The Falkland Islands are holding a bye election next December 15, one for each constituency, city and camp. However while the Stanley seat has several hopefuls, Ian Hansen as the only candidate for the Camp Constituency will gain his seat by default and without a clear mandate to shape his performance over the remaining course of this Government.
Hansen himself is unapologetic about the outcome and not altogether unhappy that he has been saved the need to embark on a round of arduous campaigning. Instead, he says, he is putting his efforts into discussing with his default electorate the issues that matter to them and to gauge the direction that he will need to follow over the two years leading to the General Election.
Ian is very clear that the reason for the perceived lack of interest in standing in the by-election is due to the very short notice – only 19 days – between Bill Luxton’s resignation and the deadline for handing in candidacy papers. At a busy time of years for farmers, the unexpected by-election gave them too little time to consider their options, talk to their families and get on the campaign trail, he says. He is adamant that those people who unsuccessfully voted for a single constituency in the recent referendum will be mistaken to think that it vindicates their stance in anyway. The general election in 2 years time will have a much wider range of candidates for the electorate to choose from.
With the current members half-way into their term Ian is realistic about his ability to bring new policies and strategies to the table effectively. “I am not going to change the world”, he says. His principle aim is to bring to bear his past experience as an MLA and to - for the most part - slot into the issues of the day. One area he wishes to bring to the fore is the current disagreement and considerable bitterness in Camp over the road-capping program, which many Campers regard as seriously faulty in its priorities. With two budget rounds ahead of him he aims to maximize the revenue available to help ease the transport issues in Camp. He points out that for FIMCO (FI Meat Company) to receive the support it requires, transport issues are going to be a major priority for the foreseeable future.
During Hansen’s last stint on Council he oversaw the Rural Development Strategy, which seems to have faded very much into the background since. He wants to help kick-start that back into place and believes that a 3-tiered strategy approach will be required to differentiate the needs of the East, West and Outer Islands. There will be no single solution, he says, that will adequately address the wide range of differing needs.
As for that thorny issue of Argentina, he is optimistic that the current Assembly will have some strategies on the table that are not widely accessible to the public and considers that he has the experience to contribute to any discussions on our relationship – or rather, situation – with it.
Hansen has worked in the past with three of the current Members: MLA’s Cheek, Edwards and Summers and is confident that he can create a good working relationship with the rest of the Assembly. In any case, following the vote for a new Stanley candidate on 15th December, he will not be alone. How the two newcomers change the dynamic of the current Council will be the subject of considerable speculation in the New Year.
By Janet Robertson – SeAledPR - Stanley