Deputy John Young believes that the islands could look at introducing a Jersey-Guernsey travel corridor once cases fall to a safe level.
Earlier this week Guernsey Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache, who previously publicly repeated comments allegedly shared with him by Islanders that Jersey’s government were a bunch of ‘bumbling idiots’, praised the ‘intelligence’ of local ministers and suggested it was time for the two islands to put their past difficulties behind them and work together.
While Jersey’s Covid cases have steadily decreased to 59 since exceeding the 1,000 mark in December, Guernsey’s numbers have risen in the past couple weeks to 362, and the island is now in lockdown.
Deputy Young said that now was the time to introduce common policies and create trust between the islands.
‘We don’t want a repeat of last year. If we work together now to bring cases down to a suitable level, then we could introduce a travel corridor between the islands which would benefit our economy, tourism and hospitality industries,’ he said.
‘On one hand I think we must be praised for our testing capabilities and the contact-tracing system the Island has in place. Guernsey could learn from this and I don’t see why we couldn’t help them with testing too.
‘On the other hand, I think that Guernsey has been very definitive with its approach and restrictions and the message from its government has been clear from the start.
‘Our biggest downfall was reducing the quarantine time for people coming into the Island and relaxing our borders too early. We should have taken a leaf out of Guernsey’s book on that one.’
Deputy Young also believes that Guernsey’s approach fostered a greater level of trust between the government and the islanders.
‘Their [Guernsey’s] message has always been strong and clear whereas we have
been inconsistent and given mixed messages throughout the pandemic which creates a lot of distrust among Islanders,’ he said.
‘Now is the time to set goals together and act cohesively so that we can reduce our cases. Hopefully this could create an opportunity for a corridor in the summer where we can move freely between islands.
‘Who knows, maybe we could align policies with other islands who have similar border capabilities?’