The election roadshow was back on Tuesday as Gef headed to Jurby Primary School to hear the candidates for Ayre & Michael face the electorate.
Chaired by Captain of the Parish John Quayle, Tim Baker, Dr Sosthene Boussougou, Alf Cannan, Phil Corkill, Tim Johnston, Duncan Livingstone, Paul Weatherall and Madeleine Westall faced questions on topics ranging from buses and cannabis to coastal erosion and any potential increase in National Insurance.
As one of two constituencies where two members of CoMen (Mr Cannan and Mr Baker) asking standing for re-election, inevitably the successes and failures of the outgoing administration were put under the microscope by the constituents and rival candidates.
First up the candidates were allowed up to five minutes to give an introductory statement.
One of the sorest points of the night came early as residents voiced their dissatisfaction with Jurby’s bus system which largely relies on the on demand bus service. This led to Mr Baker defending his record and point out that the system was introduced by his predecessor, while some residents lay the blame at him and Ray Harmer, others pointed to Director of Transport, Ian Longworth.
Can the Isle of Man really make a logical and costed argument for producing its own green power? Or would a second interconnector with the UK supplemented by an on-island solar farm or off-shore wind farm?
A topic that has seeped into the public consciousness in recent years, the issue of why the island will allow companies to grow medicinal cannabis while GPs won’t prescribe it was thrown into the spotlight. There were many ideas from candidates about what should happen, but largely they all wanted to see medicinal cannabis made available to islanders, but some aren’t sure about decriminalising recreational use. The candidates were also asked about the island’s rising suicide rate, which has soared in recent years, particularly amongst younger people.
National Insurance or Bonds
How does the island meet its future bills? One constituent said the answer is a bond issue, but the panel wasn’t so sure. Some were open in saying taxes will need to go up, a bold move for anyone during an election campaign, but others believed that diversifying and growing the working population was the answer.
Every area has its niche subjects and in the case of Ayre & Michael it has two as having dealt with buses the panel was quizzed on what to do about the erosion of the island’s west coast. While some think nature should be allowed to take its course and compensation paid to those living in an estate that should never have been built, others want to install protections to hold back the tide and yes we delved into a discussion about the intensions of Cnut the Great.
‘A project without substance’, ‘damaging to a nature reserve’, ‘a housing estate dressed up as a marina’, the final question of the evening showed the whole panel united when they were asked to say in five words or less if they supported the proposed Ramsey Marina project. Unsurprisingly they didn’t did it in five words, but they all outlined their opposed.
A Minute is Long Time in Jurby
Closing the night the candidates were allowed one minute to give their closing remarks, this led to a quip from Captain of the Parish Mr Quayle that ‘a minute is a long time in Jurby’.
You can read more on these candidates and all other candidates in across the island by going to Gef’s dedicated Election Website.