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Guernsey taxpayers help buy Condor's new boat

Guernsey taxpayers help buy Condor's new boat

Friday 10 March 2023

Guernsey taxpayers help buy Condor's new boat

Friday 10 March 2023

Money from Guernsey taxpayers has been used to fund the purchase of Condor's new passenger and freight ship, Express can reveal.

Despite at least £65 million of public money being invested in the Guernsey Investment Fund, there has been no confirmation yet of how much it has put into the purchase of the 125m long MV Straitsman.

It's currently in New Zealand but will be brought here to "improve capacity, resilience and connectivity between the islands, the UK and France from the autumn".

Condor's statement announcing its new vessel made no mention of how it had been paid for or how much it has cost.

However, the States of Guernsey has today confirmed that the Guernsey Investment Fund has contributed to the purchase, but said the amount will not be revealed. 

The island's taxpayers have contributed tens of millions of pounds to the GIF by way of States' investments since it was set up in 2018. But as the fund is a commercial entity, it is not obliged to announce where the money is spent.


Pictured: The Guernsey Investment Fund is registered as a 'Closed Ended Scheme' which is defined as one where your investment is locked in for a specified period of time. 

A spokesperson for the States said: "The Guernsey Investment Fund is a commercial entity and a professionally managed fund. It is a matter of public record that the Guernsey Investment Fund is one of the funds in which the States of Guernsey has invested. The vessel has been purchased by the fund, not by the States of Guernsey, and is therefore a commercial matter between the fund and Condor."

The Guernsey Investment Fund was registered in 2017 and launched in 2018, when Deputy Gavin St Pier was Chief Minister, Deputy Lyndon Trott was Treasury lead, and Deputy Charles Parkinson was responsible for Economic Development. They said the fund would be "an economic enabler" for Guernsey and that the launch was "an exciting day" for the island. 

"We are determined to stimulate growth and we are committed to supporting business innovation," Deputy St Pier at the time, in his position as then-President of P&R.

When the GIF was launched it had £38m which had been contributed by different investors, including "up to £25m" invested by the States of Guernsey. The States had described its investment as "seed money" at the time of the GIF's launch. 


Pictured (l-r): Deputies Lyndon Trott, Charles Parkinson, and Gavin St Pier, were all in senior States roles when the island's government investment tens of millions of pounds in the Guernsey Investment Fund.

While the GIF initially focused on technology and innovation, a second cell was launched by the GIF in 2019 focused on property. The States of Guernsey invested a further £40m at around the same time.

Express has asked if the States of Guernsey have committed any further funds to the GIF and are waiting on a response.

In May last year, during a wide-ranging podcast interview with Express, the P&R President Deputy Peter Ferbrache said he remained confident that a States-backed ferry would be purchased during 2022.

"I think we will get the boat," he said then. "It is taking a bit longer than I said at the Scrutiny meeting earlier in the year. But I think that will come. The Guernsey Investment Fund will, I think, advance the funds and there will be a boat."

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