In 1999 I stood on a platform of pro-competition, reforming machinery of government and introducing more sustainable long–term public finances.
I highlighted the need for a fairer deal for the urban Parishes and other social changes. I worked hard to progress a significant range of policies and initiatives I believed would improve the lives of all islanders.
Having been born and raised in Jersey I studied Economics and Languages at Business School and then had the experience working for one of the world’s most respected private companies around the globe before returning to Jersey in 1998 for what was initially planned to be a short break before taking up a position in Africa to further develop my business career.
However, after experiencing barriers to reduce costs for farmers, and having listened to various States debates, I became convinced Jersey needed to change its approach of the management of public finances, the economy, and be far more long-term and strategic. Even though the island had been enormously successful up to the end of the 1990s, there were storm clouds developing internationally, but only a few seemed to notice.
For that reason, I decided to stand for the States, and I was privileged to be elected as a Deputy for St Helier, a Parish for whose people I have never forgotten gave me this first opportunity to serve the public of Jersey.
Since 1999 the island has weathered financial crises, taken many difficult but necessary decisions to re-balance and re-structure the island’s public finances, developed a new framework for the development of the island’s Financial Services sector based on sound business and quality, and continues to lead the world in numerous areas of expertise.
The need to respond to huge global challenges has resulted in building stronger and more co-operative relations in London with both the U.K. Government and many other countries and global organisations around the world.
Domestically in 1999, Jersey Telecoms, Harbours, Postal and Housing were all States departments. Today SOJDC and all these departments have been incorporated into successful stand-alone entities. Competition has been introduced in many sectors, such as telecoms, and recently my long-term ambition of lower fuel prices has finally begun to take effect.
There is still much to do. However, today there is much more longer term thinking, spending is no longer set annually, there is an independent statutory Fiscal Policy Panel, a Comptroller and Auditor General, investment strategies have been reinvented, and millions have been reallocated into Health from budget efficiencies.
Jersey did not waste the opportunity to invest during the financial crisis, with tens of millions invested in fiscal stimulus to get people back to work, repairs made to infrastructure and the building and improving of hundreds of homes.
The framework for further advances is in place and can be seized-upon by the new Assembly and implemented by the new Chief Executive and his team.
Jersey has falling unemployment, record numbers of people in work, record levels of reserves, and, unlike virtually any other island, a Financial Services sector that is more diversified, more global, better respected and better understood by governments and parliaments around the world.
Moreover, Jersey’s Tech economy – driven by Digital Jersey – and including its fibre network is beginning to have real and valuable impact. This sector will create the jobs of the future and ensure Jersey remains globally successful.
My role as States Member has dominated all aspects of my life. I have made and lead many difficult decisions, some of which I recognise have not been popular. I have given all I could during this time, and the intensity of the way I have discharged the role is difficult to sustain. The time is now right for me to take a break.
In May last year I entered into a Civil Partnership with my long-term partner Kevin Rogers.When I step down I will split my time between Jersey and London I intend to take-up a variety of roles in both the private and not-for-profit sectors in the areas of Finance, Digital and International Development, areas that are very close to my and my partner’s hearts. Throughout my life, I’ve always been an optimistic and passionate Jerseyman. Whilst I have decided to step down from elected office, I hope my life in Jersey, London and elsewhere can contribute to Jersey in other positive ways long into the future.
My remaining weeks in the States Assembly will be committed to leading various debates on matters that I believe are important to all islanders.
I take this opportunity of thanking past and present colleagues in the States, public service officials, and the many supporters who have given my work encouragement and backing even in the most difficult of times.
I particularly want to thank my sisters, my uncle, my close friends and especially my partner Kevin for the all support and understanding they’ve given me in allowing me to serve our island.I remain unswervingly optimistic for our Island’s future. Serving the people of Jersey as an elected member of the States of Jersey and holding Executive Office has been an enormous honour.
On reflecting back over 19 years, it has not always been easy. However, I hope that that in some small way my contribution leaves the island that I love so much in a better place today than it was back in 1999.