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Penguin News Update

Friday, December 15th 2006 - 20:00 UTC
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Headlines: A close shave for cash; Status: to have and to hold?; De-mining study; Attorney General's shock resignation; This week's cruise visits; New Playground to open; Legislative Council meets today; Get ready for the Raft Race.

A close shave for cashTHIS motley bunch went under the razor in the Stanley Arms on Saturday night, raising around £700 for the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82). In November alone the Stanley Arms raised enough money to fund a visit by a veteran. See page 5 for more. Pictured: Newly shaved, Peter Cox, Michael Goss, John Coutts, Geoff Miller and Mark Spruce with Stanley Arms landlord, Phil Ovendon. Status: to have and to hold?SHOULD Falkland Islands Status be irrevocable or should the government retain the right to withdraw it? That is just one of the questions councillors have been putting to the public as part of their consultation on the review of the Constitution. Despite only attracting four members of the public at their latest meeting, held in the Council Chamber on Tuesday evening, the discussion was far from dull. Councillor Mike Summers, the Chair of the Select Committee on the Constitution, gave a presentation - the same he had given to three meetings in Camp - on the amendments councillors propose to make to the Constitution. The most important, he said, was to include the principal of self-determination in the body of the Constitution, not just in the preamble as it currently is. This was unquestioned at the meeting, however the circumstances in which a person enjoys Falkland Islands Status prompted more debate. Under existing immigration law, it is possible to revoke the Status of some people, but not everyone. Councillor Summers explained, "Such circumstances (for revocation) are if someone is convicted of a very serious crime or if someone leaves for a long period of time." However, not everyone can have their Status revoked. Councillor Summers said some of his colleagues argue that it is unfair to have two kinds of Status: one gained through birth and the other through application. Councillors have reached no particular resolution on this subject, he added, and asked the meeting for their views on whether revocation should be retained. One member of the public said the current situation seemed to put people into "goodies and baddies" categories, with only those born or naturalised in the Falklands being free from revocation of Status; however another person wanted to see the ability to revoke Status kept. She commented, "Keep it in. You don't know when you might have a situation that will need it," and added that the need for revocation comes down to, "the smallness of our society." Also proposed is the protection of the right to free primary education for children; Councillor Summers said the Select Committee had discussed whether secondary education should also be included but decided against it, "...as it could lower the freedom for government if circumstances led us to make change." A member of the public criticised this saying he felt free secondary education should also be included; another agreed, pointing out that the law says children must stay at school until they are 16 so it seemed illogical to not have free secondary education. Councillor Summers responded that this would require the Falkland Islands to provide free education to everyone "regardless of their Status", which could lead to a large financial commitment in the future. A second meeting is to be held next Tuesday, December 19, which will focus firstly on the structure of government. If time permits a rerun will be presented of the remainder of the Constitution. The meeting will be held at 5pm at the Court and Council Chambers. De-mining studyA FEASIBILITY study being carried out in the Falklands into de-mining is "going well," according to the First Secretary. Harriet Hall said the team - comprising both British and Argentine experts - have been in the Islands for nearly two weeks and have visited many of the minefields on East Falkland and all on the West. "They've also had the opportunity to meet some local landowners and hear their views." They are in the Islands for another week, before leaving on 22 December. A public meeting with the team is being planned for Wednesday, December 20, at 6pm at the Falkland Islands Defence Force Club. Ms Hall said the public will have "the opportunity to ask questions" at the presentation. - Mr Roger Edwards of Lake Sulivan Farm telephoned Penguin Newsthis week to state that no Argentines had visited Fox Bay West. Attorney General's shock resignationAFTER less than two months in the job, Attorney General Melanie Chilton has tendered her resignation. Mrs Chilton took up the role in November after two years as Principal Crown Counsel. Penguin Newsattempted to ascertain why Mrs Chilton had resigned, however Chief Executive Chris Simpkins would only say it was, "...for family health reasons," and refused to comment further. Commenting on the news, Councillor Richard Davies said, "Melanie has only been in the job for the past two months but she has impressed us all with the way she's performed." This week's cruise visitsCAMP destinations will be kept busy with cruise ship visits this week. On Sunday, Clipper Adventurer (with around 122 passengers) will visit Sea Lion Island and on Monday Corinthian II(114) will visit Carcass Island and West Point Island. On Tuesday she will visit Stanley. On Thursday, Le Diamant(198) will call into West Point Island and Carcass Island. New Playground to openTHE new Toddlers' Playground on St Mary's Walk will be officially opened tomorrow. Playground Trustee, Councillor Andrea Clausen commented, "We wish to formally thank all of those people who have so generously contributed their time and money to this very worthwhile cause." The opening will take place at 11am. Legislative Council meets todayLEGISLATIVE Council meets this morning at 9am. The new Commander of British Forces will take the Oath of Allegiance and questions for oral answer will be asked about legal powers and responsibility with regard to shipping accidents. Get ready for the Raft RaceTHE annual Stanley Raft Race will be held on New Year's Day, starting at 1pm. The event, which is organised by the Stanley Sea Cadets, is one of the most popular on the Falklands calendar and entries are being accepted now.

Categories: International, Mercosur.

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