[From 1911 MacDonnell Inquiry]
14. The claims of the petition under this head are that- -
(a.) The Lieutenant-Governor shall be appointed for a term of years only.
(b) He shall be assisted by an Advisory Council partly elected by the House
of Keys, partly nominated from the members of the Legislative Council.
(c) He shall cease to exercise direct control over the police, who should be
placed under the control of a Committee of Tynwald.
(d) He shall summon the House of Keys or the Tynwald Court on a petition
signed by not less than 13 members of each Court.
15. In regard to (a) we are unanimously of opinion that the prayer of the petition
should be granted. We see great disadvantages and no adequate counterbalancing
advantage in that tenure of an administrative appointment which is popularly
regarded as a tenure for life. We consider that the infusion of fresh blood, and the
introduction of new ideas, and of a novel outlook in affairs, far more than compensate
for the loss of old experience in local administration. Old experience is frequently
a disadvantage in administrative matters. This is recognised in our Colonial and
Indian Services, in the former of which the term of administrative office is six years,
while in the latter it is five. In both cases of course an extension of office is in
the discretion of the Government, and is made in exceptional cases, when the
circumstances of time or place dictate it.
It has been urged on us that the circumstances of the Isle
of Man call for
exceptional treatment as regards the length of the Lieutenant-Governor's tenure of
office, because the Lieutenant-Governors should be, it is alleged, of an age and political
standing that would militate against their seeking re-employment in Colonial
governorships ; that the appointment calls for heavy expenditure in furnishing the
Government House at Douglas; and that the existing Treasury practice as to pensions
would exclude from pension a Lieutenant-Governor serving as such for less than
ten years and having no other public service counting for pension. The practice
would allow a pension to a Lieutenant-Governor who had served for ten years and
was over 60 years of age or permanently incapacitated.
While we agree that the Lieutenant-Governors of the Isle of Man should be
persons of distinction, we think that the office is, or may be made, sufficiently
attractive to enlist the services of such men either without its being made an office
for life or without the prospect of a Colonial career to follow. We think that
suitable men could be secured as Lieutenant-Governors if the Government House
at Douglas were adequately furnished by the State, as is done in India and the
Colonies without charge made, and if the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor (not having
been already employed " in a Civil capacity " as defined by the Isle of Man (Officers)
Act, 1876,) were fixed at 2,0001. per annum, the office at the same time being declared
non-pensionable. Should the Lieutenant-Governor have been so employed (i.e., should;
he be a pensionable Civil servant or Colonial administrator,) we think the existing
arrangements, naively, a salary of 1,8001. a year, with pension rights, sufficient. - We
would, therefore, recommend that the office of Lieutenant-Governor should be for not
less than seven nor more than ten years, with power in the Government to give an
extension of office in their discretion.
16. We think it advisable to make it clear that the functions of the Lieutenant-
Governor are exerciseable subject to the control of the Secretary of State. We saw
some ground for thinking that the view locally prevails that the Lieutenant-Governor
exercises his power of veto of his own motion and independently of His Majesty's
Government ; and that his patronage of appointments in the Island is free and
unfettered. While we agree in thinking that a large measure of initiative in such
matters should be allowed to the Lieutenant-Governor we consider that there should
be no question as to the supreme controlling power of His Majesty's Government over
the Insular administration.
17. We have considered this proposal with great care ; but are unanimous in
thinking that such a council should not be created. In the first place, the conception
is foreign to the Manx Constitution, which in the Legislative Council provides for
the Lieutenant-Governor a body of Advisers, any or all of whom he may freely
consult. In the next place, the creation of an Advisory Council would introduce
into the Constitution of the Island an irresponsible, secret, and undefined power for
whose mistakes the Lieutenant-Governor would be responsible. Finally, we think
that the chances of friction with Tynwald and its Committees and the probabilities
of inefficiency in public administration would be very great if a council were
imposed on the Lieutenant-Governor, which he would be bound to consult, no matter
whether the members possessed his confidence or not. It is to be remembered that
the advocates of this proposal refuse to the Lieutenant-Governor the right of selecting
his Advisory Council.
The reason put forth in support of the proposal is that, in the belief of the
Petitioners, inadequate attention has been paid to the representations of the Keys
by some occupants of the Lieutenant-Governor's office. If this belief be well founded
(upon which point we express no opinion), the defect can be adequately guarded
against by other methods than the novel and doubtful means now proposed. One
effective method is the introduction of the elective element into the Legislative
Council (which. we shall propose under Head II.), whereby the Lieutenant-Governor,
who presides in the Council, will be brought into closer touch than heretofore
with popular opinion in the Island, while the people will be enabled to bring their
complaints directly to the Lieutenant-Governor's ear. Another effective method
will be furnished by the creation of a Finance and General Purposes Committee of
Tynwald, which, following a suggestion made by Mr. W. M. Kerruish (Q. 2350), we shall
for other and additional reasons propose when we come to deal with Head IV. of our
classification. For these reasons we are unanimously opposed to the creation of an
Advisory Committee, apart from the existing Council, to assist the Lietentant Governor.
18. We are unanimously opposed to the proposal to divest the Lieutenant-Governor
of direct control of the police and to place them under a Tynwald Board. The Isle
of Man police force is a small compact body of 60 men (exclusive of the pier and
harbour police of 18 men) scattered over the Island, among whom the maintenance of
strict discipline and a high standard of efficiency are essential. These conditions in
the circumstances of the Island are much more likely to be fulfilled, especially during
the "visiting" season, if the force is under personal, than if it is under corporate,
control. One of the reasons for the proposed change was based on a misapprehension
of the powers of the police under the existing law to prevent dancing and. singing in
drinking saloons. But the chief reason was dissatisfaction with the personnel of the
controlling staff. To the Chairman's question (Q 1930), " Then your dissatisfaction
concentrates upon the control of the police ? " Mr. Kerruish, one of the most
important and well-informed leaders of the Reform movement, replied " Entirely."
Since our inquiry a change has taken place and the control of the police has now
passed into younger and more energetic hands ; and if more control over public-houses
is desired it rests with Tynwald to arrange for the necessary legislation. No adequate
reason, therefore, for adopting a measure of very doubtful expediency seems to exist,
and we recommend that no change be made in existing arrangements.
19. We think this proposal should. be approved. It is unobjectionable, while
may on occasions prove of use. At the same time we recommend that under no
circumstances should a period of more than four months elapse between two sessions
of the Legislative Council and the House of Keys.