Isle of Man Green Party
Date: 20 July 2021
Minister Baker Ignores Human Right to Democracy
By the direct consequence of decisions taken by the Council of Ministers of the Isle of Man Government in respect of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Isle of Man is now rising at a rate double that in the United Kingdom (per head of population). In the new normal of life with COVID-19, this was an event that was a patently obvious possibility to occur, and, given that we are now 16 months on from the start of the outbreak, one that should have delivered the cogent planning and preparation by the Department of Infrastructure necessary to protect the human right of democracy as enshrined in Isle of Man law through the Human Rights Act 2001:
Right to free elections
The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.”
Under section 6A of the Council of Ministers Act 1990, the Council of Ministers are under a legal duty to uphold the rule of law, including those fundamental principles of democracy enshrined in the Human Rights Act.
Accordingly, it was to the dismay of the Isle of Man Green Party to hear Mr Tim Baker MHK, Minister for the Department of Infrastructure, refer in Tynwald today, to those citizens of the Isle of Man excluded from their human right to participate in free elections due to having to isolate with no alternative provision granted to them by Mr Baker’s Department, alleging: -
“With the relatively modest turnout in local authority elections, the actual number of votes that are really going to be impacted here is going to be relatively modest.”
In fact, the entirely avoidable event has highlighted the abject and derisory failure by Minister Baker and his Department’s local authority team to support the delivery of democratic outcomes for our society, including measures such as postal voting and digital voting.
To protect our community’s fundamental rights, we call upon Minister Baker to take urgent action to allow those impacted by COVID-19 to exercise their democratic right safely in the local elections this Thursday 22 July. We welcome Mr Baker’s indication that he may revisit this issue before Thursday.