The Crown Dependencies of Jersey and the Isle of Man have signed declarations with the UK recognising each Island has its own identity and interests in the international arena.
In the statements, which were signed by Lord Falconer, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, and the Chief Minister’s of the two Islands - Tony Brown for the Isle of Man and Senator Frank Walker for Jersey –, the respective governments have set out a series of principles to develop the international identity of the Islands.
The documents, which have the same wording for both Islands, clarify the UK will not act internationally on behalf of the Islands without previous consultation and it recognises the Islands have a different international identity, and that their needs may differ from those of the UK.
Guernsey has also been included in the discussion with the UK Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA), but while it has agreed the draft framework the signing of the declaration has been deferred over concerns expressed by the Lord Chancellor regarding the present constitutional difficulties on Sark.
However, Mike Torode, Chief Minister of Guernsey, says while the Guernsey document remains unsigned, the de facto position is that the UK has agreed the same content as for the other Islands.
He adds: “We will continue to work within the terms of the draft framework pending its formalisation. I share the expressed hope of the DCA that the obstacles which are currently preventing them from finalising the document will soon be satisfactorily overcome.”
And Brown says the declaration is a “significant step forward in the Isle of Man’s evolution as a mature and responsible democracy”, as it confirms in writing the Island has distinct and legitimate interests on the world stage which differ from those of the UK.
He adds: “The understanding which has been reached should help the Isle of Man to flourish as a reputable centre for international business. There is now greater clarity about the Island’s position, which will be useful in dealing with governments, organisations and businesses around the globe.”
Meanwhile, Senator Walker points out while the two governments will work together to resolve some differences, it is “entirely justified fro others to remain, to be recognised and respected”.
And he says the framework does not seek to change Jersey’s unique constitutional relationship with the UK, as it agrees it works well, with both parties committed to evolving methods of achieving mutual interests.
Walker adds: “We have all been working hard for many years to counter the negative images some people would like to paint. A clear statement by the UK endorsing Jersey as a responsible, stable and mature democracy sends a message to the International Community that our detractors will find hard to counter.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7034 2681 or email [email protected]IFAonline
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