Economic development the next test for CI co-operation

CHIEF Minister Peter Harwood has pledged to continue to develop working jointly with Jersey.

Peter Harwood

CHIEF Minister Peter Harwood has pledged to continue to develop working jointly with Jersey.

Progress is being made on cost-saving projects and acting as the Channel Islands in international engagement. And Deputy Harwood, pictured, said that more could be done on economic development and laws common to each island.

‘To many an outside observer, informed or otherwise, the administrative, legislative and judicial systems look remarkably similar,’ he said.

‘Names differ here and there, but when compared with the rest of the world, we have far more in common with each other than we have differences.’

However, an opportunity for the chief ministers to stand side-by-side was dashed by the weather yesterday. Deputy Harwood and Jersey’s Ian Gorst were due to speak together at a Jersey Chamber of Commerce lunch.

Comments for: "Economic development the next test for CI co-operation"

Phil

Can somebody please point out the benefits (other than saving a few quid here and there) of aligning ourselves with Jersey?

Then let's consider the negatives; ongoing historic child abuse issue, highly agressive tax avoidance schemes, institutional tax evasion and money laundering, a rotten political and judicial system, massive unemployment (still to get much worse), out of control immigration etc etc, why on earth do we want to be getting into bed with them for goodness sake?

Martino

Not to mention a megalomaniac 'foreign' minister on a suicidal crusade for 'independence'.

Phil

Without wanting to come across all "conspiracy theorist" I do hope that the funny handshake brigade will not have any influence over all this business, there are very many of them amongst the higher echelons of both Islands' governments, judiciaries and civil service.

Spartacus

They will pay half our consultants fees.

Island Wide Voting

..and we will pay half their London office ex's?

Jean Pierre

Fully agree with what you say, Phil.

markB

We’ve done well without Jersey for hundreds of years, so why not keep it that

Way.

This could end up being a short term gain for some, but a long term disaster for others.

Maybe we should leave well alone.

Taff

Surely Mr Harwood should concentrate on clearing up the mess he is sitting on, first. All the islands are in a mess at present, not just Guernsey. And all need to be in a much better state before embarking on the sort of co-operation he is thinking of. Which could have advantages, although I suspect there are far more real differences than similarities.

The "big Idea" earns more column inches, and may be more fun, but his job is to make Guernsey a better place than it is right now, and that needs management and leadership. Take HSSD as a prime example, or the budget problems, just for starters. He should make sure they are properly resolved before being distracted by pie in the sky.

Having said that there could be mileage in common solutions for common problems - providing the problems are truly common. Is that the case? Bus drivers? And who takes the lead? And we should be able to learn from each other. Sounds good on paper, but, having been involved in multi-national businesses for many years, it is never so easy on the ground.

However Stage 1 must be to put Guernsey on a much better footing, and the other islands should do the same. Then look at areas of common interest - 2015?

Martino

Interesting parallel discussion just taking off in the sister island. Gorst may be their CM but it's apparently Bailhache who is pulling his strings.

http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/2013/01/10/gorst-2/

PLP

A lot more information on that article too Martino, the idea of a "joint police force, customs and immigration service and foreign affairs committee." No thank you.

Tim South

I thought in the dire economic situation, Guernsey was doing rather well.

Jersey now has offices in Brussels,Dubai and soon London for a mere £600,000 per year and Ministers love there jollies, including one that went to Barbados for three days to have a chat, he loves to feel superior.

Is Guernsey serious about teaming up with its sister island, who has a lot of baggage not discussed openly. Could Jersey's worsening bank reputation and lack of enthusiasm to hold a proper child abuse enquiry, caused by historic Government neglect, also drag Guernsey down

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9666393/HSBC-probing-loss-of-client-data-in-Jersey.html

Tim.

Forest

This is is a really bad idea.

Jersey is in a far far worse position than we are right now. Imigration is out of control, unemployment is rising by the week, their financial reputation is in tatters and their track record of political cover ups is well known.

