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Jersey red tape sees air rescue charity register here

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AIR RESCUE Channel Islands has registered as a charity in Guernsey, rather than Jersey, due to an 18-month waiting list in the other island.

Air Rescue Channel Islands brought Airbus Helicopters H135 to the island on a demonstration flight earlier this year. Now it is registered here as a charity. (Picture by Tony Rive)

The new pan-island body is looking to run a community-funded emergency helicopter service.

The group took to its social media page to voice its frustration at Jersey’s charity commission, saying the new Jersey charity commissioner set up meant that any new charities wishing to register there this year would have to have applied by the end of 2018.

‘We believe there are hundreds yet to process and at the current rate it appears the backlog could take until the end of 2020 to clear,’ an Air Rescue Channel Islands spokesman said.

‘It is not known if new charities have to wait until the existing charities are processed. The problem that now occurs is a new charity is unable to call itself a charity until the registration has been processed, which in turn means can an organisation fund raise if it is not a registered charity? Ethically I don’t believe it can.’

It also means the body cannot benefit from tax relief or GST rebates, which adds 5% to its costs.

Jersey’s new charity law came into affect in May last year. Charity commissioner John Mills said it was totally different regulatory regime to the one in Guernsey.

‘Since we went live we have had applications from about 450 entities wishing to join the register,’ he said.

The majority of the 434 application made in 2018 were submitted in the last nine weeks of the year of which 36 had been registered by the year’s end.

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‘I wouldn’t call it a backlog as we have got a lot to deal with,’ he said.

He said ARCI was a very ambitious and challenging project and the people behind it would have to do whatever was the best for them.

The ARCI spokesman said it was lucky that it was a pan-island operation.

‘We have had discussions with the Guernsey government and Registry who fully understood what we are trying to achieve and accepted us as a Guernsey charity despite being registered in Jersey, a process that only took a week or so,’ he said.

‘This has not solved all our issues. You try explaining to banks and credit card companies why we are a Guernsey charity based in Jersey, so the challenge continues.’

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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