Tag Archives: Jersey

Rerumphobia

Somewhere between merry old England and joie de vivre France are islands, there are a few there and some actually have a population that exceeds the number of sheep (so you know it is not New Zealand we are talking about). The island has roughly 66,000 people, making it smaller than the total size of the Australian Defence Force and less people than Boston, Lincolnshire, meaning that merry old England has 304 cities larger than the population of this island.

Now that you have this collection of conversation starters, let’s get to the gritty of it all. The place I am referring to is Guernsey, a beautiful location that is caught between the island where you can order tripe with mint sauce and the main land that serves Steak Tartar. I was starting my browser to get a daily view of the Guardian and this is what got my initial attention ‘Guernsey chief minister defends anti-racism comments‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/09/guernsey-jonathan-le-tocq-defends-anti-racism-comments-islamophobia).

Jonathan Le Tocq, Chief Minister of Guernsey stated, according to ITV “they could meet many of the necessary UN requirements, such as education provision, they would not be able to guarantee the security of refugees if they came to the Bailiwick“. The paraphrase is not incorrect Jonathan stated: “…not be targeted or excluded, we’re not there and sadly that’s not possible”, this is a direct pragmatic statement.

In my view, a few players have missed the boat by a lot, let me explain. We have seen news, from nearly all sides. The quote “The protracted plight of these refugees has become an international security issue as terrorist groups have recruited from refugee camps“, which comes from Jill Goldenziel, a Harvard PHD, her article ‘Refugees and International Security‘ starts on page 3 of the attachment at the end of the article. She follows that quote with “These crises thus highlight the limits of the international refugee management system” So not only do they not know who has been going all over Europe, there is absolutely no way to know how many ISIS martyrs will be entering any given nation. That is not a scare issue, it is not an attempt to create fear; it is a visible established fact, a fact that has resonated all over the world and not just by the intelligence community. So in this case, it is Jonathan Le Tocq who brings the valid concerns here. He is more than just a man who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 27th birthday next month (March 4th if you want to send him a birthday card at: Sir Charles Frossard House,  La Charroterie,  St Peter Port,  Guernsey,  GY1 1FH,  Channel Islands). He is chief Minister of an Island that is on the 305th place within the UK for population size, if we see The Right Honourable Jonathan as the Minister Chef of the Commonwealth Island of Guernsey he is not in the 305th position, he would slide down the list in a massive way.

So, can anyone show me a list of cities higher on the UK population list, with next to that name the number of refugees they have taken in? You see, Guernsey, Jersey and a few other islands have a massive problem. When things escalate, by the time help arrives, the population of that island could be decimated. When you consider the thought that this is just paranoia, consider the two attacks in Paris, a city with massive police power was left near powerless for too long a time, so how will an island with 146 policing  members deal with a threat like that? More protection? With what money?

Let’s not forget that we tend to trivialise the police at times, whilst laughing at ‘the Thin Blue Line’, we all know that the police is a lot more than Det. Insp. Derek Grim trying to defuse the threat of ‘dratsuc’, yet people deny the direct deadliness of extremism as people looked away when a French Muslim policeman Ahmed Merabet got gunned down in cold blood by extremists, because he was protecting the French people and their freedom of speech. In equal measure there is the internal fear that a wave of panic could hit the population, lashing out unjustly. None of these facts point towards racism. Fear is a strange bedfellow, causing no good wherever it is, but in all this there is the reality of that what is, so can we see the list of the 304 larger places in the UK, with the number of refugees they have taken in?

Let’s also acknowledge that 99.999% of these refugees are real refugees seeking a way out of hell, a way towards decent sleep and decent food, but over 60,000 refugees that this means that there are 60 potential terrorists. The two attacks in France only required 11 assailants, as 34,000 police agents (over 15 districts) were too late in all the points of attack. So where does the Guernsey police stand? No matter how well Patrick Rice has his ducks in a row, with a force of 134 there is a risk and it was the responsibility of Jonathan Le Tocq to voice this.

