Falklands : Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Dick Sawle (130731)
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.07.2013 (Article Archived on 28.08.2013)
Mr Speaker, I will just pass a note to my colleague about the lack of a tourism brief at Farmers’ Week.
DS: Mr Speaker, I will just pass a
note to my colleague about the lack of a tourism brief at Farmers’ Week. I, too, would like to welcome Air Commodore
Russell LaForte to this House. And while
on that Royal Theme, I would like to, on behalf of this House, join the royal
couple in congratulations on the birth of their son recently. I think he is set to have a very interesting
and a very good life and I am sure that one day he will hear of the Falklands
and one day even pay us a visit. It’s a
little early to invite him yet, perhaps.
Whilst it would be very pleasant to dwell on the subject this job does
require active Members to speak up and give opinions, some of which are not
always as universally popular as the birth of a new Royal baby.
Road designation, as my Honourable
Colleague has just mentioned has been a hot topic of late. And Farmers’ Week did provide a very useful
and interesting forum for debate on the subject. Debate in this House is, of course, a very
good thing and we all have the privilege of rearing up on our hind legs and
sounding off without fear of any interruption due to the tight reign held by Mr
However, there can be no
substitute for face to face debate and meeting the challenge of justifying your
own views head on with the public.
The Road Traffic Act is an
important piece of legislation. It is
not going to be in place to change a way of life and put people under undue
pressure. It’s there to protect the
innocent and put in place the principle and universally accepted controls over
how we drive vehicles and how we use the roads.
It protects not only those who live and work here in the Falklands but
also those who come to visit us as tourists in what I hope will be ever
I don’t believe anybody would
support drinking and driving these days.
Neither would a reasonable person support driving recklessly,
dangerously, or causing injury or death by driving dangerously. Sensible and reasonable people have nothing
to fear from the protection that the law gives them.
Many months ago when this topic
first raised its head, a number of issues were raised, for example how a road
could be crossed without breaking the law – this and many other issues like
signage for example were addressed and the result of that consultation process
has been an adaptation of the original proposals to suit particular
My own view is that the
legislation should apply to all publically accessed areas. However, I am happy to compromise and accept
the proposals as they currently stand.
To do otherwise would potentially allow the Bill to fail and that, in my
view, would be a very grave mistake.
Once this legislation is passed, and I very much hope it will be, people
will go about their lives as they did before but with the protection of the
They will not suddenly - to adopt
the style of my Honourable Colleague, Gavin Short - there will not simply be a
plethora of Plod around the corner looking to clock the guilty. Police work here in the Falklands in common
with most of the world is almost entirely reactive rather than proactive. Falkland Islanders are generally law abiding
people and I have little doubt the application of the law will not have any
sudden or dramatic effect in the way in which people all over the Islands drive
and use the roads. But it does afford
protection for the innocent and it does allow for the guilty to be punished.
Consultation on this and many
other things is always important, listening and taking into account what at
times a large number of diverse views is also important. However, on what are sometimes contentious
issues, it is important to reach a conclusion, stand up for what you believe to
be right and, of course be counted and accountable. What we cannot do in this job is to react
like a rabbit in the headlights.
Turning to a far less contentious
consultation process, I am very pleased that the results of the consultation on
FM radio services to Camp have now been concluded. 89% of people wish to see the same radio
packages to Camp that is currently offered to Stanley, which is FIRS, BFGS
Falklands and BFBS Radio2 with the BBC World Service broadcast when FIRS is off
the air, I hope that this new and improved service with far better reception be
available as planned from June 2014. Some
areas may well come on-stream earlier than that as the service is gradually
rolled out. And I would once again
personally thank KTV and Central Services for their help with this project and
know that it will be a success.
I am also delighted to be able to
thank Richard Cockwell, Justin McPhee and Lewis Clifton for their report on
Members’ Remuneration. This has been
long required in my view and I am sure will be a game changing moment for the
politics in the Falkland Islands.
It is, Mr Speaker, ironic in a way
to consider that in widening the pool of potential candidates for the election
– sorry I mentioned that dreadful word – members who support these proposals
are also placing their political careers at risk. And on a more serious vein I do believe in
the support we have given this as a measure of the serious and professional
approach of this Assembly which does recognise the need for change and the
emergence of a stronger and more dedicated political leadership. I have heard many rumours of course of
various people who now, as a result feel able to stand on fearless row and I
heartily encourage them to do so.
Turning to telecommunications for
the moment, it is good to see that the price cap we have put into place is now
having effect. The prices are coming
down and quotas are increasing. Whether
these improvements will be able to keep pace with what could be an intense
period of economic development remains to be seen and I believe there is
further work that still needs to be done.
And in closing I would also wish
to wish Andrew Newman the very best in his move to the private sector. Having been immersed in the role of aviation
for many years, he was some would say cruelly dropped in the deep end as head
of regulatory services and faced with an entirely new challenge – the
regulation of Telecommunications. He
plunged himself willingly and enthusiastically in this new role and its worth
pointing out that elected members are without any form or substance if there
are not those in the Civil Service who are prepared to go the extra mile and do
There are, Mr Speaker, many in the
Civil Service who do just that and I for one am grateful for their support and
hard work in placing both form and substance to the political ambitions of
Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.