Businessmen Sawle tops Falkland’s election online poll.
RETIRED businessman Richard ‘Dick’ Sawle (55) was earlier today at the head of an unofficial online poll of Falklands General Election voters. England-born Dick, owner of successful multi-million-pound fishing business Seaview Ltd, appears to have captured the hearts of the Stanley constituency with his promise to, “Listen, learn and act.”
Dick, who is a Justice of the Peace and has a degree in Spanish, South American Studies and Egyptology, was also a Spanish teacher in the Falklands for many years.
Former General Employees Union leader Gavin Short is a few votes behind Dick with long time councillor Mike Summers in third place. Jan Cheek, also a retired fishing company owner is in fourth place and Emma Edwards and Glen Ross in joint fifth. Stanley constituents can vote for five candidates in the General Election tomorrow.
Others standing for the Stanley constituency comprise: Norman Besley-Clark, John Birmingham, Andrea Clausen, Jacqueline Cotter, Emma Edwards, Eric Goss, Janet Robertson and Glen Ross.
Health and education are both subjects high on the candidates’ agendas, but with worries over the international economic crisis, predictably the islands cash reserve is a subject debated by nominees.
According to Gavin Short, “Our economy is in fairly good shape and with prudent management can get better but there is less cash around now and government must cut its cloth to suit its pocket.”
Andrea Clausen suggests FIG look for efficiencies within the civil service, adding, “We must remove our reliance on the volatile illex fishing revenue, one of the most vulnerable areas of our budget.”
Although the islands relationship with Argentina is a subject touched on by all candidates it is unusually balanced by greater concerns with domestic issues such as the diminishing population of the camp, the need for a new port, the review of government and a demand for initiatives and investment in tourism.
The attitude to Argentina from Mike Summers is one that summarises those shared by most candidates from both the Stanley and the camp constituencies: “The level of aggression of the Argentine Government is at its highest level for many years. There can never be any compromise on our absolute right to self-determination and with the continued support of HMG and the universal acceptance of the right to self-determination promoted by the UN and responsible democracies we have a solid base.”
Outside of Stanley, according to the online poll, former councillor Sharon Halford is highest in the ratings with 34% of the votes. Also a veteran of the Legislature, Bill Luxton (known in the past for his hard-line anti-Argentine stance) was in second place with West Falklands farmer Ian Hansen in third place. Camp constituents can vote for three candidates.
Clive Wilkinson, Richard Stevens and Roger Edwards are also standing for the Camp constituency.
Candidates paid a £100 deposit, which they will lose if they do not obtain 12.5% of the votes cast.
Approximately 1600 people appear on the last electoral register.
Voting will take place tomorrow, Thursday November 5 and the swearing of the Executive Council Oaths by the new Members of the Legislative Assembly will take place at 1130 in the Government House drawing room on Friday November 6.
By Lisa Watson - SeAledPR - Stanley