Falklands : MOTION OF THANKS SPEECH BY DR THE HON BARRY ELSBY
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 04.06.2014 (Article Archived on 19.07.2014)
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion I would like to echo the comments made by my previous two colleagues.
MOTION OF THANKS SPEECH BY DR THE HON BARRY ELSBY
BE: Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members, in rising to support the Motion I would like to echo the comments made by my previous two colleagues.
In his speech His Excellency rightly outlined the successes we have had over the last year but also points out the real difficulties ahead. Some of those difficulties such as ‘how to develop an oil industry’ will be very welcome by many other countries so I think there are difficulties but they are something we should cope with and we should learn from and there will be a great asset to the Falkland Islands.
But he also quite rightly points out that we shouldn’t ignore our traditional interests such as Agriculture, Tourism and fisheries. If you look at other countries that have had a successful oil industry, it has been that they are maintaining those other industries and not depending solely on oil that has made them a success.
If and when oil extraction occurs we need to be sure that we are in absolute control of that process; and His excellency mentioned the fact that we need to make sure that local companies benefit from this industry.
Your Excellency mentioned in his speech the numbers of children entering education are increasing and that is obviously a welcome fact. But it brings with it a few difficulties particularly with space in the Infant/Junior School as the numbers are now outgrowing the space we have available. And we are looking at interim measures to make it possible for us to maintain the class sizes at 30 or below as we wish to do as we see it as a way of providing good quality education.
Those interim measures will be put in place I am sure as soon as they can but I am firmly convinced that the long-term solution to this difficulty is that we build a new Infant/Junior School on a green-field site. And I hope that will not be in the not too distant future.
Remaining on education, it is always our wish that the education we provide should be at the highest standard possible in the Islands. At the moment we have a new director and new Senior Management Team for the Education Department. And we have recently undergone what is called a Desk Top Off-stead Inspection or a virtual off-stead inspection as a means of assessing how the changes are put in place have affected the way that education is provided. The full report for that virtual off-stead inspection is not yet available but it will be published when it is. And I have every confidence that it will show that the new Director and her Management Team have brought about changes that have led to improvement in the standards.
We are planning a full Off-stead Inspection in the Islands at the end of the year and I am sure that will point to the fact that the changes the Director has put in place will be to the benefit of our children.
Finally I would like to comment on the fact that we are, as Your Excellency mentions, continually under pressure from Argentina. I returned a couple of days ago from a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Wales. They are friends of ours. They talked at the meeting about the pressures we are still undergoing in the same way they talked about that our friends in Gibraltar are undergoing. And they asked me to bring back to this Chamber their wishes for our future and the fact that we must stand up to this pressure. We have their full support.
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members, I support the Motion.