The Falkland Islands most voted Councillor in 2005 will be running again to recover his seat in a snap election January 3, following an embarrassing constitutional interpretation which left his seat vacant.
Dr. Richard Davies seat became vacant after he came to the conclusion that he was statutorily barred from the post of Councillor because of his government employment post as "Acting" Chief Medical Officer. The Falkland Islands Government has apologised to Dr. Davies and voters for the embarrassing oversight. In a public statement Dr. Davies underlined he had not resigned but "I have been advised that my seat has become vacant according to the current interpretation of the Constitutional Ordinance. This occurred through no wrong doing on my part". Dr. Davies added that "the only way I can regain the seat and fulfil the commitments I made two years ago, is by seeking re-election, which I intend to do. I hope that voters will understand and have the confidence to re-elect me to serve the remainder of this term on Council". Last Friday evening Dr. Davies met with the Islands Chief Executive and the Attorney General to discuss an issue he had raised regarding his acting in the capacity of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) during the CMO's absence. Apparently on three occasions in the last two years Dr. Davies was required by the medical department to act as CMO in the absence of the Chief Medical Officer. "On Friday the Attorney General advised me that this was unconstitutional and that in so doing I have vacated my seat in Legislative Council. I have taken independent legal advice which has corroborated this view", said the former Councillor in his statement. "This is contrary to the advice I previously received from Government. I was informed that it was permitted, as a Councillor, to fill in as Acting CMO during the Chief Medical Officer's absence". According to a press release from the Falklands' government Dr Davies's contract, requiring him to be Acting Chief Medical Officer was negotiated alongside other doctors' contracts by the previous Chief Executive, between January and June 2006. "Dr Davies raised the issue of becoming Acting CMO at that time and was told that the proscription did not apply. In coming to that view officers believed the proscription only applied to a substantive post. Officers relied upon the written Management Code. The Management Code covers the matter of statutorily barred posts but is silent on the issue of "acting up". The Constitution is quite clear, and officers did not consult it". In the press release Tuesday it was noted "FIG apologises to Dr Davies, and to the voters of Stanley constituency, for this bad error. It should not have occurred. "Dr Davies called on His Excellency the Governor on the afternoon of Monday 19 November to inform him officially that his seat is vacant. A by-election will be held". The Falklands' Legislative Council is made up of eight elected Councillors, five representing the capital Stanley constituency, and three from the Camp.