2019: ‘One of the most challenging years in recent times’
THE remainder of 2019 may prove to be ‘one of the most challenging years’ the Island has faced in recent memory, the Chief Minister has said as he reflected on the first year of the new government.
With the Island preparing for the fallout of a potential no-deal Brexit, a predicted financial shortfall and the divisive new hospital project, Chief Minister John Le Fondré said the Council of Ministers needed to assure Islanders that these challenges could be properly dealt with.
Senator Le Fondré was elected as Chief Minister in June 2018 with yesterday marking exactly one year since his full government of ministers and assistant ministers was formed.
In a report to mark one year of government, Senator Le Fondré outlined the work the Council of Ministers had done in the past 12 months – including producing the Common Strategic Policy of five key areas of development and a Children’s Plan.
The Chief Minister said: ‘I have no misconceptions about the difficulties we are facing as an Island. 2019 will potentially be one of the most challenging years that Jersey has faced in recent memory.
‘In October, the outcome of ongoing Brexit preparations will finally be realised, with an increasing possibility of a no-deal scenario. We need to achieve £30-£40 million of efficiencies by 2020 in order to produce a balanced budget. And we need to reach, as a community, agreement on the construction of our new hospital.
‘It is the Council of Ministers’ responsibility, for Islanders, businesses and investors in Jersey, to provide the reassurance and leadership needed to navigate these challenges successfully.’
He added that the rest of 2019 also provided significant opportunity to ‘enhance Jersey’s international profile’.
‘Part of my role, as Chief Minister, is to represent the Island internationally and to pursue those interests,’ Senator Le Fondré said. ‘As we look forward to 2020, and the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Jersey, we should take the opportunity presented by this occasion to spread a message to our international partners about all that is good about Jersey – its people, its culture, its businesses and its international connections.
‘On the anniversary of the formation of the Council of Ministers, I am quietly confident. While we have much still to achieve, for the first time in many years we also have a compelling vision for the future of the Island, and the tangible impacts we can make on Islanders’ lives.’