LOW TURN-OUT RETURNS BURMINGHAM TO LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
By J. Brock (FINN)
A low turn-out featured in a surprise result for the Stanley by-election held on 03 January 2008.With 610 votes, 47.2% of the Stanley constituency voting, John Birmingham received 210 votes, Dr Richard Davies received 182 votes, Roger Edwards got 133 votes and James Peck, 85 votes.According to Dr Michael Blanch, the Returning Officer, five ballot papers were rejected.
OVERSEAS TERRITORIES MINISTER VISITS THE FALKLANDS
By J. Brock (FINN)
Overseas Territories Minister Ms. Meg Munn at Government House on Saturday morning.
Sorry, no photos
UK Minister for Overseas Territories Ms Meg Munn MP on Ascension Island with the Administrator Mr. Michael Hill, right and Johnnie Hobson, left.
UK Minister for the Overseas Territories Ms Meg Munn MP has visited the Falklands on a familiarisation Visit from 03 to 05 January 2008.Ms Munn is responsible to the UK Parliament for a range of issues for UK Overseas Territories.
She arrived on the 03 January Air-bridge from Ascension Island where she took the traditional 90 minute tour and met Ascension’s Advisory Committee, Commander of the RAF Base and Administrator Mr. Michael Hill.She also took a short tour of the Island before leaving on the Air-bridge to the Falklands.
Ms Munn began her visit by visiting Gypsy Cove and attending the unveiling of the Royal marines’ Memorial on the Triangle by former 1982 ‘42 Commando Commanding Officer, Maj. Gen Nick Vaux RM, (Ret).
Overseas Territories Minister Ms Meg Munn MP stands with H. E. the Governor Mr. Alan Huckle at the unveiling of the Royal Marines’ Memorial at the Triangle on 03 January 2007.
Her busy first day continued with a visit to the Town Hall to witness the count for the Stanley by-election and ended the day at dinner in Government House for invited guests.On Friday Ms Munn met Government Officials and Councillors before lunch with the business community.The afternoon was taken up with the Military on HMS Nottingham a helicopter trip to Sea Lion to visit the HMS Sheffield Memorial had to be cancelled.A reception at Government House in the evening was followed by dinner with Islanders.Instead, Ms Munn visited a farm.“I really want to understand some of the pressures of people who live in the countryside and ways they have had to adapt their lives to changes and pressures in agriculture, which are not unique to the Falkland Islands,” she said.
On Saturday Ms Munn went to the KEMH and had a chat with members of the Social Welfare Department.As a former Social Welfare professional, Ms Munn holds a great interest in social issues.She expressed amazement that the Falklands provide a whole range of services while having the population of a small village in the UK.Prior to leaving on Saturday’s LAN flight Ms Munn held a press conference at Government House with FINN, Penguin News and FIRS.
Ms Munn said that she found it interesting to come to the Falklands, especially her impression of the Islands’ beauty and huge land area. “I am amazed how a small population manages in relation to a whole range of issues,” she said as she explained how she met various members of the Government, Business community and Islanders.She mention some of the issues as flights, access issues, relationship with Argentina as well as the constitutional review not going on here in the Falklands as well as other Overseas Territories.“I am very please to hear that the discussions have gone so well,” she said.
“We are very keen on being able to run and manage their own lives but within the context of our responsibilities as Government.We are very clear that it is a matter of self determination for people on the Islands and that they want to remain British,” she continued.“People felt rightly proud about the unique wildlife and conservation and I think it’s the kind of thing that strikes you immediately,” she said.
“The one impression I will go away with is whether you are talking about people in business, people in the public sector or people running farms is that everybody has to be a multi-tasker.You can’t just do one thing because you wouldn’t earn enough or the Society wouldn’t have the range of skills and abilities it needs,” she said.She recognised the entrepreneurial spirit of the Falklands, great flexibility and willingness to turn their hands to whatever needs to be done.
