Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 12 DECEMBER 2013 Part 1: Questions, Motions and Legislation
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 22.12.2013 (Article Archived on 19.01.2014)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 12 December 2013. Present were Members Cheek, Edwards. Elsby, Hansen Poole, Rendell, Short and Summers.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 12 DECEMBER 2013
Part 1: Questions, Motions and Legislation
Tape and Transcript by J. Brock (FINN)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 12 December 2013. Present were Members Cheek, Edwards. Elsby, Hansen Poole, Rendell, Short and Summers. The Hon Speaker, Mr Keith Biles, the Clerk of the Assembly, Ms Claudette Anderson Prior and the Acting Chief Executive, Mr Simon Fletcher, the Attorney General Mr Mark Lewis and the Financial Secretary, Mrs Nicola Granger were also present.
Prayers were said by the Rev Richard Hines of Christ Church Cathedral. The first order of business was to ensure all mobile phones were turned off or in silent mode. This was followed by the confirmation of the record of the sitting of legislative Assembly on 11 November 2013. Keith Biles signed it as a true record.
Papers to be Laid on the Table by The Acting Chief Executive:
Copies of Subsidiary Legislation published in the Falkland Islands Gazette since the last sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Laid on the Table pursuant to section 34(1) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance 1977. Minimum Wage (Calculation of Amount Paid) (Amendment) Regulations 2013-12-04 and in accordance with section (11) (C ) of the Public Accounts Committee Ordinance 2009 comment on the Leisure Centre follow up audit report.
QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER:
Question Number 15/13 by the Honourable Gavin Short: Can the Honourable Ian Hansen please tell this House why Sky Sports is not available to viewers of SSVC Island wide and whether efforts have been made to obtain it?
IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, indeed numerous attempts have been made over the years to obtain viewing rights for Sky Sports for civilian viewers in the Falklands and these attempts have been made in recent years by both BFBS and KTV. Unfortunately neither have been able to secure permission for the programmes.
Sky Sports is a group of Television Channels and they are subscription based and as such the content and viewing rights are particularly complex because they involve multiple parties and agreements, such as the parent sports organisations; for example, the Premier league as well as numerous broadcasters themselves. Obviously special permission has been obtained for service personnel world-wide and that includes those based in the Falklands. But unfortunately of BFBS were to pass this on to the civilian community they would be in serious breach of their human rights agreements.
Personally I would very much like to see Sky Sports on my channel but personally I am not sure it’s achievable.
GS: Sir I thank the Honourable member for his reply. I just want to get clear in my head. It’s more a case of it’s too complicated to do rather than the finance behind it all? Or haven’t we got that far if you see what I mean?
IH: Yes. The information I have in the background information doesn’t mention any finances whatsoever. However, I believe in the past there was a situation where finances were mentioned but I honestly can’t remember the exact figure. It does appear it is a very complicated issue but perhaps we should look down the road of seeing if we can do something about it and I certainly would be willing to start asking questions to see if we can achieve something.
GS: I thank the Honourable member for his reply. If you can please I have just one supplementary – of course we have the World Cup looming. Would you be willing to make some enquiries of SSVC to see what the coverage would be for that and perhaps report to the media here because I believe there is great interest in amongst the more sporty members of the community as to whether we may or may not going to be able to see when the world cup comes.
KB: Before you answer that, the Acting chief Executive today will have some further information for us.
SF: Mr Speaker, Honourable members I don’t actually have much more additional information. What I was going to do is just to clarify that I have a regular quarterly meeting with BFBS or the organisation that runs that contract called SSVC and Sky and asking them on our behalf to approach SKY and asking them to take it up with them as I do at every meeting as well. So it is an issue that I will continue to press with them. As Ian has said it is an issue of rights and some flexing of those rights as well which is hardly worth backing so again, budget is not an issue that we have considered to date.
IH: I thank the Honourable Chief Executive who basically answered the question.
