CHIEF Minister Allan Bell MHK is leading a senior Isle of Man Government delegation to the Channel Islands this week for a series of high-level meetings.
Mr Bell is meeting the recently elected Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, and Guernsey’s new Chief Minister, Deputy Peter Harwood, along with the Deputy Chief Ministers and Treasury Ministers of both islands.
The discussions will provide an opportunity to consider a wide range of issues facing all three Crown Dependencies, including financial challenges, the drive for economic growth, and developments within the UK and Europe.
Mr Bell, who is being accompanied by Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK, Chief Secretary Will Greenhow and Director of External Relations Della Fletcher, flew into Guernsey today (Tuesday, May 29) and will travel onwards to Jersey this evening.
The visits continue the Isle of Man Government’s programme of engagement with political and business leaders in neighbouring jurisdictions.
All three Crown Dependencies have new Chief Ministers. Mr Bell was elected to the post in the Isle of Man in October 2011, Senator Gorst was appointed Chief Minister of the States of Jersey in November last year, while Deputy Harwood became Chief Minister of the States of Guernsey earlier this month.
Mr Bell said: ‘This is a new political era for the Crown Dependencies following the recent general elections in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, and the appointments of new Chief Ministers in all three islands. This week’s visits will provide an opportunity for me to strike up a personal rapport with both Deputy Harwood and Senator Gorst, and deepen our understanding of each other’s priorities and aspirations.’
He added: ‘We are all experiencing similar challenges in terms of rebalancing our budgets and stimulating economic growth, and I am sure that our discussions around these common issues will be very positive and productive. I am also looking forward to building my relationships with Deputy Harwood and Senator Gorst in the future, in particular when we represent our countries at international forums such as the British-Irish Council Summits.
‘It will be interesting to gain a personal insight into the current political and economic situation in Jersey and Guernsey. Whilst the Isle of Man and Channel Islands are often rivals in terms of competing for new business, there are also opportunities for us to work together for our mutual benefit.’