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“Dear The Late Mildred…”

“Dear The Late Mildred…”

Wednesday 05 August 2020

“Dear The Late Mildred…”


The Treasury Minister has apologised “unreservedly” after scores of islanders received letters about changes to the tax system addressed to their deceased relatives.

Arriving this week, the letters aimed to update the 45,000 islanders paying their taxes in arrears on plans to place them on a current-year system.

However, many of the letters were sent to islanders that have passed away. 

Anne Evans was one of many islanders to have been affected.

She told Express she received one addressed to her mother, with the opening line: “Dear The Late Mildred…”

taxleaflet.JPG

Pictured: The leaflet that was sent alongside the letter.

While she said that she was able to take it in good humour – and felt her mother would have done so too – she raised concerns that this may have caused distress for some. 

Her letter was posted on Facebook by St. Saviour Constable Sadie Le Sueur Rennard, leading to many shocked and disappointed reactions.

But this wasn’t the only problem – all other recipients were addressed by their first names, leading some to criticise what was deemed ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unprofessional’ for an official government communication. 

The Treasury Minister has since apologised for the naming blunders. 

susie_pinel_tax.jpg

Pictured: The Treasury Minister said she was sorry for any distress caused.

Explaining what happened, Deputy Pinel said: “This week, the Government has written to islanders to tell them about proposed changes to the tax system. I understand from speaking with members of the public that some letters have been addressed to deceased Islanders, and that letters have been addressed using Islanders’ first names, rather than first name and last names as is standard. 

“When we send out letters to islanders, we rely on a database of information to ensure that letters are sent to the correct people. In this instance, the names and addresses that were taken from the database were not sufficiently cross-checked. This meant that some letters were sent to deceased islanders, and letters were addressed to islanders by their first names.” 

She added: “I’d like firstly to apologise unreservedly to Islanders who were distressed by receiving letters addressed to their deceased relatives, and to also apologise to Islanders who were upset by the use of their first names, as I would be myself.”

The Minister’s comments did not, however, address the many women who were offended by the fact that the letters were only addressed to their husbands. 

This included Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois, who tweeted: “Totally disappointed at the approach taken for correspondence considering feedback to them during discussions before this was announced. 

“Feeling rather appalled and denigrated not just as a female politician but as a household that works in full partnership with their husband.”

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Posted by Jon Jon on
I didn't know we were on first name terms Suzie when I received mine...just goes to show how hasty this is all being done, rushed through as usual !
Posted by Michael Blampied on
As I commented last week when news of this proposal broke, it might be best if the department concerned were to focus on walking before running. I would advocate mastering the art of communication with the living before tackling contact with the departed. What was it that Benjamin Franklin said about death and taxes?
Posted by Paul Troalic on
This is what happens when an unbelievably stupid person runs a very big department who equally have some pretty stupid people working for it.
The mind boggles at how out of touch this bunch of politicians are.
Dearly hope my dead father didn’t get a letter.
Social security communication was bad enough telling him he owed nothing then sending a bill to his estate.
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