Isle of Man Examiner letters, September 2, 2013

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We must not concede power on EU matters

I always thought that government was there to act on our behalf and that Tynwald was there to scrutinse the Government and pass the legislation.

It seems I am wrong!

Presently out for public consultation is the European Union (Amendment) Bill 2013. The main purpose of this appears to be to incorporate some dull seeming EU Treaties into the Isle of Man.

However, buried within the fairly dense 29-page document is a little ‘catch all’ piece of legislation which we should all be concerned about.

Based on the excuse that it would ‘save both parliamentary and Government time’ (note the small ‘p’ and the large ‘G’ !) the Council of Ministers want the power to introduce new EU legislation ‘by order’ – that means without a full debate or public consultation.

That’s concerning enough. But it’s the type of legislation they want to fast track which is a bit more alarming. The proposal is that new EU criminal justice powers, including offences for which you could be fined up to £5,000 for or be imprisoned for up to two years, could be part of the new fast track system.

Of course, it’s always open to a Tynwald member to question an ‘Order’ but as these are usually introduced at short notice, and without the requirement for debate, they almost always get nodded through.

The last Tynwald passed 4327 such ‘Orders’ and I am not aware of one which was rejected.

There are concerns in the UK that the EU has become too powerful and has created a heavily over regulated society. By contrast, the Isle of Man fairs pretty well with its Protocol 3 agreement. It’s not broken, so why are they ‘fixing’ it?

My concern is that, if Tynwald passes these new laws the Isle of Man will be subject to a whole raft of new EU directives, which may be difficult to oppose, and which may have little or no relevance to our Island way of life. I fully support the present constitutional arrangements and think that, by and large, they work well for the Island. But I cannot see why the Council of Ministers now want to sweep away a layer of democratic scrutiny.

The consultation runs until the 4th October. So, for now, there is the chance to have your say and keep the EU at bay!

Tristram C. Llewellyn Jones, The Cronk, Port Lewaigue, Maughold.

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In defence of hospital

I have been reading a lot lately about people not being able to trust procedures at Noble’s Hospital, but I must speak in defence of the hospital.

During the last two years I have undergone two total hip replacements under the wonderful care of Mr Grerand, orthopaedic surgeon and his great team I found everyone from surgeon to nurses, physio and domestic staff to be completely trustworthy to carry out their own particular brand of work. I have noting but praise for everyone concerned and would never be worried about having anything else done. I also had two knee replacements 10 years ago and the same applied everything first class. I salute all at Noble’s for jobs very well done.

Margaret A. Keene, Andreas.

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A matter of grave concern

I wonder how many of your readers are aware of what is about to be done in the name of efficiency by the bureaucrats in charge of the church graveyards of the Northern Plain.

To many it will be a matter of indifference,but those of us who have loved ones resting forever in what are the most beautiful church yards in the UK,it will be like a blow in the face.

It has been decided by the powers that be,that no plants are to be allowed on graves in front of headstones,and they are to be removed by the end of September,or they will be unceremoniously grubbed out.

To be replaced by what?

As some cemeteries already carry out a nice band of dead grass will be kept in place by regular spraying with weedkiller all along the front of the graves,so that the remainder of the grass may be kept neat and tidy with minimum effort and cost.

How green and environmentally sound is that, I ask.

This edict was only made public this month,and one wonders what will be the feelings of those who make their visits to loved ones after that September deadline to find that plants carefully sown and tended are no longer there,but are replaced by a six-inch band of poisoned brown grass.

Efficiency is the watchword of bureaucrats and jobsworths,and it is often totally misguided.

I have spoken to a number of ground keepers across the area who see no point in it,as the number of plots planted in this way which interfere with the upkeep is so small as to be totally insignificant. All fail to see the logic and disagree with the decree.

There is little time to do anything about it on account of the shortness of notice that has been given,but if anybody feels that there is an injustice being done,and would support a petition,please contact me at mikelindyhentall@yahoo.com.

Michael R.E.Hentall, Address supplied.

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Thanks go to kind couple

This letter goes out to to the kind couple who found our daughter in a very distressed state in York Road, Douglas, in the early hours of Saturday (August 24) morning and, having managed to find out where she lived, brought her safely home.

We have been unable to trace you, but her dad and I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate everything you did.

It is tough being parents to a headstrong teenager who thinks they know everything and ‘will be OK’.

The events of Friday evening proved otherwise – we hope it has been a lesson learned.

Our thanks to you both.

Name and address supplied

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Explanation for roadworks

In [Examiner letters, August 26, Wrong time for roadworks] Mr Dobson states that the surface dressing of the coast road between Onchan and Baldrine is necessary but would have been best carried out during any of the other 48 weeks available.

Surface dressing is weather dependent and can only be carried out in the summer months. In the Isle of Man this typically means after TT and before October. This year we had to surface dress parts of the TT course itself and so those sections were scheduled immediately after TT to give them the best chance of bedding in for racing.

The department needs to undertake significant work on the mountain after the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling in September and therefore it is impractical to both close the mountain and work on the coast road at the same time.

Therefore the only practical option was to complete the work on the coast road during the practice week of the festival but with work suspended during racing and during the main week of the event.

This section of the coast road was in very poor condition and was starting to crack badly in places. If we did not undertake the surface dressing work before the winter then significant sections would have been likely to break up during the winter.

I hope this explanation of the facts will help Mr Dobson and your readers appreciate why the department chose to bring the works forward at this particular time.

Richard Pearson, Director of Highways.

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Susan Eves wrote to Examiner letters about her concerns regarding footway parking. The department has recently issued a press release on the topic and shares her concerns about the amount of footway parking.

This is anti-social as it means that pedestrians are forced into the road making it extremely difficult for anyone who is infirm, individuals with push chairs and wheelchair users. Footway parking can also damage the footway and the services beneath it.

It is also an offence to park on the footway and the department actively carries out enforcement of this offence.

I completely agree with the letter writer and I would like to encourage readers to do the right thing and avoid parking on the footways.

Richard Pearson, Director of Highways.

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P. Sullivan [Examiner letters, August 26]. writes regarding obstruction of the footways caused by overgrowing vegetation and raises the question as to why the department is not keeping pavements clear. I would clarify that in Manx law the private landowner is responsible for cutting their boundary hedges.

There are nearly 1,000 miles of roads and footpaths on the island and following budget reductions it is increasingly difficult for the department to undertake cutting work on behalf of the landowners who are responsible.

The department would like to encourage private landowners to accept responsibility for their own hedges, however the department is still intending to carry out cutting where a safety problem is identified.

The department also recognises that the public footpath network is a valuable asset to the island, its residents and its visitors and is trying to increase the amount of cutting work on these paths.

Richard Pearson, Director of Highways.

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