Yn Pabyr Seyr 
Issue 24 

Yn Pabyr Seyr is published by Mec Vannin, the Manx Nationalist Party. All articles are copyright Mec Vannin unless otherwise stated. Mec Vannin grants permission to reproduce articles from Yn Pabyr Seyr provided that the source is credited. 

Manx People can't stand for Keys!

An election in November - will we have candidates?

The answer at the moment is that we simply can't say. There are several names "in the pot" but there are also a couple of problems in this country of contradictions. The first is the most well known - the oath of allegiance to the English Monarch. We are republicans and duty bound to serve the interests of the people of this country, not a foreign monarch.

The second problem is that Manx people are not actually allowed to stand for election to the House of Keys in our own country any more. Yes, you read that correctly. Manx people are not allowed to stand for the House of Keys.

A section was introduced at the last General Election that required candidates to declare their nationality. 

The then Attorney General and now Deemster Michael Kerruish ruled that Manx was not an acceptable nationality. Manx nationality is clearly defined under Protocol Three of the Act of Rome, yet Manx people can only stand if they abandon their own nationality.

What sort of "National Government" is that?

Uninvited guests

How nice to see two members of the parasitic Windsor family have deigned to join us for a short stay. 

Nobody, apparently, asked them to come but they obviously must have heard the Steam Packet's advert and decided to take a look for themselves. 

Great if they were stopping at one of our local hotels so badly hit by the cancellation of the TT. Sadly, and typical of the habits of the Lord of Mann's family, they are doing it on the cheap, with 5 star luxury provided by Government House at Manx tax payers expense. 

Something good may come out of it all: Mr Bumble might become a 'Sir' just like his predecessor.

Housing Crisis Continues

We are constantly being reminded that there is a housing crisis, of which there is no doubt. It may be coincidental that developers and estate agents seem to make more fuss about it than government.

A major contributory factor to our ludicrously high housing costs is that companies and cash rich individuals are deliberately buying up whole estates for investment. The Isle of Man provides a very nice return too, with the inflationary annual rise in value added to rental income, all in all a tasty profit for no effort. Moreover, these monstrously high percentage returns can be achieved with no risk to capital whatsoever. It would take a very skilled stock exchange player indeed to achieve anything approaching the easy "bounce" available in the Manx property market. 

As long as immigration and property speculation are encouraged, housing prices will continue to be beyond many ordinary Manx people and the solution lies firmly in the hands of Tynwald.

As is usual these days in the Isle of Man the already wealthy are achieving even more off the backs of the ordinary people. 

Foot and Mouth precautions "half-hearted"

Mec Vannin forcefully called for the Council of Ministers to stop dithering and cancel the TT races. The cancellation was not an easy decision to make but it had to be made and the procrastination (using the ACU's purely administrative deadline as THE deadline) caused unnecessary hardship for many involved with the racing and tourism.

Having eventually managed to take the decision, certain parties have accused the government of cancelling the TT as a cosmetic gesture in the light of the "We're open for business" campaign that ensued. Given the inconsistencies that have become obvious since, it is difficult to refute this allegation.

There are substantiated reports of people jumping over disinfectant mats without punishment. The public have been denied access to many areas where animals may roam but farmers can trek in and out of fields and onto main roads without being forced to take disinfectant measures.

Whereas tourists are being encouraged to come trekking through infected areas to our country with no more requirement than to walk over a disinfectant mat (and, of course, those in cars don't even have to do that), Manx small boat-owners have been actively discouraged from travelling. Why?

The same indecision loomed over the MGP but, incredibly, the official government advice was that it could run despite the disease still spreading in the UK! The "No Stopping" areas on roads through open pastures were not enforced until many weeks after the UK outbreak.

The whole thing has been a half-hearted and inconsistent from start to finish and it is good luck as opposed to anything else that we have, so far, escaped infection.

Ramsey Marina - Another White Elephant

Who wants it? No one can criticise the people of Ramsey for wanting a bit of money spent usefully on their town and no-one can criticise a degree of enthusiasm for the concept of a "marina".

That was before the facts became known by which time our government, displaying its usual ineptitude, had already signed an agreement with the would-be developers, Dean and Dyball, that will give them the "Peveril Plot" to build 475 "mixed units" to swell their coffers. All the developer has to do is throw in a few pontoons and a flap gate while they're at it.

A core of Ramsey Commissioners are all for it but, unfortunately, because the three-man committee with responsibility meet in secret and refuse to allow even other members of the Commissioners to see their minutes, nobody else knows just why they are all for it. There is, of course, a well educated guess.

