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Alex McQuarrie - March 2017

March has been another busy month here in the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. With the anniversary of the first democratic elections creeping ever closer, I have been coordinating the arrangements for MHKs to visit schools in their constituencies to talk to students, where they will outline its significance, and will also provide special anniversary coins that have been designed to mark the occasion. I have also produced an ‘1867 Education Pack’, which has been circulated to teachers as a resource for their pupils. The Chamber and Information Service (CIS) have erected an 1867 exhibition for the public in the Tynwald Library, drop in and learn all about the first popular election of the House of Keys!
 

The CIS are also looking ahead to another anniversary in July 2017, which will mark 600 years from the writing of the Customary Laws Act. This was the first time that the laws of the Island where ever written down on record, and it is an integral element in the traditions that still take place on Tynwald Day in the present. I have been doing my research on this anniversary and it will become an increasingly prominent part of my workload in the next two months ready for the anniversary on Tynwald Day.

Other work that I have been undertaking for the CIS has included updates to information on the Tynwald website, where one of my roles is to upload Statutory Documents to the online legislation online pages of the website.

Another task has been to update the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office Guide for New Members of Staff to support the induction process, which I hope will serve as useful reading for any newcomers like myself!3.jpg

In my role as tour guide for schools, March has been the busiest month yet, where we welcomed students from Ramsey Grammar, Cronk-Y-Berry Primary School, Peel Clothworkers Primary School, Ballacottier Primary School, and Onchan Primary School. My key lesson for the month is that you can never prepare yourself for some of the weird and wonderful questions that pupils will come up with during the tours, and I was very grateful to have the company of some of the constituency MHKs to jump in and answer these questions!


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We have a different programme for students visiting from secondary schools. Politics students from St Ninian’s High school make an annual visit to the Legislative Buildings to watch a sitting of Tynwald, and I took the opportunity to sit in the public gallery with them to watch Question Time on Tuesday 21st March.

It has been interesting to see how the Committees work through and progress with their investigations and reports. The Ecclesiastical Committee of Tynwald (ECC) presented its first report to Tynwald for the session 2016/17. OOGE have finalised the wording for the report on the Operation and Organization of the General Election, and this will be reported to Tynwald in the April sitting. The SAPRC continue to consider a range of important public issues and will be very active in April. SAPRC have asked the CIS to examine how other jurisdictions across the British Isles and beyond have dealt with the issue of nursery place provision, I have the dual role of being the Assistant Clerk to this Committee but also working in CIS, so I will also be undertaking this piece of research for the Committee.

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From left to right: Jonathan King, Deputy Clerk of Tynwald, Martyn Perkins, MHK for Garff, Alex McQuarrie, Parliamentary Intern, and David Ashford, MHK for Douglas North, photo courtesy of Paul Dougherty, Seneschal