Attac Jersey is a Member of the International Tax Justice Network. We are Members of the Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the Benefit of Citizens, (ATTAC) and the Tax Justice Network, (TJN). The aims of both organisations are to research, educate and campaign to further public awareness. We are seeking to alleviate poverty through the creation of just taxation systems to fund social goods.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Date: Tuesday 28th June 2011
Title: Vulture Funds - "Simply left to rest"  Third world debt role questioned.

From: Tony's Musings by Tony the Prof.
Live Link:
Letter to the Editor of the Jersey Evening Post

The Chinese government won't swallow this twaddle 

John Heys

27th June 2011

Just mention Jersey as a tax haven and see what reaction you get from Jersey Finance chief executive Geoff Cook.  Oh no, Jersey is a well regulated finance centre and definitely not a tax haven, God forbid!

So what has he been telling the Chinese?  Talking to top-level Chinese lawyers and private client specialists (whatever that means) so that non-Jersey residents can hold cash deposits or investments without incurring any liability to Jersey income tax.  What a well regulated centre it must be (Jersey Evening Post 17th June).

He then explained to the no doubt open mouthed Chinese that the Island offered round-the-clock multi-currency banking and provided leading expertise in estate and succession planning and that - now get this bit - tax neutrality underpinned Jersey's proposition preventing liability for unnecessary layers of taxation.

Does this statement mean that I could pop along to the Tax Office and ask if my tax can be classed as unnecessary?  I have an idea what they would say.

He also pointed out our constitutional position to entice the wealthy professionals to use Jersey's financial services industry.  Why?  What would be the point if we are not a tax avoidance/evasion Island?  How would Chinese investors gain?  And would they avoid paying tax in their own country?

Oh boy, I can see how China would love that.  So just who has he been flannelling?  Us or now the Chinese?  We know it is a load of twaddle - the Chinese communist government know too and will not take kindly to money being ferreted away in a tiny island somewhere in the English Channel so that some of their wealthy residents can avoid paying their fair share of Chinese tax.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Jersey Evening Post.

No alternative?  Of course there is!  We’ve been offered one on a plate.

14th June 2011

Pat Lucas   Tax Justice Network  Jersey

In his letter dated 3.6.2011 Mr Boothman seems to suggest that Ted Vibert holds as a central policy that the finance industry has given Jersey more problems than benefits.  Well, perhaps he does and perhaps he doesn’t. It’s a pity you turned down his challenge Mr Boothman because now you won’t be in a very strong position to tell us what his central policy is or what he thinks of the finance industry will you?  Surely you know that Mr Vibert was simply issuing you with a challenge to publicly debate the motion with him at the Town Hall on the topic “That the finance industry has given Jersey more problems than benefits.”  That would have been useful, enlightening and of great benefit to a lot of people.

You point out quite rightly that the finance industry is of pivotal importance to Jersey. It employs thousands of people, contributes tens of millions of pounds to the Island’s exchequer and supports dozens of other firms.  All correct.  But is this enough? What Mr Vibert was asking, I think, was “What’s the cost of that? 
Remember, the finance industry in its present form enables the very wealthy and multinational companies to avoid paying tax. Why else would they put their money here?  No reason that I can think of.  But we, the ordinary people of Jersey are paying heavily for the fact that the rich aren’t paying tax.  For example, to make up for the hole in our finances caused by our unfair zero-ten policy that is solely designed to help tax avoiders we have to pay GST which has just gone up to 5%.  
Many hard working people of this Island as well as the sick and elderly are struggling to cope with the sky-high cost of living while at the same time watching our social services which are far from lavish being further eroded. Those young people who might wish to remain in Jersey see no future here and go away.  It seems that little respect is shown for our Island which is being defaced by huge, ugly “iconic!” structures or our people who are permitted free speech but nobody is listening.  We all know all this of course but little or nothing is done to remedy a worsening situation.
You say that, “…unless someone is doing the baking there will be nothing for the States to slice.”  Nice analogy about earning money!  We are perfectly aware that we have to earn our living.  Please don’t talk down to us.  We don’t like it.  Neither is it true that Mr Vibert’s policies are nihilistic/destructive or that he is willing to tear down but does not offer any credible, coherent ideas for what he would put in place of what we have now.  Have you ever taken the time to ask him what he wants to do?  Have you spoken to him?  He has already made it clear that he is happy to listen to highly talented men of intellect who are honest and generous with their time such as Richard Murphy, John Christensen, Prof. Prem Sikka and Jacques Harel.  
Last January Richard Murphy came to Jersey and at a public meeting offered us a way forward in which we can use the skills and expertise that have been built up over the years in the finance industry.  This is a credible and coherent Plan B which offers us an entirely new market that Jersey could exploit. It is the market for a well regulated low tax location where international transactions can be recorded for the precise purpose of ensuring they are not double taxed. 
He went into some detail of how this would work and, if implemented, Jersey could become the ultimate transparency jurisdiction for those companies around the world who want to highlight the problems in the world tax system, want to draw attention to them, want to avoid double taxation which is unfair, but who want to be open, honest and accountable when doing so when tackling this impediment to international trade.