MS: Mr Speaker if I can? It is not a question but just to assist the discussion – I am aware of at least one commercial provider who has approached Sky direct with a view to try to get Sky Sports in the Falklands and has concluded that the costs involved are simply prohibitive and people wouldn’t be willing or able to pay the costs in such a small community – the number of subscribers wouldn’t be sufficient. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still continue to try and find ways to view major sporting events but that is my current understanding.
Motion No 9 of 2013 by the Honourable Michael Poole:
Seconded by: The Honourable Dr Barry Elsby
“That this House supports access of the media to future sittings of the Legislative Assembly and that such access should include any Falkland Islands bases television companies as from January 2014.”
MP: Thank you Mr Speaker. Honourable members; this Motion has been tabled really just to formalise this House’s support for something that has been discussed for some time in terms of having future Assembly meetings televised. I am aware that the Speaker has done a lot of work on this in recent weeks and months and I would like to thank him for that and I also personally hope that we can put in place an arrangement for January next year that involves putting out this coverage to Camp residents as well which I think is part of those ongoing discussions so hopefully we will have that in place early next year. Thank you Mr Speaker.
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I, too support this Motion. We already have radio coverage and have for some time not only in this Assembly ad we accept that as a normal practice. And I think people have become more used to using Social media – even I have entered into the world of using social media in this last election. And I think televising this Assembly is the next natural step. It’s not a big thing; I know some people have concerns about it but I think it will just happen or we will become accustomed to it and it will be a part of the normal way that the Assembly functions.
I do not think for one moment that it is likely to displace “Strictly Come Dancing” or “I’m a celebrity Get Me out of Here,” in the ratings but it is nevertheless one of these steps as we like to open up the Assembly for the public. And again, I would also like to thank the Speaker for the work that he has already done and the work he is going to carry on doing to make this happen. Again our aim is to make sure that everybody in the Islands has access to the televised live or whether it is streamed on the internet – again who knows what will happen in the future – or whether it’s DVD but we will work on those things as we can. Thank you.
JC: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I naturally support in principle the idea that the Assembly should be televised. I think it’s really important to emphasise now, while we are making the decision that although that privilege will possibly be given to one company, they will be expected to share that footage. And I think that’s one of the principles that you put into the early work that you did on it.
I also think as a matter of principle it’s important that that company works around the Assembly as the Assembly has traditionally worked – putting in fixed cameras as needed and in agreement with whatever parameters we may set up for that. I would be very uncomfortable if we started reorganising the Assembly to fit around the cameras rather than the other way around.
I support the Motion.
GS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members (I am) just rising to support this Motion. I guess – I will hold my hand up and say I was one of those who was slightly nervous about television cameras at public meetings and such like. Of course we have actually got that used to them we forget that they are there now. I find myself scratching my ear from time to time and suddenly realising there is a camera looking at me. I really do look forward to this and I think it is a step in the right direction and I wholeheartedly support it and also look forward to seeing the detail that I guess you will be presenting a little further down the line.
MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I rise to support the Motion having supported the idea of having the cameras in legislative Assembly for quite some time it’s nice to see it is going to come to fruition. I think there will be a number of changes in the way that Legislative Assembly functions in the coming weeks and months. I was going to mention this in the Motion for Adjournment but I will mention it now that the public meeting on Monday Members will be leading a discussion with Members of the Public about ways in which the Legislative Assembly might change its ways of operating so I ask members of the public tyo come and join in that discussion.
I support the Motion.
IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would just like to rise briefly to say that I also support this Motion. I think I agree entirely with the Hon Barry Elsby’s comments. It seems to be a long time in coming and it’s our next move. I support the Motion.
RE: Mr Speaker, I, too support the Motion for this and I note this is just formalising because the record of the meeting held in November every member wished to see this come forward so this is just a formalising of that and each Member did actually make the request that we go forward in filming the Legislative Assembly so I support the Motion.
KB: The Motion before this House is “That this House supports access of the media to future sittings of the Legislative Assembly and that such access should include any Falkland Islands bases television companies as from January 2014.”
