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Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 27.08.2013 (Article Archived on 24.09.2013)

Madam Speaker, Honourable members, this is the last meeting, as my Honourable Colleague has mentioned, the current Legislative Assembly. It’s also an important milestone in our Government’s history as the first time, also as my Honourable Colleague has mentioned, we have a female speaker.



Madam Speaker, Honourable members, this is the last meeting, as my Honourable Colleague has mentioned, the current Legislative Assembly.  It’s also an important milestone in our Government’s history as the first time, also as my Honourable Colleague has mentioned, we have a female speaker.  And I very much appreciate Madam Speaker volunteering for the job because basically your job as Speaker gives you the chance to listen very carefully to all I have to say for a change.  And also, of course, Madam Speaker does not have the opportunity to respond to me which is therefore the perfect solution.  So, if we are all back, long may you continue in your current role?


On a more serious note I would also like to join in mu colleague’s best wishes to Richard Cockwell and I would like to wish him the very best and hope that he will recover soon.


It is, of course, a temptation to run over all that has happened in the last four years, as you have mentioned and what I consider this House has achieved.  However, as I learned early on in this job, that is for others to judge.  No single Member can achieve alone.   He or she must carry a majority vote and whilst we have not always agreed on all matters, this has led to much stimulating discussion and debate and at times the odd case of raised blood pressure and no doubt caused a ripple or two in what is otherwise obviously an natural flow or tide of democratic progress.  You win a few.  You lose a few but you quickly learn to move on.  I certainly enjoyed the debate on the prohibition of smoking in public places in this house but of course, sadly, lost.


Before coming here today I thought I would read my very first speech to the Motion of Adjournment to this House.  It made an interesting read and gave me many smiles.  And whilst not all of my aspirations have come about, I do believe that, with the assistance of Colleagues much progress has been made.


The next Assembly, whoever they may be, will have an interesting and very demanding job.  It will be full time, properly paid and adequately resourced.  I really do hope that removing all financial barriers to standing will result in some healthy competition.  The voting public are, and always have been, very astute, in my view.  They will make the right choices for the members they wish to take on the challenges that we face.  And those challenges, Madam Speaker, are many and varied. 


The work that has gone on recently with regard to oil development at FIG has been detailed, thought through, consulted upon and very thorough.  All views have been taken into consideration but while the policies that have emerged have received some criticism, it is of vital importance to remember that Elected Members have to make decisions on what they believe to be the national Interest. 


As the prayers at the beginning of each Assembly remind us, laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections the result of our councils may be to the public wealth. And the uniting together of the hearts of all – that’s to paraphrase it a little slightly.  Getting all hearts to beat as one is a tricky task at the best of times but I would like to think that we have been as clear and as open as possible.  That is not to say, Madam Speaker and Honourable Colleagues that we have always been perfect.  Sadly we have not.  And we have not always met our own standards.  And there have been times when, mainly due to pressures of time and workloads, appropriate consultation which should have taken place has simply not happened.


Madam Speaker, as you will recognise, we are all human and therefore we do fail at times.  To detail progress on a y portfolio matters at this stage would be seen as nothing more than early electioneering so I avoid that.  But I would just like to make a couple of comments on recent developments.


FM Radio:  The results of consultation on channel selection have just been published and consequently the channels for Camp will be the same as those for Stanley I.E. FIRS, BFBS Falklands, BFBS 2 and the BBC World Service when FIRS is offline.  The infrastructure improvements are underway as we speak and hopefully will be finished in 2014.


Telecommunications has improved but as I have said many times already in this House are still begging for some bold decisions.  Cable & Wireless has been bought out by Batelco and rebranded as Sure.  (Pas-cap) Arrangements are having an effect and Batelco will be visiting the Falklands in September, I understand.  And I hope we will be having productive meetings with them at that time.


But probably the biggest surprise of this Assembly, Madam Speaker has been the marvellous opportunity afforded to us by the President of Argentina.  She has afforded us more opportunities than we could have ever envisaged for engaging with media world-wide and getting our views expressed. 


We have been criticised by some by spending too much time abroad and ignoring domestic issues.  I would agree that it’s a fine balance but the rewards have been truly tremendous.  Those rewards culminated in March of this year – a truly astounding result which the world can’t ignore.  Rather like a ship being forced down the slipway, it starts with very little apparent movement.  The bottle is always smashed on the bows, nothing seems to happen until there is an almost imperceptible movement and then slowly but surely it gains momentum.  I truly believe that we are now gathering momentum.  It takes time but we must keep the pressure up.


I will be away shortly on a trip to Brasil and Uruguay and I will, I assure you, continue to push the ship firmly but gently down the slipway.


In closing I would also like to make mention – and not for the first time – of my heartfelt thanks to a variety of people.  Alison Inglis is due to leave the Attorney General’s department soon, heading for the private sector and I would like to wish her all the best and thank her for all the work.  And I would also like to thank those who form the vast and often silent majority in our community.  There are those who make frequent and often vociferous contact.  And those offer occasional support and criticism in the isles of the West Store.  All are important as they make up the strong community we have.


The Private Sector:  Sometimes it struggles to project a united corporate view which understandably comes from the need to protect a variety of own interests.  But it is nonetheless a valuable source of input.  The private sector is the generator that powers our economy.


And finally, I would like to make mention of all of the Civil Service who, at all levels, actually deliver the wishes of Honourable members.  Their work is often beyond and above the call of duty and without them, we are but nothing – empty vessels full of sound and fury as the Great Bard once said but signify nothing.


Madam Speaker, I support the Motion and I wish current Members and future candidates and members from November onwards the very best.


(100X Transcription Service)


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