Business leaders accuse Jersey's Chief Minister of 'abhorrent' lack of leadership

19 business leaders from Jersey's key industries have accused the Chief Minister of an 'abhorrent' lack of leadership and urged a 'state of emergency for the economy' be declared to avoid more firms going bust.

The group, which includes the bosses of Sandpiper CI, the Channel Islands Co-operative Society, Grant Thornton, Seymour Hotels and Pallot Glass, sent their letter to the Chief Minister last Wednesday evening.

ITV News has obtained a copy of the letter which welcomes the initial package of support announced by Government last Wednesday, but expresses concern that it won't be debated by politicians until tomorrow (24 March).

They wrote to Senator John Le Fondre to say: "There is, as yet, no implementation plan, which gives little comfort or assurance for those having to make life changing decisions for their staff and business over the next six days."

They warn of job losses, hardship for families, and businesses facing closure and bankruptcy.

The letter adds: "We find this lack of urgency from our elected leaders utterly ridiculous and infuriating. The lack of leadership and complacency being shown to the very people who generate the wealth to pay for wages and public services in Jersey is abhorrent. Would we wait six days in our hospitals to put people on life support whilst they queue up outside?"

"We need a State of Emergency for the economy to be declared, with the Government sitting every day until it has explored and provided a cogent emergency plan of immediate funding. For the benefit of doubt, next week is too late for business and we need financial measures endorsed before the weekend and readily available to support businesses and employees through direct cash grants to cover this period of economic ‘hibernation’."

The Chief Minister says he has read the letter sent by business leaders and understands their frustration and concern.

The protection of our economy is a matter of utmost urgency and is being treated as such by Ministers and officials, who have been working consistently since the start of this pandemic to provide practical and meaningful support to keep businesses open and Islanders in jobs.

Spokesperson speaking on behalf of Senator John Le Fondre