Five of the eight members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, were elected for the first time only three working days before their first formal appearance in the Town Hall on Monday morning. With this in mind, the business to be brought before the chamber is normally routine and unlikely to require much in the way of discussion.
The main purpose of the first meeting of a newly elected Legislative Assembly is to allow the members to select a Speaker and Assistant to preside over their future formal public deliberations and to choose three of their members to serve on the Executive Council.
The Motion for Adjournment which always concludes the sitting of the Assembly, provides an opportunity for members to speak unfettered on any subject they choose. Having spent much of the previous weeks campaigning, usually in this first meeting their remarks are brief and largely confined to thanking all those responsible for putting them where they are.
Generally, on Monday, MLAs kept to this convention and avoided either great length or controversy in their first addresses to the nation. There were exceptions, most notably the Hon Roger Edwards who provided a hint that the current honeymoon of good will and bonhomie between our MLAs may not last forever.
Following on from the Hon Teslyn Barkman who had waxed enthusiastic about the youth and energy to be found in the Assembly’s members and the Hon Stacy Bragger who had talked about “a different dynamic.”
MLA Edwards responded, “I do believe that with this new Assembly with five new members with five new ideas, there will be change I am sure that with some of that change I will dig my heels in and fight against it. However change is inevitable. Change for the better must be welcomed by everybody.”
Speaking later, another returning MLA, Barry Elsby chose to take his place on the side of the progressives, stating, “The Honorable Roger Edwards says that there will be change and he will dig his heels in. I won’t be digging any heels in. I think change is very useful, very good and I will be supporting the new assembly in driving forward change.”
MLA Edwards concluded his remarks by saying that although, he was not himself on Facebook he had been “absolutely staggered how vicious and nasty it got at times” during the run up to the election.
Adding, “I would like to remind everyone that although you are sitting at home in your ivory tower tapping these things out on your computer, you are still open to libel and slander on Facebook and some of those things that came up and were passed around were really nasty and I would imagine came under the heading of both libel and slander.”
This view was seconded by MLA Leona Roberts who said “we need to think twice sometimes before we hit the return key”. (Penguin News)