don’t have a decisive system, a party system would give a more rapid decision-making process.’

Mr Moulton was speaking at a Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday.

He was also critical of what he sees as an enormous level of bureaucracy. ‘We do not seem able to stop analysing problems even when the solution is obvious, they need to find a solution, if only to stop boring us.

‘There is an immense talent pool in this island, so instead of running off to a brand name and chucking money at PwC, the talent and knowledge is already here, and they would probably do the work for next to nothing.’

The financial services are the key to the island’s future success, according to Mr Moulton. ‘We do financial services demonstrably well, but we need to get rid of all the constraints, we need to focus on this, there’s too much red tape.

‘We can go and grab fresh areas of finance, the opportunities are numerous, so we have to make sure the regulations are simple and easy for these areas.

‘We mustn’t lose our competitive edge, we have to stay a bit different, we want to be an easy place to do business.

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‘I put the word “deregulation” into the search engine of the States website and it came back with “term not recognised”, so there’s clearly a lot of room for improvement, much of the regulations are hopeless, it’s unnecessary bureaucracy, you wouldn’t believe all the filling in of forms I have to do.’

Mr Moulton also told his audience that potential open market residents need to be encouraged to the island. ‘They are massive contributors, and we should make them feel welcome, maybe we could extend the open market.’

On the issue of the runway extension, Mr Moulton advised his audience to ‘just get used to the aviation system here’.

‘You either bite the bullet and extend the runway or you have a modest extension into the safety area, but a modest extension really does nothing, and if there was a longer extension the larger aircraft would mean less flights, and that would be a real pain.

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‘We should stop forever investigating and investigating.’

The audience was told that the new 10-year technology partnership between the States and Agilisys had ‘all the attributes of a disaster in the making’.

Agilisys, which is based in the UK, was chosen as the preferred bidder for the £200m. digital transformation program, which will modernise all the States’ IT systems.

‘Agilisys seems to have an incredibly wide range of activities. They say it will save millions of pounds a year, but it’s very unclear because everything is so wrapped up, there’s not enough in the public domain.

‘This is a big project to watch because it’s a lot of money, I think this is one you will hear a lot about.’

Mr Moulton also had strong words about the plan to create a Guernsey University.

‘We might be able to do something small and specialist, but if we’re going to get the rejects of Huddersfield Polytechnic then I don’t think we can call that a victory.’

Mr Moulton summed up his personal feelings towards the island’s progress as ‘depressed’.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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