Nicola Cowsill | January 2016
For some it is the start of the New Year, for Tynwald we are well through the parliamentary year. Although the Tynwald members were in recess until the January Tynwald sitting it is business as usual for the staff of the Clerk of Tynwald’s office.
I am still working as the Secretary for the Tynwald Advisory Council for Disabilities. As well as updating the website which is part of the secretarial role, this month I redesigned the website making it clearer to read and adding some accessibility features.
I was tasked with undertaking research for our members who were attending the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians British Islands and the Mediterranean Region conference in Guernsey on the subject matter: policies and legislation for the empowerment of women. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP)
promotes the representation of women in parliaments and works towards the mainstreaming of gender in all legislation and across society. In addition to CWP International, there are regional groups of the CWP with their own steering committees and programmes of activities. The Isle of Man is in the British Islands and the Mediterranean Region of CWP and our representatives, Madam President and Mrs Kate Beecroft, attended. The research involved liaising with Isle of Man Government Departments and researching legislation and policies within the Isle of Man.
The scheduled Tynwald tours run throughout the winter but we don’t see as many visitors! If I find an interesting fact during my library research I add it to the tour script.
I found out that in the 1960’s Lieutenant Governor Ronald Garvey gifted a Manx cat called Peta to the UK Home Office after their resident cat, Peter, died. The problem was Peta wasn’t toilet trained but as she had diplomatic status she could not be given away, so some years later she had to receive the ‘golden paw’ and went into early retirement.
This piece of information will go on our tour script as on the walls of the Legislative Council we have photographs of all the past Lieutenant Governors up to the 1980’s.
The Lieutenant Governor used to be the Chair of Legislative Council and the Tynwald Chamber before the introduction of the role of President.
The President of Tynwald
The President of Tynwald is the presiding officer at the sittings of Tynwald in Douglas and is elected by the members of Tynwald from amongst their number. The presiding officer remains impartial but has, in the case of a tied vote in the Legislative Council on a division, a casting vote. The President authorises the Order Paper for sittings, is responsible for controlling the procedure of Tynwald Court and for the authoritative interpretation of its Standing Orders. The current President is the Hon Clare Margaret Christian BSc MLC who was elected in July 2011.