Blog 17 June 18The excellent weather on the Isle of Man continued into the early part of this week, and it certainly felt like the whole island has been partying non-stop for the past two weeks with the TT Festival.

There definitely was a fantastic atmosphere across the island during TT, but I needed to get my head down this week and by Friday it was almost a distant memory.

There was also a lot of work to do this week in order to catch up with things and to go through various reports or motions ahead of this month’s Tynwald sitting next week.

I was back in the office for 7.45am on Monday morning after spending most of last week up and around the Grandstand, but with no formal meetings on Monday I was able to sit at my desk for most of the day.

The first job was to go through the Tynwald Order Paper and print off several reports ready for reading at some stage during the week or weekend.

I also spent considerable time on Monday going though the Eastern Area Plan, making several calls and drafting various letters, in order to respond to some Constituent correspondence and concerns received over the weekend in respect of certain building projects.

I also needed to print off the Agenda Pack for the inaugural Board Meeting of the Visit Isle of Man Executive Agency, along with the Agenda Packs for the Manx National Heritage Trustee and DfE meetings also held this week…….

There was definitely a lot of reading done this week, I guess that is the payback for focusing on the TT last week.

I also had to catch up with a couple of outstanding Constituent matters throughout the day.

The only meeting I attended on Monday related to the TT Festival, which lasted just over an hour and it gave us an opportunity to discuss this year’s event.

I left the office at 17.30 and once home I started to go through the 476 pages of the SAVE Programme – Progress Report June 2018.

Finally finished for 21.00.

In the office for 8.10am on Tuesday and the first job was to put together a detailed correspondence in respect of an ongoing Constituent matter, which I have been trying to resolve since being elected.

I needed to draft a Letter, which included four Appendix documents, along with a policy report, but I didn’t get the job finished before 10am. At which time I headed down to the House of Keys Chambers for Tuesday’s sitting.

There were 14 oral questions and a further 17 questions for written reply.

With no other business for the House other than the questions, the sitting was finished by 11.30am.

My colleagues in Legislative Council, however are currently considering the draft Abortion Bill, so they actually sat all day on Tuesday taking evidence from various witnesses in respect of the draft Bill.

Straight after the House of Keys sitting I did a quick interview with Manx Radio on the Steam Packet figures relating to the TT Festival.

I also took the opportunity to send out various tickets for Tynwald Day and to catch up with emails before grabbing some lunch.

At 13.30 there was a CPD training session for Tynwald Members with regard to “Speed Reading & Memory Techniques”, which was definitely something different.

As I have mentioned previously, it is hard to put in context the amount of reading Tynwald Members have to actually do in this role.

At 14.40 I headed up to the Police Headquarters for a tour around the Emergency Services Joint Control Room. It was a fantastic tour and there is certainly a lot more to the role than simply taking a few 999 calls.

It is only when you actually look around facilities that you build up an understanding of the real work undertaken to keep the island safe and well.

I was back at the office at 16.00 and the last hour was spent finishing off the Constituent tasks from the morning.

I left the office at 17.15 and after tea I went though the DfE Agenda Pack, but I was able to finish for 20.00.

Back into the office for 7.50am on Wednesday and I went straight into drafting a Constituent letter relating to an ongoing dispute, which I have been trying to resolve for over 12 months.

At 9.20am Tim Crookall, MLC and I walked over to DfE for the usual Minister and Political Members meeting.

At 10am we had the DfE board meeting, which started with two informal meetings. The first was with the new Chairs and Head of Agencies that were recently set up, in order to have an informal introduction and discussion.

The second briefing was from an individual who works in the film and creative industry, who outlined a very exciting project potentially on the horizon but still a lot of hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality.

We then got straight into the agenda pack and the meeting finished for 13.10, which gave me an opportunity to grab some lunch, return a couple of phone calls and draft a few emails before my next meeting.

At 13.50 I headed down to the members room for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Meeting, which included a meeting with Mark Shimmins who is an Executive Director of the Small Countries Management Programme, which is holding its next programme on the Isle of Man between 17th to 29th June 2018.

The PAC meeting finished at 16.50, so there was just time to return a couple of calls before heading home at 17.35.

Once home I needed to put together some Constituent packs relating to the ongoing matter that I have already mentioned.

I also needed to go through my Manx National Heritage Agenda Pack, along with listening to Manx Radio’s Talking Heads, which featured the Isle of Man Steam Packet figures.

Just enough time to return a couple of Constituent calls before finishing at around 20.30, but still in catch up mode from the TT Festival.

A very early start on Thursday as I started to go though some Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee documents from around 6am. I also took the opportunity to go through the Agenda Pack for the inaugural Board Meeting of the Visit Isle of Man Executive.

I went into the office for 7.45am, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with a fews things before walking to DfE for the inaugural Board Meeting of the Visit Isle of Man Executive at 8.30am.

After introductions and the initial training programme for board members we started looking at each particular sector that creates the overall tourism industry.

It was a long session but it was very worthwhile as the new Executive Agency sets its initial foundations.

The meeting slightly overran, but I was back at my desk for 13.15, which gave a chance to catch up with a few things.

At 14.50 I headed over the Manx Museum for this month’s MNH Trustee meeting, which started with an informal discussion amongst the trustees before moving onto the main Agenda Paper, which was relatively light.

I had to leave the meeting slightly early at 18.00 and once home I needed to return a couple of Constituent calls and read through a couple of reports, but still managed to finish for 20.30.

In the office for 8am on Friday and the day started with me dealing with some correspondence from the tax office…..

I also needed to read various correspondence in respect of the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee.

At 9.40am I drove back into Onchan for a Constituent meeting relating to a custody issue. From there I went down to the Grandstand to do a TT interview with Three FM before driving back to Onchan to collect some tablets from the vets for Oscar.

I also quickly ran into Shoprite and spoke to several Constituents along the way before heading back to the office for around 12 noon.

After lunch I continued to go through the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee Agenda Pack.

I also the took opportunity to spend twenty minutes in quiet contemplation reading various articles on the career of local rider Dan Kneen who was killed in an incident at Churchtown, just outside Ramsey on Wednesday 30th May during TT practice week.

Dan’s funeral took place at Douglas Crematorium at 2.45pm and there were hundreds of people at the funeral.

Dan’s father later said that “Today as I rode in to the borough cemetery on Dan’s 600 Jackson Honda I was taken back by the sheer numbers of people lining the path way for Dan my son. I was blown away, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for giving Dan the most wonderful send off. It was so emotional to see that Dan had made such a big impact on people, was very comforting. My son was just a lovely lad, we will all miss you. Danny boy, ride free son, ride free”.

Personally, I had already shared a few words Richard, Ryan and his partner Leanne last week and I took the difficult decision not to attend, I guess mainly because I felt an element of responsibility, given my political connection with the event.

At 14.00 I went down to Committee Room 1 for the Environment and Infrastructure Policy, which lasted around ninety minutes.

The hour or so was spent talking to colleagues on various issues and topics, along with printing off the recent Assisted Dying debate from the Guernsey parliament, which lasted three days.

I left the office at 17.00.

I have a busy weekend ahead with my monthly Political Surgery on Saturday morning and a couple of Constituent meetings straight afterwards.

Hopefully, we will also be taking part in the Big Beach Clean Up across the island on Sunday morning.

There is also still a lot of work do, in order to prepare for Tynwald next week.