So, why isn't a "marina" a good idea?

Ramsey is a very tidal harbour, +/- 3 hrs on high water. The proposal will not alter this. Visiting yachts will still have to arrive either at the top half of the tide or anchor off in an unsheltered bay. Access will be further reduced by the stupid flap gate idea.

Ramsey Bay and the harbour entrance become dangerous in easterly winds and the proposal will not alter this.

Marinas in the north Irish Sea don't make money. Ask the people of Whitehaven, Maryport and Ardglass. They cost money. The operation of these marinas is supported by both local and central government funding and their construction depended upon central government and European funding. Their purpose is to bring a few extra visitors into villages the same size as Port St. Mary and keep some of their struggling businesses from closure.

Even so, with a season which is four months at the very longest, the effect is minimal.

Why do yachtsmen heading for the north of Ireland keep Ardglass as an option? Because it can be entered on any tide and in nearly any weather.

Why is Howth marina crowded? Because it can be entered on any tide, in any weather.

Why is Malahide marina, two miles away, half empty? Because its approaches are tidal and dangerous in certain weathers.

Why was the simple, cost effective pontoon proposal of the DoT ignored?

Why did Donald Gelling refuse to let members of Tynwald see the agreement his cabinet had signed with Dean and Dyball?

Because they've made a massive blunder and know it. The people of Ramsey will end up paying the price.

Don't forget small businesses

Thankfully, so far, we have escaped the ravages of Foot and Mouth disease and Mec Vannin strongly supports measures to keep this scourge from our land

We must not forget however the victims of Foot and Mouth disease, the small businesses, that help service our ever shrinking holiday trade: it is they who have suffered most through the cancellation of TT. It seems that the whole island is dependent on the suffocating omnipresence of the financial and property development industries; fortunately this nightmare has not quite reached its full potential and there is still some employment outside the finance industry. Due to this year's decimation of tourism, many of these folk catering for tourists in the small private hotels, the guesthouses, country pubs, cafes and shops will be finding the coming winter exceptionally hard. The TT makes a massive contribution to their annual incomes and without it, many will be struggling.

If the unthinkable was to arise and Foot and Mouth disease reached the island, there would rightly be no question, or delay, in providing adequate compensation for the farming industry. The same concern must also be shown for small businesses everywhere who, through no fault of their own, are finding 2001 to be a very hard year indeed. Full and speedy compensation must be found for them, without the usual prevarication and delay at which our decision makers excel. We all love to head out for Sunday lunch in a nice country pub; it is the TT which ensures that on the first fair day in January or February, when it so refreshing to head off into the countryside, there is a country pub open for business and waiting to serve us.

Although hoteliers are receiving compensation, there are many more who aren't

Thelma Hawkins

It was with sadness that we received the news of Thelma Hawkins' death last month after a fall at home. She had not been well for some years and had not been able to participate in activities as she once did. Although not a member of Mec Vannin, she was a friend to many of us and could be relied upon to give sound, intelligent advice on a range of subjects. Her arguments were measured, reasoned and based upon an unshakeable sense of equality and tolerance.

She was a great moral and practical help to Yn Troor when they were imprisoned for their actions in opposing the government's betrayal of the Manx people. We have lost a friend, an advisor, a supporter and, of course, yet another good Manx person.

We extend our sincere condolences to her family.

Brussels Convention

Yet again, and 20 years after it was first voted upon, the Civil Jurisdiction Convention is before Tynwald. This important international agreement permits victims of crime involving finances to reclaim their money from crooks who salt it away in other jurisdictions.

The heavy dependency of the Isle of Man banking industry on such hoards led to calls from both inside and outside the Island for our adherence to the convention and Tynwald voted to do so in 1981. Unfortunately, it was decided to put it into the hands of a committee first.

The result was that more than ten years later, the Committee (chaired by Walter Gilbey) overturned the Will of Tynwald by recommending that we not sign up to the convention. The reason? The Isle of Man Law Society and the Chamber of Commerce had whinged that their toes might get stood on. Mr. Gilbey's committee took more notice of their vested interests in the matter than Attorney General William Caine's legal advice on the matter and so, nearly another ten years later it's back again.

In the meantime, the Isle of Man's reputation as a storehouse of crooked money has grown and grown.

Data Protection Act

Those of you who read / listen to Manx news will be aware that a few people are not too happy with the activities of the current Data Protection Registrar, Mrs. Lynn Keig. Each time that her activities have been challenged, she has diverted the argument or objection by claiming that she "is just doing her job."

Avoiding any references to some fairly high-profile trials in Nuremberg last century, it must be stated categorically that she isn't.

