Guernsey Press

St Helena trip cost taxpayer more than £5,000

Taxpayers paid more than £5,000 for Guernsey to be represented at a recent Commonwealth conference – but the costs were only about half what the States of Jersey spent to attend the same event.

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Guernsey sent Deputy Peter Ferbrache and an official to a recent Commonwealth conference in St Helena for a week at the end of May, paying £5,635 for flights and accommodation. (33402536)

Guernsey sent one politician, Peter Ferbrache, and one official to St Helena for a week at the end of May, paying £5,635 for flights and accommodation.

The States provided the information to the Guernsey Press on request this week.

In Jersey, a freedom of information request revealed that two ministers and an official had travelled to the remote South Atlantic island at a cost of £10,917.

Lyndon Trott, chairman of the Guernsey branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, said it was important for the island to be represented at the latest conference of the association’s British Islands and Mediterranean region, held in St Helena between 18 and 25 May.

‘Part of the purpose of the CPA is parliamentary strengthening and delegates from Jersey, Guernsey, Westminster, Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Cyprus went to St Helena to support its parliament and community, as well as to engage with each other,’ said Deputy Trott.

The States paid £2,815 for Deputy Ferbrache and an official to fly from the UK to Johannesburg with Virgin Atlantic. Accommodation at a hotel at the airport in Johannesburg cost £1,020.

The St Helena government was expected to charge £1,800 for flights between Johannesburg and St Helena. Accommodation in St Helena was paid by the host island.

Deputy Ferbrache said he had kept down costs to the States as much as possible.

‘Of the £2,800 or so spent on the Virgin Atlantic Heathrow to Johannesburg return flight, my costs were £986.66, which was for economy class.

‘It could not have been any cheaper for me unless I travelled on the outside, which would have been too cold,’ he said.

States members’ travel costs, which at one time were typically requested annually, have been in the headlines again recently, after Deputy Christopher Le Tissier submitted written questions to all committees asking them to publish expenditure on flights and accommodation since they were elected at the start of the current States term in October 2020.