Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to present my manifesto having had the privilege of serving the constituency and the island since my election to the House of Keys in 1998.
This manifesto provides a summery of the principles and strategies for which I shall be seeking your endorsement in the forthcoming General Election on the 22nd November, 2W1. The policies show a clear vision with common sense and practical solutions to the many and varied issues which affect us in the constituency Douglas, the Island and internationally.
I have moved away from the usual, simple leaflet layout and gone towards a more professional, goal-orientated approach so that you can see and measureó my achievement, commitment and future planning. Policies are backed up with actions. They represent a full range of issues, which is essential for work in the Isle of Man Parliament.
So, I set out precisely where I believe we are now, where we want to be and how we are going to get there, the ingredients required to motivate and provide for a successful formula. It is therefore a more substantial document, but kept in a light, readable format, with separate headings throughout so you can "dip in "to various sections rather than having to read the entire document at one go.
I made five clear commitments to the people of North Douglas when I stood for election in 1998:
I resigned my position at Ballamona Hospital following my election and moved to Douglas in November of that year. I have given a lOO% commitment to my parliamentary role as a truly independent Member. I have aLso had the support of the Alliance for Progressive Government, (APG). The APG is not a political party, but a check on the block vote of the Council of Ministers. It has two main objectives -promotion of key policies in the national interest and support for each other in securing constituentsí interests.
I feel I have achieved "a strong new voice" in the Islandís Legislature.
As many of you already know I have helped constituents individually and collectively. In doing this I have developed a positive and professional working relationship with John Houghton. Difficult problems require double the effort and this has certainly worked for the benefit of the constituency. Moreover, where necessary questions have been asked in the House of Keys and Tynwald to ensure problems are followed through on your behalf.
In the last three years work in the House of Keys and Tynwald has been extremely important for the constituency and the Island. Events off the Island in particular outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and more recently. terrorism in the USA - will have immediate and more long-term implications for us.
In both my work for the constituency and on national
matters I have been very active in the Legislature. I have initiated debates, asked parliamentary questions, and proposed amendments to legislation. I have supported the introduction of important new legislation on:
I have also supported major new policy initiatives on:
In short this document sets out my vision and that of constituents I have been speaking with - a five year strategic business plan for you, the constituency and the Island. It illustrates my beliefs and what I feel is right for our community. It addresses national issues in a direct way, but just as important it addresses the immediate concerns and needs of ordinary people.
I do not make rash promises in this substantial blue print for the constituency and the Island. What I do promise is 100% commitment to represent your views with openness and honesty and work towards these policies during the life of the next House of Keys. My place will be to carry them forward and support those of the Government where appropriate. They will not be achieved quickly or easily and it will be up to me to take every suitable opportunity to promote them. But if you re-elect me I am willing to have a go!
I wish to place on record my sincere thanks to all those who have encouraged and supported me throughout the last three and a half years, and during this election campaign. Please give me your support on November 22nd.
Five Point Overview
The Challenge for the Isle of Man -the next five years - a blue print for the future
The greatest challenge facing the Island over the next five years and beyond is undoubtedly consolidating and building upon our economic success, ensuring our business and market attractiveness remain for the finance sector and other business, balanced with sustainability It is also about diversification as currently the largest proportion of the Islands wealth is generated directly or indirectly by our finance industry. We must recognise and work towards:
1 The International Picture
The Island has done remarkably well developing its finance sector, insurance portfolio, shipping register, film industries and new "On Line" gaming business. We are emerging as a top class player in our specialty/niche markets on the world stage and should progress so that we are seen as partners in these areas within the "global community."
Liaison with the Lord Chancellorís Department and the UK Government is generally improving: increasingly it is the Island, and not the UK Government that presents our position in the EU and international forums, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations. The Island has come out very positively following recent UK and international scrutiny, especially from the Edwards Review and the OECD.
However, we have more to do in promoting our international image and deflecting criticism. This is still a weakness in the Islandís strategy, as demonstrated by recent media accusations about terrorist funds. A mechanism must be developed to respond to this sort of highly publicised and damaging misrepresentation.
