Busy summer for the Falkland Islands elected lawmakers: eight Members of the British Parliament are visiting the Islands, next week British ambassador in Uruguay plus Foreign Office members are scheduled for talks with local authorities, Premier Oil briefed MLAs on the Sea Lion development, and government and MLAs will be holding an “away day” at Darwin to address the Islands Plan draft.
The eight members of Westminster are part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and have been at MPA to learn more about everyday life for the UK armed forces stationed in the Falklands.
It was also an opportunity for local members of the Legislative Assembly to meet their peers and discuss some of the current issues of concern for the Falklands in the new scenario which is expected to emerge from the evolving Brexit negotiations. The MP's visiting the Falklands are: Gerald Jones MP, Phil Wilson MP, Dr. Caroline Johnson MP, Nigel Huddleston MP, Robert Courts MP, Will Quince MP, Royston Smith MP, Ruth Smeeth MP.-
One of the visitors is Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, who is well aware of the close links between the Falklands and the naval base, and is willing to find ways to promote and celebrate such bonds.
MLA Stacey Bragger underlined how useful the meetings with the UK peers have been and commented, we need to put more effort into raising the profile of the Falklands in the UK and maintaining support for the Islands.
Regarding visitors to the Islands, ambassador in Montevideo, Ian Duddy is expected next week as part of a familiarization visit being made by a team from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The group also includes Richard Jones (Second Secretary Political, Buenos Aires) and Kirsti Bourret (First Secretary Political, Brasilia), and will have a busy schedule of meetings with FIG officials and representatives of the private sector.
The Falkland Islands are intent in improving relations with neighboring countries, promoting trade, tourism, scientific research, and additional flights to the continent, possibly Uruguay and/or Brazil, via Argentina are part of an agenda of issues under negotiation, according to UK ambassador in Buenos Aires, Mark Kent.
In more domestic issues Premier Oil briefed MLAs on their progress and development of the Sea Lion field. Their work is continuing on a number of fronts such as the engineering for the project, securing provision of services with contractors and a financial solution for Sea Lion. The Sea Lion Environmental Impact Statement is currently undergoing formal public consultation.
Likewise the Chairmanship of SAAS (South American Atlantic Services) alternates between CFL (Consolidated Fisheries Limited) and FIG Directors every six months and it was confirmed at a Board meeting at the end of last week that MLA Stacey Bagger would take over from Stuart Wallace as Chair. SAAS has made real progress in recent years and is heading in a good direction.
This week also MLAs will be holding an ‘away-day’ at Darwin with FIG Directors where they will go through what has been set out in the Islands Plan for the next four years. The current aim is for the Islands Plan to be published at the end of March.
Finally MLA Stacey Bragger attended last Saturday the Remembrance Service for the Royal Navy Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly, which was held at Stanley's cathedral.
Captain Rick Jolly served in the 1982 Falklands conflict, and was later decorated by both the British and Argentine governments for his distinguished conduct during the conflict. The awards were in recognition of his achievements in managing three frontline field hospitals in which more than 1,000 casualties – among them around 300 Argentine soldiers and airmen – were successfully treated, and in later years in fostering a bold and imaginative spirit of reconciliation between the once warring armies.
He went on to practice and give lectures to medical establishments on his experiences, and was co-founder of the South Atlantic Medal Association formed in 1997.
I never had the pleasure of meeting him but it is obvious from the tributes that have been paid that he was a man held in the highest regard by all. His extraordinary work during 1982 and afterwards will not be forgotten, commented MLA Bragger who was born in 1984.(Source: Penguin News)