Dr Ewart speaking at the Greens Party Conference
Dr Ewart speaking at the Greens Party Conference

The Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance has written to the Isle of Man Government, asking for an investigation into possibly inappropriate party-political behaviour by Public Health Isle of Man.

Immediately prior to the recent Ramsey Town Commissioners election, the Director of Public Health, Dr Henrietta Ewart, spoke publicly at a Greens Party conference in front of a Greens Party banner. Her presentation at the Greens Party conference was then used by a Greens Party candidate for Ramsey Town Commissioners in political advertising online.

“Our public health bureaucracy needs to be independent, non-partisan, and trusted. It is difficult to imagine a senior public servant serving as a keynote speaker at a party political event of this nature in another Westminster-derived jurisdiction. In other jurisdictions, the civil service is expected to ensure that objectivity and political impartiality are maintained in all relationships to demonstrate integrity. Do such expectations not apply to the Manx civil service?” asked Michael Josem of the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance.

“Last week, the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance proactively raised concerns directly with the Isle of Man Government’s Office of Human Resources prior to this party political event, but it went ahead anyway. This shows a brazen disregard for the importance of political neutrality and independence by Public Health Isle of Man.”

“Public Health is too important for it to be politicised by the Director of Public Health in this manner. Attending and publicly delivering keynote speeches at party political conferences is inappropriate for any senior public servant, let alone one who is supposed to be leading an independent and non-partisan response to the COVID pandemic.”

The Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance has written to the Chief Secretary of the Isle of Man, asking him to investigate the matter, and whether it is appropriate for senior public servants to support party-political events in this manner.

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