Some of us still have our national pride
Way back in 1989, a UK television documentary
followed the activities
of a small to medium time fraudster who used the Isle of Man as a base.
He had various scams set up using various company names and bank
in the Isle of Man. He was not even particularly bothered about being
since Manx law afforded him a comfortable lack of criminal
for his actions.
Interviewed about his department's attitude
towards such unsavoury
dealings, Kirk Michael's MHK and at that time Treasury Minister,
Cannan MHK, smugly retorted that the Manx government had no evidence to
suggest any abuse of "our" finance sector.
The same documentary exposed the fact that
suitcases full of cash
(literally) were coming into the UK via Heathrow airport before being
to the Isle of Man. Whilst it shows that the Isle of Man is hardly the
only guilty party in this sort of matter, it does not provide an excuse
When Donald Gelling MHK became Treasury
Minister, much was made
of "our" compliance with the requirements of something given the
"FATFa". This is the Financial Action Task Force, a regulatory body
from within the OECD (an international economic development agency) by
members of the G7 international community to combat fraud and money
The business pages of the Manx newspapers sang the praises of the FATF
regulation and bragged, on the government's behalf, of the glowing
that "we" had received. Never too willing to take such stories at face
value, Mec Vannin set about trying to get hold of a copy of the report.
Having been referred from the government library to the Treasury to the
Financial Supervision Commission, we were informed that the report was
in the hands of the OECD in Paris.
Mec Vannin wrote to the OECD whose reply
made it quite abundantly
clear that FATF had nothing and wanted nothing to do with the Manx
They were aware of it and understood that it had supposedly been
out in the fashion of a FATF review, but had no involvement and the
was in the hands of the Manx government. You may draw your own
In 1973, Tynwald resolved to implement the
terms of an inter-jurisdiction
convention known commonly as the "Brussels Convention". This permits
victims of fraud, asset hiding, debt avoidance / evasion etc. to claim
from within their own jurisdiction against crooks operating from or
their illegal gains in others. A Tynwald Committee was established to
the implementation but, twenty years later when the matter fell into
hands of Walter Gilbey MHK, Donald Gelling MHK and Alex Downie MHK,
advised Tynwald to abandon the idea after a submissions from the Isle
Man Law Society, IoM Chamber of Commerce and various other finance
According to these bodies, there was a
potential that the sacred
human rights of the tax-dodging population may be infringed by the
of "inferior" judicial systems. There was also a remarkably
bent to all the submissions, talking of "erosion of sovereign power".
was the rather unlikely thrust of the public statement anyway. When the
Chamber of Commerce's submission was read in full, however, the more
concern became apparent. A certain Professor North, who specialised in
international law and had negotiated the UK's entry into the
had recommended that from a FINANCIAL point of view, membership of the
Convention was not desirable when it would mean more money being
from a jurisdiction than claimed by it.
Put in blunt terms, he was saying, "If you
have substantial amounts
of 'iffy' money in your banks and you want to keep it there, don't sign
The decision of Messrs. Gilbey, Gelling and
Downie to scupper
the Bill not only overturned 20 years commitment to rid our Debtors'
status, but flew directly in the face of our own unbiased legal advice.
The then Attorney General William Cain wrote in relation to the matter
"I have no doubt that the standing of the
Isle of Man as a
business centre would be significantly enhanced by the implementation
the long standing policy of the Isle of Man government , and of
to have the convention extended to the Isle of Man. The delay in the
of that decision was, I am informed, the subject of serious adverse
at an important International Convention on Criminal Law held in Oxford
In a meeting between Mec Vannin and then
Treasury Minister Donald
Gelling MHK in 1994, called by Mr. Gelling after Mec Vannin had pointed
out the obvious deficiencies in "our" regulatory regime yet again, it
pointed out to him that with more than 30,000 registered companies in
Isle of Man and a "turn-over" rate exceeding 5,000 p.a., the notion
these were all "legit" was completely laughable. In spite of this
fact and the complete lack of policing of this area, the rules for
a Manx registered laundry had been relaxed even further by the
Act. Recently, this warning has come home to haunt Mr. Gelling with a
of scams and sanctions breaking operations being traced to the Isle of
Man by other jurisdictions (never by our own agencies).
Section 32 of the 1991 Companies Act was a
crucial clause drawn
up as a result of the SIB collapse. This was the single recommendation
to emerge from the long overdue report that would have prevented a
It allowed, only under the satisfaction of the strictest criteria, that
a company could be investigated when tangible evidence of improper
could be offered. A mouth-piece for the finance industry told the
to take it out. The Treasury took it out.