I can't see any reason why 'joining forces' would be of any benefit to Guernsey at all.

Jersey has always looked down its nose at us like the poor relation so why is it only now that they're so keen to 'work together'.

Neil Forman

Good to see most are against this. Let Jersey ruin themselves, no need to let them drag us down with them. Totally against this.

Spartacus

Neil "I'm alright jack" Forman

"let jersey ruin themselves" Nice.

thanks_but_no_thanks

Couldn't agree more Phil, the benefits would all be Jersey's, not ours.

Funny how they're only interested in joining with us now they're in the cack, ay.

roombay42

Jersey's keen on co-operation because we need your help!

One thing that does worry me though,is this the start of an effort by the U.K. to absorb the islands into the U.K? We have so many non-Jersey states members who are changing things to match the U.K. systems. Be careful, Guernsey! Don't let it happen to you. I know that you complain about your politicians, but, really, we local Jerseymen are jealous of you.

markB

So the question is...Why is Mr Harwood so keen to get into bed with Jersey?.... When he must know most Guernsey people would say no thanks.

Dave Jones

Let’s just put this into prospective, It is very sensible for the two Chief Ministers to be talking to each other and there is much we can do to reduce costs in both islands by having shared services.

Also on external relations matters, there is no doubt that we shout louder as a single voice, the islands as low tax jurisdictions are under constant attack and we have to fend those attacks off and show the world that having low tax rates does not equate to tax wholesale avoidance. Money laundering or all the other things we are accused of facilitating.

Of course Guernsey and Jersey will have some different business models and that is healthy competition but the gains we will get in procurement of goods and services especially in our Health and education services could be substantial.

As for a shared office in the UK, I am not in favour of that, I understand why we share an office in Brussels but I can see no material advantages of one in Westminster, the lines of communication between the islands and the MOJ / Privy Council have improved and our direct liaison with the Crown is through the Lt Governor’s office. It would be just another level of bureaucracy that the taxpayer would have to fund.

The fact is that the world eyes us with suspicion and we are stronger in many areas as one. The States in both islands will continue to pass legislation best suited to its individual needs and we don’t have to become a carbon copy of each other in order to work together where it is to our mutual advantage.

Terry Langlois

Dave, I agree with much of what you say and it is certainly true that the CMs should be talking to each other and identifying areas where co-operation is mutually beneficial and can result in cost savings.

I understand your point about a united voice on the international stage, and how this may be heard better than two smaller voices, but I think that the above posters have correctly identified a growing concern - which does not arise from traditional inter insular rivalry, but which is based very much in the here and now. There is a feeling that Jersey has been more maverick and sailed closer to the wind than we have.

Aligning ourselves closer with Jersey in the minds of the outside world may well get us heard, but I fear that it is unlikely to improve the way in which we are received, in fact quite the opposite.

Martino

I think you've summed it up well Terry. More economic co-operation, no political union. My fear is that one or two of the prime movers in Jersey have a federationist agenda as a precursor to 'independence' for the CI, which would be a disaster IMO.

Dave Jones

Terry

Even as individual jurisdictions we are very much misunderstood now.

The anti low tax lobby constantly put out mis-information on us, as a way of distracting their people’s attention from their own ineptitude and shortcomings as governments. So speaking as individual islands has not worked. I would suggest our more measured approach may show Jersey that more can be achieved by that route than by the maverick approach you have identified in the past.

The truth is that globalisation is leading to more large dictatorships, as the big and powerful try to usurp their authority on small jurisdictions. The US for instance bullies anybody that doesn’t agree with them and threatens sanctions or other measures to force countries to look after the US interests.

FATCA is just one case in point where it wants every country in the world to monitor the financial transactions of US citizens and report back to the US treasury on those movements.

