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Falklands : Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Mike Summers
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 09.03.2013 (Article Archived on 06.04.2013)

Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would very much like to associate myself with the remarks made about the IMR Conference recently. And I wonít repeat all those thanks again but they are nevertheless heartfelt.

Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Mike Summers


Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would very much like to associate myself with the remarks made about the IMR Conference recently.  And I wonít repeat all those thanks again but they are nevertheless heartfelt. 



I was particularly pleased to see with us during the week the representatives from Canada who had been very supportive of the Falklandsí fight for self-determination in the last couple of years and it was great to see him represented.  It was also great to see a representative from the Caribbean in the form of the Chief Minister from Anguilla and hopefully he will take back the message to his Caribbean brothers about self-determination in the Falklands.  It was nice to meet our old friends again and to make some new friends.  It was particularly good to see Baroness Scotland back in the Falklands and we very much welcome the message she brought to us about the UK Governmentís support to self-determination but also the legal basis for our right to self-determination which is absolutely crucial.


And Michael Keating who also brought an interesting prospective on how Self-determination can be achieved in different ways and by different manners and I think we are all better informed from that.  And our resolve to determine our own future is strengthened by the intellectual rigour that he brings to that process.


And thanks also to Samantha Sacramento with the message from the Chief Minister from Gibraltar.  All those things together and the debate that followed I thought made for a great conference.  And to compare the level of devolution in the Falklands with the level of devolution in Scotland and Wales is quite an interesting thing to see.  And I will come back to that again in a few minutes.


I would like to say a few words about tourism.  It has been a poor season for cruise vessels as we know, firstly due to some difficulties with the neighbours around Christmas time but fortunately most of that, we believe, is sorted for the moment.  A lot of work has been done by the UK Government and we are grateful for that.  A lot of work has been done by ourselves and a lot of work has been done bu the cruise vessel companies themselves, pointing out to the Argentines that their activities were, in fact, counterproductive for everybody and not only us.


But the real issue has been the weather and thereís not much we can do about that.  We did start several years ago to build wind turbines in the hope that might take the wind down for us a bit but it hasnít worked, so there we are.


Nevertheless, we have had increasing land based tourism and I presented some figures earlier on and things still continue to progress well with the Tourism Development Strategy.  We are looking forward not to the creation of a Statutory Corporation to be responsible for the delivery of all publically funded programmes for tourism and not just some of them.  And I think that will help to bring our focus together.  My hope is that we can have it in place for the beginning of the next financial year but we will see whether that works or not.


Colleagues have already mentioned Agriculture and the good progress this year.  I will mention quickly FIMCO because I know it is very much in peopleís focus.  The likelihood this year is that FIMCO will be over-subscribed in terms of sheep numbers.  That is actually a great result.  Itís taken a number of years for farmers to be able to respond to amenities provided by FIMCO and to be able to produce the animals that are necessary for the Abattoir.  All lambs that are produced this year will be taken, will be processed but we may be over-subscribed in terms of mutton.  We will see how that goes but I think thatís all just good news really.


I would like to congratulate Christine Ormond for the initiative that she has taken as a result of attending the Commonwealth Youth Parliament recently with Stacy Bragger to set up a Youth Parliament in the Falklands.  I missed the first meeting but hope to go to one later today and I think itís a great initiative.   And if there are any young folks listening to the Legislative Assembly then please go along and take part.  It provides a real opportunity for you to get involved in running in your community.  It is not uncommon for youth parliaments in other countries to debate and pass Motions on those policies that are then handed to the Government of the day who accept them.  So you can play a real part in the running of your country and that is important from all ages.  And I think it is great that there should be a forum in place for young people who donít yet feel ready to take part in the full Legislative Assembly to take a role in the running of their country.  So please go along, support and get involved with that.


(I want to say) a quick word about the referendum.  Clearly turn-out is an important issue for us.  If anybody is thinking that they might not vote because people know what the view is Ė well please reconsider.  We need your vote recorded.  Itís not that we know what you think; itís that the outside world knows what you think.  Thatís whatís really important.  I think we probably all will be campaigning for a YES vote.  I certainly will and I heard a number of comments from friends that there is a little group here or there who want to vote NO because they might be cross with the Foreign Office or they want to vote for independence or they just want to be non-conformist.  And I think the important thing is that you are clear about the purpose of the referendum and the results of your actions.  We are looking for a big YES vote because that will give us the opportunity as members to take the message to the international community and say the people of the Falkland Islands want to remain a British Overseas Territory and a subtext to that is because it gives you the right to determine your own future because it gives you the right to go further with the devolvement of powers because it gives you the right to control who you are as a country, as a community, as a society in years to come.  If independence is where we are headed in the next three or four generations, then that option is available under a YES vote.  Voting NO wonít necessarily put you in such a strong position.  And we will talk about this much more in the next two or three weeks.  But if anybody is uncertain about whether you should vote YES because itís not quite what they wanted, please talk to members.  It doesnít matter which member it is but please talk to Members and have a discussion about it and make sure that if you are tempted to vote NO you understand the options that brings to it.


The biggest issue about the referendum will be the result, the second biggest issue will be how we deal with it and how we take it out to the international community.  And some of us will be out and about at the time of the declaration of the result to make sure that it is put in front of people and to say to them that this is what the people of the Falkland islands think and ask if they accept it as a democratic expression of peopleís rights and if they accept the right for self-determination for peoples as a basic human right and if they donít they have a problem.  That will be our role in the nicest possible way.  We will be doing our very best to try and persuade the international community to take a much more positive view of the Falkland islands and to think about the people of the Falkland islands and our basic human rights and not worry so much about whether we are supporting the UK or Argentina but to see it as an issue of the people of the Falkland Islands expressing their wishes.


And finally, I, too, would like to thank Bill Aldridge and his wife, Jill very much for the contributions they have made to our society over the last several months and I hope he is not too sea sick in this huge sea that apparently is rising between here and South Georgia and that he gets to enjoy South Georgia.  But if you would please collectively pass my thanks along with the others for the work that he has done for us here both socially and in the defence of the Falkland Islands.


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