Lt-Governor mediates in Sark Shipping dispute with Chief Pleas

OPEN and regular dialogue between Isle of Sark Shipping and Chief Pleas has been agreed as a result of a meeting with Guernsey’s Lt-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder.

Isle of Sark Shipping's Sark Belle. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28753240)
Isle of Sark Shipping's Sark Belle. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28753240)

It is the latest chapter in a disagreement between the two sides that resulted in the meeting at Government House on Monday, with an attempt by Sir Ian to mediate in a dispute which saw Sark’s Policy and Finance Committee withdraw an attempt to sack the board of directors of IoSS.

Last month Chief Pleas voted for an independent review into the shipping company, something originally suggested by the company itself.

In a joint statement between Chief Pleas representatives and IoSS, who attended the meeting, it was decided that both would move forward.

‘All present agreed to maintain and develop open and regular dialogue before and during this review period, and work together to improve communications,’ the statement reads.

‘After discussion it was decided that the review should take place as soon as possible and, whilst acknowledging the circumstances that had preceded this review, it was agreed that the emphasis should be concentrated on the future relationship between shareholders and the company, including fully implementing and strengthening protocols and proactive joint communication to enable more open dialogue between the parties.’

There is no word yet as to who will be paying for the review as IoSS said it would need to follow the Memorandum of Understanding in order for it to do so.

However, if it were to go ahead as per the MoU, IoSS directors had agreed to suggest the appointment of advocate and former States member John Langlois as reviewer and pay for it.

‘P&F and Sark Shipping are committed to facilitating the review and moving forward to a more positive relationship for the benefit of the company and residents of Sark,’ the statement continues.

‘When the reviewer has been appointed, and time frames agreed, all updates will be issued through the chief secretary.’

The dispute began when after P&F withdrawn its proposition to sack the board of directors as a result of concern about the company’s finances.

The committee refused to go ahead with a review under the terms of the MoU, which would have investigated the circumstances leading up to the sacking attempt.

IoSS maintains that there was no crisis and no financial mismanagement on the part of its board.

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