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Emma Gaines November – January

I am four months into my internship now and it has been a varied, interesting and challenging four months. November brought the pressure of finishing and implementing my ideas for the primary school tours in preparation for my first school tour of the Chambers. I came up with a new idea for the school tours so that now they are a mock sitting instead of a scripted debate. I also sent out letters to all school head teachers inviting them to visit Tynwald and offering them further education and outreach services.

At the end of November I hosted my first school tour and took Year 6 from Marown Primary School around the Chambers.

They were very enthusiastic and interested but I think a visit from their MHKs (Mr Shimmins MHK and Chief Minister) definitely helped! The students picked their debate topics prior to coming and occupied the seats of the MHKs in the House of Keys. My favourite was ‘If you do the crime, should your parents do the time?’ The students used the official House of Keys electronic voting system and I think most will be able to guess the result of that one…..

At the end of November the Island had a visit from the European Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3). The aim of the visit was to discuss with stakeholders different aspects linked to the fight against money laundering, and tax evasion and avoidance. In Tynwald, this falls under the remit of the PAC and EPRC. I am assistant Clerk to EPRC so I was allowed to attend this meeting and observe. It was quite surreal to meet politicians from all over Europe and this was definitely not something I thought I would be doing in my second month of my internship. Hearing the views on the IOM of Members from all over Europe, and listening to Members from Tynwald Committees explain was extremely interesting and insightful. It’s safe to say the European Politicians made the most of the Tynwald gift shop as well!

Much of December and January has been focused on Committee work. I am now Assistant Clerk to three Committees. This work has been extremely valuable helping me develop many skills which I am sure will be very useful in the future. It is particularly interesting attending oral evidence sessions; so far I have attended some private oral evidence sessions and a public one on the Harbours Strategy. I will also attend my first general oral evidence session this week with the Financial Services Authority as part of their annual hearings to EPRC.

Over the next few weeks I have some important tasks to do for my Committees and I have also organised a number of school visits to Tynwald for the coming months. I am also coming up with a series of workshops for schools and as part of that I will be delivering presentations to Castle Rushen, QE11 and Ramsey Grammar School over the next few weeks.