Frustration as Jersey's government abandons large projects due to 'economic circumstances'

  • ITV Channel's Will Tullis spoke to Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet, and some who say they have 'lost faith' in government.

Jersey's Infrastructure Minister has defended his decision to abandon a number of large-scale projects in the island due to economic reasons.

Deputy Tom Binet has branded a plan to prevent future flooding in the island as 'unaffordable' and says plans to develop a state-of-the-art culture and entertainment venue at Fort Regent are 'unfeasible in the current economic climate'.

In addition, the Minister has previously told ITV News that the £800million+ plans to build a single-site hospital at Overdale were 'too expensive'.

Deputy Binet says: "we can only do what is realistic and affordable, and that's what we're looking to do."

His decision to move away from plans to regenerate Fort Regent, which would have included a casino, have been backed by the Minister for Sport.

Deputy Lucy Stephenson says: Plans as presented by the previous government are unaffordable in the current economic climate and relied heavily on a casino for future sustainability.

"However a redevelopment of Fort Regent would be good for the Island, I would not personally want to see it reliant on the people of Jersey needing to spend their hard earned cash in a casino."

Deputy Lyndon Farnham, a member of that previous government, has responded to the current government's claims that there is not enough money in the pot to invest in these projects.

The former Economic Development Minister says ministers have introduced a 'cancel culture' around major projects and are "arbitrarily cancelling things without any thought whatsoever as to the ramifications."

He thinks Deputy Binet's affordability argument is 'wrong and misleading', telling ITV News: "It's a red herring and they're tending to use that now when actually I think they need to be honest and say their decisions are politically motivated.

"They should just say actually that we don't like the plan for Fort Regent, we're going to change them. If they don't change their ways they'll end up achieving very little."

Dr Kassai says the current hospital is too cramped, and that things need to change. Credit: ITV Channel

Dr Miklos Kassai, consultant at Jersey's General Hospital, says he is tired and frustrated by Deputy Binet's lack of delivery on the hospital project:

"I am somewhat losing faith because as a citizen, I had faith in the government before when they told us 'this is it, we've got the money and now we're going to get everything built'.

"Now we've got this new government saying that was all wrong, and we need to redo the whole thing. So how could I have faith in them now?"

Dr Kassai says he hopes ministers are doing the right thing, but says "only time will tell."