So when we see many sources that there is “Islamophobia” on Guernsey they are not correctly voicing all of the facts. For any Christian place to state there is no “Islamophobia”, in my view that state is clearly lying, we all, have forever feared the unknown. To voice this, let me ask you a question (providing you are over 33), ‘Give me three differences between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam‘, if you know that, then ask yourself, did you know this on September 10th 2001? This comes from the award winning TV series ‘the Newsroom’, but the truth is clear, non-Islam earth for the most did not have a clue regarding Islam before that fateful day. Since that moment religious extremism (not just Islamic) has been on the rise on a global scale. In my view, the political failing to make the hard calls that need to be made are still a worry today. The humanitarian tsunami has shown that an open Europe brought massive problems and the dislodgement of millions of people is draining resources and stopping actual solutions to be implemented. This means that the fear of the unknown will hit many places and isolated easier and more intense. It does not make the people of Guernsey phobic, it does make the media at large hypocritical as it played the fear card for spinning, exploitation and scaremongering for too long, in all this the readers got caught in the middle. An example is shown (at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/terror-scaremongering-threatens-our-democracy-20140919-10jcxq.html), here we see that the 2014 rehashing of all the events show that the 2005 events were massively out of focus. The quote “The evidence in the lengthy court proceedings that culminated in a Supreme Court trial in 2008 showed nothing of the sort. The reference to the Westgate Bridge had been taken out of context and was completely innocent. There was simply no evidence of a plot to blow up Flinders Street station, and the reference to the MCG was in the context of a vague conversation between two of the accused“, in addition we see “The case against these men was put by the prosecution on the basis that they did not have a terrorist target and that they had no plan in place to commit a terrorist act. Christine Nixon’s phrase, “imminent terrorist attack”, was simply wrong“, in itself this might not be seen as evidence, but the clarity is still overwhelming. We fear what we do not understand, and not many comprehend Islam, which impacts all around. So the issue from Guernsey is still there, there is still a need to address the fear, which will not happen overnight. Yet as the press gives us that Guernsey is shown as an isolated case, would Steven Morris be so kind to give us a list of the 304 larger cities and the amount of refugees they are taking in? I did like the video that Steven Morris did put online with the view of the local populous, ‘the majority are not‘, which is very true, but a tinderbox can start with as little as two people and on 78 square kilometres, 135 people (one police commissioner and his blue minions) won’t have too many options soon thereafter, no matter in what direction the escalation went.

Let’s be clear here, I expect the chance to be so extremely low that it is not funny, but can any of the officials on Guernsey take that chance?

That is the one element people forget, you see Australia might be an ‘island’, but with 132,000 km of possible beachfront property, that little ‘island’ has a circumference equalling three times the earth. Unless you actually lived on an island (the size of Guernsey), the issue of island safety tends to elude us all. A side not clearly shown in the article, or by a massive amount of sources for that matter.

In the end, the clear refugee registration failure is part of all this. The nations of entry have missed the ball on a Titanic scale here which, under the sheer amount of refugees is not that much of a surprise, but it does give the UK now its own set of problems. Which gets us to one of the other reasons we get from being an island. ‘A lack of infrastructure and support services to help them‘, is not just a valid issue, it is a massively large one.

So as we await the list of 304, lets contemplate the wisdom of places a clearly limited group in the one place where they end up getting isolated from the other refugees (the 99.99999% that will not be placed on Guernsey), does that step make any sense at all? to end all this, lets shine a little light on a Guardian article from November 19th 2015 (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/19/syrian-refugees-in-america-fact-from-fiction-congress), there at the end we see “Since 2012, the US has accepted 2,174 Syrian refugees – roughly 0.0007% of America’s total population“, the article does show that the UK is staying behind in all this, which is not a good thing, but the UK is an Island, it comes with a setback, yet compare this now with the mainland (the graphic at the end of the article is very illuminating). Nations like France, Norway and Poland might not have done a lot, but they are on par with the ENTIRE United States of America, the fact that a nation like the Netherlands has taken 260% of what the USA has accepted makes the Guernsey debate a joke! That flaming, below sea-level, clog wearing nation called the Netherlands, a nation that is roughly 65% the size of the state of West Virginia, so shall we ignore the issue that is exaggerated regarding Guernsey and look at the issues why this is a global problem (apart from the valid reason of registration)?

So for those moving to Guernsey enjoy the fact that the weather at St. Peter Port will be a high between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius, so those people will face a few more shocks, not just cultural ones. Rerumphobia, ‘the fear of facts’. The final part to consider is the price tag. This costs, which no one ignores. That is a good thing, yet of all the options Jonathan, the words we could go broke was not one of them. So when you look at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-guernsey-35546424, consider that these numbers have been known for a little while now. So as tourism goes down, business visitors down by 39%, what do you think will happen next to those missing out? What will happen to the Guernsey business on that scale? In addition Tourism is set to be down by 7.8%, how will that impact retail? All elements that are a reality, when we see ‘Der Spiegel’ reporting “Some mayors have cancelled the contracts of tenants in publicly owned apartments in order to house refugees“, which is not the whole story, but a reported fact, we realise that Germany is in a decent economical position, with plenty of space, yet the pressure that 500K refugees are pressing on a population of 80 million, gives us that 0.00625%. So here we are, not confronted by “Islamophobia”, but with the underlying issues, of resources and needs, which will pressurise any situation.