2 Planning for IOM plc
Strategic Planning provides the essential vision, direction and purpose. This is the driving force for the community, which provides the continuing economic success and stability the Island requires. It provides the main mechanism to steer us steadily towards chosen and opportune goals that will meet our needs and aspirations. This must be coordinated, with enough detailed information feeding into Government and Tynwald, to ensure quality decisions are made to achieve those aims.
It gives a greater ability to look ahead, sense threats and plan contingency actions. It causes the local, national and international scene to be continuously monitored and provides an enhanced capability to predict and better determine the required market and economic directions to be taken. The Island would then be in a far more pro active position to anything that may happen, rather than with the current shorter term planning assumptions and overview.
The present Government Policy Document goes some way towards this, but strategic planning requires further development, thus ensuring a greater degree of security for our future development and growth:
A Central Planning and Information Division needs to be created to co-ordinate these specialist functions. This must include building further and more comprehensive UK, European and world contacts.
We need to learn from the Edwards Review, and the recent air insurance fiasco - and not be caught unprepared, and forced into an urgent reactive stance, which does not always produce the best solutions for the Island.
A steadily rising population - now officially estimated to be 76,000, and possibly rising eventually to 120,000 people can not be sustained without consequences. Government is committed to a combination of unrestricted residency and development. The reality of residency management will ultimately have to be grasped.
The effect the current policy on our community is plain for all to see - busier roads, rising school numbers, growing hospital waiting lists, amenities under pressure, people recruited from elsewhere, and of course the housing problem all competing for one set of resources, which have not grown in proportion. We must aim for:
Ministerial Government needs to be reviewed. At times it is a cumbersome, managerial system. It is not as responsive as it should be to Tynwald and the wider Island Community. It is a system that can engender an institutional aloofness, and a detachment from real problems. It carries a "powerful block vote" and promotes an autocratic process that dictates it should not be challenged or questioned; "The Jurby Pit" being a prime example. Improvements are required so that:
5 Constitutional Development
The Island must continue to sustain, evolve and develop its constitutional status, with a view to enhancing our autonomy. In particular we must increase our constitutional capacity to conduct our external relations. This will ultimately place the Isle of Man in a far stronger position for sustaining and developing its economy.
"The greatest challenge facing the Island over the next five years and beyond undoubtedly consolidating and building upon our economic success. . .balanced with sustainability."
POLICIES - for Health, Social Reform, Employment, Law& Order Housing, Energy, The Environment & our Natural Heritage which I will promote:
A CHARTER FOR HEALTH
We have a National Health Service which we can be justifiably proud of, a system which helps many people and provides quality care.
We need to work towards an even more fully patient-orientated service, which is more sympathetic to individual needs. A Health Service which is results and quality driven using "performance league tables" ensuring medical competence and performance can be measured. Performance comparisons do not exist currently, and complaints regarding the service continue and medical accidents are still occurring.
We also need:
As the economy streaks away, there is an increasing layer of our community being left behind, including a section of people who were once able to manage but are now finding it increasingly more difficult. Our people deserve a better chance; they have a right to a dignified standard of living, and a right to achieve their true potential and aspirations. There are also families who require support, assistance and education: especially those who have children with special needs.
The Social Service system is under pressure to provide that assistance. It should be one of Governmentís top priorities to do more to help and assist the less fortunate, especially in this time of plenty:
Our National Insurance Fund must continue to be protected and safe for the future good of the community.
Our pensioners do better than in the UK, which is excellent. But the foundations of this Islandís success have been built on their endeavours. The theme must he - "retirement with dignity, support and companionship" - the value of our older citizens must be more fully recognised.
The goal of independence, living in our own homes for as long as we can - requires an improved fuller state retirement package ensuring pensioners health, safety, care, comfort, their voluntary carers, social and family contact needs are more fully met than at present. We also need to work towards:
This range of measures should not be provided on the basis of a rigid age qualification. They should be made available on a more flexible needs basis.
