The Man from Ramsey is the Man for Ramsey
I have lived all my fifty years in Ramsey and care passionately for the future of our town and our island.
During the ten months I spent campaigning against the proposed Ramsey Harbour Regeneration Scheme I became acutely aware of just how much our democratic principles had become eroded, both in local and general politics, throughout the Island. I felt the people were just not being listened to and their opinions appeared to be, for the most part, ignored. I began to feel that there was much unrest and discontent amongst the electorate about the political decisions being forced upon them. There was a growing belief that if Government policies continued as at present, in five years time it might be too late to preserve what was left of the Island life we know and love.
This belief is what has prompted me to stand at this particular time, for election as a member of the House of Keys.
I represented the people of North Ramsey for six years as a Ramsey Town Commissioner during the 1980’s and was elected back onto the board of the Commission last April. Many of you will know that since then I have been fighting, successfully, for more openness in local politics. If elected I will fight even harder for less secrecy in Government. We all have a right to know what, often behind closed doors, is being planned for our future.
I hope you can find time to read through the following pages where I set out my attitude to what I consider are some of the more important issues of Island life today.
I believe, without doubt, that the biggest threat to the quality of life on our Island is uncontrolled population growth. I feel strongly that this subject must be debated in depth by Government and stronger measures be urgently put into effect to regulate and control Island residency. We are all aware that the infrastructure of the Island is just not adequate to cope with the ongoing and rapid increase in population. Insufficient car parking spaces, inadequate maintenance of road and pavement surfaces, traffic control, the health service, educational establishments, the control of crime and petty vandalism and, of course, the lack of affordable housing - all the important issues which have an impact on our daily lives, are being negatively affected by the rapid increase of numbers.
Just as serious, to my mind, is the insidious erosion of the ‘Manxness’ of the Isle of Man. I fear that the culture, the quality and pace of life, the intimacy with the environment, and the Manx voice, all of which help to make our Island life unique, are being diluted so quickly that all too soon they may be irretrievably lost.
If we continue to care anything about these things, we must be prepared to make hard decisions about future population numbers. In this matter we cannot afford any more time to pass before decisions are made and acted upon.
The current and previous Government have done little or nothing to provide affordable housing for the indigenous population and this has left many people feeling disillusioned and despairing. For Ramsey in particular, no local authority housing has been built here for over thirteen years and the current development in Tower Road will not increase the town’s housing stock for many years as it will be needed as ‘transit housing’ during the reconstruction of Lezayre Estate.
There is a crying need for a much wider variety of affordable rented accommodation to be made available for the use of the young, single people, the elderly, those needing rehabilitation, the infirm, and the handicapped. Not everyone needs or wants a ‘first time buyers house’; the actual nature of accommodation requirements must be assessed. The Government suggests that four hundred houses a year need to be built but we must ask where does this figure come from, for how many years is it valid and who will actually be buying these houses?
With the ever increasing cost of house purchase, it may be time to research what solutions have been found in other places to protect the indigenous population from being continually out-priced by buyers from outside the Island.
Having been involved in youth work for many years I know how essential it is that the education and leadership of our young people be of the highest caliber. As both my daughters received their education in Ramsey I know from first hand experience that although our education system has a deservedly excellent reputation, it is increasingly at risk of breakdown and deterioration. We must not allow this to happen. I am aware of the growing pressures being put on our teachers by increasingly large administrative burdens and by the demands made by an ever-changing curriculum. We need to take a good hard look at what we feel is best for our own situation and not always follow the lead of the U.K.
The Youth Service is currently run by the Department of Education. I suggest that the preferred Department for this task is the Department of Tourism and Leisure. I believe this could make the facilities offered by the Youth Service more appealing to young people, many of whom are influenced by image. Thus those currently outside the system might be encouraged to join activities which would prove rewarding for them.
One of the greatest assets this Island has are the senior members of our society. I feel that too often the knowledge and experience of this section of society is under utilised. We should put a higher value on the benefits they can give to the whole community. We must find positive means of consultation, in order to involve them more in the decision making process.
