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Home | December 2012 Please tell us what you think of this article. Tell a friend Print Friendly

Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 20 DECEMBER 2012
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 22.12.2012 (Article Archived on 05.01.2013)

A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 20 December 2012 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall. Present were the Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, the Clerk of Council, Mrs Claudette Anderson-Prior, The Financial Secretary Mrs Nicola Granger, the Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett, the Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands Brig Bill Aldridge and MLAs Short, Cheek, Hansen, Edwards, Halford and Sawle.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 20 DECEMBER 2012


(Part 1)


 


By J. Brock (FINN)


 


A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 20 December 2012 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall.  Present were the Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, the Clerk of Council, Mrs Claudette Anderson-Prior, The Financial Secretary Mrs Nicola Granger, the Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett, the Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands Brig Bill Aldridge and MLAs Short, Cheek, Hansen, Edwards, Halford and Sawle.


 


Rev Dr Richard Hines led the prayers, which were followed by the Confirmation of the Record of the Meeting held on 25 October 2012.  Mr Keith Biles signed the minutes as a true record of that meeting.


 


Papers to be laid on the Table by the Honourable the Chief Executive: Copies of Subsidiary Legislation published in the Falkland Islands Gazette since the last sitting of Legislative Assembly and laid on the table pursuant to Section 34.1 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance 1977 –


 


1.     Coins No 4 Order 2012


2.     Taxes and Duties: Defence Contractors Exemption Order 2012


3.     In Accordance with Section 82 of the Constitution, the Report of the Public Accounts Committee in respects of Accounts of the Year ending 30 June 2011 for Falklands Conservation Accounts and the Museum and National Trust Accounts; and for the year ending 30 June 2012, Falkland Landholdings Corporation Accounts, Falkland Islands Development Corporation Accounts and Falkland Islands Tourist Board Accounts


4.     And in Accordance of Section 11 of the Public Accounts Committee Ordinance 2009, Comments on the Audit Report for the OC FIDF’s Find.


 


Questions for Oral Answer:


 


Question Number 04/12 by the Honourable Roger Edwards:


 


 


Could the Honourable Dick Sawle please confirm that there is no monopoly in the Falkland Islands regarding downloading “Free to Air” (FTA) satellite television programmes?


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, I am very happy to confirm that this is the case.  There are no monopoly arrangements that restrict people from using a decoder to receive Free to Air or FTA satellite television programmes.  There is legislation – the Broadcasting Ordinance 2004 that makes it an offence for people to dishonestly receive programmes including in a Broadcast Service with the intent of avoiding any charge applicable to receiving those programmes.  It is also an offence to make, import, sell or hire an unauthorised decoder or to possess an unauthorised decoder for commercial purposes. In simple terms, an unauthorised decoder is an apparatus that is designed, adapted or used to receive an encrypted broadcast either without payment of the broadcaster’s fee or in a place where the broadcaster has not agreed for the broadcast to be received.


 


For information, there is no monopoly in the Falkland Islands in relation to providing  satellite broadcast reception services by which I mean provision of apparatus enabling people to receive encrypted programmes relayed by satellite or in relation to rebroadcasting services by which I mean re-transmitting a broadcast to persons authorised to receive it.


 


RE:  I thank the Honourable Dick Sawle for his answer.


 


GS:  I would just like to ask the Honourable (Dick) Sawle if I could just tease out of him – you did say there that you could in fact be in breach of the law if I understand this correctly, if you receive a signal, even though it is free to air in the Falklands even though the person who transmitted it did not mean for this to happen.  Is that correct?


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, I will try and clarify what I think my Honourable Colleague is referring to.  Correct me if I have this wrong.  I think what you mean is that somebody unintentionally has put out a signal which is unencrypted and therefore is able to be received by an FTA decoder.  Is that correct?


 


GS:  That’s correct.


 


DS:   In which case my understanding is that whilst that signal has not been encrypted, it should have been encrypted and should not have been received by an FTA Decoder.


 


GS:  I thank my colleague for his reply.  It does seem slightly complicated though because if you are on the receiving end, how would you know that the signal was not intended for you, even if your totally legal box is receiving it?


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, I think my Honourable Colleague has hit the nail on the head.  This is one of the problems when we have a broadcasting ordinance in the Falkland Islands that is very clear as to what is an authorised decoder and what constitutes an unauthorised decoder.  The problem comes, of course, when people who are transmitting signals are not applying the laws that they should be applying.  This is where the confusion, I think, has arisen.  And this, Mr Speaker, is one of the things which we hope to clarify in due course by having a revision of the Broadcasting Ordinance 2004.


 


GS:  I would like to thank the Honourable Dick Sawle for his report and certainly that review is long overdue.


 


 


Question Number 05/12 by the Honourable Roger Edwards:


 


 


There has recently been a very full and detailed report from the Complaints Commissioner regarding the importation of satellite receivers from Chile, many of which were subsequently impounded by the Falkland Islands authorities as being “un-authorised decoders”. Could the Honourable Dick Sawle please explain what an authorised decoder is?


