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Trenton twinning tourism boost for Jersey?

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THE twinning of St Helier with the capital of New Jersey will hopefully bring a tourism boost to the Island, the Constable of the parish has said.

Mayor of New Jersey Reed Gusciora with Constable Simon Crowcroft

At a parish assembly this week, residents voted 62 to 2 in favour of twinning the town with Trenton. St Helier is already twinned with Avranches in France, Bad Wurzach in Germany and Funchal in Madeira.

It is hoped that the new twinning will boost educational links and tourism and reconnect two parts of the world whose relationship goes back to the 17th century, when the area, then known as New Netherland, was gifted by King Charles II to Jersey royalist Sir George Carteret, who named the state after his home island.

Former politician Ted Vibert gave a passionate speech in the assembly about the links between the two parts of the world, before a vote was taken.

Constable Simon Crowcroft said: ‘It is fantastic. We approached them about starting up a link and it was supported well.

‘We are hoping that the link with New Jersey, a place with 9½ million people, will lead to some people looking at the link and wanting to visit if they come to the UK.

‘The Jersey YouTheatre was there, and they are keen to go over to New Jersey and there could be educational links too with universities over there.’

At the meeting it was agreed there would be no budget for the twinning arrangement, so any future visits to New Jersey would need to be ratified in further assemblies.

Earlier this year, senior New Jersey politicians visited Jersey for the naming ceremony of Trenton Square, in the grounds of the Jersey International Finance Centre. It is hoped the Mayor of New Jersey will attend Liberation Day next year to sign the twinning agreement.

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The twinning has, however, been met with a handful of negative online comments about Trenton’s involvement with slavery.

William Trent, whom the town was named after, became well known for the money he made through the slave trade. However, it became the first northern state in the US to express official regret for its links to slavery.

Mr Crowcroft added: ‘While we are aware of the origins of the name of Trenton as a city, we should note that New Jersey was the first northern state in the United States to express official regret for its role in “perpetuating the institution of slavery”.

‘A resolution was passed in New Jersey’s Assembly and State Senate in January 2008 to issue an official apology for the State’s role in slavery.

‘The resolution apologises to the slaves and their descendants, acknowledges the difficulties that African Americans have had in gaining civil rights, and calls for citizens to learn about the history of slavery in order to gain understanding and ensure that the struggles of the slaves are never forgotten.’

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