The motion carried
Motion No 10 by the Honourable Michael Poole
Seconded by: The Honourable Ian Hansen
“That this House notes the comments and recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the Payroll Audit Report”
MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members. I ask your patience while I talk through this report because there are a number of different aspects to it.
This is a report from the Public Accounts Committee that was submitted to the Assembly during the break between Governments and so has just been picked up now. And alongside the Honourable Ian Hansen, I am currently a Member of the Public Accounts committee. I just joined. Therefore we thought it was appropriate that I will introduce this paper and the Honourable Ian Hansen will talk a bit about the Government’s response to it.
To provide some background and timelines to this paper, the Chief Internal Auditor within the Falkland Islands Government performed an audit of the Falkland Islands Government payroll system in early 2013. This concluded in August 2013 at which point his report was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee for their consideration in the closed session of their meeting.
This was discussed in September by the PAC and to be blunt, some troubling issues were raised by the audit report so naturally the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee has written to the Assembly laying those out and that’s what we are going to discuss briefly today.
To give you some background to the payroll system of Government, FIG employ roughly 620 people at the moment and it has a total annual payroll budget of about £21.3Million in that region. Banded in that region, which is according to my calculations is 40 to 45% of the total operating government. So clearly it is one of our largest costs, so the single largest area, if not the largest area of the budget.
The Audit Report that was produced by the Chief Internal Auditor notes that a range of areas of the payroll system work as they should and are working quite well which is quite positive. However, the Internal Auditor makes 12 individual recommendations as to how the payroll system can be improved, with three of these recommendations deemed to be of a high priority.
And on the positive side, the Human Resources Department within Government has responded to this audit report and accepted all 12 of those recommendations, which is a good start. The Honourable Ian Hansen will talk about that shortly.
Just to run through the key areas that those recommendations covered very briefly in summary:
1. There are weaknesses in the annual payroll system and they start with individual Departments where time sheets, pay rates and such are not being recorded correctly and submitted to the Human Resources Department for onward transfer each month.
2. The public Accounts Committee noted that a number of the recommendations of previous internal audit reports have not been actioned over a number of years, which is disappointing but that’s where we stand today
3. The PAC also noted that the payroll software that the Government used is being significantly under-utilised as it stands today. It has a range of functionality which is not being used including how to improve the control environment if it was used appropriately
4. It is noted by the Chief Internal Auditor that a member of the Human Resources Department “was wilfully obstructive to the Audit process,” which was one of the most troubling aspects of this matter for the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. Naturally the Chair of the PAC goes on to question whether, considering these quite troubling findings in this internal audit report it would be appropriate for Government to outsource this service at this point in time which it has been considering. I think it makes a lot of sense to get things in order before looking at who can provide the service for us.
5. The letter also notes that with some of these recommendations there is potential because of the lack of control in some areas for fraud to be occurring. No one is suggesting that it is today but there is potential that it could be with some of these current failings.
Now I will hand over to the Honourable Ian Hansen who will talk about the next steps and how MLAs can seek reassurance that this is being dealt with appropriately.
IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, in rising to second this Motion, I would just touch briefly on the Government response to the Public Accounts Committee.
FIG was disappointed to see the recent results of the Payroll Audit Report because FIG takes its responsibility for good governance extremely seriously and in particular where it relates to public finance. Obviously we are not in a position to discuss any disciplinary cases but as a matter of course, FIG reviews all issues of concern relating to staff members’ actions behaviours and conduct through the processes outlined in the Management Code. The PAC, I believe, should be reassured that FIG has already implemented a number of actions to ensure that all issues listed in the letter are addressed appropriately.
On the issue of working with outside resources a local company has been worked with to address existing departmental payroll issues and when or if FIG is completely satisfied with any potential provider’s ability to run such a process the service would be out sourced. Of course this won’t happen if there are any doubts on the matter at all.
