• February 7, 2016


If there was a Nobel Prize for hypocrisy Richard Ronan MHK Minister for Agriculture in the Manx government would surely be on the shortlist.

Idly perusing, as I do, obscure publications I chanced on:

“Sustaining Partnerships: a conference on conservation and sustainability in UK Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and other small island communities, Gibraltar, 11th to 15th July 2015”

Now that’s a bit of a mouthful but interested as I am in conservation an sustainability I decided to persevere with it and guess what I found the Isle of Man Agriculture Minister in the company of many other worthies including the critically endangered Montserrat Mountain Chicken (it’s in fact a frog) and, bizarrely, the Sikorski memorial.

Now you’ll notice the date of the conference just weeks after DEFA and DOI had carried out some questionable ‘conservation and sustainability’ in the west of the Isle of Man by shifting a mountain of contaminated silt from Peel Harbour to a hastily prepared hole in the ground (I mean of course a properly engineered dump site at Poortown) where it festers whilst government ponder what to do next.

Anyway analyzing rambling Ronan’s contribution to the conference which seems to be one of those ‘any excuse for a freebie jolly’ events I found perhaps not surprisingly no mention of his role in polluting the pristine environment at Poortown (fair enough there is a quarry there). Indeed Richard pontificated on the positives here’s a snatch:

“We have moved away from trying to bring in legislation and moved to the area of trust and common ground with our evolving population. I note in the summaries today that legislation is important. However, I would like to observe that the use of policies, not just legislation, has allowed us in the Isle of Man to move faster, so that we are making quicker progress this way, which surely is good news. I believe this is a win for everybody, both environmentally and financially – which is critical if we are going to meet our ongoing emission targets and carry the Manx population with us.”

I dare say some of the Manx population would digress.

Ronan was I understand also in riveting form when he randomly informed the stunned delegates he was ‘a passionate Liverpool supporter’.

He also managed to get in that ‘For 30 plus years, the Isle of Man has enjoyed an excellent economy driven by the outside financial world’. So much for the Chief Minister always wittering on about doom and gloom at least not all his COMIN colleagues are infected.

Anyway Richard Ronan has achieved one thing with his free summer holiday in Gibraltar he’s kindled my interest in the conservation objectives of UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. I will in coming months be trying to establish if the ad hoc grouping had any involvement in the decision by the British government to establish the Chagos Marine Protected Area (CMPA) around Diego Garcia.

The Chagos Marine Protected Area (in the British Indian Ocean Territory) is one would think a commendable ‘conservation’ project for the UK and their colonised apparatchiks present at the Gibraltar bash.

However as always there’s a down side and the true nature of the Brit decision was revealed in a cable leaked by Wikileaks. A US State Department official commented based on talks with British ministers and officials that establishing the reserve would be the “most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or their descendants from resettling.”

The same cable explained that the protection would permit environmental damage if caused by military use: “the terms of reference for the establishment of a marine park would clearly state that the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, was reserved for military uses… the establishment of a marine reserve had the potential to be a ‘win-win situation in terms of establishing situational awareness’ of the BIOT…[the government] sought ‘no constraints on military operations’ as a result of the establishment of a marine park.” An exemption in the MPA allows people from the US nuclear base on Diego Garcia to continue fishing. In 2010, more than 28 tonnes of fish was caught for use by personnel on the base.

The former residents of Diego Garcia (as we have recorded previously) were summarily evicted by the British government and transported many hundreds of miles away to Mauritius where despite repeated campaigning there ability to return to their homes is blocked and most of them live in poverty.

The UN subsequently declared the CMPA illegal.

Anyway no thought of irksome exiled Chagossians at our conference in Gibraltar as all the various Ministers from the UK’s remaining colonies (including Ronan) smiled for the photo shot!

Photo: Montserrat Mountain Chicken (frog).


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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