Falklands : Executive Council Report 26 September 2013
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 28.09.2013 (Article Archived on 26.10.2013)
Executive Council met on the 25th September. The Hon Roger Edwards and the Hon Mike Summers stood in for the Hon Ian Hansen and the Hon Jan Cheek who were both attending party conferences in the UK.
Council Report 26 September 2013
Executive Council met on the 25th
September. The Hon Roger Edwards and the Hon Mike Summers stood in for the Hon
Ian Hansen and the Hon Jan Cheek who were both attending party conferences in
The Director of Central Services
began by introducing a number of papers. The first paper related to long
service pay awards for FIG staff. People will recall that recently we approved
a system of rewarding long service within FIG. There was some discontent among
FIG employees that the award would not be applied to those who had already
completed long service as it would not have been applied retrospectively. This
paper seeks to address that problem and therefore applies the reward
retrospectively. The actual amounts payable to individuals who qualify should
be received before Christmas.
We then considered a paper on the
future of the infrastructure development programme. As is well known, FIG is
planning and preparing in many areas for oil development. One of the most
important infrastructure projects is the building of a port in Port William.
This report summarised the situation to date and requested funding for a
business case to be prepared for the new port which takes it to the next stage
- the production of a prospectus for potential investors in partnership with
IT within FIG has already been
partly privatised with the hardware being housed securely within Sure's
facilities. The next paper looked at bids received for further outsourcing of
IT services provided to FIG. We approved
a preferred bidder and agreed to go forward and negotiate a suitable contract.
As people will be aware, the
Leisure Centre is being refurbished and the next paper dealt with the final
details of what will be provided there. We approved expenditure of £190,200 on
a variety of building works and the provision of a cardio suite, all of which
will give users a modern and up to date facility that will be enjoyed by many.
The Leisure Centre facilities had suffered from a lack of investment for many years
and once finished, the current facilities will serve us all well for the
We then approved the removal of
the ferry tariff for sheep and lambs shipped in FIMCO trailers from West
Falklands and the outer Islands. It is important to note that the tariff has
been removed for a trial period of three years in the first instance with a
potential extension for a further two years dependent on the outcome of a
review of the success of the policy which will be carried out by both FIMCO and
the Department of Agriculture. It is hoped that this will assist farmers on the
West and Outer Islands by reducing the cost of transporting stock to Sand bay.
Those who are planning to build
houses and apply for mortgages will be interested in the next paper. It aims to
make the purchase of existing properties easier by increasing the level of
mortgage from 3 times first salary to 4 times first salary. It also removes an
anomaly in that mortgages can now be obtained to cover unattached garages.
Previously, if a garage was an integral part of a house, the cost could be
covered by the mortgage but not if the garage was unattached. It also allows
for the same FIG guarantee for variable rate mortgages as is currently the case
for fixed rate mortgages. A variable rate mortgage can be a good idea when
interest rates are low as they are now, but of course it also means that
repayments can fluctuate with changes in interest rates. Full details will be
worked through between the SCB and FIG and more details will be available in due
Following this, we approved a
paper which deals with Economic and Fiscal framework. Political leaders of all
OT's had agreed to work on these principles with the FCO as part of an overall
good governance strategy for OTs. Rather than sign this as an agreement, which
presents us with some practical difficulties as we have no Assembly Leader, we
agreed to formally adopt it as a policy statement. The policy is already mainly
covered by our fiscal regulation and adopting this policy will result in some
minor amendments to legislation and some minor changes to procedures.
We then approved a paper which
removed permitted development rights from the owners of mobile homes. This has
the effect that any alterations will require planning permission. We noted the
report on the Mary Hill Quarry oil spill which is now published.
A paper seeking release of funding
from the EDS for research into the commercial potential of inshore marine
resources was approved. Not only will this research determine the potential
viability of a number of species that have perhaps the potential to become new
business opportunities, but it will also provide invaluable data to add to our
knowledge of what forms the baseline of our environment.
We agreed the drafting of some
minor amendments to the Falkland Islands Pension Scheme which would largely
bring current practice into line with legislation and gives the clarity sought
by the Board who have had to interpret the legislation.
Provided that the necessary
guidance and publicity can be produced on time, we gave approval for the
Minimum Wage legislation to go before the next Assembly and be approved so as
to come into force on the 1st December 2013.
We approved a tax Amendment Bill
that will now be gazetted and go before the new Assembly in December. The
changes proposed and minor amendments and seek to clarify ambiguities and
inconsistencies in the Taxes Ordinance.
The proposal to licence anglers to
allow them to sell brown trout to restaurants was not approved. As was noted by
Members, there appears to be nothing in the current legislation that prohibits
an angler from selling brown trout to restaurants. It was felt that introducing
unnecessary bureaucracy to control an activity that did not require regulation
We then approved a paper which
recommends revising and updating the Education Ordinance. This Ordinance has
not been updated for 24 years and specific areas of concern are the safeguarding
of children, independent schools, special needs provision and child protection
policies and procedures.
The Director of Health then
attended to present three papers. The first was our response to the child
safety review undertaken recently by the Lucy Faithfull foundation. The report and the FIG response to it are
available as a public document, but any references to ongoing cases have of
course been removed from it. It does outline areas of concern which will be
A review of the current on call
payments made to Medical Officers was approved as was the third paper relating
to the permanent establishment of two midwife posts, a staff nurse, a health
care worker and a school nurse. Both of these papers are public papers.
We also approved the recruitment
of two temporary detectives and a station enquiry officer for the police to
assist with the current case load.
The schedule of Assembly meetings
and Executive Council for the next year was also approved in principle and will
be of course finally determined by the new Assembly.
Finally we approved the transfer
of ownership of the Fitzroy Social Hall to the newly formed Fitzroy Residents