Committee chairman Sam La Trobe-Bateman introduced the report before handing over to Conseiller William Raymond to present the financial arguments and then Conseiller John Guille to present the technical arguments.
The report’s last-minute circulation was justified by Conseiller La Trobe-Bateman, who said that this was because of the involvement of advocates and law officers.
Conseiller Frank Makepeace criticised the last-minute release of the report and said that, as it was known that legal scrutiny would delay matters, why was the meeting not arranged for a later date, allowing time to make an informed decision?
Passing it off as a breakdown in communications, Conseiller Sandra Williams was concerned that, as chairman of the Harbours, Shipping and Pilotage committee, whose name appears above the Chief Pleas report, she had not been involved in the decisions that had been made.
A widespread criticism of Sark Shipping was its failure to recognise the fragility of Sark’s lifeline link in relying on a single passenger vessel and that the Sark Venture should have been returned to service more speedily to provide cover for both the Sark Belle and the Viking cargo vessel, as well as providing extra capacity in what has turned out to be a much better visitor season than anticipated.
Several conseillers asked for more time, arguing that a deferral would allow for a more constructive and better-informed debate.
When Conseiller La Trobe-Bateman conceded that a short deferral might be considered, Speaker Reg Guille allowed a 20-minute recess for the Policy & Finance committee members to agree a proposed course of action.
On resuming business, Conseiller La Trobe-Bateman proposed a two-day deferral, to which Conseiller Makepeace responded: ‘That’s ridiculous; two weeks is more realistic’.
The deferral motion was carried by nine votes to five. The next meeting is at 7pm on Thursday.
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