MOD Flight

October 28, 2009

It seems that the UK Government in conjunction with the MOD/RAF are trying to stop civilians from using the airbridge, or at the very least making it less attractive by introducing very large fare increases, changing the freight definitions and the 21 hours of substandard treatment while within their care.

Is it now time to reconsider re-wording our Battle Day Letter of 1994 so that every person in the islands pays an amont (through taxes) that is directly proportional to the amont a UK citizen pays for defense?

I for one would hate to think that the UK Government can expect to receive £100’s of millions from our hydrocarbons while we are being held to financial ransom over a half empty aircraft that very often makes the return trip to the UK with over 70 seats empty!

Mal Prior – Stanley

Advertisements

Election Candidate – Mike Summers

October 27, 2009

Mike Summers

After 13 years on Legislative Council and in the new Legislative Assembly, I have given the forthcoming election a good deal of thought. We face in the next few years a period that will be interesting, exciting and challenging in equal measure, and I have decided to stand again because I think I can still help to provide the experience, commitment and resolve that we will require, as well as the positive and forward thinking necessary, to take our country through the next stages of development.

 

The main challenges are obvious to all. In a world economy that is struggling we have seen public finances come under pressure through reduced income from reserves and investments, as well as persistent reductions in illex license fees. The Argentine Government continues to be oppressive and seeks every opportunity to try to undermine and unsettle our economy and daily life, and its Government is unstable and unpredictable. We will need therefore to be vigilant, consistent and pro-active, and to work closely with the UK Government and international partners to keep them at bay.

 

But there are also exciting opportunities.  Tourism will continue to offer good prospects, particularly for  smaller businesses, the fishing industry retains significant potential to expand further if given the right policies and structures, and a new drilling round will provide new opportunities and new jobs. The service sector in Stanley has seen strong and sustainable growth over the past few years, and will continue to make a major contribution to economic development.

 

Government, Structure and Democracy

 

The role of Government is to provide the framework and structure within which we can all work productively and co-operatively; to provide the community services which we all require and benefit from, to make the laws which maintain a safe and orderly community, and to provide the environment within which all businesses have the opportunity to flourish. 

 

I firmly believe that we should continue to push the boundaries of internal self-government; we should have confidence in our own ability to run our own country to the maximum extent possible. In this context I continue to support clear elected leadership, to provide more of a focus on the prime role of elected Government in running the country. As I did in my 2005 manifesto I propose that one member of Exco should be the Government spokesperson from year to year, to provide a focus for that elected authority.

 

I believe the existing system of portfolios and committees has begun to work well, and sets out clear responsibilities and accountabilities. It remains important that the public can see Councillors leading the key areas of Government decision making, and leaving implementation and management to the public service who are paid to do it. I will continue to be a prime mover in openness and transparency of Government, and remain convinced that some parts of Executive Council could and should be held in public.

 

We have made significant  progress through the new Constitution in improving the democratic nature of decision making, but there remains more to do. The creation of strategies and policies which form the mandate for the Government are the responsibility of  the elected members; the Islands Plan forms the basis of this mandate, but it is for each new Government to review and revise that plan, and to ensure it delivers what is required by the community. The public service (or the administration as many think of it) is there to advise on the options, and to carry them out. But it is for Councillors to take those decisions, and make sure they are carried out effectively and efficiently.

  

The Economy and Economic Planning

 

Our economy remains strong, with significant reserves and no borrowing. And whilst public finances have been stretched in recent years by reduced revenues and excessive demand, the economy continues to grow and we enjoy an excellent standard of living.

 

I have been a strong supporter over the years of the production of national statistics, which better describe where we are and how our economy functions. This enables us to make more informed plans for future growth in our key industries. The Economic Development Strategy, being developed by the Government and the private sector working together, is a key piece of work, and I will strongly support the production of an economic strategy document that is ambitious but realistic; that is affordable without risking our reserves; that is based on real evidence of past performance and future prospects; that enhances the local ownership of all businesses but allows controlled inward investment; that challenges the Government to provide a regime that is supportive of business development; that challenges the private sector to take on the responsibility for growth in existing areas and in new businesses; and that overall delivers the type of egalitarian and supportive community that I believe we aspire to.

 

That the EDS must provide a strategy that promotes long term sustainable growth, that provides opportunity to the whole community, and not just the fortunate few, is absolutely fundamental.

 

I will continue to support balanced public sector spending budgets, even when this requires cuts in expenditure, and reduction in non-essential services. Investment in the future should remain our principle priority. Support for properly directed education and training, provision of essential infrastructure including affordable port development, and support to industry are the key priorities. But the Economic Development Strategy must create methods and mechanisms to encourage greater private sector investment, with the necessary incentives and rewards for initiative, with the public sector taking an ever decreasing role.

 

Camp. I am a strong supporter of rural development and re-population of the camp, so that people in camp can have similar economic expectations to those living in Stanley. In particular I will continue to support the abattoir project for so long as it continues to make a positive economic contribution, and investment in improved grazing and animal genetics to generate better income.

 

We are one country, and it is both politically and economically essential to keep Camp productive and well populated

 

Fisheries. The new ITQ system has begun to encourage some restructuring, without adding pressure on fish stocks. The current review of resource rents and the introduction of economic efficiency tests will be important in formulating the correct strategies to enable local companies to fully control their own businesses, and make an increasing  economic contributions through profitability. The possibility of major port development can help to unlock considerable additional potential if it is economically viable.

 

We need to continue to campaign vigorously to establish a high seas fishing regime to protect illex squid and other migratory species.

 

Tourism. The tourism industry is a major employer of both full and part time workers, particularly in the summer months, and it makes significant contributions to the retail sector and to Camp businesses. At the correct time new investment will be required in sites and facilities for both land based and cruise vessel tourism, but the initiatives and investments must be private sector led. We have a unique product and I have no doubt it will establish its place in the world market.

 

Tourism is also a valuable tool in getting a wide range of people to the Islands to see what we are really all about.

 

Oil and Minerals.  The threats and opportunities offered by the exploration for and extraction of oil and gas, will increase significantly during the life of this next Council, and will increase political pressures from Argentina and the UK. It will remain my policy to promote Falklands based business in support of the industry, and where appropriate give priority to local enterprise. I would also reaffirm and uphold the right of the Falklands Islands to choose how it disposes of its natural wealth from oil revenues, if and when they occur.

 

In the mean time we should continue to discount the potential of oil revenue from the budget until such time as it is a reality. 

 

Foreign Affairs.

 

The level of aggression of the Argentine Government is at its highest level for many years. There can never be any compromise on our absolute right to self determination, and with the continued support of HMG, and the universal acceptance of the right to self-determination promoted by the UN and responsible democracies, we have a solid base.

