Richard Corrigan, the government’s chief officer for financial services, digital and enterprise, made the comments to John Davis, a businessman who moved to the Island from Australia in
The JEP understands that Mr Davis is considering lodging a formal complaint.
The exchange followed comments from Mr Davis, who claimed that some senior Jersey civil servants were working from the UK rather than the Island.
In response, Mr Corrigan said that he had seen ‘most, if not all, of his leadership’ colleagues during recent weeks and most weeks during the pandemic.
Mr Davis then questioned Mr Corrigan about whether he had seen them during lockdown, to which Mr Corrigan responded: ‘I don’t keep the class register, assume that you did given the earlier accusations. Nothing to back them up – such antipathy for an antipodean!’
I don’t keep the class register, assume that you did given the earlier accusations. Nothing to back them up – such antipathy for an antipodean!
— Richard Corrigan (@jsyrichard) August 1, 2020
Following this Mr Davis said: ‘Here we go, @jsyrichard goes to the baseline game of calling up one’s origins when he has no basis for his arguments.
‘Move on @jsyrichard. As stated – most of the UK Consultants scurried off to the UK and worked from there during lockdown. Prove otherwise.’
Mr Corrigan later apologised for his remarks and said he did not intend to cause any offence.
Others then became involved, with Aaron Chatterley, founder of cosmetics business feelunique.com, saying: ‘Gotta say as a fellow Antipodean, I’m surprised to see a senior civil servant laying down the race card in a tweet.
‘More than a little offended and not sure of the relevance of John’s race to the dialogue. How’s this going to play out?’
Meanwhile, Deputy Kirsten Morel said: ‘Totally inappropriate from a senior civil servant.’
The JEP contacted Mr Davis yesterday but he refused to comment.
However, in subsequent tweets Mr Davis said: ‘My quietness today is to complete some documentation for a submission tomorrow or Tuesday. If the recent behaviour of a civil servant isn’t called out for what it is, then it will lead to even worse attacks on people, whether that be colour, sexuality, religion etc.’
He later added: ‘Thanks for the nearly 80 reach-outs of support both online and physically I have received over the past 24 hours.
‘It has strengthened my resolve. All legal avenues are being reviewed and used. @jsyrichard will be held accountable. If he isn’t, then the Government of Jersey will.’
The government has been approached for comment.