Look on the internet, look in the back pages
of down-market magazines,
look at the literature that is to found lying around airport waiting
It all says the same thing: If you've got dirty cash, the Isle of Man
here to help you IRRESPECTIVE OF ANY CLAIMED REGULATION.
Mec Vannin is sick of saying, "We told you
so." Mec Vannin sincerely
hopes that, since he apparently has time on his hands, Treasury
Richard Corkill will include in his Letters to the Editors the fact
Mec Vannin and many other Manx people want nothing to do with this
It pays to remember why we pay our MHKs
The cosy 17% pay hike that the MHKs awarded
themselves once again brought
the old arguments of "do we need 24", "pay peanuts and you get monkeys"
out of the closet.
The argument for paying MHKs in the first
place was that the non-paying
office had made it exclusive to land-owners and semi-retired
The ordinary person, who may be fully competent and dedicated to
the Manx people, couldn't hope to become an MHK. The salary has nothing
to do with attracting "the right sort of person". The logic of those
think that a fat-cat salary would attract "more competent" people to
job is flawed to the point of warped. An MHK is there to serve the
not to enrich themselves monetarily.
Ultimately, the choice of MHK is in the
hands of the people -
if you pay £100,000 p.a. you will get exactly the same class of
as now with the POSSIBLE addition of a few executive high-flyers with
single intent of representing their own business interests. We've seen
the sort of slime-balls that the English Tories have produced over the
years and the fewer of them any where near our government, the better.
That being the case, there is every chance that the same candidates as
before would be elected, but would be getting paid five times as much.
So what would it achieve?
As for the numbers, the 24 Keys' wages
(overpaid or not) are not
significant when set against the Civil Service wage bill so, in terms
cost, the argument for reduction has little strength. We must also,
into account the arguments regarding quality of candidate, remember
any reduction in numbers is simply going to lead to a reduction in the
input into decision making at political level. Furthermore, since this
island seems intent in turning itself into a poor man's Jersey, let's
remember that the Jersey States (the equivalent of Tynwald) has over 50
MEA throws out Manx language as "Authoritarian"
Mec Vannin has been passed copies of correspondence between a Maughold
woman and the Manx Electricity Authority's Brian Machin. Responding to
the woman's polite letter querying the removal of Manx from the
sign in Ramsey, he opened with the words, "It just shows that you can't
please everyone." He went on to claim that the use of the Manx language
was "Authoritarian". If he doesn't like "Authority," it's past time his
was taken away.
Masons!- Nice folk, but who are they?
Some years ago when Mec Vannin, via AGM
resolution, questioned the propriety
of senior members of the judiciary embroiling themselves in secret
it provoked a muted response.
Former Chief Minister Miles Walker was,
however, encouraged to
indicate that he felt his involvement with the Masonic movement made
a better person. Miles Walker missed the point; no one is advancing
membership of the Masons or any other organisation makes you an
person. The pervasive influence of any single organisation across to
a spectrum of the Establishment of Manx life cannot, however, be
This fact was not lost on a visiting UK
journalist, John Sweeney,
from the "Observer" who expressed, in an article last year, surprise
senior executives in government life to whom he addressed the question,
"Are you a Freemason?" refused to answer.
The fact that many members of Tynwald, a
solid body of Civil Servants,
elements of the Police (and the folk who investigate them), the
and a myriad of others are Freemasons does not make them unpleasant
It does, however, lead to a somewhat closed and incestuous atmosphere
the upper echelons of our society. And just why won't they say who they
are? Have the got something to hide?
Donald's a real turn-off!
If you don't like it, you can always turn it off."
The words of a UK
Junior Minister to our government over the BBC coverage of Mannin? A
BBC administrator brushing off the latest tentative enquiry from the
Affairs department regarding transmission standards in the Isle of Man?
No. That was none other than our own Chief Minister, Donald Gelling,
to a suggestion from David Cannan MHK for a method of extracting a
from the UK to the unsuccessful queries regarding the lack of adequate
TV service to the Island.
By dint of action, it was obvious that the
CM was nothing but
a stooge for the UK government from his first months in office. Now,
willing to back it up with words. Whereas this does nothing to address
the fact that we should be getting around £300,000 p.a.
from the UK under the law governing the BBC (12% of licence fees
must be returned to provide regional programming - usually radio), it
re-inforce the argument for getting rid of the Lieutenant Governor. Why
have TWO UK representatives sitting in our Tynwald?
Department of Education makes a hash of Manx GCSE
The Manx GCSE equivalent (Teisht Cadjin Gaelgagh) was launched by the
of Education back in April in what can only be described as completely
shambolic fashion. It was not offered to Year 9 children as an option
the same time as all the other GCSE subjects were offered, and so this
initial omission of Manx lead to the situation where children who had
their choices, were subsequently told that they could choose Manx so
as they drop one of the choices they had already made. This was hardly
the best start for this new course but, with some members and staff
the Department clearly hostile to the implementation of the Teisht
it comes as no big surprise.
