Tristan : Manifesto of Lewis Clifton
Submitted by Tristan Times (Juanita Brock) 01.11.2003 (Article Archived on 15.11.2003)
Though Lewis Clifton has represented Stanley Constituency, this time he seeks to represent those living in Camp.
6 November 2003
FIBS Broadcast from Lewis Clifton
Why should a Stanley candidate feel inclined to be nominated for election to the Camp Constituency? I have been persuaded to stand because a number of constituents spread across the constituency believe incumbent Camp Councillors are not best representing them at this time.
I face two dilemmas: first, uncertainty about being elected and second, if elected, delivering on manifesto promises. Influencing and engineering policy change with only a 2-year mandate will be much more difficult to achieve than starting out on a 4-year term. I do not under-estimate the challenges, which lie ahead, and none more so as a Stanley constituent standing for election to the Camp constituency.
What can I offer you? My recently served 4-year term with extensive involvement in agricultural policy-making, delivering diversification opportunities gives me a thorough overview of agricultural and Camp affairs. I lack the modern day "living- in-camp" experience but I do not regard that as detrimental to holding the office of Camp Councillor. Living in Stanley, enables me to quickly respond to the Government’s administrative machinery than a councillor residing in camp, where it is not easy to commit to regular political business during busy summer months. I would be better able to contribute to policy-making in a more structured and cohesive way but always accepting that Camp Councillors need to regularly visit the length and breadth of the constituency to stay in touch.
At the international level I have many years of experience as a lobbyist and political activist working at many levels and in many different arenas, with several years served as Councillor, and as a former FIG London Representative.
I believe that people are better at running their own lives than governments. And the activities of the State should be kept to a minimum. Government interventionism is unhealthy and the personalisation of politics is not acceptable. Transparency and openness should be the underpinning foundation of good governance. Public debate in the Legislative Council is currently inadequate.
Engaging the parish-pump at election time is all too easy, but there is also a serious international dimension to Falkland Islands politics. In large part domestic and international issues are firmly intermeshed. I am confident and able to deal with both sets of issues at all times.
The central issue facing all camp voters is one of securing long-term economic sustainability. Rural or agricultural policy initiatives must accept that there are four distinct communities in Camp – those connected by road to Stanley; those connected into the West Falkland road system, those not connected, and those living on islands. Policies in support of the Camp must clearly focus on delivering differing and beneficial levels of sustainable support.
Pasture improvement programmes need to be flexible to stimulate greater opportunity for advancement where it can be attained now, while at the same time accepting that some farms will take longer to come on stream.
Diversification of farming and rural activities, a central theme in the agricultural policy changes implemented during 1997-2001, now enables the Government to derive it dividend by way of taxes but we need to ensure that the currently proposed changes to the Taxation legislation should not impinge on developmental opportunities in camp, or discriminate unnecessarily against diversification initiatives now in hand.
Diversification affords individuals the opportunity to pick and choose, to see and plan for the future in differing ways, and to maximise on utilising the financial and other support tools provided by the Government. The abattoir is one such tool, met from Capital expenditure as a future investment. Problems associated with certification and operational running costs require the sort of forward thinking emerging in the role of FIMCO.
The rural road network must continue until completion; perennial capping and other road works will never be completed. Some deficiencies in the rural road programme are currently evident: work on the East to West link has stalled; the opportunity to stimulate efficient haulage on West Falkland will decline consequent of the Chartres bridge closure to HGVs; and, capping existing roads should not falter. Until all planned rural roads are complete and capped, they should remain non-designated.
The benefits economic diversification will never be realised without an integrated transportation system. Balanced and fair freight rates, abattoir construction write off costs, and a regular, reliable and efficient cross-sound shipping connection, are vital to the successful economic development of Camp. There is a desperate need to set out the future integrated transportation model now. I am no longer constrained to speak on this subject.
A healthy and vibrant private sector is the key to long-term national wealth creation, but it needs political support to meet the challenges, which lie ahead.
I do not accept any form of Argentine claim to the Falklands. I never have done, and I never intend to. My political view will not change. We cannot afford to be blinded by those who still say we must not have links or communication with Argentina. The Madrid protocol signed between HMG and the Argentine Government in 1990, and subsequent agreements, causes the Falklands to discuss matters of mutual interest and resource issues with the Argentines. Thus the Falkland Islands Government is committed to regular discussion with the Argentines on matters of mutual or shared interest and which are of benefit to the Falklands. We cannot shy away from those undertakings entered into and it is not diplomatically possible to do so. High Seas fishing management is one such matter, as is the requirement for a second weekly LAN Chile flight.
We need to be wary of Argentine trends, and we should ensure that the Falklands voice is firmly delivered to all our doubters. I acknowledge the concerns expressed about frequent absences of Councillors overseas. A review of commitments and strategy would be healthy.
Like many, I do wonder if we have not already become too much like little England. I find it infuriating to be increasing told, "that’s what we do in England". What is done in England is not necessarily a good or acceptable recipe for the Falklands where too much change, delivered too quickly erodes what we all stand for and have accepted as traditional Falkland culture, especially in the camp where the school summer holiday is detrimental to the family way of life.
I hear too much nonsense about legislating for a sledge-hammer to crack an occasional truancy nut. A re-arranging of school terms breaks to provide for children to take a proper summer vacation, and in the Falkland Islands summer is required.
I am a firmly committed to "Falklandization". Its natural growth should not be impeded by external influence or waves of contracted officers who seek to engineer short-term change without adopting a long-term view or realising that short-term benefit can generate long-term disappointment. "Falklandisation" is a form of Falklands nationalism, made up of the many facets of our community activities, identity and culture. Indeed our very own Constitution provides for "Falklandisation" to evolve.
The "trickle-in" immigration policy must contain all the checks and measures to ensure no immigrant gains open door access. Control over the admission of good immigrants is essential but conversely immigration policies should not hinder the private sector from employing short term or seasonal labour.
To those who are painting my nomination with "he’s going to do away with the holiday credit scheme", I unequivocally confirm to maintain the holiday credit scheme.
Apparent shortages of funds within the Medical Department are a concern. It is simply not acceptable that long-standing citizens who have given their working lives to these islands should be denied appropriate support in their twilight years.
Whatever the issue of concern, it is important that you vote on 6/November. Whoever the successful candidate, he will need a ringing endorsement to quickly get down to business. I look forward to serving you.
Note – full statement, but italicised as delivered on FIBS.