Falklands : ELECTION MANIFESTO OF MELANIE GILDING
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 02.11.2013 (Article Archived on 30.11.2013)
I am standing for election to strive for the rejuvenation of Camp and for a better standard of living for everyone. The depopulation of Camp in recent years needs to be reversed. The country’s land should be occupied.
ELECTION MANIFESTO OF MELANIE GILDING
Broadcast over FIRS on Tuesday, 22 October 2013
I am standing for election to
strive for the rejuvenation of Camp and for a better standard of living for
everyone. The depopulation of Camp in
recent years needs to be reversed. The
country’s land should be occupied. To do
otherwise will send the wrong message to the rest of the world and the UK may
be less supportive if the Falklands was to consist only of Stanley. There have to be more incentives and
opportunities to attract more people, particularly younger people to Camp.
There are already successful
tourism businesses in Camp but there is scope for further expansion and I would
support funding for the development of further self-catering properties, bed
and breakfast businesses or lodges. A
steady population growth in the Islands over the next few years under a
carefully considered immigration policy can create more demand for weekend and
Lower fuel prices for those in
Camp for whom electricity is more expensive and obtaining the fuel in the first
place is an additional expense. And the
capping of freight rates both by sea and air around the Islands would help to
level the playing field between Town and Camp.
To encourage younger people and
families to Camp I would like to see improved liaison between the Education
Department and families in Camp to enable children to return home to the West
Islands once a term to spend more time with their families and maintain a
stronger link with the Camp. As long as
families are denied this so there will be less incentive to remain in Camp or
for their children to want to raise their own families in Camp in the future.
Having raised four children in
Camp, all of whom have been involved in the Camp Education System I am a strong
believer in it and wish to support further funding of Camp Education where
necessary. For instance, to prevent
further penalties for Camp families such as the recent increases in Stanley
Our older residents, whether in
Camp or town, deserve to be cared for with respect, dignity and compassion once
they can no longer live independently. A
purpose-built residential care home for our elderly and infirm is now
desperately needed. This is long overdue
and should now be a priority. Such a
building and the appropriate staff will be a major capital project that could
be funded from windfall monies already accumulated. Not all oil related income can continue to be
ring-fenced for development. We need to
release funds to invest in our people.
This project will benefit us and our loved ones well into the future.
The old age pension should and
could be raised to a more realistic level.
Although it has recently increased by 5% it is still insufficient. A better living wage pension would ease the
lives of those having to survive on it and makes more sense year around rather
than having to pay a winter fuel allowance to make up for a low pension. It is also more mindful to people’s pride and
The high cost of groceries in the
Islands as compared to the UK results in the Falklands’ pension being worth so
much less. It has to keep pace with the
rising cost of living.
The MTO charge of £300.00 is an
unnecessary burden on everyone but particularly for lower income families and
pensioners. MST is another tax too
far. Unless these charges which also involve
administrative costs make a significant contribution to the medical services
budget and I remain to be convinced they should be abolished as they create
difficulties for those required to pay them.
The care of patients overseas as regards their caring and accommodation
could be improved. Seriously ill people
and their families, facing one of the worst times of their lives are often
suffering hardship far from home with little or no financial support when they are
least able to cope with it.
A Liberty Lodge Style Property in
the UK with a manager close to hospitals most used would be a worthwhile
investment and the means of better insuring the standard of accommodation for
patients. I would also support financial
assistance for a realistic daily allowance for food and transport.
The main artery for Falklands Road
Systems – the MPA Road – is a national disgrace. With the release of funds from the first
round of oil exploration this could be surfaced to a safe and acceptable
standard. This road has already claimed
too many lives and will continue to do so unless the funds are made available
to surface it. We cannot afford not to.
The amount of money available to
fund everything we need depends largely, of course, on the outcome of further
oil exploration and eventual exploitation.
But with good management of our present budget and the release of some
surplus each year, everyone in the Islands could be more comfortable and better
provided for. With completion of these
projects and the re-introduction of the Holiday Credit Scheme we should all
reap the benefits of increased prosperity.
Much has been said recently of
higher expectations. The history of the
Falklands as with all pioneering countries is built on expectations. There is nothing wrong with having higher
expectations and wanting a better life for yourselves and your children. I believe it is the business of MLAs to try
to find a way of making those expectations a reality.
If elected I would be only one
voice in eight. But it would still be a
voice and I would use it well. Above
all, I can be depended on to be a good listener. Just as a lawyer listens to the problem and
gives the client the information needed to make an informed decision and then
acts on the client’s instructions – whether in agreement with the client or not
– so it should be between the MLAs and the electorate.
If you choose to place your
confidence in me, I shall always listen to your concerns and ideas and then
work with colleagues to achieve your desired goals. People are my priority. If there is anything you wish to discuss
please contact me on 21061 or e-mail email@example.com. Thank you for your attention.
SB: If elected, what would be your main priority?
MG: My first priority has to be to Camp to get
more people into camp, more opportunities and more prosperity and any schemes
that would help that I would want to see funded. Before we can do any major projects anywhere
in the Islands there has to be a release of some of the funds which are being
built up. I know oil is not here as such
yet but there are funds being kept for development for that, some of which
could be released to fund some of the projects we talked about. Without them we can never do it out of the
SB: Do you feel that the recent effort to promote
the Islands’ messages internationally should be increased or could this lead to
locals getting even less attention from MLAs?
MG: Recently I think there’s been very good
coverage of the Falklands throughout the world.
I wouldn’t say it should necessarily be increased. But it should be maintained. There has to be a balance between the
overseas work and the local work and the two are really interconnected. Without
getting the message of the modern Falklands out into the world and fending off
the rhetoric from Argentina, there won’t be a Falklands left to have any local
issues. And I am sure MLAs do attend to
local portfolios as needed.
SB: Which capital project should have top
MG: it probably has to be the care home. That affects everybody – God willing – one
day we will all be old enough to need that care whether you live in Camp or
town. It’s going to be a major project
and it has to be done to the best standards and it has to be big enough and
that should be the number one priority, probably closely followed by making the
MPA Road safe. I wouldn’t want to see
money put towards a port yet until there is further consultation.
SB: if elected, what portfolio would you like to
MG: Perhaps the medical portfolio but I would
want to be involved in a Camp related one, whether that’s agriculture of
FIMCO. But of course it wouldn’t be entirely
up to me.
SB: Why should people vote for you?
MG: I am not a Falkland Islander by birth but I
have been here 24 years now – most of those in Camp but a few years in
Stanley. I am in Stanley now all week
from Sunday night to Friday night with my son who is at the Junior School. Over the years I have been involved with Camp
Education. I have a legal background and
above all, commitment to the Islands.
Everything I have and everything I care about is here and I feel I can
make a new and meaningful contribution and represent the Islands well wherever
I might be called upon to do that.