The economic success of the Island is created by its hardworking people. However, they are provided with very weak protection in the current employment legislation. Reform of employment legislation is urgently required to bring the Island up to international standards and give employees and staff fair support and a framework which can effectively challenge poor employment practices; and that legislation must also support employers. We must begin by:
Law and Order
As our community develops and the population grows, it is becoming ever more cosmopolitan. Law and order i&sues are increasing in parallel with this. Consequently we see more violent crime, robberies, opportunistic crime, vandalism and drug abuse, which occurs more frequently on weekend nights. The Police Force need more staff, the fetters of the Government "staff cap" must be removed from this vital public service so that adequate numbers of full time officers can be employed to meet the safety needs of our community. Everyone has the right to feel safe and be safe.
Equally, throwing people "behind bars" is not always the answer. Someone incarcerated for any length of time, locked up for most of the day and then released after several years can hardly be said to be rehabilitated. Not all criminals will re-offend if given a chance to change their life circumstances and learn and re-learn life and community skills. We do need a better system with more positive approaches which must include:
The Community Partnership - some initiatives for a safer community:
"Closing an eye or curtain" to something for fear of any comeback, must become a thing of the past - we need to return to better values and ideals by promoting safer neighbourhoods."
Unfortunately there are a minority of hardened criminal minds who have little or no regard for anything or anyone within our community. They are driven by self-interest and their own anti social desires. These people are dangerous and can not easily be rehabilitated. This requires a more appropriate sentencing regime, to protect the public and the vulnerable:
The Government led housing programme must be supported and ensured it meets the needs of our community. Young first time house buyers and older people wishing to move to a smaller property are out of "mortgage range" and out of the buyers market- unable to move or destined to live in either expensive rental or cheaper substandard accommodation or young people having to continue to live at home with their parents. The current Government programme must support:
Housing when vacated must be made ready for new tenants as soon a practical, this may mean more resources and better supervision.
Education and our Young People
Our young people are the future of this Island. Any education system must reflect their modern needs and enable them to grow and develop to their full, individual potential - setting a firm foundation for their chosen careers and life ahead. Wherever possible, our young people must be helped, supported and encouraged. They are, our priceless investment in the future.
A full review of the resources required by the Department of Education is called for. The Council of Ministers need to understand that this Department is under funded and understaffed. This must be combined with the following:
Our young people, like young people everywhere are exposed to a greater choice of entertainment and life experience than ever before.
Their standard of living has substantially increased. Their needs are changing as our community develops. The "old style" youth club in the church hall still has its place, as do our traditions in sporting activities, but realistically, young people now require further elements to the two "community staples" of the past:
Partnership approaches between Government, Local Authorities and the Private Sector. Working towards:
The Islandís energy requirements are of paramount importance and effect the entire community, especially our most vulnerable members. A modern more environmentally friendly power source, which can meet current energy needs and allow for future growth is the way forward. We must ensure:
We must develop policies, which reduce environmental threats to our Island:
Our natural heritage is one of the Islandís greatest assets and recognised as internationally important. We are one of the few places left in the British Isles and Europe that can boast Heather Moorland, Peregrine Falcons, Choughs, Hen Harriers, Basking Sharks, and an Elm tree population of some 250,000 trees which leading experts agree is one of the best in the world. We also have a variety of rare habitats and plants, not to mention the views and open spaces. Therefore we must:
Some key policies I Support:
My commitment to you -
My last manifesto included commitments on:
ACHIEVEMENTS - DELIVERED - TO YOU
A considerable number of parliamentary questions have been put to Ministers in the House of Keys and Tynwald. This is an important aspect of an MHKís work and they have covered a wide range of local, national and international issues. This enables these issues to be highlighted and policies questioned. Subjects covered in questions have included:
Placing a Private Memberís motion for debate in Tynwald or the House of Keys is an important and major enterprise. It usually requires extensive personal research, and if successful, it becomes a parliamentary resolution, usually with a significant Government response as a consequence. I have placed motions for the following matters to be debated, with the outcomes indicated:
Another important part of an MHKís work, is preparing and presenting legislation in the House of Keys. This is done either as a Private Members Bill, or through the medium of a Government Department of which an MHK may be a member. I took The Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 2000 through the House of Keys, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
This legislation makes it illegal to grow genetically modified plants (GMOs) on the Isle of Man, until more is known about this and it has been proved safe to do so. The Isle of Man is the first country in the world to introduce this type of legislation, recognising the possible health and environmental threats "GMOs" represent.
