CHIEF Minister Tony Brown MHK has appealed to people of Manx descent in the USA and Canada to help promote the Island and defend its reputation in their countries.
Speaking at the 50th convention of the North American Manx Association (NAMA) in Denver, Colorado, Mr Brown told delegates: ‘We do realise that in today’s world the Isle of Man cannot stand alone. We need your help, as proud and well-informed descendants of sturdy and resilient Manx folk.’
Suggesting various ways in which NAMA could assist, he said: ‘You can speak up for the Isle of Man’s record when you hear your politicians unfairly criticise us; you can share your knowledge with those who may not know anything about the Island.’ He also urged them to visit the government’s website and sign up to be a Global Friend of the Isle of Man.
The Chief Minister congratulated Association members for nurturing their links with the home of their ancestors and thanked them for their on-going commitment to preserving Manx heritage and culture. He noted that their commitment had been demonstrated in many ways, including current activity to establish a Manx Museum within the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.
Providing an update on the Island’s diverse economy and its role as an international business centre, the Chief Minister explained: ‘The Isle of Man government now has much more control of its external affairs, and as an example, we now enter into bilateral agreements with countries around the world – particularly in relation to taxation matters – and our government is an active player in a number of global initiatives. The Isle of Man is now truly a member of the international community.’
The Chief Minister said that as an international business centre the Isle of Man was facing intensified scrutiny by larger countries, even though the Island upheld international standards in regulating business and had often been at the forefront of developing such standards.
He reminded delegates: ‘The Isle of Man does not support tax evasion or fraud, and we have never had banking secrecy. We work quietly with the authorities from many nations, including the United States, to help bring people who carry on such activities to justice, and we have been instrumental in successfully initiating and assisting in a number of important cases in the US. Our co-operation in such matters is firmly recognised by the US Treasury and enforcement agencies.’
On his return to the Isle of Man, the Chief Minister said: ‘Members of the North American Manx Association were very grateful that I was there to represent the Isle of Man as they celebrated this significant anniversary. Delegates in a workshop on tracing one’s ancestors were particularly keen to learn more about the progress of Manx National Heritage’s Ancestry Centre which is expected to open early in 2011 and has future plans for giving on-line access to its collections of parish registers, census forms, photos, newspapers and film and sound archives.
‘I also took the opportunity to urge as many as possible to visit the Isle of Man in 2014 when NAMA holds its convention here.’