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Deputies call for ‘an injection of realism’ over transport links

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GUERNSEY’S transport links are ‘hugely depressing’, ‘an embarrassment’ and ‘can be seen as worse than 50 years ago’, deputies have said, as they called for ‘an injection of realism’ into future debates.

Deputy Richard Graham said ‘Our sea and air links can be said to be worse than they were 50 years ago. They remain an embarrassment’. (21699711)

Reflecting on the term to date, many deputies pointed to a lack of progress improving air and sea links as their main disappointment.

‘The failure of this term will be government’s inability to deal with the disaster that is Condor Ferries and our flagging visitor economy,’ said Vale deputy Neil Inder.

‘Jersey has had its best years in 10 years and we are doing nothing effective to address our downturn. That is hugely depressing.’

South-East deputy Victoria Oliver said the price of flights was extortionate and that appeared no closer to being addressed.

‘I personally feel we are no further ahead than two years ago,’ she said.

‘For a family of three it should not cost £630 return.’

Air and sea links is one of 23 priorities in the Policy & Resource Plan and is one of Economic Development’s major workstreams. There seems to be no easy way of improving links and Castel deputy Richard Graham said that was ‘highly frustrating’.

‘Our sea and air links can be said to be worse than they were 50 years ago. They remain an embarrassment. I always knew there would be no quick fix and I now know even more certainly.’

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Policy & Resources has said that transport links will be given closer attention due to slow progress to date.

‘Our committee hopes the Assembly can collectively refocus during the second half of this term on working constructively together to progress the key priorities on which the States have agreed, including strengthening transport links and meeting savings targets agreed by the States,’ they said.

Deputies who are part of the Islanders Association – including Carl Meerveld, Peter Ferbrache, Joe Mooney, John Gollop, Barry Paint and Alderney rep Louis Jean – said the new structure of government had ‘completely failed to substantively address any of the significant issues in the P&R Plan’, one of which is transport links.

St Sampson’s deputy Jennifer Merrett said that, while a member of Economic Development, the board had ‘recognised the opportunity that a regular inter-island ferry service could bring to our community without breaking Jersey’s operating agreement with Condor’.

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‘Although it has disappointingly not transpired to be the daily seasonal service that was first envisioned,’ she said.

Very little tangible progress has been made since the States resolved to direct P&R to lead a strategic review of our air and sea links in June 2017, the former Economic Development member, who led on air and sea links, added.

Deputies Mary Lowe and Laurie Queripel both said they were expecting these work streams to be more advanced by now.

West deputy Shane Langlois said there was one thing that was especially noticeable in the debates on the subject.

‘The disappointment has been the failure to inject some realism into the debates on issues such as economic growth and our air and sea links.’

n Full responses from deputies on their main highlights and disappointments so far this term can be found online at www.guernseypress.com.

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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