“One of the interesting things for me actually visiting the Overseas Territories, this is my second one as I already went to Cayman Island in December, is looking at that relationship.What I think is evident from the Falklands is that the links with the UK are good and I think other territories could learn more and the UK Government could do more – parts of the UK Government in providing advice and support to overseas Territories,” she said.They are small populations and are struggling with issues that the Falklands are into.
Issues that were discussed with Councillors included air access.She said it was important for the Falklands and it was an enormously tricky issue and that there was a full and frank discussion about the options.“I am under no illusions that the Falkland Islanders and Councillors are extremely aware or very concerned about it and are looking at ways to exploring it,” she said.Ms Munn went on to say that from Government’s point of view it has to have a high priority because it is clearly a major issue for Islanders in all sorts of ways.Also mentioned was limited access for people who found communications detrimental to their businesses.She emphasises east-west access as wel as the air-bridge.
“We would like to see the Next of Kin visit from the Argentines to take place and we had a discussion about whether that could be a charter flight or the option of a ship is logistically better and I would like those discussions to continue between the Falkland Islands and Argentina.” She said.“It’s important that the Falkland Islands are seen to be offering much needed support for people in compassionate circumstances,” she continued.
Other areas of the press conference will be dealt with in the Hydrocarbons section of Tuesday’s issue.
ROYAL MARINES MARK 175TH ANNIVERSARY WITH UNVEILLING MEMORIAL
By J. Brock (FINN)
Two Marines who came down on the air-bridge on the day had only minutes to practice for the ceremony before having to perform.
An unveiling of the Marine’s Monument at the Triangle helped to mark the 175th anniversary of Port Luis and the Marine Garrison that was stationed there.Overseas Territories Minister Ms Meg Munn, as well as H.E. the Governor Mr Alan Huckle, members of the Royal Marines Association, FIDF and other members of the public attended the ceremony and watched former ’42 Commando Commanding Officer, Maj. Gen Nick Vaux RM, (Ret) unveil the stone and plaque.
Maj. Gen Nick Vaux RM, (Ret) stands with other Royal Marines at the newly unveiled Royal Marines’ Monument.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Vaux paid tribute to the Royal Marines’ contribution to Falklands’ freedom not only in 1833 but also remembered the 1976 Freedom of Stanley granted to the Royal Marines as well as their participation in the 1982 conflict.
3rd January 2008
DEEP WATER PORT SEMINAR
FIDC are hosting a half-day seminar on the topic of “A Deep Water Port for the 21st Century – Where?” on 28th January from until at the Chamber of Commerce.
The aim of the seminar is to agree a picture of the opportunities and rewards offered by the various possible locations for a port – and to set these against the costs.That debate should help the government to make a decision on how to go forward – a decision which feedback to FIDC suggests is seen as urgent by many involved.
The first report on the subject, by Rendel Palmer & Tritton, was published in 1983.In the intervening 25 years, the topic of where to locate a modern port – and what it should look like – has been the subject of debate and further reports.
The most recent report, by Royal Haskonning, was published at the end of last year.It looked at the current and likely future port needs of fishing and tourism, two industries which have contributed immensely to the changing face of the Falkland Islands over the past twenty-five years.This gives a solid base to start the process properly to progress towards construction.
The Royal Haskonning report produced a clear outline of the possibilities for development of the FIPASS site.Its value, however, lies also in showing the facilities needed, wherever a port is to be located.And it is clear, from the comments made while the data for the report were being collected, that there are still differences of opinion on the best location.Port William, either East or West of The Narrows, and Berkeley Sound all have their supporters, as well as FIPASS itself.
The case for each will be presented by a champion who will, no doubt, sing loud the merits of their chosen site.There will be an opportunity to question the disadvantages, as well as the advantages, and the outcomes will be published as a paper designed to inform a commitment to the next steps.
