Tynwald is back this week, please do hold your applause and calm your whooping until the end, there are serious matters to attend to.
Kicking off with the question paper on Tuesday morning, members have an order paper with 23 items on it to keep them occupied for at least an afternoon.
Starting with that question paper, the show will get underway with Jason Moorhouse asking Justice and Home Affairs Minister Jane Poole-Wilson what advise the police have issued to drivers about how to cross the roundels on Douglas prom. When they were first laid, the magic roundels were said to be just like any other roundabout by the DoI, but then the police said they are in fact unmarked junctions, despite that the signs approaching them from Loch Promenade clearly show a roundabout. Whatever Mrs Poole-Wilson is able to tell Mr Moohouse, we wouldn’t be against that advice changing in the future.
Next up the hero of Arbory, Castletown and Malew will quiz the DoI Minister Tim Crookall on what procedures are in place to minimise any negative impact on the occupiers of private property of work done by the DoI to improve or alter drainage. Admittedly I don’t know where Mr Moorhouse is coming from on this one, but he must have a plan in mind for such a specific question.
Then a real treat for fans of late night radio as Middle MHK Stu Peters asks Mr Cookall what the annual revenue was for the last three years from Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel duties and how much was spent on maintaining the roads. Mr Peters has been pretty vocal about how he feels about the value for money drivers are getting, so this should be interesting to see. Keeping a keen eye on the public purse, Mr Peters will then ask about what cost benefit analysis has been done on the replacement of railway bridges for active travel and routine highway maintenance.
The rest of the question paper includes Mr Moorhouse asking about the Castletown Housing Land Review and the southern swimming pool, Garff MHK Daphne Caine asking Cabinet Office Minister Kate Lord-Brennan is she supports the continuation of free TV licenses for the over 75s and Ann Corlett asking what progress has been made to implement 20mph speed restrictions in residential areas, particularly around schools.
Once questions are done, members move to the order paper. The first item is particularly interesting as it is Speaker Juan Watterson asking Tynwald to accept the PAC report which recommended a public inquiry into the gov’s handling of Covid. This has led to debate about what type of inquiry is needed, so it will be interesting to see what plays out and how the public react to it.
After that it’s the worst most expensive game of musical chairs as ministers and chairmen/women of the gov boards are confirmed, alongside committee members.
Then Mr Watterson is back (back again) to move a motion on poverty which will accept poverty is a complex issue that requires a cross-government approach alongside third sector groups and personal responsibility to resolve. If successful, this will also lead to the establishment of a committee to explore the issue.
Lib Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper will move a motion on the protection of marine nature reserved that would stop any development taking place on marine nature reserves and call on the DoI to end the current process of investigating the development of a private marina in Ramsey Bay Marine Nature Reserve. He also wants to see the Harbours Strategy updated to re-allocate funding away from developing a cruise both in Douglas towards harbour regeneration and improvement in all harbours.
Closing off the show will be Douglas South MHK Sarah Maltby who will seek for a committee to be created based on the petition of David Buttery. Mr Buttery, who submitted his petition to Tynwald earlier this year, has called on a single body to be responsible for the island’s footpaths.