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Falklands : Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 05.03.2012 (Article Archived on 19.03.2012)

Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I would like to touch on a few issues.

Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:


Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I would like to touch on a few issues. 


Firstly I would like to give a brief update on where we are on road-works this season, as I had various representations from concerned road users.  Bearing in mind that many areas on the West had not seen road maintenance for two to three years, you could say that West Falkland has had a well-deserved face lift this season and that all roads with the exception of the road to Spring Point have been graded and there has been more capping undertaken on the main spine road between Port Howard and Fox Bay.  I understand that Wind-bound Valley has also been realigned and as this was a large operation, let us hope it holds its own and lasts for some considerable time into the future.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to get all the work finished on the West that had been hoped to be achieved but overall I do hope that the work undertaken has made a difference.  No doubt I will be told if it is not.


East Falkland, on the other hand, has not seen the same level of maintenance that it has been used to as the grading plant was on the West a good portion of the season.  This plant should hopefully be back on the East this weekend and will be put to work on the MPA Road and hopefully within a week will also be working on the North Camp Track.


Several people have expressed concern about the replacement of the culverts between the Estancia and Malo being undertaken before the end of the FIMCO season.  I am assured that this work will not be undertaken before the end of the FIMCO season but it should hopefully be undertaken before the start of the next one.  I am aware that a lot of capping needs to be undertaken in the future on both islands and people will have their own views as to where this is or is not the most deserving.  The road from Wall Mountain to the Estancia is now in real need of capping.  But if we think back it has perhaps served us well as it was one of the first roads built.


However, before more work can be done with the regular fire-fighting we have been trying to deal with to date, we will have to think seriously about additional funding on an annual basis and this will be something that we will need to address in the budget round.  If we do not then we can forget about all the other development strategies that rely upon communications, which include a good road network.


The Onion Range Road is at last near completion, which will release that gang back into the pool for road-works.  We have also undertaken two road trials this season.  The first was on the South Side of the Fitzroy Ridge and was an “Eco-tracks” trial.  This was only undertaken on a small stretch of road but it appears to be holding up reasonably well.  However, the winter will be the real test.


The second trial was the “Ultra-Seal” trial on the Moody Brook Road, which was laid more recently, in fact, whilst I was away.  So again we will need to see how this holds out over the winter.  Later in the year both trials should be able to be fully assessed and decisions made as to whether or not either of the trials are the way to go for the future.


Executive Council confirmed yesterday the appointment of Dave Roberts as the East Falkland Representative to the Transport Advisory Committee.  He will be following on where Ted Jones left off.   Owen Betts has been appointed to the Committee as a representative for Stanley replacing Gerald Cheek and bill Pole-Evans remains as the representative for West Falkland.    We still have a vacancy for an outer island representative and would, of course, like to hear from anyone who would be interested in taking on this role.


To finish on roads, I would like to thank all of those in the Highways Section and in the private sector who continue to work long hours and strive to keep our roads operable.


As many of you are aware and as the Honourable Ian Hansen has already said, I was out of the Islands recently for a month with the Honourable Roger Edwards.  And despite what some may surmise, this was no holiday.  Firstly we attended a forum in Brussels for overseas territories before spending a couple of days in London assisting with the first sift of candidates on the long list for the post of Chief Executive here in the Islands.


After that we travelled to the Caribbean to Barbados, Granada, St Lucia and St Vincent before returning to London for another session of interviews and then thankfully we returned home to a warmer climate – well it was for a few days.


The purpose of the Caribbean visit was to try and put the truth across about the Falklands and its people and our right to determine our own future, rather than the people only hearing the myths and lies that are all too often spread by our neighbour.  We received a warm welcome and good support from most of those we were fortunate enough to talk to.  We also had excellent support from the Foreign and Commonwealth office and I would like to thank them for that.


There is no doubt in my mind that our message is best portrayed to the outside world by ourselves – the Falkland Islanders – not just MLAs but Islanders as a whole including the younger and older generations, whether through politics, sport or simple everyday living.  If we wish to be heard, then we should not be backward in coming forward.  And I would like to say, well done” to all of you here and overseas who have been contributing in getting our message across and are continuing to do so.


I do not normally give air time to Argentina but on this occasion I would like to thank their president and her government for all of the publicity they have afforded the Falklands of late; and the way in which they have raised our profile internationally.  People are now hungry to know the truth and hear our side of the story.


We were presented with a report on the review of the review of Government this week, which is to be made public.  And as the Honourable Jan Cheek has already said, Irene Lucas is to be thanked for her part in getting this to us.  And, throughout the process she tackled it with a very quiet and, in my view, efficient manner. 


Prior to being elected on to this Assembly; in other words being on the outside looking in, I was one of those who was not all together happy with all the changes that had been made.  Now you could say that I am on the inside looking out and I am still not happy with all the changes that took place but can see where some have worked and improvements have been made.  This review contains a number of recommendations and it will now be for MLAs and officials to look at and consider the recommendations and decide upon the way forward; and if systems can be tweaked and improve it even more in some areas. 


In this line of work you win some and you lose some, as I did in relation to the time change.  Although I was absent from the Executive Council meeting when it was decided that the time change would no longer happen and that we would remain on Summer time all year around, I did express my opinions loudly and clearly but obviously to no effect.  I do recall that when we first started on the exercise, there was a suggestion that we try both time zones for the same time – no pun intended.  But that idea also seemed to fall by the wayside.  I am still disappointed that the telephone survey did not take place as I feel that many people within the Falklands have no idea that the online survey was going on.


As I have been told on numerous occasions, the people in Camp can continue to do as they wish, as had been the case to date.  That’s not much consolation for the businesses that start work early in the mornings in Stanley.  We now have to live in this time-zone and I continue to look forward to seeing some of my colleagues becoming former shadows of themselves after all the evening exercise they are able to enjoy.


As has been mentioned here this morning we are to have a census in the Islands in the not too distant future.  The intention is that the census will be completed online.  Please note that it is only if that is how you wish to do it.  You will still be able to ask for a paper copy to fill in.  As computer literate as many in our community may be, there are still many people who are not online and others like myself who are not exactly up to doing much more than sending and receiving e-mails.


Finally, I, Too, would like to welcome Congressman Sensenbrenner and Todd (Washam) to the Falklands.  It is, indeed, both an honour and a pleasure to have the opportunity to entertain and show our Islands and way of life to an American Congressman.  Although brief, I do hope that your visit will be both informative and enjoyable.


I support the Motion.


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