FIG has also appointed a new Director of Human Resources who will hopefully commence his appointment early in the new-year. And of course the letter from the Public Accounts Committee and their concerns will be brought to his attention upon his arrival.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I was a member of the Public Accounts Committee in the last Assembly together with the Honourable Sharon Halford and therefore took part in the discussion with the Chief Internal Auditor about this issue.
What I would just like to bring to Members’ attention and to that of the public is that there is a possibility that people will think the responsibility for this sits largely with the Human Resources Department. That is not the case. The Human Resources Department has worked very hard over the last number of months and years to try to correct the payroll on a monthly basis and have spent a huge amount – an enormous amount of time doing that. The responsibility for the failures lies further down the chain.
It lies with the heads of Government Departments and Heads of Service who have not provided the correct information in a proper and timely manner to allow the payroll to be run. So I just want to be sure that it’s not the Human Resources Department of Government that’s taken the (brunt) of this although there is an observation about how they interacted with the Internal Auditor but the fact of the matter is that this has gone on for a long time. It’s a management issue that needs to be dealt with from the top with all Directors, Heads of Department, Heads of Service and corrected very, very quickly. It’s gone on for far, far too long. Members have regularly complained about it to the Public Service. I know the Chief Executive has been concerned about it. It must be fixed.
PR: In rising to comment on this Motion (I would say) I am very disturbed and concerned about what has been presented to us today. I do hope that Government has already taken action and if not they will do so by taking action insuring, as my Honourable (Colleague) Mike Summers has said. This is a responsibility of Department Heads. It doesn’t lie only with Human Resources and they produce the information and it should be accurate and sourced. It should not have to be checked slavishly by the Department of Human Resources.
The responsibility lies there – the papers are signed off by Directors and by Heads of Department. They should be accurate from source. If there is an issue with training and if there is an issue with using the CRIS computer package – that must be addressed and training must be given to those people that are preparing the payroll and I would like to be reassured today that, that is happening. And I think it is completely out of the question to consider outsourcing the service until we have the recording accurately and properly presented in future months. So I do hope that we can be assured by Officers that this is being taken seriously and is being addressed.
BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I think the comments made by the previous speakers perhaps summarise everything that needs to be said about the seriousness of the problem and the fact that the Public Accounts Committee are there to make sure that Government monies are accounted for and used correctly as they are intended to.
As my Colleague has just said the problem isn’t just with Human Resources – it’s further down and I do share those concerns that we need to focus on the whole of the Government Departments and I know the Chief Executive will be driving that forward.
However, the other accusation is that one member of the Human Resources Department actively obstructed the audit process which is concerning. Obviously there is always two sides to a story but I wonder if the Acting Chief Executive can reassure us that a formal internal inquiry has taken place into these serious accusations.
SF: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, Yes I can affirm – I can assure the Honourable Barry Elsby that action has been taken within Government as a response to the letter received and in fact the response to some other information that has become clear to us over the last year or so in relation to payroll.
BE: Mr Speaker, the severity of the accusation against a member of the Human Resources Department I thought would have merited a formal inquiry rather than the looked into matters. Has a formal inquiry taken place?
SF: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I don’t believe it’s appropriate to talk in detail about the specifics of any particular action that’s been taken internally by Government (I’m afraid).
GS: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, in rising to address this – to be honest with you when I read this I was actually appalled by what I was reading. Our system seems to be pretty rotten from the bottom up. For a couple of years we have just gone round and round and round on this. We have made our displeasure known and we have been assured that it was going to be fixed. And we find ourselves back at the start again. I really do hope this is going to be broken up and something actually is going to happen.
I do, though, wish to be associated fully with the questions and comments of my Colleague Dr Barry Elsby. I’m afraid I have seen inquiries carried out for far lesser allegations and I would ask, if it has not happened that an inquiry is undertaken. If nothing else it will help exonerate the person if they are innocent. Otherwise they will go through the rest of their career with this hanging over their head with somebody thinking maybe they did obstruct an investigation when perhaps they haven’t. So really investigations are double edged swords. They are not there to castigate folk but are also there to exonerate when they are innocent.
