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IoD told island will suffer if borders are closed too long

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THE president of Economic Development has said Guernsey’s economy will suffer untold damage if the island’s borders remain closed for too long.

Left to right, Vice-president of Policy & Resources Lyndon Trott, panel moderator Chris Sherwell and Economic Development president Charles Parkinson. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28447662)

Speaking at the first Institute of Directors breakfast seminar since lockdown, Charles Parkinson echoed comments made recently by Deputy Peter Roffey that the island needed to hold a ‘difficult conversation’ about reopening its borders.

Deputy Parkinson was joined on the stage by Policy & Resources vice-president Lyndon Trott.

In a session chaired by Chris Sherwell, founder of the Guernsey Matters blog, the two deputies answered points which he put to them covering a range of issues raised by the Revive and Thrive report, with an emphasis on the economy and business.

However, he started by asking for their thoughts about when the island’s borders should reopen, one of the topics that has moved into the spotlight since the publication of the report.

Neither had any idea when the borders might reopen, although Deputy Trott thought September seemed likely.

Deputy Parkinson said the island seemed to have drifted into a policy of eliminating the virus, while Jersey had taken the policy of minimising its harm.

‘We can’t keep closed forever,’ he said.

‘We have to be prepared to take a measured risk.’

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A vaccine might not be found, but the island’s health service had shown that it could manage the outbreak.

Guernsey had to be prepared to have a difficult conversation about the impact of reopening its borders.

‘The alternative is shutting ourselves off from the rest of the world, which will cause untold damage to our economy.’

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