Junior Tynwald has, once again, served to foster a deeper understanding among young adults of parliamentary practice and procedure.
Organised by the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in association with the Department of Education and Children the sitting, held on Monday July 15th, saw Year 12 students from the Island’s five state secondary schools assume the roles of Members of the House of Keys and the Legislative Council to debate matters ranging from the funding of university fees to bus provision for young people, alcohol misuse to sustainable energy sources.
Additionally two motions were tabled. The Hon Member for Ayre, Miss Ruby McCambridge (Ramsey Grammar School) moved that the Court was of the opinion that collective responsibility should not apply to executive government in the Isle of Man, while the Hon Member for Peel, Mr Aareez Kahn ((Queen Elizabeth II High School) called for a reduction in hospital waiting times in line with those of England and Wales. Both motions were carried.
The sitting was marked by incisive exchanges during question time, a session during which some Members strayed, on occasions, from the topic under discussion. In this they were accorded some latitude by the President of Tynwald, the Hon Clare Christian, who observed: ‘Question time was most absorbing, generating some well thought out supplementary questions and demonstrating the students’ keen interest in current affairs.’
One such Honourable Member granted a degree of latitude was St Ninian’s High School student Patrick Vernon, representing Douglas East. He said: ‘I’ve always been interested in politics so taking part in Junior Tynwald proved very insightful. What I found particularly surprising was the level of formality in the proceedings, which made the whole experience all the more realistic.’
Fellow St Ninian’s High School student Ammon Yeardsley, who represented Douglas North, said: ‘I really enjoyed Junior Tynwald, especially the opportunities for debate and to observe how proceedings are conducted. The experience has made me think more about perhaps becoming an MHK.’
Representing Ayre was Ramsey Grammar School’s Ruby McCambridge. ‘I decided to take part in Junior Tynwald because I wanted to work on my public speaking technique. I also found the tour we were given by the President of Tynwald before the sitting very useful as it helped me better understand the formal proceedings which I found to be very realistic.’
Castle Rushen High School student Laura Waters represented Malew and Santon. She said: ‘I’m interested in politics and have attended sittings in the past and will be on work experience with the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office later this summer. I’m hoping to become an Army officer so found the disciplined structure of the proceedings and the importance of commanding respect extremely valuable.’
CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Mr Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘Many of the students who took part spoke of how insightful they found the experience. I, too, found this sitting of Junior Tynwald both insightful and illuminating. Members remarked on how well prepared the students were and, for my part, I was impressed by their obvious passion for and knowledge of current affairs. I congratulate all those who took part and thank them for their contributions. At its heart the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seeks to advance parliamentary democracy; I believe Junior Tynwald amply complements that purpose.’
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW
Tel: (01624) 685500