A reception was held at the Falkland Islands Government House in honour of the Honorary British Consul in Punta Arenas, John Rees MBE, who is currently visiting the Islands at the invitation of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Governor Nigel Haywood emphasised the importance of the strong ties between the Falklands and Punta Arenas and praised the work done by Mr Rees in fostering that connection.
For over twenty years Mr Rees had been instrumental in helping forge commercial and educational links between the two communities.
“His presence had been of considerable comfort both to those travelling to Chile for medical treatment and to those stranded in Punta Arenas for one reason or another”, said Governor Haywood.
In reply, Mr Rees said that the people of Punta Arenas held the Falklands, “close to their hearts.” He reminded his listeners that the first flocks of sheep, which formed the foundation of the successful sheep farming industry in Southern Chile, came from the Falkland Islands.
In his role as International Relations Manager for Punta Arenas Clinica Magallanes Mr Rees underlined the first-class medical facilities available in Punta Arenas, just an hour and a half away from the Falklands.
Honorary Consul in Punta Arenas since January 1992 Mr Rees was awarded the MBE for his services in 2009.
Mr Rees is accompanied in his visit to the Falklands by the Clinica Magallanes’s Commercial Executive, Ana Maria Romero, and has been holding talks with the staff at KEMH and the Director of Health, David Jenkins, as well as visiting Mount Pleasant to view the medi-vac provisions there.
As part of the discussion relating to the civil and military medical links, Mr Rees and Ms Romero briefed local medical authorities about a new large extension to the clinic in Punta Arenas that will be opening in April.
Mr Rees invited former patients of the clinic to meet him for an informal get-together at the Narrows Bar. (PN).-