I entered politics with massive expectations – I wanted change and still do!
Following the 2016 election, I was given delegated powers in the Departments of Infrastructure and Health. These positions offered real opportunities for change.
At the initial meeting in Infrastructure, we shared our thoughts and I asked ‘How quickly will our ideas start to be implemented?’
The chief executive officer calmly stated: ‘In about three years’ time!’
My response was: ‘I might only be here for five years, and if there are the inevitable delays, not much is going to be achieved if we continue like this.’
Why is getting change unnecessarily complicated, time consuming and costly?
Do these examples confirm that the current system does not work?
The purchase of a parcel of land at Arbory School: Last November, I presented the minister with a costed plan - It could not have been simpler!
Twelve months later, they are still negotiating, over-complicating the entire process and forcing up the price.
The planters in St Mark’s: I met with the residents and a solution was then shared with the Department of Infrastructure. In days, the plans were costed and refined – It was a low-cost solution, which could be quickly implemented.
Then, the DoI engaged a UK consultant; despite a hefty bill, nothing has emerged.
Eighteen months later, as winter arrives the area is dangerous and the impact of the planters is now limited.
The Airport Technology Gateway: Despite its premier location change is too slow. In the summer of 2018, I contacted the Minister for Enterprise to ask if a submission could be made to Treasury, enabling a sum of £1.2 million to be allocated in the Budget.
That happened, but since then progress has been held back, rather than being pushed forward.
Other examples include the new school at Castle Rushen, where time and limited resources continue to be wasted trying to decide on the most basic issues.
In an email dated July 27, Minister Edge stated the 950 roll within Castle Rushen High School to be reached by 2028.
With two large developments in the catchment area that number is not adequate. There were 755 students in January 2019, but the school roll is now 891.
Fortunately, in recent correspondence and at the Conference, Minister Edge, stated the new school will have the capacity of 1,100 on Day One.
I want to end the article with some positives: The three letters MHK are powerful and as a backbencher I can do an incredible amount. The aim remains to achieve something every day.
I bring Tynwald motions.
For example, in January 2021 to improve first-time buyer housing support, which focused attention and led to the changes in legislation and support packages in July 2022.
I can ask any minister any question; raising concern and demanding change.
A process which has repeatedly slowed down inappropriate decisions and allowed Ministers to return with more appropriate solutions.
By working with other Tynwald members, the commissioners and the third sector, solutions can be found and implemented.
Successes range from the old police station remaining in public ownership, the resurfacing of Colby Glen Road and Bus Vannin agreeing at the final moment to continue serving the centre of Castletown as the one-way system was introduced.
On a daily basis, the needs of my constituents offer massive new challenges but every single day we get slightly closer to where we should be.
After six years I have not lost my desire ‘to get things done!’
When that desire fades it will be time to move on.