The Falkland Islands need for a deep-water port is a popular refrain from many people.The first step in making that a reality is to make a decision on location – without this, no port will be built.So all those interested are invited to come along on 28th January and contribute – it would be helpful if those attending would let FIDC know in advance, by contacting Christine Scipio-O’Dean on telephone 27211 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org .
New Arrangements for the Issuance of UK Visas
From 1 January 2008, those applying worldwide for visas for the UK will need to provide biometric information, in the form of digital fingerscans and photographs, as part of the application process.
The purpose is to increase the security of UK immigration control by linking the biometric information provided in the application to the visa applicant’s unique biometric identity, so as to avoid identity theft and the use of multiple identities.
In order to issue these new biometric visas for the UK, complex and expensive equipment has been developed and is being installed at UK visa issuing offices around the world.
For some years the Falkland Islands Customs and Immigration Department has issued visas for the UK by special arrangement.However, the very small number of UK visas issued does not make the installation of biometric UK visa issuing equipment in the Falkland Islands cost-effective.Furthermore, the extremely limited demand for UK visas here does not justify the holding of mobile UK visa-issuing clinics as in several other OverseasTerritories.
As a result, UK visas will no longer be issued in the Falkland Islands after 31 December 2007.
From 1 January 2008, those wishing to apply for a visa for the UK will have to do so outside the Falkland Islands.The most practical option would appear to be to visit the Visa Section of the British Embassy in Santiago, Chile.UK Visa information can be sought from Santiago by e-mail at: email@example.com. The telephone is (00) (56) (2) 370 4100 and Fax is (00) (56) (2) 370 4170).
The UK visa issuing authority has also entered into a commercial partnership with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).Information services on whether a visa is required and how to apply for one can be obtained free of charge from CSC on www.visainfoservices.com.
The visa issuing authority in the UK is currently considering new arrangements to deal with emergency UK visa issuing cases.Should you fall into this category, please contact the Falkland Islands Customs and Immigration Department on 27340.
Falkland Islands Department of Customs and Immigration
24 December 2007
Note:Messages have been coming in about the TAMAR either hitting rocks or running aground.More will be added tomorrow as things become clearer and the facts are known.
From Mgr Michael Bernard McPartland
It is hereby announced that, as from Tuesday, 1st January 2008, the Feast of Mary Mother of God, the Reverend Father Michael David Griffiths of the Catholic Diocese of Northampton, UK, is appointed Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart Parish, Upper Jamestown, St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
At the same time, he will assume the duties of Official Delegate of the Prefect Apostolic, to the said Island of St Helena.
Father Griffiths will set sail on the RMS St Helena, from Portland, Dorset, and is due to arrive at Jamestown on or about Wednesday, 9th April 2008.
Father Griffiths said:
“It was with great joy that I have been appointed as Parish Priest of the SacredHeartChurch, Upper Jamestown and deputy to the Apostolic Prefect. It is hoped that I will arrive on the RMS St. Helena on the Portland sailing, arriving early April.
I have been a Priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese ofNorthampton for almost 30 years and am at the moment parish Priest of Our Lady’s, Luton in Bedfordshire. It is a large parish with 1200 people every Sunday. Coming to St. Helena will for me, be a truly wonderful opportunity to serve the Christian community. I have used the internet to find out all the information that I can on the Island and every Friday look forward to reading your excellent Islandnewspaper.
A little of my history:-
I was born in 1948 in Swansea, South Wales. I went to school at ClevedonCollege and went from there to a catering college where I qualified as a chef, after working in several restaurants, I eventually had my own restaurant.
After being called to become a Priest by God, I studied for six years at St. Mary’s Seminary Oscott in Birmingham and ordained in the late seventies. Several parishes later, God has asked me to come to you and I truly am looking forward to being on St. Helena for many years to come. Please feel free at any time to pop in for a cup of tea or coffee to the house next to the Sacred Heart church, Upper Jamestown.
TWO teenagers are back in Hampshire after several weeks of studies in one of the planet's remotest regions.
