Falklands’ lawmakers lobby Caribbean nations in support of self-determination
Members of the Falklands Islands Legislative Assembly, Sharon Halford and Roger Edwards, have visited Grenada in the Caribbean to discuss the Falkland Islands right to self-determination with government ministers and senior officials.
This is a follow up to the visit of MLA Mike Summers and MLA Roger Edwards to Antigua, Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis late last year. They are sharing first-hand with Caribbean nations their experiences of life in the Falklands and internal governance of the Islands, but also the challenges they face in the United Nations for support for their right to self determination.
Self determination is the very principle enacted by the people of Grenada when choosing to become independent from the United Kingdom in 1974. Respect for this principle remains a cornerstone of the United Nations Charter and effectively implemented by the Falkland Islands people in spite of all obstacles and challenges from Argentina and the UN Decolonization Committee or C-24.
Precisely last month Grenada hosted the Seventh Ministerial UK-Caribbean Forum where an Action Plan was agreed which among other points it specifically recognized the right of self determination for the Falkland Islanders. The meeting was attended by the UK government, Foreign Secretary William Hague and members of the Caribbean Community organization, CARICOM.
“To support the principle and the right to self determination for all peoples, including the Falkland Islanders, recognising the historical importance of self-determination in the political development of the Caribbean, and its core status as an internationally agreed principle under the United Nations Charter” said the statement agreed by the forum.
The Falkland Islanders remain a small, distinct and resolute island people. Like many peoples around the world, many of the Islanders can trace their families back over several generations, having arrived from Europe through natural waves of ‘free choice’ migration in the mid-1800s.
The people of the Falkland Islands descend from the first known people to have settled the Falkland Islands over generations, as it had no indigenous population.
Many advances have been made in the constitutional relationship between the Falklands and the UK. It is a relationship based on partnership, shared values and the right of the Falkland Islanders to determine whether they wish to retain their link with the UK.
The Falkland Islands Constitution devolves responsibility for all issues, with the exception of defence and foreign affairs. The Falklands has developed its own full legislative and executive branches of government, with a dedicated civil service to implement Falklands’ government policy.
Grenada is a member of the Commonwealth consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The size of the island is 344 square kilometers with an estimated population of 110.000. Capital is St. George.
Grenada is a member of the current Decolonization Committee which also includes the Caribbean island nations of Saint Vincent & Grenadines; Saint Lucia; St Kitts and Nevis; Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda. The current chairman is Francisco Carrion Mena from Ecuador.
However Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and Grenadines are also members of Venezuela’s sponsored ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of the Americas). During the last summit this past weekend, Santa Lucia (and Surinam) officially applied to join the group.