Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man government 'reaffirms' commitment to veterans

Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK and Juan Watterson SHK with representatives of the armed forces
Image caption The document was re-signed at a ceremony at government offices

The re-signing of the Manx Armed Forces Community Covenant is a "genuine commitment" to help veterans and the armed forces, the chief minister said.

The wording of the document, which was first drafted in 2013, has been updated, Howard Quayle said.

The covenant commits the government to "remove the disadvantages" serving in the armed forces can have with housing, health services and employment.

Mr Quayle said it was "incredibly important" to respect those in service.

The covenant is described as a "voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian population of the Isle of Man and the armed forces community".

Image caption Col Russ Miller (right) said the re-signing of the covenant would "re-energise" the relationship between the armed forces and the Manx community

Colonel Russ Miller said the reaffirmation would help to "rekindle" the links between the armed forces and the Manx people.

He said: "The military in the community is much less visible than it has been for a long time.

"It's maybe time now to refocus and re-energise our relationship with the community, and this re-sign of the covenant is simply a reinforcement of that."

Ex-serviceman Brigadier Norman Butler, who attended the ceremony at government offices, said the covenant "does have a purpose".

"It gives a certain legal underwrite to what should be happening anyway in the way of looking after soldiers who've had hard times and their dependants," he added.

Fellow veteran Major General Sir Laurence New said the re-signing of the document was "important" and "a great encouragement to those who are serving and those who have".

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