“The people of the Falklands have spoken clear and loud”, MLA Hansen tells Trinidad and Tobago
The Falkland Islands have spoken, and have spoken clearly and loud for all countries in the world to listen, said Ian Hansen, member of the elected Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly currently on a tour of Caribbean countries to deliver the message from the March 10/11 referendum.
“Falklanders have spoken clearly and loud for all countries to listen; we have done so because we have a right to self determination, to decide on our political status and on our future”, said MLA Hansen next to Emily Hancox, a young Islander who is part of the team currently visiting Trinidad and Tobago, according to a report from the Trinidad Guardian.
The March 10/11 referendum with an overwhelming turnout of 92% showed that all Islanders (99.8%) with the exception of three votes want to remain a British Overseas Territory.
The government of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez a likes to say they are the champions of human and civil rights, “and I imagine this means everyone has the right to self determination, but no, she says the Falklands’ people don’t have that fundamental right and for Minister Timerman we do not exist as a people” explained MLA Hansen during a gathering at Trinidad’s International Relations centre.
MLS Hansen said the right to self determination is enshrined, not only in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514, but also in the Falklands’ Constitution.
British High Commissioner Arthur Snell was present at the seminar, but no one from the Argentina Embassy turned up.
“In the spirit of diplomatic dialogues, we were hoping to have a representative of the Argentina Government here today but that didn’t happen,” Snell said.
MLA Hansen was quick to say that the Falkland Islands are not closed to dialogue with Argentina: “I don’t want anyone to think we are not open to the concept of dialogue”, on those issues that are of mutual interest, but which do not include sovereignty.
MLA Hansen and Ms Hancox at the seminar titled ‘Sovereignty and Self-determination: Discussion of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands Referendum’ pointed out that the referendum was initiated by the people of the Falklands and was done in a “correct and international manner” following international standards and with international observers.
In a reference to the Falklands’ economy MLA Hansen said the Islands are fairly wealthy with main income from fisheries, tourism, agriculture and in the next few years, hopefully oil and gas. “By 2017 when the first shipments of oil are expected, this could change the Islands’ economy”.