Falkland Islands Legislative Councillors answered criticism of their business trips abroad with an invitation to critics to stand for election.
During the latest Legislative Council meeting Councillor Edwards said she often hears criticisms that overseas trips are ?jollies', "? but it is extremely useful and extremely important that we keep up our contacts, that we go and see the rest of the world."
"I would hate to think that any future Governments would cut overseas visits to the extent that we isolate ourselves in the Falklands and don't make our position clearly known to the rest of the world and to the MPs in the UK."
She added, "I would say to the people that find that overseas visits by Councillors on their behalf are not what they want, next year is a big opportunity to put your money where your mouth is; stand for Council and stand up and be counted.
"If you think you can do a better job, get on with it."
Councillor Luxton stressed the importance of "pushing the Falklands cause overseas." If we don't, he said, "...we aren't standing still, we're going backwards, backwards to the 1970s where few people outside the Islands knew about the Falklands and probably fewer cared."
He said the matter came down to the core issue of self determination, "...our desire to remain British requires support from as wide an audience as possible, and without that we have nothing."
He added, "I can only assume that anybody who believes that what are sometimes twelve hour days during the conferences are a jolly probably hasn't tried it.
"Well, the good news is that in a year's time, you'll all be able to have the mythical couple of weeks a year of guzzling champagne at the tax payer's expense; it'll only cost you £100 and you will get that back after (the Financial Secretary) has put it in the bank for a few weeks to get some interest off it.
"So I look forward to the rush of people keen to take advantage of this opportunity. It should make the next election interesting."
In light of the recent visit to the Falklands by a group of UK parliamentarians, Councillors commented on the benefits of having friends overseas.
Councillor Cockwell commented, "I believe that from this visit we've got four new firm supporters who will be going in to bat for us if it's necessary in the wider fora of the world."
Councillor Cheek spoke of the important role of the Falkland Islands Government Office in London and in particular the FIG Representative, Sukey Cameron. She said, "Those of us who have any dealings with them know how hardworking and efficient they are and we greatly appreciate that. The work that Sukey herself does in keeping the profile of the islands high in lobbying and other activities, cannot be underestimated."
She said that at the annual party conferences it is "apparent" how much work Ms Cameron has done with members of parliament, "... to make sure that they are aware of all the issues that we have." (PN).-