Rosanna Baker and Geoffrey Pyatt, both 18, joined a British Schools Exploring Society expedition to the other end of the world, with trips to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Both outposts, which lie deep in the southern hemisphere, are often seen as the final stops before Antarctica.
The Hampshire teenagers were part of an 18-strong group carrying out scientific studies and surveys.
Rosanna, from Owslebury, and Geoffrey, from Headbourne Worthy, were two of dozens of candidates vying for spaces on the trip.
Selection weekends were held last summer with several exercises, including some in North Wales.
After the Hampshire duo made the grade, there was the small matter of raising £5,500 each to fund their trip.
Rosanna organised a disco, took on two part time jobs, and did some babysitting to raise the money.
Geoffrey booked his place by taking on gardening jobs and working night shifts at a supermarket.
Both of the teenagers left Hampshire in early November and returned on New Year's Eve.
(c) This is Hampshire.co.uk
McGrigors prepares for '08 Manchester launch
By Claire Ruckin
McGrigors is set to launch in Manchester, handing the big four Scots firm its first presence in the northwest of England.
The new office, which is set to open at the beginning of 2008, will headed by infrastructure partner Peter Blackmore, who will relocate from London.
The Manchester office will add to the firm’s existing six-office network comprising bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London, Belfast and the Falkland Islands. The new branch will focus on infrastructure, project finance, construction, property and energy as well as tax litigation.
The firm said client demand for the new office had increased significantly over the past 12 months. The office will be looking to expand to approximately 10 fee earners by the end of 2008.Blackmore commented: “Client encouragement has really driven the firm’s further commitment to Manchester through the opening of our new office. Having a presence in Manchester is something that has been considered for a while and we felt this was the right time.”Most of the UK’s major national firms already have a presence in Manchester, including Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper, Eversheds, Pinsent Masons, Halliwells and Cobbetts.
Earlier this month Eversheds hired Hammonds’ northern projects head, Jackie Heeds, as a partner in its Manchester office and in November the office hired DWF banking partner Simon Prendergast, along with associate Joe Frew and solicitor Clint Dempsey.
BUSINESS NEWS FROM THE BRITISH ANTARCTIC TERRITORY
ARGOSGEORGIA RECEIVES VITAL ENGINE PARTS
The US Air Force air-dropped vital engine parts to a stranded British fishing trawler caught in pack ice for the past two weeks in the RossSea off Antarctica's northern coast.
The Falklands-registered trawler ArgosGeorgia suffered engine failure on December 23, leaving the ship and its 25 crew disabled and surrounded by pack ice.
A US C-17 Loadmaster dropped an engine piston and casing from approximately 121 metres (400 feet) above the RossSea ice early on Saturday, said Lieutenant Colonel Jim McGann, New Zealand-based commander of the US Antarctic base supply group Deep Freeze
(c) press association
BUSINESS NEWS FROM ST HELENA
Financial Services Legislation
The Attorney General's Chambers published two draft Bills on Wednesday 19th December, to support a process of public consultation. Public meetings will be held on Thursday 10th January (West Constituency, at Half Tree Hollow Community Centre) and Monday 14th January (East, Jamestown Community Centre), both commencing at 7:30pm. Relevant officials will attend, along with the Banking Supervisor, Mr Alan Savery.
The Bills are a Financial Services Bill and a Money Laundering Bill, both of which are important at both a local and an international level. Locally, the Bills aim to protect St. Helenians from falling victim to unscrupulous financial service providers as the economy begins to develop in preparation for tourism. At the international level, the new laws are necessary for St. Helena to comply with international obligations and ensure that St. Helena itself and businesses operating here are not subjected to sanctions by other countries and territories.
So, the Financial Services Bill will extend regulations similar to those we already have for banks, to cover a wide range of activities concerning financial services including (for example) investment services, insurance, and pensions. People will not be able to provide such services in or from St. Helena, without being licenced to do so; having been licenced, they will then be supervised in the way they operate.