In a statement from Government House, issued last Friday, the 21st October, it was confirmed that Emma Edwards has resigned as a Member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly (MLA). And that His Excellency the Governor, Mr Nigel Haywood CVO, had accepted “with regret” the resignation.
The Legislative Assembly is the primary institution in the self-government of the Falkland Islands and is empowered to pass legislation for the peace, order and good government of the Falkland Islands. Under the terms of the Falkland Islands Constitution, eight Assembly Members are elected every four years.
In her letter of resignation, Emma Edwards wrote:
“As I now know I will be leaving the Islands in August 2012, it is unfair for me to continue in my role as an MLA and would very much like to see another individual have a good chance to work in this role. I have long intended to resign in October 2011, in the hope that this will avoid any interference with the 2012 organisation of events”.
Emma’s comments make reference to the fact that the current Legislative Assembly is at their mid-term point in office. Thus the timing of the resignation at this point will allow a new councillor to have a full two years in office and make a significant contribution before re-elections.
Additionally it highlights the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War that will be commemorated next year and which should remain the primary focus of councillors and the community, without the uncertainty caused by a change in council.
Emma added that the resignation was not taken on political grounds but was for personal reasons: “I will be sorry to go, but I have a new chapter in my life opening up and want to have the time to enjoy this.”
The Governor, in thanking her for her work as an MLA, wrote:
“I am genuinely sorry that you will be going. You have contributed a lot to the Assembly, and your warmth and humanity – your sheer niceness – and gentle sense of humour have made you a pleasure to work with. I have watched with considerable admiration and respect the way you have handled three very serious jobs with considerable skill and distinction. The energy you have put into all of them is remarkable, and, as each of the jobs is of such considerable benefit to the Islands, everyone here has so much to be grateful to you for. You have worked hard as an assembly member, handled some tricky portfolios, and have been a real asset to Executive Council on those occasions when you have been a member.”
Emma Edwards was elected to the Legislative Assembly in November 2009 during the elections which saw a clean-sweep of the previous council members. During her two years on council has held the tourism, minerals, environment and heritage, and housing portfolios. She has been an outspoken figure and her strongly held views have sometimes led to controversy, with most recently the removal of her tourism portfolio last month due to differences on policy.
Emma Edwards is the second councillor to resign during the current council. Glenn Ross resigned in April this year citing that his work load within the power and electrical section of the Public Works Department prohibited him from giving sufficient attention to his role as a councillor. A by-election was held in June 2011, which saw Mike Summers re-elected.
Arrangements for the second by-election within 6 months will be announced later, but under the Falklands constitution must occur within 70 days.
By Grant Munro -SeAledpr - Stanley