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

Madam Speaker, I am not entirely certain that thatís the correct form of address as we call men, Mister Speaker. So should you be Mrs Speaker, Miss Speaker? The corollary to Madam Speaker would be Sir Speaker.



Madam Speaker, I am not entirely
certain that thatís the correct form of address as we call men, Mister Speaker.  So should you be Mrs Speaker, Miss
Speaker?  The corollary to Madam Speaker
would be Sir Speaker.  So I think we have
to get that sorted out before we have a permanent Lady Speaker in the future.


I would like to associate myself
with the comments of two of my colleagues on our support for Gibraltar.  And they have been absolutely steadfast in
their support for us in the past.  Joe
Bassano a rather amazing veteran of their parliament has more than once spoken
up for us at the UN when we werenít there in a position to speak up for


In reading responses to the recent
consultations on oil and port related matters, apart from the high number of
responses to that consultation, which was encouraging because there is a risk
of consultation fatigue, two of the things stood out to me; firstly the quality
of some of the responses and the careful thought that had gone into them and
secondly, with my interest in education and young people, the childrenís
thoughts, presented as a pattern of words, These are a reminder that the
children and their children will live with the consequences of the decisions we
make today and whoever is in the next Assembly.


The things I picked out as
disliking included narrow pavements, no pavements, houses too close together,
dangerous road junctions. Fast driving and bad parking; I totally agree with
them.  How true is the saying, ďout of
the mouths of babes?Ē   And I hope a
close study of these of what they think would make a perfect town would be
compulsory reading for future planners and decision makers. 


Unlike the children whose ideas
seemed wholly sensible and reasonable, we have heard some distortions and
half-truths from a very vocal minority. 
They seem unaware of the huge amount of consultation and work that has
been done and is being done throughout Government Departments to ensure that we
are ready to handle oil development when it comes.


My firm advice to the people who
are sometimes so vocal is find out the facts first, ring us up, ask us before
you shout at us.  And I hope you will do
that to the next Assembly whoever they may be. 
Decisions should be made when in possession of all the facts, not just
some of them.


Looking at my own portfolio, there
is no director to give me an update at the moment, and I worked with an endless
count of directors and acting directors of education and Education and Medical
Services; I would and I try not to take it personally, because I actually got
on with them very, very well indeed but I think itís a tribute to the
professionalism of everyone else working in those departments that even with
this movement of Heads and Directors they have kept everything going
throughout.  My disappointment on the education
field is that we havenít been able to manage the needs and expectations of a
very excellent LSAs who work with some of the most demanding and difficult
students.  A number of our LSAs after
many years of devoted service have decided they simply cannot report to work
for the money they are being offered currently and other departments are now
benefiting from their dedication and their abilities.  That is a great disappointment for me.


The other disappointment is on
training.  This morning we were looking
at a £444,000.00 carry-over of funds for training and development of staff
which have not been used.  There are
people out there who need that training but have not been able to access
it.  I hope recent decisions will enable
that to happen in the future.  And we
have asked that it be dealt with urgently. 
Itís an issue I have struggled with for four years, first with the
previous Chief Executive and it was the very first thing that I took up with
the present Chief Executive.  But somehow
we havenít managed to get a grip on it and that failure, I think, reflects on
many of us.


We need, at this point in our
history to be ensuring that people have the opportunities to be fully equipped
and fully qualified to take up the opportunities that are going to come and to
deal with the very difficult issues which are ahead. 


A couple of things I am very happy
about Ė moving to other areas Ė the achievement of the minimum wage and, like
the Honourable Gavin Short and I now working on what is a living wage and I
hope we will be able see that reflected in the minimum wage at some point.


I was delighted that we got
through the ban of smoking in public places after false starts in the previous
Assembly and this Assembly.  I know it
wasnít universally popular but I think it is a place where we are moving with
the times.


Last of all, I am very pleased
that we have the reforms in place that will make the role of Assembly Members
more professional in future and will enable the next assembly, whoever they are
to work full time to meet the undoubted challenges ahead.


And finally, I, too, would like to
thank Claudette and Cherie without whom we could not have functioned over the
last four years.


I support the Motion.


(100X Transcription Service)


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