It is essential that any wealth generated within the Island is seen to be distributed fairly to all of its citizens, but above all, because of their past contributions to society, to the elderly.
In Ramsey the loss of the ‘Kremlin’ is indicative of what low regard there often is for the needs of the older townspeople. In planning for future leisure amenities it is vital that the views and requirements of our older citizens, as well as all other sections of the community, are fully taken into account
Heritage & Conservation
I heartily welcome the principle behind the proposed Sulby National Park. My only concern being that the area should be even wider. I believe that the Isle of Man has one of the most important and varied landscapes in the British Isles. For the past three years, I have been working closely with Manx National Heritage and Professor Darvill of Bournemouth University on certain archaeological findings. Because this work, when brought to fruition, could entirely change the perception of the history of our Island, it is crucial for us to protect our environment from further destruction. We must preserve our unique landscape and heritage for ourselves, our children, those who have chosen to live here, and as a showcase for the rest of the world.
I feel that our Health Service is approaching breaking point. We all deserve to have the highest possible care when we are ill, but today on the Island, despite the wealth we are supposed to have, this cannot be said to be true. The quality of those working in all areas of the Health Service is excellent but they are overstretched. Shorter waiting lists and consultations of greater depth, can only be achieved by having more doctors, dentists and care professionals.
The new hospital was clearly needed, but many issues need to be resolved after its completion. It would appear that not enough thought went into the planning of the new Island facility and it appears that, yet again, mistakes made on other Government capital projects have not been heeded.
The growth of the Finance Sector in recent years is generally seen as bringing prosperity to our Island. It has enabled many of our young people to remain on the Island instead of having to seek employment elsewhere. It has brought down the rate of unemployment and allowed Government to embark upon many new Capital Expenditure Schemes. However, I feel we must look more closely at the affects of this economic growth.
Many people who have spoken to me recently feel that we seem to have got ourselves into a vicious circle whereby increasing numbers of people have to be brought to the Island to meet the finance. sector’s personnel requirements, but then much of the wealth generated is returned to those very people working within it, or it has to be used to meet the demands of that industry. The Financial Services have brought us many benefits, however, unless we have controlled growth we will continue to experience problems within areas of housing, healthcare, education and other essential services as well as a deterioration in the Manx style of life. There is a foreboding that if we are not watchful, the Isle of Man could gradually be turned into just another county of England.
It is imperative that we find additional alternative sources of income in order to be less dependent on the finance industry. I should welcome the opportunity to be involved in helping to establish and implement any such schemes.
Although there is almost full employment for those living in Ramsey, more employment opportunities need to be within the town itself. Government could, and should, lead the way by relocating Government Departments to the town. Together with such an initiative, there should be wider incentives to encourage private businesses to establish their offices in the Ramsey area.
Law and Order
The increasing amount of alcohol and drug related crime is of great concern to me and to people throughout the Island including those in this constituency. Many people who choose to live on our Island do so because of the low crime rate and general friendliness found here. We should strive to preserve these attributes.
One of the factors influencing the growth of petty vandalism amongst the younger generation in Ramsey is the lack of amenities. We have to provide more venues for leisure time activity, especially those which the young will find appealing. A variety of leisure facilities could be incorporated within the proposed new
swimming pool complex. Also in Ramsey, we must have the Police Station manned at all times - twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
With regard to persistent offenders, I believe that consideration should be given to removing them from society for a period long enough for them to receive intensive education and training, as well as their being involved in rehabilitation programme's. We are in the position of being able to research the most up-to-date and effective programme's being carried out in other parts of the world and could implement those which would be most suitable for us.
These are some of the issues I feel strongly about. If you would like to talk about any of these in greater depth, or if there are other issues you would like to discuss, please give me a ring on 814807. 1 should be delighted to talk with you.
I think Ramsey has been inadequately represented in Tynwald during recent years and hope you will give me the opportunity to redress the balance.
If you need any help or advice on
Published by Brian Beattie, 22 Brookhill Road, Ramsey.
Printed from the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995