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Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 02.11.2013 (Article Archived on 30.11.2013)

The next Assembly will face a most challenging and exciting time in the Islands' history.



(As broadcast over FIRS on Wednesday, 23 October 2013


The next Assembly will face a most
challenging and exciting time in the Islands' history.   If chosen to represent you I would hope to
bring experience, common sense and an unrivalled corporate memory to the new
Assembly.  I outline just a few of the many
important subjects to be considered.



Political challenges will be many,
first countering the economic and diplomatic aggression of Argentina requires a
sustained campaign of public diplomacy. Significant progress has been made using
the evolving plan begun several years ago by the outgoing Assembly but more
work will be needed and full time members will have more time to devote to it.
The referendum earlier in the year can have left no doubt about the wishes of
the people but Getting that message out where it needs to be will be a never
ending task- Attending the party conferences brought home the fact that in the
UK we are increasingly meeting a generation not born in until the 1990s with
little knowledge of the Islands and their people.  As long as there is a threat by some to ignore
our right to self-determination MLAs will have to dedicate time to making our
case internationally. Internally we will have to develop our democracy to meet
the increasing demands on it. The new Assembly should consider how to move
toward a system where they take more responsibility. Full time MLAs who are
planning to commit all their time and energy to the role are essential to this
process, as is absolute integrity so that the UK is given no reason to meddle
in our internal affairs. Members' full declarations of interests are more
crucial than ever and if anything I would declare interests too often rather
than risk failing to declare one at the appropriate time. With the potential
for oil there is too much at stake if someone were perceived  to be attempting to conceal an interest. In
the name of good governance there can be no excuse for failing to declare
interests and shareholdings.



The economy will require careful
management; things went woefully wrong when fishing first boosted the
economy.  Some now, unfortunately, are
dazzled by the figures being bandied about but until commercial oil is actually
flowing and royalties being received we must proceed with caution.  In the meantime money from the exploration
phase is enabling FIG to plan necessary regulation and legislation. Much work
has been done to anticipate all that needs to be in place for a potential
production phase but a great deal more is needed.  It is perhaps fortunate that the date for
'first oil' has already slipped to late 2O18 to give more time to get it right.
It is likely that royalty revenues will only start to make a real difference
more than 5 years from now. Nevertheless staffing of some departments will need
to increase to meet the demands that will be placed on them. Income should also
be used to develop the skills that will be needed for Islanders to participate
in the oil industry at every level. Regrettably that is not happening because
the criteria for access to funding are currently too limited and bureaucracy to
be responsive to newly identified training needs. I believe that FIDC is
failing to gr6p this part of its role and would actively continue to press for
this vital aspect of development, which is as much about people as projects.
Islanders employed in the industry and in support roles will be paying all
their tax as well as spending most of their earnings here so they are worthy of



Potential capital projects will
require considerable commitment of FIG money and the MPA road is only one of
many to be considered. The new Assembly will have to decide what its priorities
are to be when they have a full understanding of the situation. While wind
power is making a contribution

to power generation, the
conventional kit at the power station is past its best and its replacement
cannot be delayed much longer. The new water supply for Stanley must be funded,
also improvements to waste management to meet some basic standards. Additional
classrooms for education are also urgently needed, as is additional FIG office
space for increased staff numbers. A reorganization of the hospital will be
possible if a purpose build home for the elderly with higher dependency needs
is built.



I await the production of the
business case for a new port in Port William. If the case is negative or not
adequately made then the new Assembly will have to revisit the question' While
I have no problem with temporary facilities in Stanley Harbour I sympathise
with those who fear that temporary can easily become permanent- I would also
argue for a review of our planning processes which may not be sufficiently
robust to handle issues arising from oil production. While we want to enable
that development to go ahead it must not be at the cost of our environment and
quality of life.


Environmental protection is not
just an issue for oil related developers who would have to adhere to high
environmental standards and efficient waste management" Our waste
management, as alluded to in my comment on capital projects, would not stand up
to proper scrutiny. We also need to take a critical look at many of our
activities. The lack of coherent management of public land like Stanley Common
and in particular Cape Pembroke leaves us open to justifiable criticism. This
land belongs to all of us so we share responsibility to care for it and pass it
unspoiled to new generations.



FIG departments including PWO,
Mineral Resources, Education and Medical will be stretched to meet extra demand
and the next Assembly will have to address this urgently if services are not to
suffer. Education is making good progress but the UK system into which our
students go for further and higher studies is failing in some areas and should
be used selectively. I watch developments there with great interest because we
want our young people to gain qualifications that mean something. Every time we
increase the range of courses available to cover all abilities we increase staff
and accommodation requirements but cannot afford not to do so.


The immigration review
consultation results will be reported to the new Assembly and they will have to
carefully scrutinise those recommendations before any are implemented.   I want to see any new legislation include
the requirement for stringent checks on all aspects of it, for example decent
wages and accommodation. Related to this the minimum wage legislation is due to
come into effect in December and I want to see an early review to ensure that
it is set at a realistic figure. Some work is under way to calculate a living
wage and I would expect that to influence the process.


I maintain a keen interest in all
aspects of government and if elected will have an open mind regarding
portfolios until all new members have had a chance to discuss them. I make no

promises but if elected undertake
to work hard and listen to the electorate taking account of views expressed
when making decisions- Although of pensionable age I believe if elected I am
able to represent Islanders of all ages and 
I am happy to hear from anyone who has questions or views they wish to
put to me. My phone number is 2L372 and if at home I always answer calls, if I
am not home leave a message and I will get back to you.


Alternatively e-mail me


Thank you for taking time to
listen to this. Please use at least some of your votes on the 7h of November to
demonstrate our lively democracy.



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