Client Weekly Update – Friday 26 August

Supporting Ukraine

Jersey must keep standing ‘steadfast’ with Ukraine as the conflict carries on into the winter months and beyond, according to the executive director of Jersey Overseas Aid.

Simon Boas, who recently visited the war-torn country, said that Russia was probably hoping western support would ‘fatigue’ while the conflict continued, and urged donors to maintain their generosity after the Ukraine Week fundraisers came to an end.

Ukrainians yesterday celebrated their country’s day of independence, with many Islanders also wearing blue and yellow clothing to work as part of the week’s activities. Mr Boas recently returned from Kyiv, where he observed how funds from Jersey were being used to help those affected by the war.

‘Even in a war zone it is important for donors to go and make absolutely sure that the aid has gone where we thought it would go and is doing what we thought it would do, and I was really delighted to be able to confirm that’.

He added, ‘I met lots of different Ukrainian partners; I met doctors, went to different hospitals, saw Jersey’s [donated] incubators in bomb shelters saving babies’ lives and met incredibly courageous mine clearers’.

‘I came back not only convinced that our aid is doing masses of good, and inspired by the courage of the Ukrainian people, but also very much with a feeling that the Ukrainians know what we are doing.’

Mr Boas reported that Jersey had so far raised around £2,500,000, with more funds coming in as a result of Ukraine Week.

‘What is wonderful about Ukraine Week is that we are six months into the war showing that we are still standing steadfast with Ukraine, and it is going to be really important as a really hard winter looms in Ukraine that we continue to stand with them into the future,’ Mr Boas said.

Jersey is currently supporting Ukraine week. This week’s activities will conclude with a Ukrainian market in West’s Centre on Saturday.

‘Even if the war ended tomorrow, which of course it won’t, there are 850 health facilities to reconstruct, there are millions of mines and shells to defuse, there are huge amounts of housing and infrastructure to reconstruct – it won’t end tomorrow and we need to continue our support. The worry, and I think (this is) probably Russia’s plan, is that the west will begin to feel fatigued as Ukraine drops off the news and becomes just another long-running conflict,’ Mr Boas said.

‘We need to try to keep Ukraine foremost in our minds, but I am optimistic that Jersey will. With Jersey’s innate generosity, but also its own experience of being occupied, I think Jersey will continue to feel that visceral desire to support people just like us trying to lead normal lives in a European country who have been brutally invaded,’ he said.

More exam success for local students

GCSE students in Jersey have outperformed their 2019 grades – and their English counterparts. A total of more than 1,400 young Islanders sat exams this summer, with passes at grades 4-9 – the equivalent of grade C or above under the previous marking system – achieved in 81.6% of the exams.

This compared with a figure of 73% in England this year, and the equivalent mark for Jersey three years ago, when they last sat exams (73.7%).

Top marks in grades 7-9, the equivalent of A or A* marks, were achieved in 32% of all GCSE exams taken on the Island this year, also ahead of this year’s English figure of 26% and the 23.7% achieved in Jersey in 2019.

Children’s and Education Minister Inna Gardiner congratulated Jersey’s class of 2022 on their achievements. She said: ‘The achievements of our students are even more impressive considering the challenges they have faced over the past two years, and I would also like to thank all of the teachers and parents, who have continued to support our young people through a difficult and disruptive period.’

This academic year, students returned to sitting exams for the first time since 2019. For the past two years, summer exams did not take place and teacher-assessed grades were awarded to students.

Students who are concerned that they have been awarded the wrong grade can appeal and should speak to their school or college for feedback and advice.

European Hornets

They arrived in 2016 and immediately began chomping their way through our honey bees and stinging anyone who got a little too close to their nests. Now the Asian Hornet is facing a fightback from their bigger, and apparently tougher, native counterparts.

In recent weeks, volunteers tracking and destroying the invasive insect have noticed they have a new ally – in the form of the European Hornet and it appears as though the Europeans take a ruthless and no-nonsense approach to capturing and dispatching their enemy.

In this week’s Nature pages, Bob Tompkins writes: ‘It has now become normal to see our native actively hunting the invader at every opportunity it gets although, of course, it will never on its own be able to control their numbers. A record number of Asian Hornet nests have been found this year, with 106 being destroyed by yesterday.

Recently in France, a group of cyclists were stung up to 50 times each after apparently disturbing an Asian-hornet nest as they cycled alongside the Loire River a few kilometres north of Roanne.

French media reported that the nest was suspended about two metres above the cyclists on a branch of a dead tree when the colony launched the attack.

It is believed that the hornets were either disturbed by the vibrations of the bikes, or another branch hit the nest as the cyclists passed the area. One of the cyclists was left in a life-threatening condition but has since recovered.

Rain at last

Jersey’s gardens finally got a good watering earlier this week as a huge thunderstorm rumbled over the Island. Jersey Met says more than 4,200 lightning strikes were recorded in the area and 29mm of rain fell at the Airport – that’s more than during the whole of July.

After a wet and thundery night, here are a few statistics:

  • Rainfall at Jersey Airport to 7am: 29mm
  • Maison St Louis observatory to 8am: 26.5mm
  • Howard Davis farm to 8am: 29.6mm
  • More than 4200 lightning strikes across the area

Last summer, several houses in St Brelade caught fire after being struck by lightning in two separate storms, but there are no reports of damage so far.

Jersey hosepipe ban from today

The rain hasn’t changed the introduction of a hosepipe ban effective in Jersey from today. The ban has come into force in Jersey for the first time since 2003. Jersey Water said rainfall had been exceptionally low since January.

People could face a fine of up to £2,000 if they use a hosepipe to do things such as water gardens, fill paddling pools or clean cars. St Helier Parish has said it will “support efforts to save water”.

The ban does not apply to commercial and business customers.

A spokesperson for the parish said: “The constable has decided that it is important to support Jersey Water’s efforts to preserve water stocks for islanders for the remainder of the summer, autumn and winter.

“The parish will therefore only be using water collected in our underground rain collection tanks to water plants in our parks if necessary, and will stop watering baskets and tubs around town next week.”

Helier Smith, chief executive of Jersey Water, said the hosepipe ban would last for four months or less.

The company said reservoir levels were 10.5% lower than normal for the current time of year and, during the recent hot weather, the demand for water had been higher.

Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend!

Mixed markets

The FTSE 100 is up 0.09%, while the European markets are mixed today. CAC 40 gains 0.02% and the DAX is off 0.06%.

Stocks rose strongly yesterday, powering higher in the last hour of trading. The Nasdaq again took the lead, climbing 1.67%. The Dow rose 1% but was the laggard among the big three benchmarks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 1.01% and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.57%. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.31%