Councillor Mervyn Yon returned to the island on Friday 22 June. Yon attended the 42nd British Island and Mediterranean region annual conference in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. The conference, hosted by the Scotland Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was a four day conference, with the theme 'Making Parliaments Relevant.'
Before Yon left in June he told The Sentinel there were two topics at the conference of particular interest to him, preventative spend and the media.
"Preventative spend; they talk about it a little different as to what would suit St Helena," explains Yon, "St Helena is an aid dependent country and we have to make do with what we've got. It's a little different over there, what they're trying to do with regards to preventative spend is to do more work for less money, that is their big aim. St Helena only has one pot that has to be shared amongst so many, therefore I can't see where that would work in St Helena. I did give input as to the way we operate in St Helena, we're almost on the same line as them, instead we spend first and save later. We are all talking in the same terms with regards to try and get more work for less money."
What did you learn about the media that you didn't already know?
"The media was very interesting," said Yon "there were two parts; one part, the media taking democracy to new ordinances and the second, making parliament relevant to the media. They talked about all the different ways in which the media can be used. They brought up about half a dozen and more different ways, for example like Facebook, Twitter and things like that. They said the media is a very useful tool but we need to use it in the best way possible to suit everybody, it is one of the easiest ways of getting through to the public and constituents."
What will be the next step in terms of using the media knowledge that you came back with? "I, at the moment, do not anticipate using any of that apart from for my own personal use as such, in a form in which we do now, under the In Focus (radio show), I could use some of that to improve what we are doing."
So what was the advantage of being there as opposed to obtaining the information over the phone or by correspondence?
"Being there and dealing with the conference directly helps you grasp it better," said Yon, "you get more input, if you talk to people outside of the forum; they can give you ideas also about how things work."
What did you think of Edinburgh?
"For what I saw it was really nice, but this was very little due to a busy schedule. In Glasgow I was very impressed with the arena they're building for the 2014 Commonwealth games, it's a massive place, a lot of money has been put into it and it can be used for other purposes once the games are over. That was a big insight for me."
Yon said the trip went well overall, he only experienced one delay. On Ascension the flight was delayed due to snow on the Falklands runway.
"I'm happy to be back," concluded Yon.