News From Celtic League
The Isle of Man Government has responded to a letter sent by the general secretary (GS) in September, asking the Chief Minister of Mannin (Isle of Man), Allan Bell, what priorities he thinks are important for the Island over the next twenty years.
In the letter the External Relations Manager for the Manx Government said that the three priorities for the current administration were “protecting the vulnerable, growing the economy and balancing the budget”. However, last month – which may have been one of the reasons for the delay in responding – the Manx Government revised its strategic document based on “the delivery of a sustainable future for the Island over the next ten years”, which covers issues relating to the environment, welfare, finance and international affairs.
In view of the approaching Scottish referendum, the original letter sent by the GS in September asked if the priorities for the Manx Government would be different if the constitutional status of the Island changed, such as if Mannin become an independent state. In response to this question the Government stated that “the policy of the Manx Government – as approved by Tynwald – has long been to develop self-government within the constitutional framework of our status as a British Crown Dependency.” In the letter the Government also sets out some of the initiatives it is engaged in sharing common experiences with other island nations, such as with the Small Countries Financial Management Programme.
The full text of the letter is set out below:
External Relations Division
Isle of Man IM1 3PN
11 December 2014
Dear Mr Tal-e-bot
Thanks you for your letter of 13 September 2014 to the Chief Minister which has been passed to me for reply. Firstly, I do apologise for the delay in responding to you.
As the Isle of Man is not directly affiliated to the Small Island Developing States, understandably the Manx Government was not invited to make representation to the Third International Conference in Samoa in September this year, or to feed into pre-Conference discussions.
You asked about the Isle of Man priorities for the future. When the current administration was formed in 2011, three overriding priorities were set out in the ‘Agenda for Change’ – protecting the vulnerable, growing the economy and balancing the budget. These core elements continue to be at the centre of the Government’s agenda.
In November of this year, the Government issued a revised strategic document based upon eight objectives intended to focus on the delivery of a sustainable future for the Island over the next ten years. The report suggests a broad range of strategic objectives which encompasses environmental, welfare, fiscal and international issues. On terms of the Government’s priorities, you may find the section on ‘Challenges’ useful in this regard. Available to the public, the report can be accessed here: https://www.gov.im/media/1346292/securing-a-sustainable-future-for-our-island.pdf
With regard to your query whether these priorities would alter if the constitutional status of the Island changed, the policy of the Manx Government – as approved by Tynwald – has long been to develop self-government within the constitutional framework of our status as a British Crown Dependency. This approach has served the Isle of Man well, underpinning the Island’s economic success and the strengthening of our international relationships and reputation, and it would not be helpful to speculate about the effect of any hypothetical change in status.
The Manx Government places great emphasis on its international role and responsibilities, particularly in supporting other – comparatively – small nations and jurisdictions. In addition to the work supported by the Council of Minister’s International Development Committee, a key element to the Island’s international programme is the funding of the Small Countries Financial Management Programme. This brings together officials from finance ministries , central banks and regulatory bodies in small developing countries for a two-week education programme. The programme itself focusses on financial integrity, prudent regulation and economic management and has proved to be very successful with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants.
Additionally, the Island provides valuable training opportunities to individuals from Overseas Territories such as Tristan da Cunha and Turks and Caicos. These programmes have been undertaken not only by officials seeking to better understand good governance, but also on a practical level to farmers, fishermen and public sector employees.
I hope that this response has provided you with a brief insight into the many and varied initiatives both on and off-Island being undertaken by the Manx Government. If you do require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me
External Relations Manager
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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.