If she was, she would engender the co-operation of Data Users, not intimidate them into coughing up money when they probably don't have to, or drive their activities underground. Rather than slagging off her predecessor for only prosecuting those who maliciously broke the law, she should pursue those who do so and leave those who attempt to comply alone.

She should not claim she has powers she does not posses and, most importantly, she should adhere to the law the law herself.

Frighteningly, the government are now set to bulldoze through legislation to update the DPA to include ALL personal information, no matter in what form it is stored. No consultation is being undertaken. This legislation will be powerful and potentially affect everyone who has so much as an address book. With an incumbent Registrar who has publicly stated her belief that success is measured in terms of prosecutions, it's time to be frightened. You could be next.

It is time for public debate without the threat of legal action against anyone who legitimately questions Mrs. Keig's motives.

It is time to ensure that Data Legislation is used as it was intended - to protect personal privacy rather than justify a position through prosecutions relating to technical infringements.

It is time to provide a mechanism of accountability for the Registrar that does not exist at the moment.

Do any of our politicians have the willpower?

Sex Discrimination given the all clear

Sex discrimination? Oh that doesn't happen here.....

It has been a long standing item on Tynwald's agenda to initiate sexual discrimination legislation.

Predictably, after years of pushing it to the back, Tynwald circumvented the issue by instituting a Code of Practice. A Code of Practice is not enforceable. The only recourse that those subject to sexual discrimination will have is via the European Court. Will our name yet again need to be dragged through an international Court before our spineless politicians will grow up and act responsibly?

Minorities - Who cares?

Not the Manx government, it would seem, as it has requested that the United Kingdom does not extend the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the protection of Minorities to the Isle of Man.

With many of the immigrant population now eager to point out our minority status, can it be assumed that the reasoning behind this is to ensure that the Manx people are rendered totally impotent?

The campaign to further minoritise Manx people in the ongoing process of creating a little England continues.

Patronage - Buy your own MHK?

Above all else Mec Vannin supports the Isle of Man. Unlike many, involved with Manx politics, our loyalties do not remain with directorships, running a business, corporate contacts or the freemasons and so on. Nothing influences our policies other the ultimate best interests of our island and the Manx nation.

Consider your sitting MHK; Ask yourself what influences the way he/she votes? What was the driving force behind that strange bill he/she helped sponsor. Could it possibly be that personal commitments or patronage have taken priority over the electorate?

In politics today lobbying is a way of life, all our politicians will have been pressurised by it at one time or another. Will the character standing on your doorstep, promising all, have the strength and courage of his/her convictions to resist the pressure which will undoubtedly be brought to bear on him/her. Or will the brutal venality of unfettered commerce, as practised by Isle of Man PLC, be allowed to continue spreading its pernicious and ever increasing influence

Is there Freedom of Information in Mannin? That's a secret!

In 1994, David Cretney MHK was successful in getting Tynwald to investigate the need for Freedom of Information legislation in the Isle of Man. After lengthy debate and submissions from various bodies, a report was prepared. What eventually emerged was a recommendation for a Code of Practice, which is about as meaningful as a set of traffic lights on the moon. Even that insulting gesture provoked a memorandum of dissent from Walter Gilbey MHK.

Now more than ever, it is obvious why those in government are so desperate to maintain their activities secret. Not only would the unsavoury agendas be exposed, but the incompetence too.

Copies of Mec Vannin's submission to the committee can be obtained from the Secretary (address on back page).

Investment fund fraud

The Party has found out what it long suspected - how the Finance Sector makes much of its money: by ripping-off investors. Many financial service providers are engaging in "churning" transactions which lead to countless small deals, for example in shares or foreign currency, being needlessly generated. These "deals" have no real economic justification but they do ensure a constant stream of commission is produced for both the the investment management house who initiated them and the bank processing them.

This explains why one lesser known fund manager in the south of the Island has under-performed the FTSE 100 index by nearly 50% over the past five years. Still, since some of their money comes from people selling yachts in the Caribbean and the like, perhaps these clients are less interested in the funds' performance than simply "processing" the money.

If this were to happen in an ordinary retail business, the Office of Fair Trading would be likely to get involved and there could even be prosecutions. These operations, however, come under the auspices of the Financial Supervision Commission and that's a different matter. Everyone's taking a "skim" and, ultimately, that includes the Treasury.

Financial Crime

Since Mike Culverhouse took up the position as Chief Constable for the Isle of Mann, Mec Vannin has noted with interest his progress: how he has come down with a heavy hand on those allegedly involved with illegal substances; how there are appreciably more police officers out on the beat now, and how his message to the motorist is firm and will be enforced etc etc. It could be said that active policing are the watch words of Mr. Culverhouse.

