I am once again being pressurised to resign, step down. The pressure is coming from within and without the States.
There is a specific online campaign group which has published an ‘Ozouf Dossier’. This alone has generated a significant amount of social media comment – much of it by anonymous, shadowy figures hiding behind aliases.
The Waterfront Action Group or Jersey Action Group is attacking me again after ditching its obsession with campaigning just against the International Finance Centre.
This group has said the Finance Centre was going to bankrupt Jersey, wasn’t needed, and prejudiced the private sector. They have said: Jersey’s Public Finances had a massive inherited and previously hidden black hole which I was responsible for and we were going to go into massive debt. The Finance sector is going into melt down and zero-ten is a disaster. Police Station was a disaster and should have been built at Lime Grove and the existing site.
And so on and so on. There are certainly some issues which should not have been allowed to happen by this and the previous Council of Ministers.
The Group’s grievances have caused huge angst and arguably have been an extraordinary waste and diversion of valuable time.
This group appear to be riding on a wave of global dislike for the ruling establishment – most especially me – as they see them and riding the crest of the wave of the issues which have gone wrong in Jersey such as the Innovation Fund and so on.
This group is an alliance of the the genuinely dissatisfied, often undisclosed conflicted self-interested vested interests who are supported and cheered on by a very vocal minority and flotsam of people who all criticise with the benefit of hindsight, and who offer no credible solution to anything.
It’s fine to be dissatisfied with decisions and mistakes. I am too.
We need a proper debate on the facts, not fake news.
Communication of Government policies and decisions has been woefully lacking, although this is not the fault of The States’ Communications Unit.
It has become clear to me there is still significant concern about the Innovation Fund.
I was asked to take responsibility for this Fund from Economic Development. Taking responsibility is the right thing to do as a minister or assistant minister and I have never shirked from that. In fact I have been criticised for taking responsibility for the actions of officers and others. I have been punished and pilloried for taking responsibility for something that was an inherited major problem and then sorting it out.
You have to take responsibility, account for it, answer questions and if problems are found you have to sort them out.
Taking responsibility does not mean an acceptance of blame. The Report by Jessica Simor QC found no blame with respect to my actions regarding my oversight of the fund. Indeed, it is clear that he blame lies elsewhere.
We can build an island with a competitive knowledge based services economy that means a diversified Finance and Digital Economy – I have been asked to work on this but am now being effectively hounded from office. The island can have a great post-Brexit future working in close partnership with The United Kingdom as an economy which works for all islanders. A number of States members appear to believe – using this online campaign is evidence – that the public mood is against me and my reappointment.
I have been given no opportunity to explain my actions and defend myself as any individual accused of wrong-doing surely has a right to have. Despite the Jessica Simor report, which many people appear to not have even read, or even understood, I am castigated for actions that were not mine.
Three weeks ago I celebrated my Civil Partnership. I’m a private person and did not publicise this important event in my life, and I took a week off after it. The attacks on my reappointment and on my integrity have intensified whilst I was away, and they became intensified in the last week after my week’s break. Just as most of the leaks about the Jersey Innovation Fund were made whilst I was supposed to be on holiday and necessitated spending hours dealing with the problem, this time my known week’s absence was used as an opportunity to build support against me and denigrate my reputation. Machiavelli would be proud!
I have worked with and for many members over the past two decades of my public service. The conduct of certain members, however, is tantamount to bullying. It’s the kind of behaviour they suggest is wrong, yet to be clear: I’m the subject of a determined witch-hunt to oust me whatever the price. It’s personal and appears to be the continuation of a number of personal vendettas for past decisions taken, coupled with the rule of the mob. The roll-call of regular contributors to this campaign should be analysed for the interests that are held be these people.
I wish to serve the people of Jersey, and, as repeated, doing so with a defined role and a States-Assembly mandate to discharge the job that I have been asked to do.
The pressure to resign, and leaks of my alleged sacking, is intensifying ahead of the Vote of No Confidence in the Chief Minister which has been brought allegedly for a number of reasons. My reappointment is said to be the catalyst. However, the proposition does not say that and it was threatened before my reappointment.
The allegations some have made against me have to be dealt with and be dealt with in their own right, and fairly. I am happy to do this. The facts concerning me, the work I have done, the tasks I would like to continue to undertake for the island, can all be considered properly.
These allegations and misinformation I believe need to be be debated publicly. In doing so members can decide for themselves the motivations of all those involved, based upon evidence.
I am honoured to serve our island. For my part I have always and will continue to be driven to serve the best interests of Jersey. I do not believe any right-minded people question this.
The public of Jersey deserves better that this type of personal politics. I am therefore going to put detailed information into the public domain, if possible over the weekend, and have discussions about what I should do before the Vote of No Confidence debate.
I don’t want to be a distraction and I want to serve, but I have to defend myself against what is clearly a witch-hunt.
17th June 2017