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, in order to answer the question, I am not trying to avoid my Honourable Colleague’s question at all, but in order to answer this question I need to try and explain what an unauthorised Decoder is.  An unauthorised decoder is one that is designed, adapted or used to enable an encrypted transmission to be accessed in an intelligible form either without payment of the fee which is charged for the broadcast service or one which is used in a place where the person entitled to be paid for the broadcast service has not agreed that the service can be used.


 


An authorised decoder is therefore a decoder that is used to receive encrypted transmissions upon payment of a fee in a place where the person entitled to the fee has agreed it can be used; or which is used to receive transmissions which are not encrypted or for which no fee is charged or no geographical limitation is imposed. 


 


A decoder that can only genuinely receive free to air transmissions will not be an unauthorised decoder.


 


RE:  I thank the Honourable Dick Sawle for his answer.


 


 


Question Number 06/12 by the Honourable Roger Edwards:


 


 


This same report of the Complaints Commissioner notes that the Broadcasting Ordinance of 2004 not only creates considerable enforcement difficulties for both Customs and Immigration and the Royal Falkland Islands Police, but also confuses consumers. Would the Honourable Dick Sawle not agree that this Ordinance requires urgent review for and on behalf of the enforcement agencies and consumers alike? I would just like to add here that I put the question in long before I knew there was an EXCO Paper coming forward where this particular ordinance would be discussed.


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, it is correct that one of the recommendations of the Public Complaints Commissioner was that the Broadcasting Ordinance of 2004 should be reviewed.  This recommendation was accepted by Executive Council about two months ago.


 


I agree that the Ordinance should be reviewed on behalf of the enforcement agencies, consumers and businesses that operate in this area.


 


The review of this ordinance is likely to require expert advice to help develop a policy on broadcasting in all of its forms.  This will require consultation with affected people and would ultimately lead to replacement legislation being drafted.


 


For any law to be effective, it has to be both clearly understood and clear to enforce.  Whilst the Broadcasting Ordinance 2004 is not in itself a complicated piece of legislation, it does, as was rightly pointed out by the Complaints Commissioner, give rise to a variety of difficulties with regard to testing procedures to determine whether or not the decoder is authorised.


 


Where this work ranks in relation to other policy and legislative priorities was considered by Executive Council yesterday.  And yesterday Executive Council agreed that it should be reviewed within the first six months of 2013.


 


RE:  Mr Speaker, I thank the Honourable Dick Sawle for his answer and I am delighted that this broadcasting ordinance is coming back early in the New Year.


 


Motions:


 


Motion No 8 of 2012 By the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek:  That this House accepts the response of Executive Council on the report of the Public Accounts Committee on Agricultural Support Schemes;


 


JC:  Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would like to propose that the response be accepted.


 


DS:  I would like to second that Motion.


 


There was no debate and the Motion Passed.


 


 


Motion No 9 of 2012 by the Hon Mr Dick Sawle:  That this House accepts the response of Executive Council on the report of the Public Account Committee on Audit Strategy Memorandum for the year ended 30 June 2012.


 


DS:  Mr Speaker, I would like to propose that the House accepts.


 


IH:  Mr Speaker, I would be happy to second this


 


There was no debate and the Motion passed.


 


 


Motion No 10 of 2012 by the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:  That this House notes the comments of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the Falkland Islands Government Interim Audit Report for the year ended the 30 June 2012.


 


SH:  Mr Speaker I propose this Motion and I would like to add that as always with any report from the PAC, their work is to ensure that best practice is being followed and value for money is being achieved and suggest where improvements can be made.


 


RE:  Mr Speaker I second the motion


 


There was no debate and the Motion Passed.


 


Motion No 11 of 2012 by the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:  that this House notes the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Falkland islands Defence Force Audit Report of June 2012.


 


SH:  Mr Speaker I would like to propose this Motion and again just reiterate why the PAC carry out this work.


 


GS:  Mr Speaker I wish to second the Motion.


 


There was no debate and the Motion Passed.  The Speaker pointed out that both Motions require that the Governor in Council reports back to the House within 6 months.


 


Order of the Day Bills:


 


Supplementary Appropriation (2012-2013)(No 2) Bill 2012 (EXCO 19/12/2012): 


 


This Bill required a first reading.  The Financial Secretary moved the first reading of the Bill.  The Hon the Chief Executive seconded the Motion.  There were no objections and the Bill was read a first time.


 


NG:  Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this is the second Supplementary Appropriation Bill to be presented for the current financial year.  Its purpose is to authorise the withdrawal of the additional sum of £620,840.00 from the Consolidated Fund  to meet supplementary expenditure approved by the Standing Finance Committee on the 25th of October and 21 November 2012. 