However, there is one area of law enforcement where he appears uncharacteristically inactive, that is of criminal activity in the finance industry.

We hear from our politicians how well our finance industry is regulated. Surely if these regulations are not actively policed, then they may as well not exist. Our finance industry is infested with criminal activity. Major financial scandals have been uncovered, but only via investigation from off-Island.

In June, last year Mec Vannin wrote to Mr. Culverhouse asking him to explain his stance on 'the active policing of the finance industry'. We also suggested to him that, in the past, the finance industry on the Island has been poorly policed.

In his reply, Mr. Culverhouse included some interesting information on the general role of the Financial Crime Unit (F.C.U.) and its position re. criminal activity in the finance industry. Mr Culverhouse also went on to give some details of the findings of a Government Working Party that was set up to investigate (a) the roles and responsibilities of the FCU, and (b) the Andrew Edwards Review of Financial Regulations in the Crown Dependencies. Amongst a list of proposals presented by the working party, and subsequently adopted by the FCU, was this recommendation :- 

Extra resources, namely, a dedicated Advocate, a financial analyst to assist the Unit's accountant, five extra police officers, and additional support staff, should be put into the unit, in order that it can take a more pro-active role in the fight against financial crime and money laundering.

We have to admit that we were impressed.

Mec Vannin went on to ask Mr. Culverhouse how he interpreted a more pro-active role? Also, given the considerable increase in size of the unit, with its attendant costs to the tax payer, what might the Manx Public expect to see when these recommendations are fully implemented?

Mr. Culverhouse concluded :- "The Financial Crime Unit, hitherto, has undertaken only a reactive role in financial crime matters. The Unit, once it has increased in strength, will not just investigate reported financial crime, but will target specific areas, which have already been identified, but which I cannot discuss for operational reasons...... I am currently working on a launch of the new Financial Crime Unit with the new Departmental Head, when my personal commitment to tackling this critical issue will be plain for you and everyone else to see''

Well, a full year on, and we are still waiting. Perhaps we missed the launch, perhaps it has not happened yet? Either way, there still has been no high profile pro-active investigation into financial crime on the Island.

Meanwhile, The Mannin Money Laundry Plc is open for business, the fat cats sit back, and purr, and Mr. Culverhouse continues his high profile campaign to clamp down on the Island's petty criminals.

Can't see the wood for the Keys

By Vinty Kneale

Weren't they all good down at the wood,
all the lil' children like saplin's all stood,

Hearts full o' hope an' hands full o' trees,
Heads filled with wonders an' eyes full o' please,

Plantin' their presence in oak.
Set in a wood that would last.

The innocent missin' the joke
by the hill buried deep in their past.

Oh weren't they all good down in the mud,
all the keys members like Hitlers all stood,

Hearts full o' joy at the shakin' of hands,
Heads full o' schemin' an' eyes full o' plans,

Plantin' their seeds of deceit,
Set in a wood that will last.
The innocent fall at the feet,
of the boots buried deep in the past.

Oh weren't they good, to all that young blood
all the young children that passed like a flood.

Hearts filled with hope for a hand full o' years,
Heads full o' promises endin' in tears.

As the government says with a smile,
"Still! we managed to cadge a Blue Peter badge"
an' by god we done in style.

Vinty has published a book of his poetry entitled "Mornin' Vica'" which should be available from bookshops. If not, try asking in the Sulby Glen Hotel. Best bring hard cash in small denomination used notes.

The dangers of consultancy

In recent years, many key functions of the Government have been turned over to consultancy firms. This action is not only costly, but it allows the Government to disclaim responsibility for projects that go wrong or have problems. It also means both a collapse in Civil Service morale and the losing of core management and technical skills: As older Civil Servants retire, new ones will simply lack the ability to undertake traditional roles.

This all pales into insignificance when compared with the most important danger: Consultancy firms are advising the Isle of Man Government to engage in a number of major infrastructure projects. Many of these may not be really suitable for a small Island with limited means. Given a possible decline of the Finance Sector, a disaster whereby capital commitment outstrips capital assets may yet happen. This has serious implications for a country that is legally bound to stay "in the black."

Mec Vannin is urgently seeking material from the Isle of Man Government to produce a report on this issue so that it can assess the threat that this activity poses. Unfortunately, the ongoing lack of any Freedom of Information rights in the Isle of Man mean that many Departments are baulking our attempts to gain information.

Mec Vannin - The Manx Nationalist Party

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