A tripartite agreement is the preferred option for the future operation of Condor, according to the President of Policy & Resources.
Condor bought its new boat – the MV Straitsman – through financial support from the States of Guernsey. £3million in joint investment and a £26million loan from the States bond.
The complicated route to purchase involved not only the government of Guernsey, but the convening of the Civil Contingencies Authority who determined that P&R needed to help Condor buy a new boat to divert an ‘emergency situation’.
The exact nature of that emergency is not yet known, but Deputy Peter Ferbrache, who presides over both P&R and the CCA, said it’ll be public in “due course”.
Pictured: The MV Straitsman will be renamed 'The Islander'.
“I'm not being coy, but I'm restricted as to what I can say,” said Deputy Ferbrache, while alluding to a review done in connection to covid and the CCA that revealed details about certain decision.
"We're going to do a report, so what we are we are permitted to say to the public in the media we will. I would envisage that we might be able to do that in due course, but we can't do it yet.”
He said Condor was never in the room “figuratively or literally” while CCA discussion were taking place.
This has been confirmed by the CEO of Condor, John Napton, who said “I’m not going to get involved in politics”.
“What we were aware of is we were successful in our bidding process, which was back on 8 March, and at that point we had financing planned but not in place,” he said.
“Whatever changed, maybe that's something for discussion with the States of Guernsey. But I can't comment because I was not in that internal meeting, or any of the internal meetings. The main thing for me is that we secured the vessel.
“There was always going to be a joint venture. We were going to be a 50% share. But the mechanics of the change I was not involved in.”
When asked if the ‘emergency situation’ was an ‘emergency situation’ for Condor or Guernsey, Mr Napton said “I don't know. I haven't spoken to Peter”. When pushed he said “at the end of the day the asset would have fallen away had it not been financed in the timescales”.
Pictured: The MV Straitsman - Islander - is on its way to Guernsey from New Zealand.
The original plan was for the Guernsey Investment Fund to buy the boat, which would’ve led to the particulars of the purchase being shrouded in secrecy. However, after that deal fell through and P&R were brought in to support Condor, it’s understood that a service level agreement should be created.
“Jersey has a contract with Condor, which is in rundown. I think it's got about two years to go. So, it will expire in a couple of years' time. We never had one. We had a memorandum of understanding, but effectively... we follow those [Jersey’s] arrangements.
“We definitely, definitely, definitely needa proper service level agreement with Condor going forward. What I would like to see... is a tripartite agreement between us Jersey.”
He said those conversations are happening but they “will not bear fruit tomorrow”.
He said the purchase of the ferry impacted the pot for capital expenditure, but is not the only reason for the reshuffling of the States’ portfolio. You can listen to the full interview below:
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