Jersey seeks to blackmail UK charities
"Jersey might be forced to reconsider donating hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money to UK charities which repeatedly attack the Island for being a tax haven, the Overseas Aid Commission said today.Jersey has been giving money to charities like Christian Aid. Now it is saying it will pull that cash unless these charities stop acting in the interests of poor people, by pointing out the colossal harm that tax havens cause.
Kathryn Filipponi, the commission’s executive officer . . . she said that as long as the money was spent on those in real need and not on the organisations’ political campaigning, the flow of cash would continue for now."
Does this fall under conventional definitions of blackmail? Well, a lot of people would call it that. We would.
At least the Jersey Evening Post, a highly partisan newspaper, does give Alex Cobham of Christian Aid the space to put a riposte:
‘We recognise that the stance that we, and increasingly the broader international development community including ActionAid and Oxfam, have taken with regard to financial secrecy has at times been uncomfortable for Jersey.Well said that man. Now here's an idea. TJN officials John Christensen and Richard Murphy have a long-standing challenge to anyone from a leadership position in Jersey to a public, televised debate to be broadcast in Jersey, on the pros and cons of Jersey as a tax haven.
‘However, recognising the extent to which the secrecy offered by tax havens can prevent people from lifting themselves out of poverty, and the genuine concern of Jersey’s citizens to help them do precisely that, we could not in good faith remain silent on this issue.’
Curiously, after several years of repeating this challenge, nobody in Jersey has accepted their offer.
Perhaps the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission should, before saying such things, put this particular proposition to the Jersey leadership. Then they might find out whether or not charities like TJN, Christian Aid, Oxfam, ActionAid and others might just have a point.