 

However it becomes ever more evident that we will need to do more for ourselves in the international sphere, not just the “soft” PR like the CPA, but getting out into the key capital cities in Europe and elsewhere to make sure our message is fully and properly understood. For most of my time on Council and before I have represented the Falkland Islands overseas, in the UK at official level and in Parliament, in Europe and the European Union, at the UN and at international conferences. I believe that I am well known and respected in many of these key areas, and can continue to promote the Falklands message and defend our right to live in peace in our own country. If elected I would hope to continue this work in the next Government.

 

It is essential that to support the right to self determination, we help the UK to help us. That means acting decisively, but responsibly and in measured terms to threats from the neighbours; it also means maintaining the widest possible support in Parliament pre and post UK election, and developing stronger relations with the European Community through the new EU/OTC decision due in 2013, and with other key allies.

  

Social Development Issues.

 

I am happy to borrow heavily from my 2005 manifesto in this areas, because my approach has not changed.

 

We have a strong community and a good way of life in the Falklands, that citizens must be allowed to enjoy, and which should be protected from some of the more pernicious trends in European society. To my mind that will continue to require  pro-active approach to policing the community by all parties (Councillors, police, Government agencies and community bodies) with the community itself very clearly taking the lead in dealing with unruly, anti-social or unacceptable  behaviour.

We must continue to support individuals and families in need, but we should also seek to interfere as little as possible with the role and responsibility of the family and community in providing the social support to each other, which creates our strength. Nor must we allow the intervention of Government through intrusive social policies to undermine this basic strength, or to unnecessarily restrict our freedom as individuals to live as we choose. Once that community responsibility is lost, it is gone forever. And the maintenance of pensions at reasonable levels is a pre-requisite to securing the livelihood of the elderly within the community.

 

The country needs a constant source of skilled labour to fill jobs, particularly in the service sector. It has always been thus throughout our history, and I will continue to support a measured and controlled approach to immigration. New arrivals however must take time to adjust to our way of life, to our culture and to our moral values, before they can become permanent residents. Those responsible for the approval of new applicants for residency (whether temporary or permanent) must have very clear guidelines as to the qualities required. I am happy we now have a points system to provide consistency in decision making and better guidance to applicants on their prospects of success. What we now require as part of the Economic Development Strategy are broader policy considerations on more targeted immigration and the people we need.

 

I strongly support the delivery of high quality primary health care free of charge to all permanent residents, though I have major concerns about the burgeoning costs. In particular areas priorities will have to be set and adhered to. Nevertheless continued high levels of investment in primary and preventative medicine will be required to maintain a healthy society. We need to review our social care policies to ensure that we are targeting limited resources to those most in need, and not spending public money supporting the idle and unwilling.

 

Equally I am a strong supporter of education policies which provide opportunity to young people to do the best they can, and also provide the  training necessary to adults to achieve their potential. But again not everything is affordable, and priorities will have to be orientated towards those subjects and courses that have relevance for the Falklands, and can help Falkland Islanders play a full role in their own community, instead of recruiting from overseas.

 

Conclusion.

 

I would like to urge all electors to use their right to vote in this election, to be an active part of the democratic process, and to vote only for those candidates who you believe have the ability, commitment and energy to implement the strategies and policies that are necessary to take our country forward. If elected I will once more serve with a style that is robust but fair, and as part of a team with an important job to do. For my part decisions will be taken on the basis of knowledge, information and experience, not personality and prejudice. I am not afraid to take difficult decisions where they are required for the national good, to explain why they are necessary, and to take responsibility for those decisions.

 

I look forward to serving again if that is your choice.

 

Mike Summers

Tel: 500-21542

Mobile: 500-54211

E-mail: m.j.summers@horizon.co.fk

Election Candidate – Janet Robertson

October 23, 2009

JR

I am Janet Robertson and I am standing for re-election because I care passionately about the Falkland Islands, because I believe that I have a lot to contribute and because I would like to see some outstanding projects in Government through to completion.  Further, if I am successful on 5th November, I will be resigning from my current post at CFL so that I will have more time to dedicate to a job that requires commitment, focus and forward-thinking.

 

Politics and Foreign Affairs

 

The right to self-determination is a phrase we use constantly in the Falklands.  This is because it is central to our political culture, our sense of identity and our principle defence against territorial claims by our neighbours.  I believe wholeheartedly that we are entitled to that right and that we exercise it as well.  Further, it is a right legally and morally defended by the United Kingdom.  It is critical that we have the confidence to believe that we have a power over our own existence and future and that the uncertainty of the 70’s will never return, because we simply won’t let it.   We must continue to proclaim this right in international forums, and challenge the claims to territorial integrity made by Argentina. 

 

We must also do justice to the Constitution to ensure that we make all efforts to have a fair, principled and open Government. There is still work to be done to bring more meaningful debate into the Legislative Assembly and the public arena.  Sufficient progress was not made on this during the last Council but it is important that we continue to look for a means to do this within our current political structure.

 

The Economy

 

Finances and finding the right mechanisms to ensure long-term growth in the economy will continue to be central issues for the next Government.  Whilst we are still in a relatively healthy position financially, with no national debt, a positive balance of payments and reserves in the bank, we are facing a time of decreasing licence revenue, greater expectations, higher costs and the effects of the world financial crisis of 2008.  In these challenging times it is more important than ever that we concentrate on planning for the future: in setting realistic long-term and medium-term objectives and avoiding the waste and stagnation that arises out of short-term thinking.  That is why it is vital that the EDS continue to be supported through appropriate funding of the Policy Unit which is tasked with the co-ordination of the strategy and for obtaining the national statistics which will inform the process.

 

There has been a great deal of work put in by officers into business plans, budget management and strategy documents, such as the Islands Plan, over the last couple of years.  At times this must seem like a thankless, bureaucratic task, but it gives managers, Assembly members and the public, the tools to focus on key objectives and to ensure that planning is coherent and integrated.  It links the budget process to the Islands plan and goes a long way to avoiding the last-minute, ad hoc, uninformed decisions in final deliberations of the budget which have featured all too often in the past.  More work is still required, however:  to avoid managers being taken by surprise by decisions taken at Budget time in relation to their Department, they must be given a final opportunity to defend and adjust their proposals.

 

Development

 

The private sector is key to the future development of the economy.  After so many years discussing the need to shrink Government and bolster the private sector through privatization, it is hoped that serious inroads can be made into that area now that it is a central objective for a Government officer.  I am wary about the effects of privatizing essential services, such as energy or water supply, but I believe that there are some areas that have serious potential in this regard. It is important, however, that it does not lead to inflation and greater costs to the consumer or to Government.

 

I firmly believe that a new port, or at least a re-modelled port, is an important element for the future development of our main industries.  It is disappointing that so little progress has been made on this in recent years, that in 2009 we still haven’t even got an agreed short-list of sites – and there is still much to do.  Key elements will be affordability, financing and a design that suits the needs of both the Tourism and Fisheries industries.  It must also be subject to Island-wide consultation as a project of this size and cost will affect everyone in one way or another.

