Falklands : THE HON MR ROGER EDWARDS’ MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT SPEECH
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 22.06.2013 (Article Archived on 20.07.2013)
Mr Speaker, honourable members, firstly I would wish to thank everyone who has taken part in this budget process over the past many months.
THE HON MR ROGER EDWARDS’ MOTION FOR
by J. Brock (FINN)
Mr Speaker, honourable members,
firstly I would wish to thank everyone who has taken part in this budget
process over the past many months.
Thank-you to Nicola and her staff for their patience and their
generosity of their time to explain all the fine details to us MLAs – sometimes
more than once in order that we could make the best decisions for the Islands
and the people of these Islands. If any
one person needs a special mention, it must be Margaret Butler who has used up
a whole box of biros taking notes and records and making sense of our
decisions. But thank you all very much
I believe this budget has been
prudent yet offering something to everyone from the slightly above inflation
pay rise to Government employees to raising the tax thresholds and introducing
a similar threshold for employees’ MST contributions. And in increasing allowances – I believe
everyone will be better off.
As was mentioned in the
appropriation Bill, projections show that we will attain a balanced budget over
a 5 year period, which this Assembly set as a priority following its
election. The previous year’s surplus is
being put to good use by strengthening the Capital Budget, going some way to
funding pension short-falls as well as a little to the consolidated funds. Our Capital programme, our rolling 3-year
commitment, is growing, will continue to grow as the port infrastructure
developments are required as oil production comes closer and closer.
I am worried that some of the
higher value items being discussed will fall upon the Falkland Islands
Government to fund prior to revenue streaming funding oil. Any delays in reduction would only exacerbate
I have many, many people saying to
me if we can commit so much toward a new port, why can we not commit a far
lesser sum to black-topping the MPA Road, which would show immediate benefits
for just about everyone to one degree or another? Following my very brief two-line intervention
on the subject of consultation on Tuesday last, I received a couple of very
welcome e-mails regarding MLAs showing leadership. I do worry a little that presently we – MLAs
and Government are not being as pro-active as we should be. In particular I am concerned with the lack of
interaction between us and the local Falkland Islands’ businesses regarding
oil. I feel we should be out and about
looking for local companies’ opportunities for involvement in the oil industry
and ensuring loans and training grants are available – that they are both ready
and qualified when the time comes. We
should be showing a little bit more grit and determination on the home front. As the infrastructure demands increase so
will the workload and the workforce numbers sufficient to complete these
We have ensured we have sufficient
funding to continue works in Camp and I hope both Government and the private
sector can gear up to complete the work – perhaps even going back to employing
farmers and others on a part-time basis during the season.
I still have concerns about the
designation of Camp Tracks. We have made
additional funds available and made great improvements to these tracks and, as
I just mentioned, should continue to make improvements this coming season. However, it only takes a heavy shower or a
little frost heave and the tracks are impassable or at least extremely
dangerous as was shown by the reduced number of animals at the West Falkland
Ram and Fleece Show last December and only last week a farmer coming off the
road while bringing animals into the Abattoir.
We must really improve the quality of these tracks and make them truly
all-weather before we consider designating them and all that goes with it.
There is more than a possibility
that after the November elections Members will become full time. I believe this will restrict younger people
from standing. Younger people just
starting out in farming or business, I feel, will be reluctant to give it all
up for four years as an MLA. I am a
great believer that with proper support and a more rigid meeting schedule we
can continue as we are. I believe the
move to full time is only leading up to other things – a ministerial system,
perhaps. I know some would welcome
that. The phone-in a couple of nights
ago on this subject was interesting.
With votes that stated they did
not support a single constituency and yet we are advocating that Stanley people
should stand for Camp. I believe that to
really understand what is living and working in Camp is all about and the
problems you face, you have to have there.
Once elected you represent the whole of the Falkland Islands
I have heard and I have been
subject to criticism about our trips overseas carrying out public diplomacy. Yes.
It is costly and time consuming but we have made a great progress
against the continued Argentine aggression and lies told about these Islands. Small as we are, we really are making a
substantial difference. But all this
hard work will be as nothing if we do not continue these trips.
I will take this opportunity to
thank the young Islanders who accompanied the MLAs on overseas visits. I can assure listeners that they have done
the Islands proud. There is not one that
I would not accompany. They have great
ability but probably, more importantly under the circumstances, great
loyalty. Thank-you to each and every one
And Mr Speaker, I will end by once
again thanking the Treasury, the heads of Department and all those who took
part in this budget process.
I support the Motion for