As I said, let’s see how many refugees the larger 304 locations of the UK are taking on, before we start accusing smaller places by taking text out of context.

 

goldenziel_refugees_and_international_security__2010

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Questions that follow

Is it not an interesting day, for some Mondayitis is only just now setting in, for some the Mondayitis issue is just a ‘fab’ for others to avoid becoming active until Wednesday around after lunch time, and for another group, well, we never know what they are up to, so let’s ignore them for now. There is however a group that works 24:7 (please do not imply that those people are journo’s).

I am talking about the financial institutions, no matter how we oppose greed, it is the one motivator that will never stop being efficient in many walks of life. That consideration came to me as I read the article ‘HSBC’s response: ‘Standards of due diligence were significantly lower than today’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-responds-revelations-misconduct-swiss-bank) this morning.

The article is to some extent a barrel full of laughs. Let’s have a look at some of the mentioned things. The fun already starts at the second sentence “Private banks, including HSBC’s Swiss private bank, assumed that responsibility for payment of taxes rested with individual clients“, you see the word ‘assumed’, in this case that translate to, the bank sets the responsibility so that it makes an ‘ass’ of ‘you’, banks do not work from the ‘me’ setting (ass-u-me). When was the last time when you received a letter from a bank (any bank for that matter) where the word assumption was used? Most banking contracts have two one-sided parts, what your responsibilities are and how you get charged the moment you make an error (like simply withdrawing a little too much). So are you giggling yet?

The next one is an interesting one for more than one reason “HSBC’s Swiss private bank has reduced its client base by almost 70% since 2007“. Yes it is interesting, because WHERE did those people go to? The fact that they moved away from HSBC is no indication that there was a sudden massive influx of taxpayers, was there? So was the exodus reported on? My bet is that this was not; the statement is likely to be ‘this account is no longer under our care‘. This hunt for tax evasion, sounds nice, but it also comes with a flaw, not that I oppose such hunts (I will forever be roughly $1,915,000 short from making that list), but did some of these ‘witch hunters’ realise that moving these funds would have a side effect? You see, it would all be good and fine if those accounts all resorted to their original nation getting properly taxed, but that is not the case is it? As these Status Quo places get upset the dynamics change, when the accounts can no longer be hidden on Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Guernsey. How long until we see a new circle of banks, now in Bahrain, Dubai and Jeddah? Do not think this will not happen, because it already is happening (at http://www.thenational.ae/business/banking/dubai-islamic-bank-confident-on-loans-portfolio-thanks-to-record-profit), so as we are reading on how a bank voluntarily moved from 78 billion to 45 billion, I have to wonder on the impact of the sentence at the very end: “However, providing client data to foreign authorities would itself constitute a criminal offence under Swiss law“. This than gives rise to the question how these changes are enforced. More important, the sentence implies that providing client data to local authorities is an option, and what they do with it, is not covered here, but it is an interesting question to consider.

The second article, which also came from the Guardian discusses more HSBC issues in ‘HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-files-expose-swiss-bank-clients-dodge-taxes-hide-millions), so is this High School of Business Concealers a real bank? Well, that is a moral question not a scientific one. This is where we see more ways to get a case of the giggles. “The Swiss arm, the statement said, had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing “significantly lower” standards of compliance and due diligence to persist“, so if we consider the leak by Hervé Falciani, which happened in 2007, considering the fact that the Swiss bank had been acquired in 1999, the simple question ‘Were banking executives allowed to sit on their hands for 8+ years?‘, the question might seem unfair, but no alignment in a bank that was until doing 78 billion seems very odd to me. It almost sounds like a trial in equity. “Yes, sir, I have washed my hands of everything and I have made very certain that I am not being kept in the loop for anything“, might make for interesting academic considerations, but so is the story of the Mayfair prostitute with her Hymen intact (the moral is that neither is realistic).

