Challenging the tax haven issue

IT WAS not the way Jersey’s new chief minister would have wished to present herself in a first appearance on national media.

Deputy Kristina Moore appeared on Women’s Hour, ostensibly to positively mark the achievement of a first woman to take the top political job in the island. And then the discussion switched, with what the Jersey Evening Post described as an ‘about-turn in tone and direction’, on to tax havens.

And it wasn’t just an attack on a ‘tax haven’. It diversified into Jersey’s response to the cost-of-living crisis and why the island doesn’t appear to do enough to help its less well-off.

It didn’t go great for Deputy Moore, and the social media response would have made it worse.

Senior Guernsey politicians have endured the same thing. They’ve tended to come out of it relatively well, generally by attempting to dictate terms in interview.

It’s hard to see how the islands, despite efforts over the years, will ever shake the ‘tax haven’ probing.

To overcome the tough questions requires a determined and practised approach. The islands must remain proud of what their financial services industries do for good, be ready to make clear and call out what they don’t do, and not conflate the issues of tax morality and domestic tax policy. Sadly, even in the industry, often the awareness and knowledge isn’t there.

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