The Falkland Islands' economy is flourishing and its future promises even greater potential. This was the encouraging assessment given by Falklands Councillor Mike Summers at the Falklands Government annual reception in London marking the anniversary of liberation from the 1982 Argentine invasions and restoration of democracy.
The reception on Tuesday was attended by hundreds of Falklands' supporters led by Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister in 1982 who chatted with many guests. These included members of the Task Force, politicians, former diplomats, and many Falklands Islanders, some who lived through the invasion and others from a new generation then not born. They applauded Councillor Summers when he declared they had come together "in common cause to support the people of the Falkland Islands to achieve their legitimate goals of freedom and self-determination". He announced agreement on a new constitution to be introduced next year enshrining the right to self-determination for non self-governing territories in accordance with the United Nations Charter. Baroness Thatcher listened intently as Councillor Summers reiterated Falkland Islanders' gratitude to her government and for the professionalism and efficiency of the British armed forces in restoring the rule of law and democracy. And, he said, they honoured those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. Summers said the Falklands have demonstrated how they have moved on in the last 25 years from a failing economy to a self-confident society, economically self-sufficient in all but defence. "We will continue to drive forward with energy and commitment to develop our industries and our community with even more success". Fishing, tourism and agriculture all continue to prosper. Renewed drilling for offshore oil is planned for next year. "Discovery of our own oil would do no harm", he remarked. "Aggressive and Difficult Argentina"He castigated Argentina as "an aggressive and difficult neighbour" for their restrictions on travel to and from the Islands which is a constraint on development. He called for better air services with the United Kingdom, so that the Falklands would be less exposed to Argentine restrictions. In the 25th anniversary of the Falklands Government Office in London, he paid tribute to the Falkland Islands Representative, Sukey Cameron and her staff, in strengthening contacts, along with the Falkland Islands Association. He congratulated the Association's President, former Governor, David Tatham, on his forthcoming publication of the "The Dictionary of Falklands Biography" and also two British researchers, Graham Pascoe and Peter Pepper, on a major academic work which dispels some of the myths on early Falklands' settlement which the Argentines erroneously quote in their sovereignty campaign. This new exhaustive research has been made available to the United Nations in advance of its annual Falklands sovereignty debate by its "Decolonisation" Committee of 24. Mr Tatham read out an exchange of greetings with the Queen, and the band of the Coldstream Guards added colour to the occasion with a ceremonial march past. By Harold Briley - London