 

An exciting capital project that is also still languishing with little real progress, but of much potential value to Tourism, is the Dockyard site.  As a focus for visitors to Stanley in an attractive and historic part of town it is much needed and will provide benefit to local residents as well.  We know that the Falklands are a costly destination for cruise-ships and land-based visitors alike, so we must ensure that the experience for them is memorable and represents value-for-money. 

 

Camp

 

In thinking about growth and development in the Islands, we need to consider the whole of the Falklands: Stanley, Camp and the Islands.  Whilst it is encouraging to see how the results of diversification into Tourism and the provision of animals to the meat processing plant are beginning to really pay-off in some areas, there is, nevertheless, critical work to be done by the Rural Development Strategy group to identify the policies which will bolster the economic and social needs of Camp.  Secure and affordable freight arrangements and tariffs, good standards of telecommunications, serviceable roads and access to aviation services are central to development in Camp – without them further depopulation and a downward economic trend will be inevitable.  I believe that some imaginative thought should be given to how we can encourage growth of a second population centre on the West to mitigate isolation and improve economies of scale and to offer the people of the Falklands an alternative should they wish to live in a more rural environment.

 

 

Education

 

Good education must always be the keystone to securing the future of the Islands by ensuring that we have a well-trained, skilled workforce.  The fruits of past investment are already paying-off:  it is heartening, for example, to visit the hospital and to see in place a physiotherapist, a doctor, a radiologist, a sister and the manager of the pathology lab all home-grown, highly professional and very well thought of. 

 

Good educational standards are important to achieving this:  a relevant and varied curriculum, good discipline, and strategies to encourage aspiration in our school children will help them to achieve the results they will need to go on to further education and training of their choice.    But this is one element:  education on its own does not make a career; it needs to be balanced with experience in the work-place and for those professionals who wish to broaden their horizons, the means to achieve the right platform for development.  An example of this is in the Education Department itself: a few years ago, a teacher applying for the post of Head of a School was told that they did not have sufficient experience to be able to aspire to the post.  It is encouraging now to see a local Deputy Head in one of the schools: it represents a stepping-stone into higher management and the potential for our first local Head.

 

This trend must grow and we must do what we can, in this small community, to provide real career choices and pathways for our young people.  Opportunities to provide stepping stones in both the Government and the private sector is important, but so is the need to ensure that our children are receiving good careers advice and that their educational paths and career choices once away from the Islands are monitored and promoted to potential future employers in the Islands.  This is one area that remains under-developed and would benefit from some serious focus. It was clear at a recent public meeting that many of our students felt the same and that their ties with the Islands, to the schools, information about potential jobs, skills shortages and new developments are weak.   

 

I would still like to see major school events, such as Sports Day, held at a time when parents and the community can attend, support and encourage our school children.  I am aware that this idea is not popular with everyone, and ultimately it has to be a community and school decision – not an Assembly one – but as a working parent I have had real reason for feeling that I have missed out on important events in my children’s school lives and some of their triumphs (and disasters).  The popularity of the Prize-Giving events, now held in the evenings, is a good move in the right direction and suggests that I am far from alone in feeling this.

 

Health

 

I believe that a good universal health-care system is of utmost importance as it provides the inhabitants of the Islands with a sense of security in an area that is of high priority for all.  Further, it is quite clear to me that we will be unable to attract people to come to the Islands, and indeed could lose some of our own to other countries, if we do not provide it.  We want First World standards in health-care but this does come with a cost, an ever-rising one as more effective treatment and drugs are developed.  We have to choose between retaining a totally free system of health that due to budget pressures is in danger of being whittled away too much at the edges, or maintaining, and even improving, our current care-options, but accepting that in order to do that we will have to find means of contributing something towards it.  We have perhaps been spoilt in recent years.  Few of us questioned paying MSL at the time but it is now harder to return to it having been without it for such a long time.  It is clear that all funds go into the central coffer – that is an unavoidable and constitutional requirement; nevertheless, it is not beyond the capabilities of our Government to ensure that any revenue raised in support of Health should be attributed to the Health Department budget.

 

The community and policy makers will also need to think about provision of care for our vulnerable people, our disabled, our elderly and our children in care.  They all require different strategies and thinking that is commensurate with a modern constitutional democracy.  Good care for the vulnerable can be extremely costly and it is unlikely that in such a small community we will ever be able to meet the standards in place and possibilities available elsewhere.  Nevertheless, we must address it and try to move away from the case-by-case, at times ad hoc decision-making that can lead to unfair, inconsistent and unsustainable outcomes.

 

 

Review of Government

 

Whilst some of the immediate effects of that process have been controversial, it is critical that other recommendations of the review are focused on and developed.  Otherwise it will have been a painful and pointless exercise.  A more vertical, tiered structure of government must lead to a more efficient and focused management at top levels of the civil service, and crucially, it must provide flexibility within the system to provide career pathways and stepping stones to top level jobs for our young professionals wherever possible.  The Review refers to a Workforce Development Strategy for local staff to address career and skills development including training programmes and secondments. Due support must be given to this element of the review and re-energizing performance management principles in the immediate future.

 

This Manifesto is a slightly longer version of the one broadcast of FIRS recently and seeks to draw out some of the points I made then.  If anyone would like to ask me further questions, or discuss any issue at all, then please don’t hesitate to call me on 21782, 51782 or e-mail me on tiger@cwimail.fk

 

I will fight the good fight for the benefit of the Falkland Islands and its people, I will defend the good and oppose the bad and I will do so with honesty, with integrity, with vigour and with vision.”

 

That is my pledge.

Election Candidate – Dick Sawle

October 22, 2009

untitled1

WHO AM I?

 

I was born in 1954, the youngest in a family of five children, and brought up in a Vicarage in Leyland, Lancashire.  I went to boarding school in my teens and then went on to study Spanish, South American Studies and Egyptology at Liverpool University.  After teaching Spanish, French and a variety of outdoor pursuits at a boarding school in Shropshire, I came to the Falklands in 1986 after applying for a teaching post advertised at Stanley Senior School.   At the time, the War had catapulted the Falkland Islands onto the world stage.  I was ready for a change and a challenge and the Falklands with its remoteness and unique qualities seemed to be the right choice 

 

At Stanley Senior School I taught many of you between 1986 and 1988, and then moved into the private commercial field.  The Falklands economy was rapidly changing.  From humble beginnings in 1989 I built up my company – Seaview Ltd, named after my house – into a successful multi-million pound fishing business with complex international dealings.  At the age of 55 I have decided to retire from the business and would like to devote myself full-time to representing you as an elected Member.

