Christmas Behind Bars

Measures to manage an outbreak of Covid at the prison have proved a success, with prisoners on all wings now able to enjoy a more normal regime over the Christmas period.

The pre-determined ‘black’ regime had been in place on two wings for several weeks to prevent transmission of the virus, protect prisoners and staff and ensure the continued safe operation of the facility. During that period prisoners spent more time in their cells and visiting was suspended.

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Jane Poole Wilson MHK said: ‘The isolation of two wings for a period of several weeks to help manage an outbreak of Covid Cases was unfortunately necessary. We had to do everything we could to prevent the virus spreading among a prison population of well over 100 prisoners and staff in a closed community. Those measures have proved effective.’

DQ Take Centre Stage

Douglas Choral Union (DCU) has announced the recipients of its bursary for 2021/22, supported by Douglas-based advocates DQ. Each year the practice contributes to the theatre group’s annual bursary which is awarded to young islanders as they pursue further education in any aspect of drama, dance, music and theatre.

This year’s beneficiaries are Lewis Pycroft and Abbie Williams, both of whom have been involved with the arts in the Isle of Man for several years.

Gary Corkhill, chairman of Douglas Choral Union, explained: ‘We were again so impressed with the quality of the applicants and the final decision was one of the hardest yet. We are confident that our successful bursary winners, Abbie and Lewis, will go far in their chosen field and we are delighted to be able to help them complete their studies.

‘Once again, we are indebted to our title sponsor, DQ Advocates, for its continued support of our bursary scheme, without whom we would not be able to provide such opportunities for our young people. While the DCU is 125 years old and proud of its history and traditions, we are always looking forward to the next challenge. I am particularly excited to hear back from Lewis about his Virtual Theatre and Digital Experience degree to gain an insight into what the future for live theatre may hold for us at Douglas Choral Union and the Manx theatre scene in general.’

Welsh Restrictions

Groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants in Wales from 26 December, the first minister has said. And two metre social distancing rules are to return in public places, Mark Drakeford said. Licensed premises will have to offer table service only, face masks will have to be worn and contact tracing details collected. Outdoor events will be limited to 50, with 30 indoors. Life events such as weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and wakes will not be subject to the same limits as other indoor or outdoor events.

Met Refers Itself

The Met Police has referred itself to a police watchdog following a complaint about how it handled an alleged Christmas party in Downing Street during last year’s Covid restrictions. The Green Party’s Baroness Jones argued that officers outside No 10 ‘must have known’ if an unlawful gathering had taken place. She suggested they may have ‘deliberately failed to enforce’ rules. The complaint has now been sent to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

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