Why don’t we talk any more?

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A suggestion for Jersey and Guernsey’s ministers to meet made a month ago has been ignored, and 23 proposals for saving money through joint co-operation offered two years ago have not been taken up.

Chief Minister Frank Walker told the Corporate Services Scrutiny panel yesterday that relations between the islands had been strained by the fishing dispute – and that he thought a lack of co-operation was a missed opportunity.

‘I think there is genuine reluctance among some Guernsey politicians to become involved in joint projects because they fear they will become the “”junior partner””, and that some of their sovereignty will be impaired,’ said Senator Walker.

‘I am saddened by that because I do not think it is true.

‘The committee of presidents of which I was president at Policy and Resources met Guernsey’s Policy Council about two years ago and put 23 options to our colleagues in Guernsey – 23 possibilities for us to work more closely together.

Not one of those was accepted and we had no equivalent list of similar suggestions from them.’ The fishing dispute centres on the right of Jersey fishermen to fish in Guernsey waters between the three-mile to 12-mile limits.

The dispute has taken in Court of Appeal hearings, and allegations by Jersey that Guernsey politicians have refused to abide by an agreement made in 2004.

Senator Walker was at the first of a set of quarterly meetings with the Corporate Services, led by Deputy Patrick Ryan, who have responsibility for covering the work of his department.

He says there are areas where co-operation between States Members in Jersey and Guernsey could save money for taxpayers in both Islands.

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