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Falklands : The Hon Mr Gavin Short’s Motion for Adjournment Speech
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.06.2011 (Article Archived on 22.06.2011)

Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen in rising to speak to the Motion for Adjournment I would like to mention a few items.

The Hon Mr Gavin Short’s Motion for Adjournment Speech


Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen in rising to speak to the Motion for Adjournment I would like to mention a few items.


As is normal in the time between Wednesday’s budget session and today, I received a few telephone calls covering various aspects of the announced changes to processes, etc.  I must admit that I had every intention of pursuing one or two yesterday but I am afraid I got laid low with the dreaded lurgy but will be following through on queries in the next day or so once the will to live has returned a little more.


I believe the Financial Secretary has ideas on the way that the budget process could be changed to make it a little more streamlined.  And I would like to chuck in a suggestion that was made to me by a constituent.  Could we not publish some of the revenue proposals that will be going to the Budget Select Committee such as the Pensions contributions increases, etc. a month or so early before their actual day of decision because this would give people time to make any representations that they may wish.  To me this doesn’t seem that revolutionary.


I am still highly indignant that cigarettes are having such a huge increase on them, whilst the other great evil – alcohol – goes unchanged.  Is this really sending the right message?  We care about you sooting up your lungs – or at least we will make a healthy profit out of you if you continue but really don’t care about the social problems that are caused by drinking.  It makes you wonder.


It was also announced in the budget that there is to be a review of Port and Customs charges pertaining to vessels.  It was initially envisaged that this would be just an internal type review but myself and another colleague felt that it would be wonderful or it is a wonderful opportunity to open it up and actually invite suggestions from the industry, whether it be yacht owners, fishing or oil.  And I have been tasked to make it happen and I look forward to starting the ball rolling on that.


Fishing is mentioned, as mentioned in the Governor’s address, continues to be volatile.  This year saw one of the better Illex seasons for some time but with Loligo catches dropping.  Some finfish stocks still give cause for concern as well and it is to this end that we really must strive to bring more to the value of the fisheries on shore here in the Islands.  I have to admit that this has suffered a setback with the problems caused to the container service to the Islands.  But I see it as just that – a setback.  We will find a way to make it work.  Also of great value to us is the transhipping operations that go along with the Tooth-fish licences that are issued for around South Georgia, etc.


This year the Islands suffered a bitter blow when the number of licences that are issued in this fishery were reduced due to conservation issues; which in itself I would applaud.  However, what was difficult to understand was the decision that was made by the South Georgia Government, which by the way resides here in the Falklands, not to issue a license to a Falkland Islands based company whilst issuing one to a New Zealand based company.  I and others have made our feelings known about this and it makes me wonder, just what is the criteria for licences?  I would have thought that the British Government would have taken into account the fact that there was a Falkland Islands company in the bidding and also that they base the South Georgia Government here.  Unfortunately for me this has soured the relationship with the South Georgia Government and I urge them to re-think their decision in the interest of good relations between our two governments.


I really would like to say a heart-felt thank you to everyone around this table for supporting the idea that the Holiday Credit Scheme would carry on for the under 16s and not be closed on the same date as the adults.’   Even though I cannot really see why the scheme had to be closed at all, at least us adults had used what we had accumulated for travelling, donate some or all to SAMA or withdraw half its value in cash.  The children did not.  To take away what they had accumulated would have been daylight robbery.  Now their accumulations can stand or still be drawn down for travel costs or otherwise it will just sit there in the fund until the young person had reached 16 and thereafter they have a year to either use or withdraw it before the scheme ends.


The Capital budget this year covers quite a spread of items, which includes things like the Town Hall lift, finally a new unit for fisheries offices, medical equipment, relocation of PWD and the Museum, etc.


I am also extremely happy that we have made an increase to our spend on defence, with some new items being included in the budget for the FIDF.  I thank Honourable Members for their support.  I imagine there are some out there saying this is a complete waste of money.  You know something? I totally agree with you.  When you spend money on arms for equipment, you pray to God that it is a complete waste of money and the equipment will never be used.  For if the day comes around that it is used then something has gone horribly wrong.  And in all probability people we know will be out there doing their best to defend us and our country.  Although modest in sum, the fact that we are showing that we are prepared to spend the money sends two clear messages.  One is that we believe in our country and will do what we can to defend it and also that we will not hide behind the hem of the British Grey-coat and expect them to keep us safe in our country.


We, too, will do what we can and are proud to do it.  In relation to defence my motto is “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” 


If I could move very briefly to immigration, I have lost count of the times that I have stood in this House and said that the points system is just about to happen – I am now assured that the regulations will be brought forth and it will be with this House at our August session.  And I very much look forward to that as indeed do the people out there who are hopefully waiting.


It is nice to be able to report some good news to the House.  We have, amongst our students studying over in the UK, Marcus Porter and Sam Elliot who along with another lad has formed a band.  I believe that twice now they have been selected to have a track on a CD which the University releases, which in itself is quite some achievement.  However, I am told by Jock and Liz Elliot that the lads have now been told that one of their songs has been selected to appear on the soundtrack with the new Sean Bean Movie, which I think is brilliant news.  I am not too sure who Sean Bean is…  I really must get a life. I am sure Members will join me in passing our congratulations on to the lads and also their families.


Finally, I would like to turn to the theme of external links.  If we wish to further expand our economy to make life better for our people it is vital that we have another air and shipping link out of the Islands.  Without these we will stagnate.  I am not the only person who can see this.  You can bet your bottom dollar that the neighbours across the way notice this as well.  And that is why they have done their very best through pressures on 3rd party companies, the use of unions, etc to sabotage these links. 


We can do it but it is going to mean that this Assembly will have to take some very bold decisions and soon.  For the sake of our people who must be prepared to do this, it may mean that we have to invest money to make things happen and I for one am prepared to do this.  And I call on other Members to show equal commitment.


I do sometimes despair of ever having an adult relationship with the neighbours; and the antics of a week ago when a Mayor and some rather nasty union types whipped up a violent protest against two vessels that were reputed to be helping with the oil exploration in Falklands’ waters.  It just goes to underline the mentality of the people we are facing.


Even the message from their central government, telling them the truth, fell on deaf ears.  I guess it was a case of ‘never let the truth get in the way of a decent riot.’


Maybe the supply of fuel to vessels involved in the supply of hydrocarbons in Argentine waters might be a lucrative side-line for us as it looks like the country that hired them doesn’t seem to want to have them there.


The attempt by our wanna be colonial neighbour to blockade us, to cut off supply lines to brutalise us to giving them our country continues.  We cannot expect this to change; it is their mentality that what you can’t achieve by coercion or corruption, you can by brutality.  Well, Mrs “K” you picked on the wrong people this time.  I would rather go hungry than give an inch to you.


Sir, I support the Motion.


(100X Transcription Service)


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