The Progress Party have made the following comments following the release of Government of Jersey Accounts for 2020 and the special report and statement from the Comptroller and Auditor General.

“Whilst a significant severance payment in respect of any former Chief Executive Officer should have been expected, it is disappointing (to say the very least) that £500,000 of taxpayers money has had to be spent in this way. This is against the backdrop of the Chief Minister (having received professional advice) making reassuring noises that nothing would be paid beyond Mr Parker’s contractual entitlement.

Furthermore, it seems to have been conveniently overlooked that it is only because Mr Parker, whilst Chief Executive, was “given permission” by the Chief Minster to take the directorship at New River that we are in this situation.

It is also disappointing that the Chief Minister has not accepted full responsibility for what has happened, a situation made worse by comments that went out from the States Employment Board shortly after the news about Mr. Parker broke. The Chief Minister is also responsible for SEB, and the reasons for a severance payment of half a million pounds sit very clearly with him.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Chief Minster “gave permission”, there have been other shortcomings around this whole affair, not least the fact that the Treasury was not consulted over the severance payment. This “oversight” is also unacceptable.

We must also hope that all the recommendations of the Comptroller and Auditor General about proper controls and adherence to proper procedures are not overlooked yet again.

Mr. Parker could still be working for us. We must not also forget that, on top of the £500,000 tax free payment, we are also now funding an Interim CEO position. This whole episode reflects badly on our Island, and is to be greatly regretted.

A full apology from the Chief Minister is the very least that taxpayers deserve.”

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