I do urge that if an investigation has not taken place it happens forthwith.
RE: Mr Speaker, in rising to comment on this report, the Public Accounts Committee Report is a public document and does make some fairly big accusations. And therefore I would ask and I quite appreciate the words the Acting Chief Executive said that the individuals in charge should not be commented upon here but in due course we must surely as a government respond publicly to these accusations and to say exactly where they have gone.
JC: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I am glad that the others have attempted to give a balanced picture in this case because it is important to note, as has been said, that one of the problems with the payroll has been the failure of some departments to record accurate figures but I would also agree that wherever Government Money is involved and wherever there is a perceived problem it is better to clear it rather than leave it hanging in the air.
MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members. To wrap up this, as has been said I think it is a government-wide issue that needs a government-wide solution and it is extremely important we do that as quickly as possible. I think now that this report has come to Assembly we will receive a report back from the Chief Executive to Executive Council within 6 months – it’s the obligation. So I think we will be keen to see that when it comes forward and I think we can make that document public as well so the people can see the solution we have been found to important problems that have been noted.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
KB: The Motion before the House is “That this House notes the comments and recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the Payroll Audit Report.”
There were no objections and the Report and Motion passed.
KB: I would point out to members that under the provisions of the PAC Ordinance Section 14, where the PAC raises recommendations, and it is very clear that it does, that we require a response to the Assembly from the Governor in Council, in fact, within 6 months. So we would expect a report back from Executive Council or at least the Governor in Executive Council by June 2014. We will then have an opportunity to debate that report back so it will come before the House again.
MS: Mr Speaker, as a matter of public information for those who ate interested in this discussion and debate note that the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee are available – transcripts of all its activities are available on the Public Accounts Committee website if anybody would like to view the whole discussion.
KB: Thank you.
The Supplementary Appropriation (2013/2014) (No 4) Bill 2013;
This Bill had not been published in the Gazette and required a first reading.
The financial Secretary Mrs Nicola Granger proposed the Bill be read a first time and the Acting Chief Executive seconded the Motion.
NG: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this is the first supplementary appropriation bill to be presented for the current financial year. Its purpose is to authorise the withdrawal of the additional sum of £6,535,600.00 from the consolidated fund to meet supplementary expenditure approved by the Standing Finance Committee between the 26th of June and 20th of November 2013.
The supplementary expenditure was approved for various purposes, some of these being £3,216,000.00 relating to carry-overs of unspent funds from the 2012/13 financial year. This figure included £1,796,000.00 relating to the continuation of the economic rural and tourism development strategies, oil development agenda and import substitution programmes, £443,000.00 for training and development and a number of smaller schemes, £1,280,000.00 for the Health and Social Services Department covering the areas of Medical Treatment overseas, Staff and Child protection, £716,000.00 additional subvention for FIMCO, £266,000.00 to retrospectively apply the long service award to those qualifying members of the Civil Service, £145,000.00 for the purchase of spares for the Asphalt Plant, £128,000.00 for additional resources for the RFIP, £120,000.00 relating to health and Safety consultancy work for the Minerals Department, £117,000.00 for the Education Department to enable the revision of the Education Ordinance and employment of additional teaching staff and £75.000.00 in connection to the creation of the post of Head for Falkland Islands Courts and Tribunal Service. A full Departmental breakdown is included in the schedule to the Bill.
I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
SF: I second the Motion.
There was no debate so the Bill was dealt with by the Short procedure, read for the third time and passed.
Taxes (Amendment) Bill 2013;
This Bill was published in the Gazette and went straight to a second reading.
NG: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, this Bill would make a number of minor amendments to correct ambiguities and inconsistencies in the Taxes Ordinance Payment on Account of Tax and Employee Deduction Regulations, Taxes Benefit in Kind Rules, the Taxes and Duties Special Exemptions Ordinance and the Importation Tax Regulations. This Bill has 33 clauses the majority of which make minor amendments to these pieces of legislation. However, there are some amendments to the Taxes ordinance that are worth highlighting.
