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From An Old Friend…..

Simon Dodkins is, very possibly, the friend who has known me the longest – we were at school together, so that should tell you just how long we’ve known each other. Now, Simon, as I’m sure he’ll agree, wasn’t the most studious of pupils, but certainly one of the more quick witted. Simon, myself and another friend called Sean Marshman (no, really…no Full Circle jokes please) were a bit of a trio of trouble – not bullies at all, but ‘humourists’ – if the three of us had ended up at Oxbridge I can guarentee we’d have failed our degrees because of Footlights’ commitements, LOL. As it is we did the ‘old friends loose contact’ thing a while back now – well before poor Debbie died. I knew he’d gone on to make something of himself and I’m well made up, as they say, to hear that he’s still doing well.

So, what is this all about then? Well, Simon sent a letter recently to that old favourite on this blog, The Jersey Evening Post – you know, the thing that pretends to be a respectable newspaper. The letter will hopefully show you that there is more wrong in the island of Jersey then the things the news concentrates on….The letter is possibly the most elequant and thoughtfull thing I’ve ever known Dodders write…

I’m better off elsewhere

From Simon Dodkins.

YOUR report headlined: ‘We’re leaving’ (JEP, 1 May) is so sad, but it is a very true reflection of the state of the Island and the difficulties local people face. With the mobility of workers, Jersey will suffer unless it can do substantially more to improve the quality of life for its workers. Jersey risks becoming an island full of the retired and super-rich, while working families are all forced to leave.
My situation is a prime example. I had a house in Jersey for years. I am a proud Jerseyman, born in the Island, grew up in the Island and for the first 30 years of my life lived and worked in the Island.
My children had reached the age where they could no longer share a room (one boy, one girl) and my tiny two-bedroom house in St Aubin was simply getting too small. We looked at so many options to buy something bigger, including going in with my parents on a two generation house big enough for everyone, but the choice of properties was non-existent, and what was available was blisteringly expensive and generally unsuitable.
Both my wife and I work in finance. I work as a senior trust officer and she as a trust accountant. You would think together we would be earning sufficient to enjoy a reasonable quality of life and afford reasonable accommodation. However this is just not the case.
When you add up the cost of accommodation, the increases in tax, the daily nightmare of traffic, the crowds of people everywhere, and now GST, you suddenly realise Jersey is far from the idyllic paradise my parents are trying to convince me it is.
I think I am one of the tainted ones. I worked abroad for seven years, and this opened my eyes to how other people live, and the quality of life they enjoy. I read Stuart Syvet’s blog on occasion, and while I don’t agree with everything he says, there is some truth in his comments that the ‘elders’ of the Island try and blind the younger generations of the Island to accept the lower standards of living they are expected to endure, while trying to project an imagine of a near tropical paradise. The reality is far from it.
We came back to Jersey in 2006. After we had experienced the quality of life in Jersey for a mere 18 months, we had had enough. My house was too small, the daily commute from St Aubin simply a nightmare, income tax was biting into my earnings. Parking in town was an eternal battle. Enough was enough.
I had worked in Cayman before, and I decided to sell my house in St Aubin, and move back, where my former employer had an opening for me. In Cayman we were able to stay within our profession earning more than the equivalent job in Jersey, with no income tax and no GST. True there is import duty on new items coming into the Cayman Islands – but that is a consumption tax. If you spend, you pay. We can choose if and when we want to buy a new car. Combine this with the space, the weather, and the lower costs and excellent accommodation and the general quality of life is significantly above where Jersey stands.
The biggest contrast is accommodation. I brought a four-bedroom detached house, with an office, two garages, big garden, two lounges and two dining rooms for CI$470,000 – that’s about £280,000. I could only dream of owing such a family home in Jersey. I finally have the space to live, breathe and bring up my children. Oh and my mortgage? I am planning on paying it off in four to seven years and doing so without straining the family finances to breaking either.
I truly fear for the future of the Island. I think most people are painfully aware of the problems in Jersey, but successive leaders have truly failed the Island. No one has managed to successfully tackle the problem. Each year the problem grows; more people get fed up and leave.
But instead of making Jersey more attractive, the politicians introduce more tax. One of the last attractions of Jersey, tax free shopping, comes to an end.
We have sold the family jewels, and given away the very essence of the Island.

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