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BallaDoc

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  1. You could say the same about alcohol: wine is stronger than beer, spirits are stronger than wine. But because it's legal and highly regulated and taxed, you know exactly what you're getting because it's printed on the label.
  2. http://www.iomtoday.co.im/article.cfm?id=47959&headline=Doctor in court for importing cannabis through the post&sectionIs=NEWS&searchyear=2019 I wonder how long we will keep prosecuting people for possession of small quantities of cannabis (in this case 14.95 grams) because it seems to me that this is a (largely) victimless crime and that the public expense and individual collateral damage of these prosecutions outweighs any theoretical benefits of them. This chap will have to report himself, or be reported, to the General Medical Council, but fortunately for him, the GMC doesn't seem to take much interest in this sort of thing and is unlikely to discipline him or take away his licence. The other thing which continually surprises me is why people keep doing things which they are very likely to get caught for. Don't they read the newspapers? Three things which come up over and over again in the weekly court cases are importing cannabis through the post, drink driving and accessing online child pornography, and you would have thought that people would have started to get the message by now.
  3. Spring is here, and I have taken the plunge and rented an allotment. Growing hanging baskets in my back garden was like a gateway drug. It was OK at first but after a while I just didn't get the same buzz from it and I needed more. I tried geraniums and pansies - didn't think there was any harm in it. Then I was irresistibly drawn to the hard stuff, Brussels sprouts, peas, tomatoes, that sort of thing. I couldn't walk past a garden centre without buying stuff. So now I've been thrown out by my family and told to go do it on the allotment. Above is a picture of my allotment, which at present is a sad looking patch of weeds, old tyres and other junk. Also by the look of it a few resident rabbits. This what happens to gardeners when they hit rock bottom. However, over the next six months I am planning to transform this into a food forest. Watch this space.
  4. I don't think any politicians, anywhere, have the guts to face the facts, tell people what needs to be done and do what needs to be done. For example, the Manx Radio article talks about "planning for when the Pulrose Power Station is scheduled for decommissioning in 2030." OK, let's talk about that. The power station uses 110 million cubic metres of natural gas per year to generate most of the island's electricity. That makes a sizable contribution towards global warming, and at some point we will have to stop burning natural gas anyway because there is a finite supply of it. The energy generated by the power station (4,000 million megajoules per year) could in theory be generated by 45 8MW wind turbines stationed around the island, similar to the ones you can see on a clear day in Liverpool Bay. If the Pulrose station is to be decommissioned in 11 years, we would need to start building those wind turbines now so they are ready to come online in 2030. So far, we haven't managed to build a single wind turbine, never mind 45 of them, because the NIMBYs don't want to spoil the view. And that's quite apart from the upfront cost, which would probably be much greater than building another gas-fired power station. And it also doesn't take into account the fact that we buy more gas than we need from the UK, turn it into electricity and then sell it back to the UK, although quite how that works as a long term business plan I'm not sure, because you'd have thought that if the UK got wind of what we are doing, it might cut out the middleman and build its own gas turbine... I actually can't see Mr Boot or Tynwald making the necessary difficult decisions and hard choices about any of this.
  5. There is indeed an item in the current Pink Book which earmarks £250,000 for "design fees for non-tidal marina development". It is mentioned in several places. Does anyone know what this is, or which marina it refers to? It probably doesn't refer to Ramsey Marina, but you never know, and it is rather sloppy accountancy to have an item of this magnitude in the budget but with insufficient information to identify what it is.
  6. One further thought. At the bottom of the official Ramsey Marina website, under "Technical Advisors" it says "Beckett Rankine, a leading marine engineering consultancy, is advising on the marine aspects...". Their website is here: https://beckettrankine.com/ Now that is a company which inspires confidence, because their website lists the marinas and other developments they have project managed, they appear to have vast experience, and there are actual photos of the actual things they have done. On the other hand, with the Ramsey Marina project, you have a trio of (apparently) inexperienced people attempting to project manage some project managers who appear to have vastly more experience than they do. How is that supposed to work, and what extra value do the Ramsey Marina promoters add? What happens if there is a dispute between the Ramsey Marina promoters and Beckett Rankine: who has the last word? Wouldn't it be better to cut the Ramsey Marina promoters out of the picture altogether and have Beckett Rankine project manage this?