I have also moved amendments to legislation:
I have also supported other Members amendments:
The new Island Forest Policy. I have promoted and driven this as part of being a member of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The new forest policy will protect our heather moors and hill land from further planting of coniferous type trees, and recognises these areas as internationally important and one of the Islandís largest natural assets which should be protected for the community and future generations.
Road Closures - new crossing corridors now in place when there is no racing, plus other measures such as on wet days - the roads will stay open until racing, or cancelled the previous day moving away from the situation of the roads being unnecessarily staying shut all day for no reason.
New Prison - not now being built over Victoria Avenue and Linden Grove - right next to peopleís houses.
Law and order - Constituency Police Station now reopened with dedicated staff working from it. I have also pressed for CCTV and alcohol free zones.
Empty houses lying vacant - both public sector and private - "turn over" speeded up.
Public Sector housing maintenance programme's now being monitored, speeded up - double glazing programme for Willaston well underway - we will see this completed over the next couple of years or so - we were previously told - "never in our life time."
Road repairs ongoing - monitored and requested when needed.
Footpath repairs and street lighting - programme's well underway, monitored and requested when needed.
Planning Issues - residents helped in presenting cases having an impact on their area.
Nobleís Park drainage scheme - money now approved to commence this vital works scheme. We do not want anymore floods in Dukeís Road, Poplar Road or running into Marathon Drive and Victoria Crescent.
Road Safety Issues - Traffic congestion, parking, Disc Zones and dumped vehicles, helping residents campaign for improvements - all being addressed and ongoing: Road Crossing Patrol Officer for Cronky Berry School - now in place, requests in for new Pelican Crossings and especially at Laureston Terrace and near "Willaston Corner."
The adoption of roads and green open spaces at Governorís Hill Estate - at last - now we can tackle the road safety/traffic calming measures that are needed and all the things that many of you have pointed out when I have spoken to you "on the door step" in recent months.
Single, individual problems addressed and constituents helped.
Always accessible, and in touch with the people of the constituency.
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
The commitment to the Constituency - I will continue to push and campaign for:
THE NORTH DOUGLAS SERVICE PLEDGE TO CONSTITUENTS
Bill Henderson is 39 years of age, married to Lisa, with one son - Alexander Finlo, and has been a Member of the House of Keys since 1998. He is a qualified Psychiatric Nurse and was formerly a Hospital Night Manager at Ballamona Hospital. Bill is Manx, and was born and brought up in North Douglas where his family still live. He attended Ballakermeen and Douglas High Schools. He is a professionally qualified Health Service Manager, a Member of the Institute of Health Service Managers and of the Institute of Management.
He has always maintained strong political and social interests, voicing concerns over the new hospital, employee legislation and Health Service issues. Bill developed the Nursing Division of the Transport and General Workers Union of which he was at the forefront for ten years as the Nurses Representative. He has retained links with the Union.
He also supports the Islandís conservation and natural heritage and is a founder member of Manx Ecological Concern. Bill is a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Manx Wildlife Trust and the Basking Shark Society. Manx culture, heritage, the Islandís history and language are also especially important to him.
During the past three years Bill Henderson has acquired significant parliamentary and Government experience. He has been an active and informed Member of the House of Keys and Tynwald. He was a Member of the Department of Education with special responsibility for Youth and Community, Special Needs and the Chairman of the Student Awards Committee.
He is currently a Member of the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), where he is Chairman of the Forestry Division and has special responsibility for conservation.
CAN YOU HELP ON 22nd NOVEMBER? Please ring 617105
COMMITTEE ROOMS FOR THE DAY - ST. MARTINS, 9, THIRD AVENUE, DOUGLAS - 621743 - ON THE DAY
Published by Bill Henderson, 12 Alexander Drive, Douglas
Printed via the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995