Falkland Islands: Weekly Penguin News update
Our men in New York; Forty years of loyalty to the Falklands; New bullying claims rock police force; Liberation 'indiscretion'; Health survey results comino.
Our men in New York"PEOPLE are starting to listen properly," to the Falkland Islands' arguments for self-determination. So says Councillor Richard Davies, who, along with colleague Ian Hansen, addressed the United Nations' Committee on Decolonisation (C24) in New York last week. The pair had a busy two days lobbying delegates before the C24 met and Cllr Davies said most people seemed, "...much better informed" than last year. "This meant we could go straight into the main issue of our right to self-determination and not have to spend a lot of time on the background, where the Falklands are, who we are, etc..." He believes this means the Falklands' message is getting across. "Although it may seem an uphill struggle to combat the Argentine propaganda, we should not forget that we have a better case. People are interested and do listen." Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana used his speech to accuse the United Kingdom of, "taking possession" of the Falklands. He told the C24, "...to take what belongs to somebody else is unacceptable" and does not, "become fair through the mere passing of time." Speaking from Montevideo this week, Cllr Davies described this as a, "totally inappropriate" analogy. "Apart from the fact that Britain claimed the Islands a long time before Argentina, one cannot talk about countries 'being stolen' or 'belonging to' someone as if they were second hand cars. "Countries are much more than pieces of land - they are communities of people. People can't be owned, stolen, or given back. Sovereignty and ownership are not the same thing at all. To suggest that they are, and that Britain should somehow 'give' the Islands to Argentina demonstrates how fundamentally colonial the Argentine mindset is." The whole point about self-determination, he said, is that only the people of the country concerned have the right to decide their political status. "Britain of course continues to make it very clear that she respects our right to self-determination and will not negotiate on sovereignty unless we ask her to." Snr Taiana also repeated the claim that in 1985 the UN General Assembly resolved that the principle of self-determination does not apply to the Falkland Islands. Cllr Davies rejected this, saying that the General Assembly in fact called upon the UK and Argentina to, "initiate negotiations..." with no reference to the principles of territorial integrity or self-determination. "They did not reject self-determination in our particular case, or in general, and the Argentine assertions are highly misleading." 'Falklands 25'The programme of events organised by the Falklands and Britain to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War also came under fire from Snr Taiana. Cllr Davies fought back: "There was a picture of Prince Edward laying a wreath at the Argentine cemetery on the front page of Clarin. Taiana's comments about militaristic celebrations were given less prominence. "I think that says it all - I believe Argentines who are interested know that we marked the anniversary in a dignified and compassionate way." Forty years of loyalty to the FalklandsONE of the Falklands' longest-serving activists was honoured at a special reception at Government House this week. For decades Merle Hunter-Christie and her late husband Bill were a driving force behind the Falkland Islands Association, the group which worked on behalf of Falkland Islanders, lobbying the British Government against giving the Islands away to Argentina. Addressing the gathering at Government House, Councillor Mike Summers commented, "Bill gave up large amounts of his time in this quest and gave us continuous excellent advice. Every step of the way, Merle was with him. If it wasn't for the commitment and dedication of Merle and Bill together, I doubt the Falklands would have survived those dark days (of the 1970s)." Mrs Hunter-Christie, who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, was presented with a Certificate of Honour by the Governor. New bullying claims rock police forceFRESH allegations of bullying within the police force are being investigated. While unwilling to reveal the nature of the allegations, the government's Chief Executive, Chris Simpkins, confirmed the matters are under investigation. A number of bullying allegations have been made in recent years by police officers against colleagues but the complaints which are the subject of the current investigation are new, having only been made within the last month, Mr Simpkins said. Following a meeting of the Police Committee on Tuesday, Mr Simpkins revealed that the allegations have been made against one officer and the investigation into the complaints will not be undertaken by the Acting Chief Police Officer, "...since there is a wish to have them reviewed by an independent person." He added, "I am currently exploring other options in order that I can make a recommendation to the Governor but I would emphasise that there is absolutely no intention of bringing someone in from outside the Islands." When asked if claims of bullying within the police force had not been dealt with as a matter of urgency because Mr Simpkins was planning to leave them for his successor to deal with, the Chief Executive dismissed this as, "complete and utter nonsense." Liberation 'indiscretion'TWO military officers are believed to have been returned to their respective units due to a Liberation Day indiscretion. The Aide-de-Camp to the Commander of British Forces is alleged to have stayed overnight at Government House, without permission, after spending an evening out with Prince Edward's Equerry following the Liberation Day events. Health survey results cominoTHE report into the health care survey conducted by the Media Trust in May is to be published in early July. The results from the 600 forms returned (a 42% response rate) are now being analysed and collated. Penguin Newsplans to publish a summary of the results on July 13.