Headlines: Scouting centenary celebrated worldwide; No vacancy for vet with 'limited experience' says FIG; Shortlist for post of Chief Executive; New Minister confirms policy.
Scouting centenary celebrated worldwideMEMBERS of the First Falklands Scout Group gathered at the flagpole at Government House on Wednesday for a sunrise ceremony, joining 28 million other scouts in 158 countries around the world in celebrating 100 years since the movement was initiated by Lord Robert Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island in the UK. The hardy group, lead by Mount Pleasant Scout Leader Jim Millington renewed their promise in the frosty morning air and each received their sunrise ceremony badge as well as a first day cover signed by His Excellency the Governor, Alan Huckle. Three members of the Falklands Scout Group are presently in the UK attending the 21st World Scout Jamboree on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. No vacancy for vet with 'limited experience' says FIGIN RESPONSE to Dr Diana Miller's claims that £400,000 has been spent on her training the Government say they have in fact spent £214,000. Last week through Penguin News, Dr Miller made a series of statements concerning the alleged failure of the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) to provide her with a job, following completion of her training as a veterinary surgeon in Australia. While FIG does not usually comment upon individual contractual issues through the press, the Chief Executive, Chris Simpkins said in this case an exception has been made in order to, "...correct a number of statements made and impressions given by Dr Miller." Mr Simpkins says that £214,000 has been spent on her training and that while Dr Miller has a contract of employment with FIG she has not in fact, received any payment since December 2002. As with higher education students fully funded by FIG, Dr Miller has not, at any time, been given an unconditional undertaking that she would be given a job as a veterinary surgeon upon completion of her training and post qualification experience, explained Mr Simpkins. "There is no vacancy for a veterinary surgeon with her apparent limited experience based upon the information she has provided," he said. FIG requires its veterinary officers to have five years post qualification experience, three years of which should be in full time clinical practice and, since the opening of the abattoir, to be qualified as an Official Veterinary Surgeon (OVS) in order to perform duties at the abattoir if required. Mr Simpkins said that on the information Dr Miller has provided, she is, "...apparently currently unable to satisfy this requirement and has refused to undertake training as an OVS. "Despite repeated requests, Dr Miller has never provided a comprehensive account of her post qualification experience so that a proper assessment of her suitability for work in the Falkland Islands could be made. An 'abridged' CV was provided on July 3, from which it is impossible to evaluate her experience." "FIG would not contemplate employing anyone on the basis of the limited information so far provided by Dr Miller," said Mr Simpkins. According to the government's Chief Executive, Dr Miller proposed on July 3 of this year that FIG should engage her husband as Senior Agricultural Adviser and that she should initially be employed in a part-time capacity for approximately 12 months. "She thus attached conditions to her return which are unacceptable even if FIG had a suitable vacancy," said Mr Simpkins, adding that, Mr Miller's application for the post of Senior Agricultural Assistant was unsuccessful as a result of, "objective assessment." He said the contractual position between Dr Miller and FIG has been assessed and a recommendation to the Governor is currently in the process of being formulated. Shortlist for post of Chief ExecutiveAPPLICATIONS for the post of Government Chief Executive have now been shortlisted to three, with one local applicant. Keith Padgett the current Deputy Financial Secretary, Tim Thorogood and Richard J Davies have been named as the men to be interviewed for the post. Mr Thorogood and Davies will travel to the Islands later this month when the candidates will make a presentation to elected Councilors and the Governor, before being interviewed first by Councilors and then the Governor. Mr Thorogood was shortlisted for the post five years ago when he applied and is no stranger to the Falklands having lived here as a child when his father was employed by Cable and Wireless. Councillor Mike Summers said that they are aware that there have been issues that have been made public relating to Mr Thorogoods resignation from a previous post in Swansea, adding "...we have been satisfied by the explanations provided." Mr Davies is currently the Head of Department for Public Services and Performance for the Welsh Assembly Government. Cllr Summers said it is hoped that a decision on who will take up the position will be made on August 24. New Minister confirms policyDURING a recent visit to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Councilors Mike Sunmmers and Ian Hansen met with Meg Munn, the new Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories. She had already had a fairly extensive brief on the Islands, but largely it was a chance to talk to her about issues involving the Falklands, said Cllr Summers. "She confirmed the UK government's policy towards the Falklands is consistent with the policy that Blair has had throughout his administration and will continue in the Gordon Brown era. "She said that there is no doubt about the UK sovereignty of the Falklands and there will be no discussions about sovereignty unless we ask for it," Cllr Summers said.