Clause 4 clarifies that if there is any expenditure incurred by a person acquiring an individual transferable quota must be included in the computation of a person’s chargeable income. Clauses 10 and 16 allow for minor expenditure used in the entertainment of employees to be exempt from tax for both the employer and the employee. This replaces extra statutory concession 8 and clarifies that winter fuel allowance is not taxable. Clause 11 equalises the treatment of personal pensions and retirement benefit schemes by ensuring that an employer’s contribution to a retirement benefit scheme is not part of the employee’s taxable remuneration. It also ensures that if an employer’s contribution to a retirement benefit scheme is not part of the employee’s taxable remuneration. It also ensures that if employer contributions into an approved personal pension are repaid they are taxable.
Clause 15 an corrects an anomaly that led to weekly and monthly employees being treated differently for the purposes of POAT by amending the weekly hours worked in any month to 60. Clause 21 amends terms so they consistently refer to an entity where more than 50 percent is held when referring to subsidiaries.
As I mentioned earlier, the other remaining clauses deal with the minor amendments to correct ambiguities and inconsistencies within the ordinances.
Mr Speaker, I move that the Bill be read a second time.
SF: I second the Motion.
There was no debate so the Bill was dealt with by the Short procedure, read for the third time and passed.
Livestock and Meat Products (Amendment) Bill 2013
This Bill was published in the Gazette and went straight to a second reading.
SF: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this bill would make a number of amendments to the Livestock and Meat Products Ordinance, the Livestock ordinance and to the Livestock and Meat Products identification and Movement of Pigs Regulations. These amendments are a necessary part of a programme of Legislative Drafting work being undertaken to ensure that the Sand Bay Abattoir can continue to supply European and other markets. In turn it is intended to ensure the viability of the Falkland islands meat company (FIMCO) and the economic development in Camp.
In order to be able to export meat into the EU, both the country and the export plant have to meet certain conditions laid down in various EU regulations. An EU Audit in 2011 identified a number of deficiencies in the Falkland Islands legislation about livestock identification and about meat production and processing. The necessary work is being carried out in stages and this Bill forms part of that process.
Part 2 of the Bill would make a number of changes to the Livestock and Meat Products ordinance, which had already passed in 2010 to provide a framework for the legislation in this area. Since then the way in which Sand Bay operates throughout the year has changed so it is no longer appropriate to provide for a separate export season in the legislation.
Clauses 4, 5, and 6 conclude the necessary changes to reflect that. Also the existing definition of meat in the ordinance is very broad. It covers animal by-products as well as the bits of animals that can actually be eaten. Clause 4 would replace that definition with separate definitions of meat, and animal by-products that correspond to those used in EU legislation. Clause 5 would amend the power to make regulations under the ordinance so that the power still covers animal by-products but in a more specific way.
A modern system of cattle identification has been introduced and regulation supporting that system has been made under the Livestock and Meat Product Ordinance, so part 3 of the bill would amend the older Livestock ordinance to remove cattle from the scope of its marking provisions.
Finally, for this Bill at least, Part 4 would amend the Livestock and Meat Products Identification and Movement of Pigs ordinance to remove the requirement to ear-mark Pigs. This is being proposed for animal welfare reasons.
We have not reached the end of the process of making legislation about Livestock and Meat Products. However, with these amendments the framework provided by the Livestock and Meat Products Ordinance will allow the rest of the necessary legislation to be made by regulations and work on them is well underway.
This is a technical Bill and it may seem dry but it is important to the economy of the Islands and the economy of the Camp in particular.
I beg to move that the Bill be given a second reading.
The Financial Secretary Mrs Nicola Granger seconded the Motion.