When you read on you will see the sentence “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai“, so is the interest of HSBC moving towards additional banks? That question is not asked and should some consider asking Lord Green (who was group Chairman of HSBC in those days), they are unlikely to get any answer.

It is so interesting to see the HSBC onslaught all over the Guardian, but this is not just about that event. It is also nice to see how last weekend, Yahoo reported on how the Swiss Franc is boosting business in German brothels, so in the end at least one party is getting screwed (the question is who of course). Weirdly enough, the Telegraph has a passable view written by Peter Spence (yes, I am surprised too). The end has the quote that mattered in my view “What has happened in Switzerland might be a sideshow compared with larger global players, but is illustrative of a world in which central banks are increasingly looked to for answers“, I am not sure whether this is entirely correct. There is a difference between incorrect and wrong, and this one skates on two sides, you see, the mess, which I discussed in ‘A seesaw for three‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/18/a-seesaw-for-three/) is still at the heart of this, there is a credit swap in play with many governments in play, it is a global dance act which includes the US, Japan and the bulk of the EEC nations, as tax havens are now under scrutiny, the people using them are looking for options, some will make a deal, but the larger part will be looking for an alternative, I reckon that the Swiss have been very aware with the move of those HSBC accounts and the question is not just where those 70% moved to, but who else will be moving sooner rather than later. When you consider that, we see the picture as it reshapes the issue. The Swiss are holding on for dear life and at some point the Franc will lose some of its value, but as this happens, we will also see a currency destabilisation. That part is seen (in my personal view) as Switzerland is no longer playing the ‘offset’ game for other loans, which means that the game will transfer to other shores, but which shores will they move to? That part is not a given, but when we see how new players are now willing to become a member of the banking secrets. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia would only need to adopt two rules in their banking laws (if they have not done so already).

  1. Providing client data to foreign authorities constitutes a criminal offence.
  2. Personal wealth can be declared via the bank, who will charge a fee of n% (where it is likely that n < 5).

After that, both the Oval office and Buckingham palace can kiss any chance of those taxable billions goodbye, which could spell a massive exodus from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey towards sandier shores, which will hurt the Commonwealth beyond expectations. All this started from the wrong viewpoint from the very beginning, the US became reckless on how it dealt with its 18 trillion in debt by going after non-taxed fortunes from American account holders, this drive (supported by many) started a new fire and now that the flames are getting higher, those avoiding taxation are moving to shores where not only is taxation an almost impossibility, it will also limit the other acts done by both the US and the EEC to keep their currencies high, which is an act that will backfire to some extent for a longer period of time.

Personally, I am all for holding the wealthy tax accountable; we all have to pay our taxation. Yet, at present, in this economy, we are now chasing those cars, whilst we have no parking lot, so even if one is caught, what to do with this person? The US, Greece, the UK and a few others should have seriously changed certain laws half a decade ago; this mess would not have been so complete. The fact that this hunt is so visible at present gives also pause for that what we do not see. Yes, we see that the US added 257,000 jobs in January, but how many are not shown as we also see that RadioShack is filing for bankruptcy this week with over 4,000 shops expected to close (2,000 went to sprint). A host of Shale gas companies will go the same way, whilst the mountain of companies going under in the oil and gas sector is a lot larger than many can fathom. These events have a clear bearing on the banks too. Shale gas operations, oil platforms, all these places will get hit and it will affect many banks who held onto debts with the certainty that black gold brought, now there is no blame here, yet the consequence of persecuting tax dodgers will also come with another negative boost as a league of them will move to the Arabian shores, when that happens, the little stability the Euro and the US dollar had, will go straight out of the window.

Here is the kicker, no matter how wrong the expression ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ is seen in light of the tax dodgers, we must wonder how much lower the coming negative financial waves would have been if the hunt for the tax dodgers would have been delayed. In the end, it was not a solution to not go after them, but the timing truly sucks. This situation translates to governments getting kicked in the head, just as they had just accidently stumbled through no fault of their own. Yet in all this, Greece has made ZERO clear steps in dealing with its own tax dodgers, so where to go next? More questions are to follow, but I am not sure if there will be ANY answers forthcoming as it seems that three parties have painted themselves in the corner, whilst the fourth was not in the room at all, in addition these four parties aren’t even clearly communicating with each other, their only goal is to meet their own needs whilst three cannot move and the fourth can’t get into the room, one would offer the thought that a mere pre teenager would have done a better job of it all. I am not sure if I could disagree.

 

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