 

I have supported the community in various ways for many years.  I have been on a considerable number of FIG committees for many years, and have been an active member of the FI Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years.  I have served as a JP since 1999, and have been a strong supporter of many local charities.

 

In 1988 I married Judith. We have two children, Jamie and Felicity, and as a family we value and respect our status as Falkland Island residents.  We are proud to be Falkland Islanders and remain fully committed to its community, independence, and way of life.

 

WHAT MAKES ME TICK?

 

I am no stranger to hard work and will never accept defeat on what I consider to be important issues. I will not be bullied and I am always ready to take on a challenge.  My thirteen years of teaching and over twenty years running and developing a Falkland Island business have given me invaluable skills and experience.   I am entirely at ease dealing with complex accounting issues and the myriad of political, business and personnel challenges that come along every day when running an international business.   Now, having retired from my business, but still with plenty of energy, I have the time and desire to devote to representing the Falklands.  I would like to put my skills and experience back into working for the community – a community to which I consider myself fortunate to belong and with which I have been deeply involved for most of my working life.

 

I believe passionately in freedoms – the basic freedom of choice and the removal of petty restrictions. I am a practical person and enjoy hands-on work. I have no problem with getting my hands dirty and getting stuck into difficult situations. I am fair and honest in my dealings with other people, and I prefer to be straightforward and tell it how it is.

 

I enjoy solving problems and finding innovative solutions – from building a cold storage plant inside a floating pontoon to building an office on top of it!

 

I passionately believe that the private sector needs to be more involved in decision making in partnership with the FIG.  In turn, the FIG needs to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit that still exists in the Falklands.   The constant reviewing of FIG and its structures gives rise to a system which is ever more complex and harder to understand while the real issues of the day – such as the dismantling of old monopolies that hamper business and development, and the building of a new port – are not progressed or solved.

 

I am equally passionate about openness and honesty in public life.   I believe elected members need to listen more and take account of what people are saying. There is still too much that goes on behind closed doors.  The confrontational politics of public meetings are not the solution.   High on my agenda will be going out of my way to meet people in order to discuss issues and solve problems, whether social or political.  A common complaint I hear is that once elected, many members simply ignore the electorate and become wrapped up in their own importance.  I can promise that I will always be available and will always meet with you to hear what you say.

 

I no longer am tied to a job and would enjoy the challenges and hard work that being elected would represent. I believe that being elected is now a full-time job and that the complexities of representing the Falklands can no longer be considered a part-time business.     

 

Above all, I have a great admiration and respect for the entrepreneurial spirit of Falkland Islanders – new and old. The ability to provide solutions to problems, to fix and mend what elsewhere would be considered impossible – the ability to get on with it and be self sufficient, these are qualities we must never lose and which we must now, above all in times of a recession, enhance and use to our best advantage.

  

MY PROMISE TO YOU

 

International relations

 

This is an issue that will always be tough and complicated. We cannot allow any relaxation of the stance we have always shown towards Argentina and their constant attempts to intimidate. We need to keep the pressure up from our side using all of the political tools we have – political visits to the Islands, constant lobbying via FIGO and the use of the FCO. Their claims are frankly ridiculous, based on scant fact and are repugnant to the principles of democracy – we must remember that democracy in Argentina only became possible due the 1982 war which threw their dictatorship out. They have every reason to be ashamed of their recent history towards us. Good communications are essential to any Island, and Argentina’s constant attempts to block any development of them is at odds with modern democratic principles.  

 

New Port

 

This project has gone nowhere, yet a new port is vital to the continuing and future commercial viability of the Islands.  The strategy for taking this forward and dealing with this was put to Council in 2002.   The private sector should take a larger part in driving this forward.  The entire cost need not be yet another perpetual FIG burden. There are alternatives, but the FIG and interested private sector parties need to get together and talk to make it happen.  I will aim to make this happen as we need to increase economic activity and create wealth.

 

Land issues for development projects

 

The freehold versus leasehold argument was never fully resolved. We need a clear and workable policy produced by FIG in partnership with the private sector otherwise investment and new growth will never happen. 

 

Oil

 

This is the big unknown for the future.  Will it happen?  As the world’s resources dwindle, new fields become increasingly attractive.  Our internal structures – political, technological, and social – need to be fully up to date to deal with the complexities that such major potential development would bring.  I am not confident that this is the case at present and believe we must strive for change to prepare ourselves.

 

Communications

 

Modern, speedy and reliable communications are essential in today’s world, especially for an Island-based economy many thousands of miles from its trading partners.    Yet our communications system is regulated by an ancient Ordinance of 1988 that predates the Internet, email and even the humble fax.  It stunts business growth and makes us uncompetitive.  The massive changes brought about by the technology revolution are in danger of passing us by.   Who could have predicted the massive benefits of Skype with its free videophone back in 1988?   Yet an antiquated colonial monopolistic system dictates how we communicate with each other and the outside world and the price.  It is inadequate and costly.  A recent independent assessment of our Internet service states, “Falkland Island consumers and businesses [share] a backbone link to the Internet that, in the UK, would be available to a typical single household”.  

 

In short, this monopoly provider simply cannot improve and meet the expectations and requirements of the population that deregulation and competition have made possible even in the developing world, and which are now accepted there as part and parcel of everyday normal life.    It has to change – as a population standing to gain most by it, we should be at the forefront of this new technology.

 

Fuel monopoly

 

Whilst this is not a significant issue for most consumers, the fuel monopoly is an issue vital to the fishing industry as the entire business of fishing relies on having fuel delivered at the right time, the right price and the right place. Stanley Services must have a completely transparent pricing structure. If fishing is to progress and grow and give greater benefit to the Falklands, this monopoly must demonstrate  “effective control” over their use of this privilege.

 

The Fishery

 

How well managed is this? Is the research directed where it is most needed?  Is the government encouraging the adding of value to the fishing activity?  I believe searching questions need to be asked and innovative solutions found and acted upon.  We should be managing and developing our fishery now in order to increase the local benefit from fishing and protect and enhance our Islands’ major source of income.

 

The Public Accounts Committee

 

I support this as a welcome addition to government. It is vitally important that there is an independent body set up to scrutinise the accounting procedures of government and the expenditure and value for money generated by public bodies. It is part of the system we need to ensure that checks and balances on expenditure are in place.

 

Rural development

 

Areas that cause concern here relate to telecommunications, roads, FIGAS, ferries and meat production.   I believe that the political will to improve the economy of Camp has been well meaning in approach, but I have to question the value generated by some of these investments. The Public Accounts Committee, had it been up and running, would have provided the political leaders with what I believe would have been useful feedback on these issues and may have saved us from some expensive mistakes.

