The new Governor of the Falkland Islands emphasized that he was in the Islands to work with, “the democratically elected representatives of the people”, and it was, “entirely proper that you (Falkland Islanders) decide how you wish to be governed, now and in the future.”
Nigel Phillips CBE and his wife Emma arrived in the Falklands on Monday and on Tuesday the governor took the Oath of Allegiance and received the ceremonial sword which is worn with his uniform. He later attended a parade on Victory Green.
“To be Her Majesty’s personal representative, entrusted to ensure that the Constitution of these Islands is upheld is a solemn duty. The Constitution to which I refer has not been imposed, but agreed by the democratically elected representatives of the people”, said he governor in his speech following the Oath of Allegiance ceremony.
Mr Phillips said he wished to visit as many communities on the Islands as possible and assured that he wished to, “listen to your views, to understand your aspirations, concerns, hopes and dreams. It is only by doing this that I can faithfully discharge my
duty to you.”
He described the people of the Falkland Islands as, “renowned for their self-sufficiency.” He added: “It is a reputation hard earned and merits respect. Enduring self-sufficiency is founded in part on the possession of alternatives, the ability to turn to something else when required. Economies are the same, they need to be diverse if they are to prosper in the long-term”.
As such he applauded the Falkland Islands Government, “in its vision of developing a top class education system here. Our people are our most valuable asset and this generation have a greater range of skills and knowledge than ever before. Whether it be traditional industries such as agriculture and the fisheries, emerging sectors such a hydrocarbons, or wealth creating activity yet to be considered, the Falkland Islands has the means to exploit opportunity as it arises. I look forward to working with the FIG to help deliver its plans to further develop the economy and the vital infrastructure that underpins it.”
Governor Phillips also made it clear that, the Government of the United Kingdom remained committed to the security of the Islands.
“The men and women of our armed forces are a visible demonstration of this commitment and I want at this juncture to thank them for their service.”
Reflecting on that commitment he said: “I would contend that the relationship between the Falkland Islands and the United Kingdom is founded on partnership. It is in this spirit that I will work with the Falkland Islands Government, public services, businesses and communities. It is in partnership that we will face the challenges and opportunities
that lie before us, whether that be the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union
or developing the Falkland Islands relationship within this region and beyond.”
Asked by Penguin News in an interview later whether the FCO had given the Governor a particular “steer’ in terms of developing the relationship between the Falklands and Argentina, Mr. Phillips said: “I wouldn’t say there was a particular steer, I think I’d probably typify that by saying it’s in the interests of the UK that it develops its relationship with as many nations as possible.”
Referring to concept of “Global Britain,” he said, “that includes Argentina but it is understood for the British Government that its commitment to the security and the prosperity of the Falkland Islands is not negotiable... and we hope that through improving the negotiations with Argentina we can also improve the environment for the Falkland Islanders.” (Penguin News).