Next year the Department of Education must
get its act together
and talk up the Manx GCSE equivalent course prior to the options being
sent out. After all, this course is one produced by Manx people in the
Isle of Man by a Department of the Manx Government - surely something
be proud of!
Manx Ecological Concern calls for legal
protection of our hills
The Illiam Dhone Commemoration speech in English
by Bill Henderson.
I may be using the English language for this speech, but this Speaker
not underestimate the importance of the Manx language for our cultural
and national identity.
I would make an urgent call to the
Government on that basis for
further resource allocation to ensure the survival of our language and
future promotion, bringing it, at the very least, to the same standard
of usage and credibility as any one else's national language, and
to be proud of.
Three hundred years ago Illiam Dhone, or
William Christian, a
man of great courage and conviction, knowing full well the consequences
of his actions, attempted to try and resist the breaking down of our
heritage by English overlords, and was subsequently shot and murdered
them on this spot.
Our heritage is still under threat,
especially, our natural heritage.
Ironically this threat is still coming from across the water, which is
pushing the development line out into our countryside, causing the loss
of wild places and dilution of our culture.
Nothing I can think of is more precious or
uniquely Manx, than
our countryside, typifying the Island, and giving it, its own special
It is this special character that causes us to
enjoy our home, and land,
bringing visitors and business alike to our shores. The Island is still
" green " and has plenty of open space. It is still interesting and
At the heart of the Manx Countryside are the
mountains, the most
prominent and important feature of the Island. This key attribute gives
form, shape and variety: making the landscape interesting, visually
and truly beautiful.
Any visitor will say as much and is the main
reason in choosing
to come back to the Island. Individuality and uniqueness are lent to
hill lands by the coverings of rare plants and rocky outcrops.
Many of the mountains appear to have had
their coverings ladled
on, suggesting the might of the Manx Sea God Manannin, giving the Isle
of Man it's striking and, dramatic character.
We are extremely lucky, as other Islands can
be flat and uninteresting.
The advantages of the hill-lands are their
steepness and inaccessibility
causing them to remain natural and undeveloped. The building line being
restricted to the lowland valleys.
This means that the mountains still support
a surprising range
of rare plants, animals and birds.
These lands and their wildlife are so
important the experts class
them, not on a local or national level, but on an international scale.
I wonder why it is that the Manx Government,
knowing the importance
of the hills, seem to ignore this factor, seemingly, always pursuing
more lucrative and politically exciting options: construction and
What they should be doing, is supporting the
people and our heritage.
The Manx hills contain most of this natural
resource, the Government
own 50% of these hills and is therefore the most important piece of
owned real-estate, on the Island, or anywhere else.
I would make a call on our Government to
halt the decline in both
our national, and natural heritage, and make a start by preserving and
designating this jewel in the Islands Crown: the Manx Hill-lands, as a
It is our heritage, and what makes the
Island inherently Manx,
something which we should be proud of, there, for all time and for
Given this Island's abysmal conservation
record and woefully inadequate
conservation legislation, the Government undoubtedly needs to make a
on its wildlife strategies and put right the environmental vandalism
has gone on for too long. They should have the guts to apply the same
and conviction with which they court the finance and business
and apply that to the Island's urgent conservation needs.
It is this Government's public duty, to
resist the breaking down
of our ancient heritage, and act as true, independent, people's
as set forth in their manifesto promises.
They are not here to bend to the whims of
They are not here solely to increase
population and encourage
further colonisation of our land!
And they are most certainly not given the
trust of the people
to organise for their own self interests whilst Governing this land,
awarding themselves creative pay rises!
We want our Island to stay the way it is,
still with its natural
We want something left of our ancient
heritage. We want action
from this Government.
We want action now, preserve our national
the Manx Hills, do something positive for the millennium.
Trimble to have say in Manx affairs
Increasingly desperate attempts by "New Labour" to
placate the vociferous
Unionist / Loyalist faction in the North of Ireland will have
Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble
has been appointed
to the UK's Privy Council. This body helps in advising the UK Home
on matters relating to our country.
Still trying to live down his being being
photographed with recently
shot loyalist murderer Billy "King R*t" Wright, Mr. Trimble leads a
that has already been instrumental in ensuring that NI fishermen have
their "rights" to fish our waters recognised over our own. So it's "I'm
all-right, Union Jack"
Mec Vannin - The Manx Nationalist Party