 

Health, Education and Employment

 

We invest a huge amount in our youngsters within the Islands, and then we seem to lose them once they move on to higher or further education. We need to work hard to create a vibrant, healthy and developing social and business culture that will attract them home to invest their skills and interests.   I believe there is a lack of coordination and approach towards providing opportunities for our young adults.   For example, I would seek to promote a proper careers organisation to which they could turn for help and advice on the opportunities available to them here, and the means whereby to make it happen.

 

Means testing for overseas education expenses has hit most people with young families. Means testing simply has the effect of making those who pay the most pay even more. I cannot believe that savings could not have been made elsewhere to meet these costs. We have to protect the educational opportunities of our children and after GCSE’s this has to take place abroad and there will always be a significant cost to this which we will always have to bear if we wish young Islanders to develop their skills.

 

Health services are increasingly more expensive as treatments become more sophisticated. We must continue to bear the brunt of these expenses as those who contribute to the success of the Falklands will all eventually require society’s help. To meet these costs we must develop and grow the economy rather than simply request continual budget cuts and savings. This is a big challenge but with vision and energy I truly believe it is possible. 

   

Civil Service

 

I will freely admit that I am new to the issues that currently dog the civil service. But, what I am sure of is that there are many skilled people in the service who work hard for the good of the Falklands. Local knowledge has been lost in yet another review process that has achieved little other than add more complication and additional layers to our system. Local talent in the civil service has to be encouraged and developed, not simply dismissed and replaced with little thought to the consequences. Morale is clearly once again at an all-time low. The skills and human resources that are part our education process are vital to the smooth running of our country and deserve greater respect and better treatment. I promise to listen, learn and act.

   

Open government

 

Above all, I believe that government is there to serve the people for the good of the whole community.  This is especially true of a small community like ours.    I would seek to open up the public’s access to government information and decision-making. At present, there is a relatively good flow of information up to the decision-making process, but after the decisions have been made, there is no information available as to what those decisions have been.

 

I would like the media to make better use of their websites to better perform this duty that they have, and would encourage people to make comment – the Falklands belongs to us all, whatever our colour, creed or background and in order to make it work, everyone must participate. The silent majority often make the most sense, but they must have an adequate system for voicing their thoughts and concerns – whether on international, national or personal issues without having to speak at public meetings or writing to Penguin News.    Access to all Ordinances and regulations should be freely available on a government website.    There should be much greater openness and freedom of information.

 – – – – – – – – – –

 If I am elected I will do my utmost to ensure that our Islands’ independence is protected and assured.  I believe that this can only be done if we bring ourselves up to date with the rest of the world and create a modern, competitive, fair and open society.  I pledge to use my best endeavours to bring this about.

 

Dick Sawle

 

Please do contact me if you wish…52141

or

dick.sawle@seaview.gs

Election Candidate: Norman Besley-Clark

October 22, 2009

main pic

A number of the Electorate of differing ages have expressed to me, their disappointment and despair of the previous Council and their decisions.

This has been further exacerbated with the redundancies of two Senior Civil Servants

Together with appointment of additional Contract Officers to new posts.

There are currently some 74 Contract Officers within Government, if you were a cynic it would appear as Ethnic Cleansing by Stealth.

There are reasons for these Professional’s being here, it is because we are not producing the talent.

If you were to take a more positive viewpoint you would see this as a damning indictment of our current Education System, which has no linkage with career prospects within Civil Service, and indeed their is no clear pathway for advancement from within the Civil Service.

  

Economy

Whilst I am very much aware of the gravity,of the current World Recession and the Budgeting responsibilities that entails.

Good Governance is not a Business.

It’s about people and Community

There is a Tendency to focus on the Standard of Living and all of the Inherent over Regulation, by doing so, we loose sight of our quality of life.

  

HOUSING

housing 

There is a desperate shortage of housing .

Government must build housing suitable for both married and single persons,together with purpose built units for Senior Citizens.

Government must also return to providing serviced Plots of Land at realistic prices to enable our young to access the housing ladder.

This would halt the current unsightly trend of high density building.

  

Poverty Threshold

Threshold 

I have produced a Poverty Threshold Baseline,you may well ask why .

It is a measure by which Government are able to equate the minimum level of Income to achieve an adequate standard of living.

There are many ways to define poverty

I have used the minimum expenditure needed to maintain a tolerable life.

I have used FIG Housing Rent as a base line figure for accommodation and NHS guidelines on nutrition for eating.

 

  Rent

& Utilities  

Food Total
Single Person £4,647.36 £3,349.32 £7,996.68 
Two Persons £7,412.40 £6,698.64 £14,111.04 
Three Persons £8,250.00 £10,047.96 £18,297.96 
Four Persons £9,790.20 £13,397.28 £23,187.48

 

 

 

 

 Camp

Camp

We need to urgently address the repopulation of camp and stop paying lip service to it.

FIGAS current service to camp is unacceptable. 

The ferry service neds an urgent re-think

 

 

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

We continue to experience Argentine agression in one form or another. Whilst it continues to behave like an adolescent democracy there is no room for complacency.  We must continue to attend all the current forums to claim our fundamental right to self determination, we must alter our PR strategy to engage the guy in the streetto inform them of the facts regarding their mythical misconception of their claim.

 

 

HEALTH & EDUCATION 

Education

We must continue to provide our Health Care   I would support the reintroduction of MSL 

Our children are our investment for the future we must ensure therefore, that an equal opportunity for success is available

 

My pledge to you

I will strive to seek far more Transparency within   Government and far more accountability                 

I will also strive to achieve improved engagement    with The Electorate

I will also strive for less FIG PLC 

and a little more FIG TLC 

The reason I am standing for Election is to represent YOUR interests. 

If you looking for a fresh perspective on your council then Vote for me

 

Should you want to discuss any of the above

Please contact me

16 Ross Road West

Stanley

21536

normanclark@horizon.co.fk

Clarity…

October 21, 2009

I have become aware, through various channels, that people are cautious of my involvement in the blog, so for clarity…

 

I am not acting as an FIG Officer, I am acting as a private individual who is very internet aware and is keen, as an individual, to explore how we can better communicate via the internet in a modern world.  I am not allowed, as an FIG Officer, to either be seen to or to influence any election, hence why there will be no issues raised by me, nor will there be opinions offered – it is the role of a facilitator I seek.

 

This is not a Media Trust blog and I am not acting in my role as chair of the Trust.  I see this blog very much in the same light as the planned, but now potentially cancelled, public meeting arranged by another FIG officer who also sits on the Trust, it is simply a way of stimulating debate and giving the candidates another medium in which to spread their word.

 

I am very much aware that this medium is not for all, and you the reader should not read anything into the fact that certain candidates have not, or will not, post their manifestos.  I spoke to a candidate who is standing; he clearly supported the idea of the blog but openly said it was not his way of promoting himself, he will not be posting anything on the blog.

