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Montevideo, September 25th 2018 - 05:23 UTC

Falkland Islanders mark Commonwealth Day with a range of events

Tuesday, March 13th 2018 - 20:44 UTC
Full article 16 comments
Mike Betts (second from left) with the other UK Overseas Territory Representatives outside Westminster Abbey yesterday for the Commonwealth Service. Mike Betts (second from left) with the other UK Overseas Territory Representatives outside Westminster Abbey yesterday for the Commonwealth Service.
 Commonwealth Flag was raised outside of the schools and the student council of the Community School spoke with university students in India. (Pic FIG) Commonwealth Flag was raised outside of the schools and the student council of the Community School spoke with university students in India. (Pic FIG)

On six continents around the globe, the currently 53 countries of the Commonwealth marked Commonwealth Day earlier in the week. The day included messages to the Commonwealth from Her Majesty the Queen as well as the UK Prime Minister, both of which have been covered by MercoPress. However, the Falkland Islands also reaffirmed its ties to the Commonwealth over recent days both within the Islands and elsewhere in the world.

 The Falkland Islands, due to its constitutional status as a UK Overseas Territory, are not a full member of the Commonwealth. However, they are accepted as part of the Commonwealth family and attend political events across the Commonwealth and also the Commonwealth Games in their own right. For example, Michael Betts, the Deputy Falkland Islands Government Representative in London (FIGO), attended the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. The vent was attended by Her Majesty the Queen and also Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle. 

Afterwards Mr Betts said that “I had the privilege to represent the Falkland Islands Government at the service and it was a wonderful experience to witness the celebration of the Commonwealth. I was sat with the other Representatives of the British Overseas Territories and had a great view of the proceedings. I was inspired by the message of unity and working together to make the world a better place.”

This follows on from two young Falkland Islanders representing the Islands at the Commonwealth Youth Parliament hosted in Jersey earlier in the month. Islanders Tiphanie May and Lucinda Lowe attended and spoke on behalf of the Islands during a range of discussions. Such events are normally held annually and look to allow younger members of commonwealth countries to experience Westminster-style parliamentary debates.

In the Falkland Islands itself the local government have developed over recent years a set of events which often includes local students. For example, the Commonwealth Flag was raised outside of the schools and the student council of the Community School spoke with university students in India. This broadening of horizons and understanding of other cultures has been a recurring theme of commonwealth day globally and has been embraced by students within the Islands.

The next main Commonwealth event to be attended by the Falkland Islands will be the Commonwealth Games in Australia from the 4th until the 15th April 2018. The Islands will be represented by a small team of athletes across a range of sports including badminton and shooting. The Islands have attended the games for a number of decades and, whilst rarely threatening the medal table, are always well received by host country fans due to their being one of the smallest teams in attendance. Look out on MercoPress for further reporting closer to the games commencing.

Following the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games is the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting to be hosted in London starting on the 19th April.

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  • Roger Lorton

    A notable date all round it seems. In addition to Commonwealth Day, March 12th was also the 5th anniversary of the Falklands Referendum result announcement.

    Peculiarly, the Photoshop Prof, Marcelo Kohen, and his trusty sidekick, Facundo 'Robin' Rodrigriguez, chose this same day to hold a public meeting in Stanley to present a 20 point plan aimed at resolving the 'dispute' with Argentina. This is also to be unveiled in Buenos Aires on the 20th.

    During the presentation, Kohen made frequent references to the Good Friday Agreement, perhaps having failed to note that Eire had given up its claims to the territory in order to achieve agreement. Once again, Kohen asserted that there were only two participants to the dispute - Argentina and the UK - effectively dismissing the Referendum result and sticking to the nonsense that the Islanders have no say in their own future.

    The 6 members of the audience (plus 2 journalists) were not convinced it seems.

    Regardless of the nonsense of a 20-point plan to resolve an issue settled long ago the sheer arrogance of Kohen's timing is staggering. Turning up on the anniversary to say that the Islanders referendum was a waste of time.

    Probably just as well that not many turned up.

    Mar 13th, 2018 - 11:42 pm +3
  • Roger Lorton

    Hard to say. The 2 journalists have yet to publish and one, talking to FINN, gave the impression that they couldn't be bothered to list them all.

    Kohen didn't make much of an impression it seems.

    Mar 14th, 2018 - 12:10 pm +2
  • Roger Lorton

    At last, a welcome opportunity to step in, even if the door was opened by an idiot.

    Further to my previous comments, Penguin News did not add very much more to the previous reports others than Kohen dismissing the 2013 Falklands Referendum result because it had not been organised by the UN. Regarding that, I can only assume that he has not read UN GA Res 637 of 1952. That states that it is only 'preferable' for plebiscites to be under the auspices of the UN. It did not make it compulsory or attempt to deny those that weren't..

    As for these mysterious 20 points, from what has been reported I can make a stab at some of them -

    1) FI to become a self-governing province of Argentina;
    2) FI electorate to vote for at own Gov & Administration;
    3) Independent Judiciary;
    4) Tax/Customs/Currency/Official Language to remain same;
    5) No interference by Federal Gov.;
    6) Dual Arg/British nationality;
    7) UK to have presence in the Islands;
    8) Two independent nations to act as guarantors (Canada & Brazil suggested);
    9) Islands de-militarised after 2 years;
    10) Provincial militia to operate for defence;
    11) Optional Referendum after 30 years;
    12) If no future agreement, case to go to the ICJ

    No.4 may be more than one point.

    This whole nonsense is based upon two presumptions - firstly that Argentina actually has a valid claim and secondly, upon the premise that the UK wishes to divest itself of the territory. As both are wrong, I can't see this having any legs.

    We'll watch the effect of his delivery on the 20th in BA. Perhaps he'll get more than 6 people and 2 journalists turn up?

    Mar 16th, 2018 - 09:31 am +2
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