Positive Action Group - Possan Jantys Jarrooagh

Open, accountable government, rigorous control of public finances, and a fairer society for all.

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IOM Freedom of Information under threat!

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foi shredSuccessive IOM governments procrastinated for many years about introducing a Freedom of Information Act. It was finally implemented on February 1st 2016, but only applies to requests made to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
 
In the first 6 months 41 requests have been made. There is already concern about the cost or potential cost. The plan is to extend the scope of the Act to all government departments on 1st January 2017 and to fully complete the process by January 2018.
 
The threat, written in a consultation paper, is to impose a cost limit for any request. Above that limit the public body may refuse to give an applicant the requested information.
 
PAG lobbied long and hard to get this law on the statute book. We consider it far too early to even be considering such a move and will be responding to the consultation. The Act has been in operation for far too short a period and the sample size is too small.
 
We urge government to extend the scope as promised and then review all aspects of the operation of the Act. It is in the public interest not to make an hasty decision now.
 
You of course can make your own submission and we urge you so to do!
 

Who's up for it?

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Who's up for it?ElectionsWith the announcement that 3 existing MHKs will not be standing in the IOM General Election a picture is beginning to emerge about the status of serving politicians.

  • Not standing - Karran, SHIMMIN, Hall
  • Will they stand? - BELL, Rodan, Singer, TEARE
  • Likely to Stand - QUAYLE, Cannan, Boot, Harmer, RONAN, Quirk, Joughin, Peake, Houghton, Cregeen, Malarkey, WATTERSON, SKELLY, GAWNE
  • Already Declared - Robertshaw, Beecroft, Thomas

On 22nd September candidates will be contesting 2 seats in each of 12 constituencies. With Hall and, especially, Karran, not standing the Onchan contest will be wide open.

Rushen was the other constituency to have 3 representatives. Now there's only 2 places to fight for there which one of the 3 Ministers will be deposed? Or will Castletown get a defector?

Other existing single seat constituencies to be affected by the changes are Peel, Glen Faba, Malew & Santon, The Ayres, Garff, Michael and Middle.

Once elected the new intake of MHKs will, alongside their LegCo colleagues, have to elect a Chief Minister. You as a voter will not have any say as to whom that might be. Having placed your 2 crosses on the ballot paper you relinquish any power you have until 2021. 

The current President of Tynwald Clare Christian ends her 5 year term of office in July 2016. An election for President will have to take place. Again the decision is in the hands of all Tynwald Members. Should Mrs Christian decide to retire it is highly likely that Steve Rodan will be the leading candidate to take over. That would create an opportunity for the voters of Garff to elect 2 new Members. It has also been suggested that John Shimmin could also be nominated for President.

 

FOI can work for US!

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foi unlockPAGSTERs may remember that there was an important Consultation about the beneficial ownership of companies. It closed at the end of September 2015 and Positive Action Group wrote a submission.

As a result of the responses received Chief Minister Bell made statements that the Isle of Man would not be changing its position on revealing beneficial ownership of companies registered here.

But the responses were never published, even in summary.Taking advantage of the new Freedom of Information Act, PAG requested release of all the responses in full.

FOI worked! Here are the 38 submissions that were made and there is a wide variety of opinion expressed. One response was signed by 17 MPs and 3 members of the House of Lords. Of particular interest is the submission from the Department of Home Affairs, which reflects the views of the Financial Crime Unit. Take a look for yourself.

 

 

 

Legislative Council Elections 2015

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If at first you don't succeed........

Try again...
 

Manx Credit Union momentum

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A year ago the February PAG public meeting was titled "The Case for a Manx Credit Union"
 
We are delighted to say that there is good news to report from the Manx Credit Union Working Party which has been working hard since then to get this worthwhile project off the ground.
 
"The FSC has now issued the attached consultation seeking views of ‘all parties interested in establishing, offering services to, or becoming a member of a credit union’.  The consultation closes on 13th March 2015 so I would encourage you to respond by emailing  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , at the FSC, stating why you believe the legislation needs to be updated and a new framework introduced.  If you are able to contribute to the questions asked in the consultation or if you want to discuss any aspect with the writer, that would be tremendous.  The important thing is that the FSC get a flavour of public opinion so that Government are not able to say that there was insufficient interest shown.
 
Over the last twelve months the ‘expression of interest’ forms we made available, have now resulted in 537 people responding positively, with over 90 people ticking the volunteer box and 25 people offering by way of donation ‘seed  money’ to get the project off the ground.  On a world-wide basis there are now 57,000 credit unions with 208 million members operating in 103 countries (Source: World Council of Credit Unions).  We should no longer deprive Isle of Man citizens from the benefits of the credit union movement.  In the UK there are one million members of credit unions with assets in excess of one billion pounds.  In the Republic of Ireland 75% of economically active people are in a credit union.    
 
Credit unions aim to build a savings culture with affordable loans available to its members.  This will be backed up by financial guidance and a sign posting service to other providers as appropriate without wanting to duplicate any such services offered locally.  We are members of a national credit union trade association UKCU Ltd from whom we receive expert advice and encouragement.  They will also be making a detailed response to the FSC.
 
This Consultation represents a window of opportunity to bring about a socially relevant enterprise with far reaching benefits for all our citizens.  See more on our website.  We are currently working on an alternative to the Depositors Compensation Scheme, as credit unions on Isle of Man are expressly excluded by legislation from this scheme.  I would like to hear from you if you have any particular ideas about this.
 
If you wish to be included in our regular mailings please proceed to our website where you can return an ‘expression of interest’ form.  Thank you for your continuing interest and be assured that the Working Party will not flinch in their efforts to bring about a credit union on the Isle of Man."
 
David Talbot , Chairman,Manx Credit Union (Working Party)
 
PAG urges you to support this worthwhile movement by responding to the consultation!
 
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