Speaking at a lunch today at the Institute of Directors in London, the assistant minister to Jersey’s chief minister said: “Sometimes it is just not politically expedient to destroy ancient myths. And sometimes politicians abroad will seek to draw attention away from their own policy shortcomings by suggesting that problems faced by their electorates are the result of actions by wicked tax havens of which Jersey is one.
“And sometimes critics and pressure groups like the Tax Justice Network will distort research in order to arrive at the desired conclusion.”
Bailhache went further adding that these political prejudices “cause the island real problems” and highlights trouble he has experienced with EU member states.
“When we seek to gain acceptance by EU member states that our AML and financial regulation are at least equivalent to provisions in force in those member states, there ought, objectively speaking, to be instant agreement. But some member states find it difficult to overcome the hard-wired political prejudice that Jersey is a tax haven.”
However, Bailhache was defiant and said Jersey, through its International Affairs Department, is continuing to build relationships within the EU. Furthermore, Bailhache said Jersey will continue to stand up for its interests (although he does rule out military action) “as no one will do it for us” and added: “That does not mean that we should be aggressive or violent in the defence of our interests. We have no army or navy, so that would hardly be practical. But the pen can be mightier than the sword, and reasoned argument will eventually prevail over prejudice and ignorance.”