 

Blogs are a modern equivalent to an open meeting with a moderator keeping order, that is all.  Either you choose to come along and speak at a meeting or you just sit back and listen, either way the channels of communication are open to you.  332 hits so far say a lot about how popular the blog could be…

 

Candidates, use the free advertising space to promote yourself if you wish, voters, feel free to open debates that are close to your heart, either way there is nothing to fear from a blog and moderation will only be used to maintain order and to stop defamatory or inflammatory comments from creeping in.

 

Steve Dent – Stanley

Medical Services Levy

October 20, 2009

I am in full agreement that we need a re-introduction of the Medical Services Levy(MSL), my only concern is that it would be a “stealth” tax that could/would be used wherever Government decided .
In order for it to work as it should, the monies raised from the MSL would need be in addition to the current budget of the Health and Social Services Dept.

Mal Prior – Stanley

Election Candidate: Gavin Phillip Short

October 20, 2009

Gavin Short

Hello
For those of you who know me, there is absolutely no need for me to introduce myself, you know of me and my background, warts and all.

To those of you who don’t then you have probably had a very lucky escape. To give a brief background, I am Falklands born and bred. I am a product of our education system, being one of the first batches of those who got regular access to the O level system and for that I am truly thankful. Apart from one year away from the Islands in Chile I have passed my entire 47 years here. I have served on the Council before some 15 or so years ago.

I have no business interests or affiliations. The only “interest” that I have is with the local union, my Islands and its people.

I am offering myself as a candidate as I feel that I have something to offer these Islands. Good old fashioned Falkland Island common sense, which seems to be sadly lacking nowadays and a complete and utter belief in my country and its people.

I am an ordinary Islander, I have a full time job as well as a couple of part time ones to help make ends meet and perhaps get ahead a little, just like a good many of you out there.

Somewhere along the way this last council has lost touch with the public. I am getting a feeling from talking to people that in spite of regular public meetings and white papers on this and green papers on that there is no genuine communication with the real people here. This isn’t helped by the weird management speak that seemed to have crept in; at times you almost need an interpreter to get things into plain English. People feel that no one cares about the ordinary person any more and their views don’t count. They are being told what is going to happen, like it or lump it. I can promise you that with me your views WILL count, I will speak in plain English and do my utmost to stop this flow of gobbledygook.

I know I will miss out many topics that individuals will feel important but in the interests of brevity here are but a few of my thoughts and ideas.

The economy: Two years ago I said that I could feel the chill wind of an economic slowdown starting to blow. I have been proved right. To be honest with you I think things are going to get a little worse before they can be stabilised and turned around. We were very lucky to only get a side swipe from the worldwide recession. We could still be undone by a sudden fuel price hike or the like. Our economy is in fairly good shape and with prudent management can get better but there is less cash around now and government must cut its cloth to suit its pocket.

As part of this I offer the following: I firmly believe that this council MUST initiate a review of the whole government.

I know that there is a review of the civil service going on at the moment but it started half way down the road so as to speak. What I want is for councillors and NOT the administration to sit down and review the FIG machine from TOP to BOTTOM. Not the other way around as always happens. With a bottom up review it is normally the workers who get laid off whilst the fat cats who cost the real money stay in place. If I have my way that isn’t going to happen this time.

As part of the review that I have in mind, I would like to go through each and every contract post that we have, from the chief executive down and including these new fangled super heads, eliminate those posts that we can do without and those that we deem necessary should then be scrutinised to see just how quick we can have a local in place, where we can. This isn’t going to be a quick process; it may mean that we will have people understudying post holders for some time, but if that is what is required then so be it. It will mean that instead of just advertising jobs and seeing what turns up we will have to be aggressive in our search for the right people. There would be, I feel, a high degree of resistance to this being done, but probably not from the general public.

This is not contractor bashing. I have nothing against the people that are here. They are in the whole doing very well what they were contracted to do. They did not force themselves on us, they answered advertisements that we placed. The fault lies squarely with us.

15 years ago we made inroads into localising FIG, to reducing the amount of contract personnel. This has slipped back; the numbers seem to be increasing again. I want to see posts localised as quickly as possible. There are some out there that are saying that there seems almost a move afoot to keep the locals out of higher government. Who knows, they may be right. It will be up to your new council to turn that around if it is happening.

I also want to see any organisation that receives public money have their personnel structure scrutinised and a firm plan put in place for localising any posts that may be held by persons on contract or subject to work permits before any public funds are handed over. I rather think there may be a few bellows of protest but I am more interested in getting posts localised than keeping everyone sweet.

We seem to have a situation developing whereby young local people (and the not so young) are finding it hard to get work. I will promise you that I will do all in my power to make sure that we drive towards as much localisation as we can and open positions for our people. I will also promise you that I will search for new openings in all available areas.

As I have spoken of local people or islanders, I will qualify what I mean. As I see it an Islander/local is not just someone who is born here but someone who is living and working here, has made a commitment to these Islands, is on local wages, local conditions, is probably up to their ears in debt like the rest of us, and has adapted to, accepted and has respect for our way of life and are not wanting to change this and that within minutes of getting here. Believe me, there are some very good people out there who have done exactly that and are making a valuable contribution to our islands.

We also need a thriving private sector. Good employers have nothing to fear from me. I want you to prosper so that you can pass on a fair percentage of your profits to those who work for you. I will not however look so kindly upon those who may want to turn a fast buck at the expense of our people or our country. I am fully committed not only to opening up as many new positions as I can for the people here but also to stop any further work being placed outside of the islands and lost to us.

There will be decisions that have to be taken, including, for example the deep water port that will have far reaching consequences for the Islands. You are going to need a strong and unified government to carry forward the wishes of the population.

We have just had a review of immigration. This is a delicate subject but we must be extremely careful of how many people we allow to have citizenship. It’s a fine balance between not having enough people and having a situation where we seem to be getting too many. We must constantly monitor and adjust the flow as is necessary.

One area that MUST be looked at as a matter of urgency is how jobs are advertised. I hear adverts on the radio that would seem to be intended for the renewal of a work permit, or someone from outside who would require one, and are worded in such a way that there is no way that a local can get at them. This has to be stopped. If, for example, it really needs someone with 5 years experience for a particular job then the company or business should be asked to start actively training a local person and the issuing of a work permit be made dependant upon that happening. I really do look forward to getting my teeth into this subject, should I be elected.

The working conditions and ill treatment of migrant workers in the Islands is also something that our government must be duty bound to investigate. Reports keep surfacing about maltreatment, such as workers being too scared to book a hospital appointment if they feel unwell as it will, I presume, cost the employer if treatment is required, and they are threatened with dismissal should they do so. Also long hours and low pay keep coming up; workers are warned off talking to anyone on pain of being dismissed. Is this really the type of society in which we can feel proud of living???

