The Argentine Government has been accused by former Falkland Islands Governor Sir Rex Hunt of retrograde behaviour in shunning Falkland Islanders while persisting with what he calls Argentina's anachronistic claim to sovereignty over the Islands.
His criticism is contained in the annual report of the Falkland Islands Association to its annual general meeting in London (on Saturday, 9th December) as members of the Association re-affirmed their determination to support the Islanders' right to self-determination.
Sir Rex Hunt declares: "Regrettably, as we enter the 21st Century, the greatest political challenge remains that of the 20th ? Argentina's anachronistic claim to the Falkland Islands.
"While the new Argentine Government appears to have put the sovereignty issue lower down its list of priorities than the old, it also appears to have taken a retrograde step in refusing to acknowledge the existence of Falkland Islanders as people with their own government and their inalienable right to self ?determination".
Sir Rex continued: "It thus remains the duty of this Association to do what it has always done and that is to support the right of the people of the Falkland Islands to decide their own future and to help them to develop their Islands in accordance with their own wishes".
Sir Rex Hunt remarked: "We wait patiently to see whether the present Argentine government will implement fully the pledges made by the previous one in the July Agreement". Last year's controversial July 14 Anglo-Argentine Agreement lifted the general ban on Argentine visits to the Islands and permitted resumption of direct air flights from Argentina in exchange for pledges of co-operation to protect vital fish stocks and to combat illegal fishing in an industry which sustains the Falklands economy.
Sir Rex says the Association welcomes the establishment of a Select Committee to review the Falkland Islands' Constitution. "A healthy, open debate is already underway, with Councillors producing discussion papers so that Islanders can form opinions about what is the most appropriate, representative and efficient form of government for the Falkland Islands now and into the future".
With advice from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in London, the Select Committee, comprising all the elected members of Legislative Council, hopes to complete the public consultation by next May.
Islanders "Always British