 


The supplementary Expenditure was approved for the following purposes:


 


1.     £415,000.00 to ensure the provision of business loans by FIDC


2.     £83,000.00 to fund the recently approved system of working and childcare credits


3.     £55,000.00 for the replenishment of rock salt stocks before the onset of winter


4.     £24,000.00 as a result of growth in Camp Education


5.     £36,000.00 for the Central Services Department


 


A full Departmental breakdown is included in the schedule to the Bill. 


 


I beg to Move that the Bill be read a second time.


 


The Hon Chief Executive Mr Keith Padgett, seconded the Bill.  There was no debate and the Bill was dealt with by the Short procedure and passed.


 


Taxes (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2012 (Gazette Supplement 13 (03/12/2012):


 


The Bill has been published in the Gazette and a second reading was required.


 


NG:  Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this Bill would make a number of minor amendments to the Taxes Ordinance and two changes to the Medical Services Tax Ordinance and the Taxes Benefit in Kind Rules to correct anomalies in legislation, bring benefit in kind charges up to date and incorporate existing Taxation Office practice.


 


Clause 2 explains that the amendments would come into force as specified in each provision, which with the exception of Clause 4, which formalises existing practice that relate to income or actions arising on or after 01 January 2013.


 


Clause 3 would restrict one of the exemptions from income tax from Section 57 of the Taxes ordinance.  This particular provision currently exempts from income tax all income of all individuals who are present in the Falkland Islands for less than 30 days in a 12 Month period.  The Amendment would restrict this to reflect only employment income as was the original intention.  The clause would also amend the medical Services Tax ordinance to bring exemptions from MST for individuals present in the Islands for less than 30 days in a 12 month period in line with the Taxes ordinance.  Currently the Medical Services Tax Ordinance also provides exemption for business profits for individuals present for less than 30 days in a 12 month period.


 


Clause 4 would amend both the Taxes Ordinance and the medical Services Tax ordinance to clarify that days present in the Falkland Islands for the purpose of establishing residence include both days of arrival in and departure from the Islands.


 


Clause 5 would amend the Taxes Ordinance to give the Commissioner for Taxation discretion, in relation to corporation tax, to approve different ends to company accounting periods than currently provided for. The clause would have effect in relation to accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2013.


 


Clause 6 would amend section 33 of the Taxes Ordinance which deals with the late filing of accounts and late payment of tax.


 


The existing provisions provide for the imposition of fixed penalties if accounts are delivered up to six months late. The new provision would also allow a fixed penalty to be imposed if the accounts are delivered more than six months late.


 


The existing provisions provide for tax geared penalties to be imposed if the accounts are delivered more than six months late and any tax due remains unpaid, but only if the lateness of the accounts and unpaid tax coincided within limited timeframes, which leave a gap allowing the penalty to be avoided. The new provisions would allow tax geared penalties to be imposed in relation to any unpaid tax if the accounts are delivered more than six months late and any tax payable in relation to the relevant accounting period also remains unpaid after six months after the tax return is due. This enables a penalty to be charged when the accounts are submitted at any time after this, so long as the tax was unpaid six months after the tax return was due.


 


The new provisions would have effect in relation to accounts which are delivered on or after 1


January 2013.


 


Clause 7 would amend the Taxes (Benefits in Kind) Rules so as to:


 


12 (a) make new provision for calculation of the taxable benefit in relation to heating and electricity in respect of exclusive use of a house, at an annual value of £500 per room, subject to a maximum of £3,500 (in contrast to the existing daily rate of £3.00 per day, subject to a maximum of £1,500); and (b) provide that where more than one return journey is made by an employee in a calendar year, the costs to an employer of those flights which are exempt from tax as prescribed benefits in kind is the journey in respect of which the employer incurs the highest cost.


 


I beg to Move that the Bill be read a second time.


 


KP:  Mr Speaker I second the Motion.


 


The Bill was dealt with by the short procedure.  There were no amendments to the Bill and it was read a third time and passed.


 


 


Aerodromes Bill 2012 (Gazette Supplement 13: 03/122012)


 


This Bill was published in the Falkland Islands Gazette and went to the second reading.


 


KP:  Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this is a short Bill to provide the necessary authority to regulate the use of aerodromes.  If the Bill is passed the Governor would have the power to make regulations about aerodromes and also about other aircraft operations.  A set of draft regulations has been prepared and has been approved in principle by Executive Council and made available although they can only be made if this bill is passed.


 


The main purpose of the Bill is to insure the proper framework can be put in place to regulate the airstrips in Camp that are used by the Falkland Islands Government Air Service. 


 


The existing system of licences for camp airstrips operates under an old version of the Air Navigation Overseas Territories Order that has since been replaced so the existing licences currently have no legal basis.  Passing this Bill would allow that to be remedied. 


 


The Draft Regulations would allow the Director of Civil Aviation to issue approvals for aerodromes including camp airstrips and permissions for other aircraft operations.


 


The rolling programme of audits is being carried out by the Director of Civil Aviation and camp airstrip operators will currently hold licences will be advised about their future responsibilities of all the new approvals.  However, although regulating camp airstrips for FIGAS flights is the main purpose of the Bill, th

 

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