Cyril Le Marquand

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Cyril Le Marquand in 1945

Cyril Le Marquand (1902 - 1980) was a Jersey politician and businessman.

He was born on 6 March 1902 at Bel Royal, St Lawrence, the only son of Joshua Le Marquand and Lilian Le Feuvre. He was educated at Victoria College from 1916 to 1919, and joined the family business of Le Marquand Brothers on leaving school.

From Jersey to Wales

In 1939, just after the outbreak of war, he left Jersey with his family and lived in Wales, becoming a member of the Home Guard. He returned to Jersey in 1945 and, as a founder of the Jersey Progressive Party, tried and failed to get elected as Deputy. In 1946 he gave evidence to the Privy Council Committee on States Reform, which led to the States Reform Bill in 1948 removing Rectors and Jurats from the States of Jersey. Later that year in the first election after the reform, he was elected Deputy, along with ten other members of the Progressive Party, including his cousin John Le Marquand. In 1957, he was elected as Senator, topping the poll, and became President of the Finance Committee, later the Finance and Economics Committee. He held this office until his sudden death on 27 February 1980.

Concentration of power

In the late 1970s there was a move to centralise decision-making in the States of Jersey and co-ordinate the work of the committees, which had hitherto acted entirely independently of each other, answerable only to the States as a whole. A Policy and Advisory Committee was formed, made up of presidents of major committees, and despite some unease about the concentration of political power in one man's hands, Cyril Le Marquand was appointed president of this committee as well as Finance and Economics.

Offshore finance

Cyril Le Marquand is often credited with the establishment of Jersey as an offshore finance centre. In the 1960s he led the way by persuading the States of Jersey to end restrictions on bank interest rates, and this encouraged some of the world's largest banks to establish offices in the island during the 1970s and 80s. Finance rapidly overtook tourism and agriculture as Jersey's most important industry, and remains so to this day.

The main States office building, Cyril Le Marquand House, is named after him, somewhat ironically because he fought in vain to prevent its construction.

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