RE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, this Bill is obviously essential if we wish to continue exporting our meat products to the European Union. I would ask for clarity for the Agricultural community who may be listening. Could the Attorney General confirm how, if at all, this Bill applies to Farm kill and farm sales?
KB: The Attorney General – Are you in a position to clarify that now or would you be able to do it (later).
ML: Not at this point in time but I would provide the information to you to then circulate as you think appropriate.
RE: I thank the Attorney General for his answer.
PR: I would like to speak to this Bill. I am very pleased to see it here today. We’ve had EU inspections of the Abattoir and we do need to progress changes in regulations to meet their recommendations from their reports and I think it is excellent to see this bill here today. I know, as my Honourable Colleague has said there are more pieces of legislation in the wings to come forward and we do have to keep progressing them as the Honourable roger Edwards says, otherwise we will not be able to export to the EU and it is our key market at present, so it is extremely welcome and timely.
It is good to note, too, that the Sand Bay Abattoir has been operating at one standard throughout the year for some time, I am told by the General Manager. By the way, its domestic kill is not being operated or they have been operating at the same high standard as they do for export. This regularises the operation in the regulation, so that’s welcome. It has not put any pressure on Sand Bay as they have already been operating to those standards for some time and is most encouraging.
I welcome the removal of marking cattle from the legislation. I think all farmers do ear-tag now so it is just a regularisation in the regulations. It’s good to have it there and I do look forward in the new year to seeing further regulations coming to this House to ensure that we can meet those requirements of the EU.
GS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, while I except that this is probably not the last we are going to see of amendments and such like to export to the EU, the comments of my Honourable Colleague from the West is reverberating around my head. Would it be right to allow this Bill to go any further at this stage not knowing whether this is going to have horrendous side effects on what happens in the Camp with farm kill, etcetera or should we actually just go to committee stage until we are sure or we could let it go and raise an amendment if need be? I don’t know and I actually want to pose the question on this one.
ML: Honourable Members if it helps, if I were to attempt to answer the Honourable Roger Edwards’ question – my understanding is that it doesn’t affect farm kill but I don’t want to give a clear, confirmative answer until I have the opportunity to double check and make sure so that’s why I was asking if I could provide you with a written response that could be circulated. I still prefer to do that.
In terms of the Bill itself, my strong recommendation is that you take this Bill forward because a, I feel it won’t have the effect you might be concerned about. If it does then we will deal with it. But to slow down the progress – there is a time table we are working to in terms of keeping the EU satisfied we are prepared to carry on those plans in terms of meeting those requirements.
RE: Mr Speaker, I asked the question because I am actually quite content that this Bill does not affect farm kill or farm sales. But I just wanted to bring that into the equation that we still do farm kill and still sell from the farm and so forth and I wanted it clarified that this Bill is something separate to that, which is why I asked the question.
I would certainly not wish to delay the introduction of this Bill because I know that this and along with the new Overseas Association decision which we just signed in Brussels a week ago do bring in all sorts of regulations that must be in place by the 1st of January 2014 and so I would hate, I am sure this is part of that wide tapestry. I would not wish to delay it by one jot. I am content that it does not affect farm kill or farm sales. I asked the question of the Attorney General to confirm that.
GS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, sorry. As long as my colleagues from Camp are content it’s not going to have side effects on their lifestyle then I am certainly happy to support this.
PR: I certainly wouldn’t wish to comment on what bit the Attorney General will bring to us in his answer but I did note that in the explanatory note that this is only referring to a designated abattoir in the Falkland Islands and I was very content when I read that because it does not at all impact on Camp Kill. I think that’s really critical that the community can still access meat from the Camp. So I was content when I saw the words “designated abattoir.”
MS: Mr Speaker, I am perfectly satisfied having dealt with this matter for a number of years in the past that this does not affect Camp Kill and would be more than happy to continue with the Bill.
There was no debate so the Bill was dealt with by the Short procedure, read for the third time and passed.
The Motion for Adjournment speeches will be transcribed in part 2 of this transcript.
(100X Transcription Service)