Whilst I support camp and feel that we have a duty to fully support our people in the agricultural sector we may have to revisit just how we do this. As things stand I would NOT look favourably upon any further advances from the abattoir for any public funds. It is time it stood on its own two feet. It is also probably time we produced an exit strategy. If there was plenty of cash sloshing around, perhaps I would take a more relaxed view but at a time where we are, if you listen to the government, almost reduced to rooting down the back of the sofa to see if we can find a dropped fiver, we cannot keep pumping vast amounts of cash into something that is eating money quicker than it does sheep. There is an internal review under way and I will be more than interested to see what it contains but am not that optimistic. I hope I will be proved wrong.

Oil: Although we must continue to prepare ourselves for the moment that a hydrocarbon industry does take off, we must not allow ourselves to become fixated on the possibility. If it is going to happen then this will require you to make some far reaching and wise decisions for your government to implement. These are your islands and it is only right and proper that you are provided with all the information possible to say what level of impact that you want the industry to have. If the Shetlands experience is anything to go by, we will only get one shot at getting it right. All indications seem to be good but no one really knows what is going to happen until the crude comes gurgling up the pipe and even then the grade and location and world economics will dictate when it will be exploited. It is going to be a blessing and also a curse. A blessing in that it will completely secure our future, economically speaking, and a curse in that we are going to have all sorts of charlatans and singers of sweet songs beating a path to our door trying to part us from our cash. For those of you who remember Seamount will understand that we must never let this happen with the oil industry.

One major project that will probably be started during this council is the building of the deep water facility. It is something that I think is required. We may have to stage it over a couple of years. The final decision again must be taken by YOU as to whether it will go ahead. If it does then I will certainly be pressurising for the maximum possible local involvement in its construction.

On the whole, at the grass roots level the FIG has a really good team of people who are working for it, doing the best that they can within the guidelines given to them. The police, whilst being much less maligned than in the past seem to be riddled with unhappiness. Something must be done to at the very least understand what is going on. This can only be achieved by talking to those on the shop floor. I am also worried by the low levels of native borne policemen and ladies.

I am extremely proud to be a veteran of the FIDF. Although the importance of the force is sometimes not appreciated, it is, as far as I can see a well equipped, trained and most important of all, an extremely well motivated force. Although I would never wish anyone from the force ever again sees active service I know that this time the aggressor would receive a rather nasty surprise.

There must be a continued programme of building social housing, there is always going to be a need also a rolling programme of providing building plots at affordable prices. Apart from plots for commercial use, I do not support the offering of building plots on an auction basis.

I would like to take another look at the child allowance payments. I have no intention of lowering them but rather would like to see what the qualifying criterion is.

The holiday scheme must stay on the books and at the first opportunity when we can, re-introduce it.
We must get to grips with whoever it is that we use for doing our recruitment overseas as some of the selections made over the last few years have been somewhat questionable.

The twin planks of education and health, I support fully. Could we do better in these areas? The answer probably is yes. There is always room for improvement. It will become more difficult as expectations grow higher; however in the case of the medical department I would be very reluctant to even think about private insurance to cover medical treatment. I have seen what that is like in practice in South America. It is not good. I still believe that medical should be free at the point of delivery from the cradle to the grave.

External relations: Whilst I presume our relations with the British government are good, we must always be on our guard against any Argentine appeasers that may come along, especially within the FCO. Relations with Argentina are another matter. The present government in Argentina is arrogant, macho and doing all it can to beat us into submission. The Kirchner dynasty is well known for being aggressive not just with us but with their neighbours as well. However I do not expect any change even when the Kirchner government goes. The message I have to you and them is this: I will not be bullied or pressurised into anything. This is MY country, I was born here and fully intend to end my days here under the government of my choosing. I have experienced a very small taste of what Argentine government is all about and am in no particular hurry to repeat that particular experience again, thank you very much.
I am a firm believer in keeping hold of our traditions and forming a national identity. I have no wish to become a mini England or a mini anywhere else for that matter. I am more than happy to adopt an idea that is beneficial to us from anywhere in the world but am getting somewhat fed up with us having things foisted on us just because someone thinks it’s good for us. We should be the judge of that. I am actually proud of the few differences that we are still allowed to have with the rest of the world. Hang on to them, cherish them, and build on them.

As an employee of Cable and Wireless I would have to declare an interest in, and keep out of any debates and decisions that may affect that company. This rules me out of any debates on, for example, the camp or Stanley internet and phone systems. As an employee, it means that I will be a part time councillor, I know that if elected it’s not going to be easy but I have taken time to think hard about it and reckon that I can balance the two.

Finally, please, please, get out there on the 5th of November and vote, I obviously hope one of your votes is for me but even if it isn’t, please take part. If we are to show that we care about what happens in and to our country you must use this opportunity to vote in the people you think will listen to you and can really make the changes that you want.

Remember, together we CAN make things happen

Thank you

The Race is on..

October 16, 2009

Jonathon Butler of Stanley wrote a comment today on one of our previous postings.  with his permission I have posted it, un-edited, below.  Want to contribute to the blog, make a comment, raise an issue, e-mail me…

The candidates have all now been disclosed, we have 12 for Stanley and 5 seats available, so the competition is on, thus far we have seen Glen Ross and Andrea Clausen issue their manifesto. For me and my vote for what it is worth, I am wanting to see the Government Finance to be controlled and a group of Councillor’s who are wishing to create policy and direction rather than be lead by senior figures into a spiral that in a few short years will bankrupt the Islands.

I would also like to see a robust stance on Foreign Policy and someone to look at the current shortage of employment for those under the age of 18 and belong to the Islands. This is just a couple of issues that I am looking for in a manifesto.

Jonathan Butler – Stanley

Election Candidate: Andrea Patricia Clausen

October 16, 2009

Andrea Clausen

Background

Firstly a little background about myself. My family emigrated to the Falkland Islands in 1974 when I was 3 years old. I grew up in camp at Goose Green and on Sea Lion Island. I was educated entirely though the Falklands system: at Darwin School until its closure in 1981 and then at Stanley Junior & Senior Schools. I then left the islands to attended Peter Symond’s College and then moved on to the University of Wales, Bangor. Following my overseas education I returned to the Islands and worked firstly in the fishing industry and then in conservation and research. I was elected to one of Stanley’s 5 seats during the General Election in 2005. I am married with 3 children.

 

Why am I standing for a seat in the Legislative Assembly for a further term?

Having being elected during the previous General Election and despite having made reasonable progress on many of the areas I campaigned on 4 years ago, I still feel that there is lot more for me contribute to the development of the Falkland Islands as one of your elected representatives.  A number of important pieces of work have been embarked upon during the life of the last Assembly, pieces of work that look to the future, at ways of ensuring Falkland Islanders are promoted to the highest possible levels in the workplace, at ways of ensuring our economy is vibrant and dynamic, and not just treading water trying to stay afloat. It is essential that these pieces of work are completed. Like the rest of the world we are faced with a choice, make changes or stagnate. I want to live in a country that is able to change when it needs to, so that it we can ensure it is still a good place to live and raise our families for generations to come. As a result of previous good fortunes, our economy grew, our bank balance grew, our services and infrastructure grew and there was less of a need to make difficult choices, however, as circumstances have changed, we need to change and I am ready to stand up and be one of those individuals who is not afraid to carry out those changes that are necessary.

