Chief Minister takes over financial services remit after minister's Petty Debts summons

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THE Chief Minister is taking over responsibilities for financial services – after recently defending a minister following his third Petty Debts summons in three months.

Days ago Deputy Kristina Moore said that ministers should be judged by ‘how they perform in their official role rather than their private lives’, but in a statement issued on Monday morning she relieved External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf of his responsibility for financial services.

Deputy Elaine Millar and Deputy Ian Gorst will be appointed as assistant ministers for financial services, and join a ministerial group with the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.

Deputy Ozouf was called before the court last week when St-Helier-based GP surgery Health Plus Ltd claimed that he had not paid a bill.

The minister had also been summoned in December over an unpaid St Saviour parish rates bill, and another bill of £2,500 relating to properties in Trinity. Both were paid shortly before the cases reached court.

In a statement, Deputy Moore said: ‘Deputy Ozouf and I have agreed this transfer of responsibility. This will allow him more time to focus on the important work of External Relations, where he has made a positive impact and has identified a busy agenda of work, which he will continue as the minister.’

She added: ‘One of the key objectives for my time as Chief Minister is to restore trust and confidence in government. As part of this, ministers must uphold and be seen to uphold the highest standards in all aspects of their lives.

‘An important part of my role is to always act in Jersey’s best interests. Importantly, this change ensures that we have strong leadership and focused ministerial teams for both external relations and financial services in this important year for the Island.’

The Chief Minister previously confirmed in a letter that Deputy Ozouf would retain the Financial Services portfolio, despite previous plans to hand this to its former holder, Treasury Minister Ian Gorst.

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