In a strongly worded States speech, Deputy Peter Ferbrache said Guernsey was a ‘much, much, much better-run bailiwick’ than Jersey and that businesses might now regret setting up in the Island.
The Deputy made the comments amid marked differences in the way the islands have responded to the Covid-19 outbreak, with Jersey favouring a strategy of ‘delay, contain and shield’ and easing the lockdown, while Guernsey has enforced tougher restrictions and is working towards elimination of the virus.
Many shops and businesses are still closed in Guernsey, and travel routes in and out of the island are not expected to restart until late summer at the earliest.
Jersey, meanwhile, has allowed almost all shops to reopen as long as measures such as social-distancing are enforced, and is tentatively exploring options to restart air and sea travel.
The government has also rolled out an unprecedented multi-million-pound package of measures for struggling businesses, including a loan scheme and the payroll co-funding initiative.
Defending his island’s approach following concerns from some politicians that the Guernsey strategy is damaging the economy, Deputy Ferbrache, president of the States Trading Supervisory Board, said: ‘The way that this pandemic has been conducted to date by the public officials is fantastic. Absolutely. I have run out of adjectives to describe it. It is truly wonderful.
‘We are not even in the premier division. We are in the international division. We are in the World Cup with the way we have dealt with this dispute so far.’
The Deputy, who is a lawyer in Guernsey, added: ‘Compare it to our neighbours 20 miles away where people I have been speaking to on legal matters and other matters that I am involved with call them a bunch of bumbling idiots compared with us.
‘They compare our Chief Minister with theirs, and ours wins quite favourably. They compare our Health Minister, or Health President, with theirs, and she compares admirably.
‘I hope when people are seeking to do business in the various bailiwicks, because we do compete with each other going forward, they can see that we are a much, much, much better-run bailiwick than they are and we can actually get things done.
‘The fact they are bigger and have attracted more business is a matter of fact, but it is perhaps now for those doing business there a matter of regret.’
Jersey, which has a population of 106,800, has so far recorded 306 cases of Covid-19, including 20 new cases this month. Twenty-nine people have died with the disease.
Guernsey, with a population of 62,792, has not recorded a positive case yet this month, with the total still standing at 252. Sixteen people have died with the virus.