We were given this opportunity “on a plate” so let it never ever be said that we have nothing to put in the place of the present system.
Plan B for Jersey deserves to be read in its entirety by anyone who is serious about finding a credible, coherent idea for Jersey’s future.   

This is real alternative thinking:  Mr Boothman may not like it because it upsets the status quo.  We recognise that all change is uncomfortable, but at least we accept that change is inevitable.  The economic model we’ve used is failing.  The world will no longer tolerate it.  We have to change.  We have laid out a pathway for change.  What is Mr Boothman’s alternative?  That’s what we’re asking and we’re not getting any answers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Jersey Evening Post
People will vote for vision and verve
9th June 2011
From John Heys
There is so much that I could have written about recently that I am swamped as to which subject to choose and, whilst deciding, I am immediately prompted to reply to Mr. ex Finance guru Boothman's letter attacking our next forward thinking Senator Mr Ted Vibert.
His letter is so full of erroneous assumptions it is ridiculous. For example, he states that the Tax Justice Network ( note the middle word Mr. Boothman, JUSTICE ) is not as he states hell-bent on destroying all offshore finance centres but is engaged in attacking tax evasion which is destroying the infrastructure of many countries. It is estimated that the UK alone is losing in the region of £90 billion a year, and if Mr. Boothman had taken the trouble to attend the lecture given here in Jersey he would have learnt just what the TJN does from the top man himself, Mr. Richard Murphy, and could have asked any questions and gained facts rather than erroneous opinions.
Yes, the finance business is a great asset to our economy, and as our elected leaders have consistently counted our total survival on it pumping in millions of pounds of our taxes to support it, we are now becoming well aware that it is not the golden egg-laying goose that Mr. Boothman would have us believe. For example, where has the £100 million debt come from? Mr. Le Sueur's flash of genius 0/10 move to reduce the finance tax take to only 10% and to make up the loss his next brainwave, the introduction of GST, now at 5%, release the finance industry and hammer the people. But his side-kick Senator Ozouf has stated it should be held at that figure for some time, a statement he has made before has he not, and we all know how hollow that was!
When Mr. Vibert started the JDA, of which I was a member, a manifesto was thrashed out and it was very comprehensive and would have been an absolute boon for Jersey. Unfortunately, due to ill health, Mr. Vibert was unable to see it to fruition - not just the action of tearing down the achievements of others. What a silly statement to make. 
OK. Let's look at other island jurisdictions who are locked into a one-horse race. Just how are they doing? Are they too down 15% on their finance industry?
Full of erroneous criticism of Mr. Vibert but he has not got the guts to have a meeting with him to discuss ideas, stating that he holds no brief for the finance industry. Oh well, where did he work? I think that it is a disgrace to accuse Mr. Vibert of merely orchestrating a publicity stunt as a pre-election campaign, and accusing him of only wanting the £45,000 once in the States. I would suggest that this is bordering on downright libel, linked with all his attempts at character assassination questioning his past life in Australia - words like venom, rabble rousing and bringing Island politics into disrepute! Just where has Mr. Boothman been for the last couple of years? Our States have managed that with no outside help whatsoever.
How dare Mr. Boothman state that the widely-held opinion of him is that he has nothing worthwhile to offer the electorate. Once again he steps well over the mark, and will be proved to be pathetically wrong in October when the people of Jersey finally stand up and say we have had enough of this shambles, go to the polling booths and vote in men like Ted Vibert who have vision and the verve to see it through.