The British Channel Island of Jersey, to the tourist, is the land of Bourdélots, lé nièr beurre, mèrvelles and Cider that finds its roots in the medieval Norman history. A subtle joke may follow on the context of the physical conditions and abilities of the Jèrriais-speaking people; it seems that the island is devoid of physicians or medical institutions – when an apple can keep the doctor away, just think about what a tonne can deliver. To comprehend per se the above gambol, however, it’s important that we learn about the Jersey cuisine, which is again related to the country’s most important crop. But that comes later; for the time being, we shall concentrate upon the advent of the Bailiwick of Jersey.
Stretching from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France to the southern part of Great Britain, Jersey is situated on the English Channel and measures around 161km. (100 miles) in length, with an area of 118.2 square Km. This includes the reclaimed land parts and the littoral zone. The terrain is a sloping plateau that originates from the long sandy bays in the southern parts that ends in the rugged cliffs in the north; occassionaly cut by the valleys running mostly from north to south.
This largest and southernmost part of the Channel Islands enjoys a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers. Jersey also gets the most in sunshine per year if compared to the other British Isles.
Off the coast of Normandy in France lies Bailiwick of Jersey; primarily Crown dependencies, along with the other two islands called Minquiers and Ecréhous along with the Bailiwick of Guernsey that make up Jersey. Collectively famous as the Channel Islands, Jersey is neither a part of the UK, nor does it belong to the European Union, though it belongs to the British-Irish Council. While under the control of Brittany, Jersey was known as Angia, accommodating Vikings and annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933 under William Longsword, the Duke of Normandy that time. William the Conqueror, a descendant of William Longsword had conquered England in 1066, making the Duchy of Normandy and the kingdom of England come under one monarch; though King John had to hand over Normandy in 1204 to the King of France, he retained Jersey, Guernsey and the other Channel Islands. This act of past translated into the Crown Dependency of today’s Jersey, with a brief intervening period by Nazi Germany between 1 May 1940 and 9 May 1945.
Financial services, tourism, internet trade and agriculture determine the economy of Jersey, with the financial services ruling the roost and contributing more than half of the Island's economy. The Agricultural front primarily involves the cultivation of potatoes besides the dairy products and the apple orchards.
February 18, 2005 granted the status of Fairtrade Island to Jersey; VAT (Value added tax) being taken-off, Jersey has witnessed a recent growth in the 'fulfilment' industry. Jersey also exports to UK the low-value luxury items; avoidance of VAT on arrival allows UK to reduce the prices on these products. Duty free goods are also available for purchase in Jersey.
Another facet of the Jersey economy is tourism, with notable hotels like the Pomme d’Or, the Hotel de France and the Hotel L'Horizon filling up the country’s funds. Though nil on VAT, this year has seen the States of Jersey approving the introduction of a goods and services tax, to be brought under practice from 2008. Both Bank of England banknotes and Jersey banknotes can be used together with UK coinage, Scottish notes and Guernsey currency within the Island.
Jersey has a legislature which is the States of Jersey, and includes 53 elected members (12 senators,12 constables, 29 deputies, the Bailiff and the Deputy Bailiff). The Deputy Bailiff functions as the president of the assembly, while the 3 non-voting members - the Dean of Jersey, the Attorney General, and the Solicitor General are appointed by the order of the Crown. Committees of the State run the individual Government departments, with the Bailiff acting as the Civil Head of the Island.
The State Members are primarily elected as independent candidates apart from the Jersey Democratic Alliance - The only political party currently claiming representation in the States. The legal system follows entirely the Norman customary law (including the Clameur de Haro), legislative act and English law. Administration of justice is the sole responsibility of the Royal Court, with Queen Elizabeth II holding the traditional title as head of the state.