Paradise capers: Tynwald trio head to the Seychelles

Monday 8th January 2018 3:00 pm
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Manx parliamentarians are heading off to a conference in the Seychelles

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Manx parliamentarians have jetted off to a conference in the Seychelles.

Tynwald president Steve Rodan, Speaker Juan Watterson and Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips are in the Seychelles capital of Victoria for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association event.

They are attending the 24th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth at the National Assembly which began today (Monday) and runs until January 13.

The Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth meets every two years and was last held in 2016 in Malaysia.

Up to 180 delegates attend these events.

Returning from the 22nd CSPOC plenary in Wellington, New Zealand, the then Speaker Mr Rodan said an offer for the Isle of Man to host the 2018 conference had been accepted.

But in the event, the 24th plenary is being hosted by the Seychelles as the Manx Treasury could not guarantee support for the conference, having initially done so.

Mr Rodan will be presenting one of the workshops on the topic of the role of the Speaker in strengthening parliamentary diplomacy.

Other topics being covered include cyber-security, social media and ’ensuring accurate provision of information given the emergence of fake news and alternative facts’.

Delegates pay for the full costs of their travel, any visa requirements and hotel accommodation.

The delegates are also responsible for all personal expenses such as room service, telephone calls, bar/food bills as well as expenses, including local transportation, incurred, before or after the official conference dates.

Costs of previous CSPOC conferences, and a breakdown on members’ travel, accommodation and other expenses, are published on the Tynwald website. The 2016 plenary in Malaysia, attended by then President Clare Christian, cost £3,336, the 2014 New Zealand event £2,802 and the 2012 plenary in Trinidad & Tobago £3,064.

Details of expenses claimed by Tynwald members on Commonwealth Parliamentary Association trips abroad have recently come under the spotlight following Freedom of Information requests. They revealed that then government minister Juan Watterson MHK, Tony Wild MLC and the Clerk of Tynwald racked up an expenses claim totalling £16,770 between them on a four-day visit to a CPA regional conference in the Falkland Islands in February 2013.

Receipts submitted in support of their expenses claims showed Mr Watterson claimed for some surprising items including paracetamol.

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