As does the European Union, that tries to impose its will on any jurisdiction that has different rules to its own, whether they are members of the EU or not. You will see in the next decade or so the real financial and military muscle of China coming to the fore. Israel continues to force its will on the Palestinians by military might.

The world is being carved up into powerful blocks where democracy is gradually being eroded and the peoples ability to fight back is being diminished other than by armed insurrection. You have just witness leader being parachuted into Greece and Italy in order to do the EU’s bidding in propping up the single currency, the people of these countries had no say in it whatsoever.

The UK that is also led by the nose from Brussels is now moving to moral arguments on tax rather than specific tax law and companies are being forced to consider whether European countries are really worth investing in as the EU attempts to strangle business with more and more red tape and punitive taxes.

I know I have wandered of your point al little but what I an trying to say is that it is a much more hostile environment for small independent jurisdictions and we might have to get much closer together just to survive.

forest

Dave.

I'm surprised that you support this.

I personally think that if this idea was developed that it would be a PR disaster for Guernsey. You only need to look at how they have messed things up for themselves to realise that they are now in a very perilous position financially, economically and socially.

Jersey is now regularly in the national news with tax avoidance scams coming to light so how you could possibly think that being aligned with them in a united front could be good for Guernsey's financial business is beyond me.

Dave Jones

Forrest

I support more shared services, I support the two CM's talking to each other I do not support a Westminster office and we will have to see whether further talks between our two juristictions result in a more measured and sensible way forward in terms of off island talks.

Jersey has made mistakes in the past but like us they have a new goverment with different players, so lets see what CAN be achieved before we dismiss the idea out of hand

thanks_but_no_thanks

Dave, you may be able to see the benefits of joined up thinking twixt the isles with defined boundaries to keep the less attractive elements of Jersey separate, but do you honestly believe the rest of the world, that only sees the Channel Islands as a collective tax haven (and not in a particularly good light), will do the same?

Of course they won't!

We will be tarred with the same very grubby brush as Jersey, and quite possibly perceived to be conspiring with them to continue their particular form of fiscal skulduggery that's regularly splashed all over the nationals.

It's rather like hanging out with Jack the Ripper due to a mutual love of flower arranging, 'oh, I know he's a serial killer, but I'm not involved with that, and he does a lovely bouquet'

Thanks, but no thanks...!!

Phil

Let nobody be under any illusions here, the only reason that Jersey want to align themselves with us is because they know they are in a mess. A real mess. A mess that is likely to get progressively worse in the forthcoming years.

In the past they have had a superior attitude, believing that they were somehow better than us, bigger than us, that we were the "poor relation" so to speak. I don't ever recall them wanting to join forces with us when the annual surpluses were huge and their reserves even bigger.

That has now changed, and due to various factors they are now left wanting in several areas; financially, politically and socially. It has been clearly demonstrated that the island has been, and continues to be, run appallingly badly. They have made national and international headlines for all the wrong reasons, and continue to do so. Their judiciary is hopelessly politicised, and I seriously doubt the sanity of some of their senior public figures.

Terry's last paragraph is very well put, and any Guernsey deputies who try to push any form of alliance (other than some basic cost sharing perhaps) will have a hell of job persuading Guernsey people of the benefits, and in my opinion will be committing political suicide.

I also disagree with the suggestion that the outside world see the Channel Islands as one, that is simply not the case. How often when you meet someone on holiday do you have to mention "Bergerac" or "historic child abuse" in order for them to recognise where you're from?

GM

Phil

Very well put.

I would put it more strongly than that.

Guernsey is up to its ankles in sh*t. Jersey is up to its neck in it.

Sharing costs on public services - could be a win-win.anything more - we will lose out.

forest

Phil, totally agree and I think that the real motives behind this sudden 'lets be friends' attitude is strange to put it mildly

Jean Pierre

Couldn't have put it better myself, Phil. I'm in total agreement with your sentiments.

