The comments from Sir Philip Bailhache, the island’s assistant chief minister, come after sustained criticism of the island in the wake of a Times newspaper investigation last week which revealed high profile people, such as comedian Jimmy Carr, were using an aggressive tax avoidance scheme based in Jersey.
Jersey has also come under the spotlight from the UK government this year, with Chancellor George Osborne announcing in his March Budget that he would target aggressive tax avoidance schemes in offshore finance centres, such as the K2 vehicle which Carr was found using.
In the same Budget, Osborne removed Low Value Consignment Relief– a piece of legislation which had meant lower ticket items, such as CDs and DVDs sold by Channel Islands based companies, avoided tax.
In an interview with The Guardian Bailhache said: “I feel that we get a raw deal. I feel it’s not fair … I think that the duty of Jersey politicians now is to try to explain what the island is doing and not to take things lying down.
“The island should be prepared to stand up for itself and should be ready to become independent if it were necessary in Jersey’s interest to do so.”
He reportedly added that relations with the UK had become strained over the past five years, making it “very plain” Jersey’s interests were not always aligned with those of Britain.
It is not the first time Bailhache has said the Crown Dependency should seriously consider independence. In January 2010, the politician wrote an article in the Jersey and Guernsey Law Review in which he said islanders were increasingly being treated as “not quite British” and that ministers should start preparing for the worst so they are not caught out if the relationship breaks down completely.