 

Whilst I realise that I would again be one voice in eight if elected, I still believe that I can continue to make a valuable contribution to moving our country in the right direction if you give me that opportunity.

 

Some issues that I am particularly interested in:

 

Families in the Falkland Islands

Starting with an issue that is very close to my heart, and that is support to and protection of the family unit. Despite some limited progress, it is clear that a number of employers in the Falklands still do not offer a flexible enough approach to the employment of parents of young children, including maternity and paternity leave entitlement. There continues to be a need for school-hours only, job-share and flexible working hours within the workplace. Most employees in the Falklands work full-time, and where this happens in the family home I believe it subjects many homes to added pressures. Our economy relies heavily on the ability of parents to work, therefore we must facilitate the provision of a flexible employment environment, where appropriate, so that our families have the ability to balance work and home life in a way that encourages happy homes with happy parents and happy children. 

 

Work on the role and level of financial support (Family Allowance) offered to families has been slow. The legislation that provides for this support is out-dated and is not fit for purpose. Whilst I fundamentally support a system of universal benefit for all families, in times of reducing Government revenues I do agree that the funds available should be targeted to those that are most vulnerable. If elected I will continue to push for a full review of the Family Allowance law. 

 

Health & Education

I believe we should continue to have access to first world health-care and education. Of course we live in a relatively remote country, from a physical point of view at least, but we have over recent years enjoyed increasingly greater access to modern medical services both at home and overseas. The cost of these services is becoming unaffordable for the Government to pay for alone. I do not support draconian restrictions on access to services, although there does need to be a process of justification for each new service being considered, but I do support the further development of the user-pays principle in this area. I would agree to the re-introduction of a Medical Services Levy or National Insurance Scheme as a contribution to the cost of delivery of these important services.

 

If elected I will continue to support the introduction of a statutory ban on smoking in public and work places.

 

In order that we can see a professionally developed and well-trained workforce of Falkland Islanders we must continue to provide access to all levels of education and training. However, we must ensure that access is targeted towards skills that are most needed. There are a number of options that could be used to fund access to such courses, personally I favour a combination of schemes, such as a set number of scholarships per annum, and the ability for all those attaining college entrance requirements, to be able secure student loans.

 

Regulation

There are serious deficiencies in our ability to regulate some sectors of service provision. Despite considerable effort to progress the introduction of robust legislative oversight in the telecommunications sector, this remains an outstanding issue, and is not acceptable. If elected I will make this piece of work a priority.

 

Finance and the Economy

Compared to the rest of the world the Falkland Islands has both a relatively healthy economy and reasonable levels of Government reserves. However, from an internal point of view we have seen Government finances come under increasing pressure with flattening or declining revenues and a complete slow-down in economic growth. Many of the causes of these changes are out of our hands, such as the failure of the Illex fishery and the global financial crisis. The Consolidated Fund is there to cushion such drastic changes in the state of our finances, but only for short periods. It is not there, in my opinion, to be called upon for sustained periods to prop up operational expenditure. We must, therefore, continue to look for efficiencies within the civil service and look at the effectiveness of contributions made through the Transfer Fund (Farm Improvement Scheme, FIMCo, etc…).  We must remove our reliance on the volatile Illex fishing revenue, one of the most vulnerable areas of our budget. Looking to 2009/10 we are likely to see an increase in Government revenues and a positive impact on our economy on the whole, as a result of the activities taking place during the impending drilling campaign as well as from the work carried out by the de-mining team. However we cannot become complacent, whilst these activities are to be welcomed from a fiscal and economic standpoint, there is no guarantee that such revenue streams will be maintained in the long term. We must look to finding better ways to strengthen our economy and ensure a healthy fiscal balance.

 

The private sector is the key building block of the nation’s economy. It is therefore essential that the Government provides a setting that will assist the growth and further development of the private sector, carefully considering key policies such as immigration, tax and land ownership. I will continue to support the work already started on devolving service provision to the private sector either through privatisation or by contracting arrangements, but only where is a clear benefit to the customer, as well as to the economy.

 

Constitutional Development

We have a new Constitution in place and provision has been made for the subject of constituencies to be dealt with under Electoral Ordinance. A referendum on the subject of constituencies can now be held at any time without the need to further review the Constitution itself. I believe that the issue of constituencies and/or proportional representation must be addressed. I believe that the best option for the Falkland Islands is a single constituency. During the past four years in my work as an Elected Representative I have always believed it was my duty to represent the whole of the Falkland Islands and not just part of. Whilst I accept that there may need to be some polices in place that can deal with the specific needs of the rural community and economy there is no reason why these cannot be done under the umbrella of a single constituency where all 8 Members are equally accountable to the entire electorate.

 

Foreign Affairs

Six years ago we saw the arrival of the Kirchner dynasty in Argentina, along with them a hardening of their policy towards us. The first significant act for this new administration was the ban on commercial charter flights in 2003, a direct attack on our relatively young cruise ship industry. Despite this act and despite experiencing the pleasantries of our neighbours first-hand in 1982 in both Stanley and Goose Green, I’ve always considered myself broad-minded on the subject of Argentina, and I would have liked to see our relationship develop so that we could have progressed some of the key areas in which we have a mutual interest, such as the management of the fishery resources in the South-west Atlantic. However, over the last 4 years we have been subjected to a series of aggressive bully boy acts, deliberately trying to destabilise our economic development in a manner that can only be described as economic terrorism. It’s amazing how a country that likes to think of itself as a progressive democratic state doesn’t understand that bullying tactics only serve to strengthen the resolve of it’s victims. Our country and our economy will continue to grow because we will make it and we won’t be pushed around by an administration that is barely a step away from the dictatorship it tries so hard to remove itself from.

 

In the light of these ever more aggressive actions from our neighbour, it is essential that the Falkland Islands maintains its excellent network of friends overseas, across the Commonwealth, in the United Nations and the European Union and most especially in Westminster. We must continue to ensure that the world outside is as aware as we can make it of our plight with respect to our neighbours denying us the right to self-determination, a privilege that they have no problem defending for others but not for the people of the Falkland Islands, no matter that our right is unquestionable.

 

Elections

Finally I would like to end by reminding everyone that whatever they do on November 5th, please make every effort to vote, because there are 255 names on a Liberation Monument on Ross Road, of the men who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom to live in a land where we can vote for representatives of our choice in a truly democratic society.