Only politicians or recently arrived non-locals would disagree. The former because they've got their own agendas and/or their heads stuck where the sun doesn't shine, the latter because they don't yet know the islands.

GM

Let's think about this. Salary costs in both islands are very high. If we are outgoing to reduce our public sector by outsourcing administration to Jersey, and vice versa, where is the economic benefit? We'd be saving costs here but likely be paying more to get the job done in Jersey, and vice versa. Might as well keep it here.

Savings would be far more likely by outsourcing to areas in the south of England which are readily accessible to Southampton or Exeter, taking advantage of air links for easy visits. It's £75 return between the islands these days, and is often cheaper to fly to those other airports if booked early. I'm sure one of the airlines would jump at a contract price. Now, if both Guernsey and Jersey were to set up a joint CI public sector outsourcing centre in, say, Devon, the local authorities there would probably even give us a grant to facilitate it, as it would create welcome jobs there. Salaries around 20% to 30% cheaper than here in the islands, along with economies of scale, and lower house prices than in the islands, would encourage some from the islands to relocate to Devon.

Seems well worth exploring to me. It still results in collaboration with Jersey, but only in relation to cost savings, not politically.

There is no doubt that medical services in both islands could provide cost savings benefits in several specialist areas rather than duplicating them 25 miles apart, along with sharing police/prison training costs, but still keeping them separate.

Oh, and remove airport landing taxes and fees on all inter-island flights, which would chop close to £30 off a current £75 return flight. Then it all becomes much more feasible. That would then enable numerous air routes to be far more viable to a market of 160,000 rather than to markets of 100,000 and 60,000. Aurigny could be far more profitable with a much bigger volume, and tourism would benefit throughout the islands as well. Inter-island air travel could be more like a bus service with special arrangements to go virtually straight from the aircraft with baggage to the connecting flight without having to check in again and go through security. That could definitely produce considerable benefits all round.

Jim

health and education seem obvious areas to share resources. Each island,for example, could take on services currently only available in mainland UK , then take patients from other islands. Keeping the money in the Islands and improving local health services.

Rather than both Islands trying to service their population with every medical service, Jersey and Guernsey could each offer different specialist services currently contracted to the UK, then have our own CI air ambulance to share pan island and ferry passengers back and forth.

The same could work with higher education, with the ever increasing university fees our future generations are being priced out of a university education.

thanks_but_no_thanks

Jim, are you actually aware of the huge population of Jersey compared to Guernsey?

The existing population in Jersey is falling off the edge, and god knows what will happen when the new laws come in, opening it up even more extensively to Europe.

Logically speaking, more people = more sick people, and who will be the winners?

Oh yes, Jersey will.

Dave Jones

TBNT

In response to your earlier post.

The world see us as one now, regardless of our efforts to maintain our own identity, I know as a member of the External Relations Group and the people we are in dialog with, whether it is the US State department (Treasury) or even talking to the all party group at Westminster, the OECD, the IMF the EU, whoever, they all see us collectively as being part of the same area.

They have no understanding for instance that Sark & Alderney have their own elected governments they just expect Guernsey to keep them in line, when we explain the constitutional position they are simply not interested.

Which is one of the reasons we must find ways of working more closely together? That does not mean on every single issue we must become as one but certainly on our constitutional position and protecting our autonomy we have little choice.

Thanks_but_no_thanks

sorry, Dave, but, I can't help but think that an LVCR style calamity will ensue if we hitch our wagon to Jersey, with indiscriminate legislation killing off above board Guernsey business because of the less salubrious parts of Jersey's.

Out the frying pan into the fire, as they say.

slinky

inter island banter aside, clearly both have pros and cons. If you look at the main utilities such as the telcos and gas, as well as the major Finance houses and commercial entities. All have a model where they operate with a pan island structure.

Why?

Costs. There is no point having duplicated functions operating so close together.

Thanks_but_no_thanks

Our local telco is owned by a sheik in the UAE, slinky, not us.