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Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 22.06.2013 (Article Archived on 20.07.2013)

Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I will first of all just speak briefly on the budget.



by J. Brock (FINN)




Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in
rising to support the Motion for Adjournment I will first of all just speak
briefly on the budget.  I really didnít expect
when first elected to Legislative Assembly that I would still be around to be
part of an 8th Budget Select Committee.  And each of those budgets has been an
interesting experience Ė a little harrowing at times.  The uncertainty Illex season and whether or
not we may have to pay back a percentage of Licence Fees always plays a
part.  The Capital Programme, the
Operating Programme usually have their moments somewhere in the mix as well.  So the whole operation from start to finish
will never run smoothly all the way through despite the best efforts of the
treasury team.


This year, I believe, have been
some positive aspects in the farming income. 
I was very pleased to see the personal tax allowance will rise in the
next year and another similar personal allowance on MST has been
introduced.  Although, I personally think
we might have taken the MST issue a little further.


On the down side there are always
the middling little issues that could be argued either way.  Two that immediately spring to my mind are
the 10% rise in Stanley House Fees and the 3% freight rate increase for
FIGAS.  Both of these donít create any
serious revenue for the Falkland islands Government but they do cause a feeling
of resentment in Camp.


As portfolio holder and Chairman
of Falkland Landholdings I was delighted to budget submitted to EXCO this month
that addresses and can afford the maintenance issues that are long overdue and
also looks forward to the future with such investment as wind power on all
farms.  Thankfully we (FLH) now have a
very healthy reserve and cash flow problems do not exist to anywhere near
having to apply for overdrafts or even worse, a subsidy.  I recall how unpleasant it was to almost have
to beg for a subsidy and have criticism aimed at the Falkland Landholdings
Board about the Management and Staff. 
And I would like to take this opportunity to thank all FLH employees for
their dedication and hard work during those times and, of course, now when they
work equally as hard but with much more reward.


Finally on the budget I, too,
would like to thank the Financial Secretary and all her team for the vast
amount of work they have done during the budget process.  I am sure she feels pretty much the same as
her predecessor in that the budget process would be so much easier if not for
the constant interference from our likes.


Just to move on to a few other
things in no particular order or priority. 
First of all, I would like to congratulate FIMCO and the farms supplying
FIMCO on another excellent season.  Itís quite
interesting when you look back on how so many people said FIMCO would be a
failure.  It is quite surprising how many
of those who said this are now relying on FIMCO for their cash-flow each year.  But I guess that is something that MLAs had
to put up with Ė and all MLAs will, I guess. 
If we had listened to all the experts that said the roads would never be
Islands-wide and ferries would never work, we would never have any of those
things.  I agree none are 100% perfect
but they do work to a fairly high level of efficiency that enables businesses to
operate.  And I think this is likely to
carry on for development of our hydrocarbons industries.  But I donít believe that we should listen to
or take a lot of anyone whose glass is half empty.


The Honourable Roger Edwards has
already mentioned the MPA Road.  However,
I would just like to add something to that. 
During the last few weeks it has transpired that I actually have been
along that road on a lot more occasions than I would normally expect.  And I am becoming more and more convinced that
we ought to do something more than we are. 
I respect the arguments against spending vast amounts of money when we
donít have it to spare.  But in the
meantime, though, perhaps with the road traffic legislation now in the draft
process, is this not an opportunity at least to reduce, if not abolish vehicle
tax until we have a much more user-friendly road system.  The MPA road is used and benefits pretty much
everyone in the Falklands in one form or another.  And I guess a question would be before us is
why did we spend so much time and repair money because of the road
condition?  Would freight rates be as
high as they are? 


The other time I travelled along
the MPA Road was to attend the Goose Green Liberation Service on the 29th
of May.  Although it was a very cold day
there was a fair amount of people there and I was very pleased I went.  I know personally what it was like to be
locked up under armed guard when the Argentines invaded and to listen to the
experiences to those that were locked up in Goose Green.  And some were only young children but they
have very vivid memories of what they went through and to share those memories
makes me much more determined than ever that we can never negotiate with
Argentina or compromise our position on self-determination.


I missed the phone-in on
remuneration for MLAs the other night but I did hear parts of it the following
day.  And the comments that I heard from
those that phoned in were very relevant to the issues we face while we move to
the stage where a decision is to be made. 
Personally and perhaps selfishly I could live with the present
system.  Itís not easy but I have adapted
to it.  Equally, if another system is
introduced, I would hope it would have the enthusiasm and will to represent the
Falklands Ė I could adapt to that. 
However, I do appreciate that not everyone can take that attitude.  So there is much merit in seriously considering
and taking note of the remuneration panelís views.


I can only say to anyone who is
seriously thinking of standing for election in November, although a salary
package is important, the fundamental reason for putting your name forward for
being returned as an Assembly member is that you want to do it regardless.


Mr Speaker, I beg to support the



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