  7. Six hundred people are booked to attend the Ramsey marina meeting tonight (Wednesday): http://www.iomtoday.co.im/article.cfm?id=47100&headline=Six hundred booked for marina meeting&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2019 Unfortunately due to family commitments I won’t be able to go myself, but if anyone from here is going, I’d be very interested if they would maybe ask a few questions and post something here tomorrow. I’m in favour of the project in principle, which would be fantastic for Ramsey if it’s built, but I’m having great difficulty establishing the basic facts about the people behind it, and their backgrounds (if any) in marine engineering. A project this ambitious should really be managed by people who know what they are doing, otherwise there’s a danger that a lot of energy and money could be dissipated with no useful result. Even if it’s only private money which is wasted and not public money, that would still be money which has exited from the local economy, leaving it poorer as a result. Here’s a few examples of what I mean: The official website for the Ramsey Marina project is at http://ramseymarina.com/ This gives an outline of the project, a map, and bios of the organisers. So far so good. Looking at Robin Bromley-Martin’s bio, it says: “He has been involved with marine projects nearly all his career all over the world, and presently is CEO and major shareholder of a company building three major ports in West Africa for handling containers and supporting offshore drilling rigs.” Super – he sounds like just the man for the job. So what is this company and where are these ports? The company isn’t named, but Google suggests that it’s Port Evolution and Development, whose website can be found here: http://www.port-edl.com/ It’s a glossy website explaining how the team project manages port development, and there’s a section of the website labelled “Recent experience”. Aha – now we’re getting somewhere. The recent experience apparently involves project management and fund raising for the upgrade of two existing port facilities in Russia, total value US$400m. Also project management and fund raising for the development of an offshore supply base and associated industrial facilities in Nigeria, total value US$500m. Also a feasibility study for a new port facility for a private client, also in Nigeria. Great – so where are these ports and can we see photos of them? The website doesn’t say. On the section of the website labelled “Contact” there is a photo of a container port, and one would assume, with all this experience, that they would use a photo of one of the container ports they have project managed. http://www.port-edl.com/contact/ However, this doesn’t appear to be the case. If you right-click on the photo and select “Search Google for image” you can find numerous examples of this photo turning up in websites relating to India, Malaysia, Nicaragua and various places in Latin America, and it seems to be a generic port photo which is used as a stock image. So I phoned the great man himself, Robin Bromley-Martin, a few weeks ago and had a conversation in which I asked him which ports he had project managed. He is a most affable fellow, very easy to talk to, but I came away with relatively few hard facts. My understanding is that he is involved with some sort of feasibility study for extending a container port at Calabar, Nigeria, and there may be some preparatory harbour dredging work about to start, but nothing more than that on the ground. There is also a second similar project at (I think) Cotonou in Benin, which is about 150 miles west of Calabar, but that is also just at the "project development" stage and there is also nothing on the ground, other than the existing container port infrastructure which has been built by someone else. I was unable to establish whether he had actually built anything himself, and if so what and where. So if anyone can glean any more facts from tonight’s meeting, I would be most interested to hear them.
  8. Yes, that particular decision shifted the centre of gravity of the town up towards the north end and contributed to the decline of Queen's Pier, which was left as a "stranded asset" in a part of the town where hardly anybody now went. Queen's Pier used to feed directly into what used to be Ramsey town centre with all the sleazy pubs, sailors' and fishermen's lodgings, boarding houses, small shops and all the things one would expect from a small port.
