Guernsey Press

Respecting the maritime community

The robust challenge from the island’s boatowners to what they see as unacceptable hikes in their mooring fees is yet another demonstration over how the pips will squeak when the States seeks to squeeze too hard.

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And then the full force of dissatisfaction with moorings and berths and facilities comes into play.

Boatowners facing minor RPI-linked increases year-on-year will go along with it. Almost certainly, if that community was asked if they would prefer fancier facilities, or cheaper moorings, they’d take the latter.

So they are doubly frustrated now when facing fee hikes of between 17 and 45% next year that they are being asked to fund not only their moorings (and refurbishments, if any, of a minor nature) but discover they are responsible for commercial ports and the airport too.

The taxpayer has had enough of bailing out the ports, particularly post-Covid, so pursuing a user-pays model makes sense.

But the position is now being muddied by Guernsey Ports mixing together operational deficits and a sudden call for multi-millions to pay for ‘much-needed repairs and improvements’. Haven’t we heard this before? When the pressing need for GST switched from filling black holes and deficits to funding essential capital expenditure?

Guernsey Ports may prevail. But the way it has sold its proposal and rationale to its customers seems to forget our history as a maritime community.