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Praise for Junior Tynwald students’ relevance and topicality

Junior Tynwald 2022

The President of Tynwald, the Hon Laurence Skelly MLC, has praised students who took part in Junior Tynwald for their focus on relevance and topicality in debate. 

Mr President was speaking at the conclusion of the sitting of Junior Tynwald held on Thursday January 27, when students from Ballakermeen High School, Castle Rushen High School, Ramsey Grammar School and St Ninian’s High School assumed the roles of Members of the House of Keys and the Legislative Council.

Questions for oral answer included the Hon Member for Douglas South, Mr Joe Locke from Ballakermeen High School, questioning government policy on supporting pregnant women with drug and alcohol addiction; the Hon Member for Onchan, Mr Isti Zsolden from St Ninian’s High School, asking how the cancellation of the TT had impacted on the Manx economy; and the Hon Member for Glenfaba and Peel, Miss Aalish Watts, from Castle Rushen High School,  questioning the sustainability of the Island’s low-tax policy. 

The Hon Member for Council Mr Thomas Halliwell’s (St Ninian’s High School) motion: ‘That Junior Tynwald believes the Government has not managed the Covid-19 crisis well’ generated informed debate, notably from the Hon Member for Glenfaba and Peel, Miss Aalish Watts. The motion failed to carry.

The Hon Member for Ramsey Miss Martha Done’s (Ramsey Grammar School) motion: ‘That Junior Tynwald believes that tougher action should be taken by the Government to ensure that all public service buildings and facilities are fully accessible to disabled people’ prompted enthusiastic debate, in particular well-articulated observations from the Hon Member for Ayre and Michael Miss Ellie Baldwin (Ramsey Grammar School). The motion carried.

Finally, the Hon Member for Douglas East Mr David Cowin’s (St Ninian’s High School) motion: ‘That Junior Tynwald is of the opinion that the Government has hugely mismanaged a number of infrastructure projects on the Island over the past five months’ sparked impassioned debate and vigorous contributions from Members. The motion was carried. 

Aalish Watts said: ‘It was interesting to be able to express our views and see how MHKs responded to our questions. As the debate went on I felt more confident and found the whole experience really worthwhile.’

Breeshey Shaw from Ballakermeen High School, who represented Douglas South said: ‘I was nervous at first but soon felt more at ease. I was surprised by the sitting’s level of formality and also pleased with how Members of Tynwald clearly respected and valued our views.’

William Mosely from Castle Rushen High School had represented Middle. He said: ‘The sitting was interesting for gaining an insight into how Tynwald operates. The formality gives a structure to the proceedings and I felt that taking part gave me a prime-time opportunity to express my views.’

Joe Locke said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s great not only to be able to express your views about what matters most but also to have those views listened to. Taking part was a great confidence- boosting experience and an opportunity to witness democracy in action.’

Sam Roe from Ballakermeen High School represented Douglas Central. He said: ‘It was a brilliant experience. It was so interesting to see the dynamic between the House of Keys and the Legislative Council. I’d recommend Junior Tynwald because it’s a rare chance for young people to be able stand up and say what they think and to be taken seriously.’

Outstanding Participant Thomas Curphey with the President of Tynwald the Hon Laurence Skelly MLC and the Speaker of the House of Keys the Hon Juan Watterson SHK

The Outstanding Participant Award went to Thomas Curphey of Castle Rushen High School who said: ‘Taking part in Junior Tynwald was a great experience, especially to be given the chance to ask questions in a formal setting. It’s all too easy for young people to be disengaged with politics, but in this small Island community Junior Tynwald provides a valuable opportunity to reverse that.’

Congratulating all the participants Mr President praised them for their high level of engagement and well- considered and articulated contributions. In closing he urged them ‘to keep that passion alive’. 

The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK, who took part in Junior Tynwald 25 years ago, thanked Members and teaching staff for their support. He went on to congratulate Sam Roe on his ‘strong supplementaries’, Thomas Halliwell from St Ninian’s High School on his well-introduced motion and Joe Locke on his erudite and impassioned contributions. In closing Mr Speaker said that Junior Tynwald ‘continued to go from strength to strength’.

For further information contact: 
Joann Corkish
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Legislative Buildings
Tel: 01624 686303
Published - 04/02/2022