  9. Still on the trail of Mr Bromley-Martin... Take a look at this: it's the "Contact" page of one of Mr B-M's websites, Port Evolution and Development: http://www.port-edl.com/contact/ See the picture on the page: it's a picture of a container port, the implication being that it's one of the Russian or Nigerian ports they helped to build. However, there is nothing in the picture to identify the port, it could be any container port, anywhere in the world. Now look at this page: https://unifeed.club/view/3a33f8-puertos-mas-importantes-de-panama/ It shows "Important Ports of Panama" and the exact same picture appears on it. Oh and, by the way, the exact same picture appears again here: http://myelection.info/guide/a/astronomos-mas-importantes-de-america-latina.html That's on a page called "Things To Do In Latin America" (it's in Spanish, so pardon my translation) Mr B-M kindly gave his phone number on the "Contacts" page, above, so I called him yesterday, spoke briefly to Yer Man (who was apparently in between important business meetings) and said I was interested in finding out more about his Nigerian port project(s) and how it related to the Ramsey project. I left him my phone number and email address, he said he'd get back to me but so far he hasn't yet. I'll keep you posted. And if anyone can identify the port in the photo, I'd be very interested.
  10. I’m interested in this project because I live very close to where it’s proposed to be, and I’m in favour of it in principle because I can see it would have the potential to revitalise Ramsey if it goes ahead. So I’m not here to knock it. BUT I have found it surprisingly difficult to find out any reliable information about Robin Bromley-Martin or the companies he’s been associated with. Let’s try the basics first – Google for him. This brings up a few websites which he is associated with, including this one: http://www.port-edl.com/ (Port Evolution and Development (Africa) Limited) and a linked-in page, and a Facebook page. The trouble is, they are all self-written, anyone can write anything about themselves and it doesn’t necessarily need to be true. What I’m looking for is something independent written about him by someone else. So there’s this from Companies House: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/pRmPHlxY7cdgWTuR02ub7X9CmWY/appointments which lists a number of companies he’s been associated with, most of which he’s resigned from. Let’s work down the list. The first one is Port Evolution and Development (Africa) Limited, which is the one associated with the website above, and we’ll come back to that in a minute. Next up is Blutel Holdings Limited (dissolved). Googling this, I can’t find anything substantial about what (if anything) this company did, or why it was dissolved. Next: Bighead Limited, Bighead Bonding Fasteners Limited and various associated companies. This seems to be a genuine engineering group making steel fasteners and other components, but he resigned from all companies in the group in 2009, and it didn’t seem to have anything to do with ports or harbours. So, back to Port Evolution and Development (Africa) Limited. Visiting their website, it is full of glorious self-promotion about how they have been involved in developing port facilities in Russia (project value $400M USD) and Nigeria (project value $500M USD) but the ports concerned are not named, and Googling for “Port Evolution and Development” doesn’t bring up any useful information either: nothing for example from any British, Russian or Nigerian news media, saying how wonderful (or otherwise) the new ports were after they were built, and how grateful everyone is to the company for bringing jobs to the area, etc. So it’s impossible to verify the information. So long story short, it’s very difficult to establish whether these are people / companies of any substance, or whether they are just full of froth and self promotion.
  11. There was a typo in that - you meant to say "nicer" place
  12. My initial reaction on seeing this was "WTF?" but having got over the initial shock, I am cautiously in support of it provided no public money is put at risk. I'm somewhat doubtful whether enough yachtspeople could be attracted to the marina to make it pay, but if they can, it would be a great idea. There should be more opportunities for employment in Ramsey, so you don't have so many people doing the daily commute from Ramsey to Douglas over the mountain (hands up - I am one of said commuters). It should generate a number of pubs, restaurants, yacht chandlers and that sort of thing. I would point out however that the map he is using is rather out of date: the "gas holders" shown opposite Ramsey inner harbour have long since been demolished and there is a new Haven Homes housing development on the site now.
  13. Personally, I think the IOM Examiner ought to know better than to publish this stuff. I'm in favour of whistleblowing where appropriate, but concerns ought to be raised internally in the first instance, with your line manager, admin staff, internal whistleblowing procedures or whatever. Then, and only then, if you get no joy doing that, should you go to the Press. Conspicuously absent from the whistleblower's claims is anything to the effect that "I raised my concerns with my manager but (s)he told me to go away"
  14. She is indeed a very good looking witch. Is that Winter Heliotrope she is wearing on her head?
  15. You forgot to mention the Canadian Loonie (the one dollar coin). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loonie Now now children, settle down, it's not what you think, it's named after a Canadian waterbird
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