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Falkland Islands Government wants a louder voice in the world stage

Saturday, December 4th 2010 - 00:24 UTC
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FCO minister Jeremy Browne  and Falklands MLA Dick Sawle FCO minister Jeremy Browne and Falklands MLA Dick Sawle

The UK Coalition Government would like to see the Falkland Islands being more proactive in getting the message to the world that the Islands are a modern democracy with good above international governance standard.

Assembly Member Dick Sawle, just back from the Overseas Territories Conference (OTCC) in London and meetings with Minister Jeremy Browne, says this wish stems from the determination of the British Government to view their overseas territories as assets rather than liabilities.

“The UK government’s new outlook on all OT is refreshing and there is no doubt (as we have seen since the new coalition government was formed) that we have the fullest possible support of the UK government”, said MLA Sawle.

He added that the way in which OTs link with London “is to be enhanced with a greater working together of Whitehall departments; they are very keen to listen to us and work together with us to better define what our needs are and meet them wherever possible”.

This more positive view brings with it a responsibility on the part of the territories to come up to scratch in areas concerning good governance, but also to define clearly what it is they want out of the relationship with the British Government, Cllr Sawle says, adding that it was made clear in the main conference that home rule was the goal towards which all British Overseas Territories should be striving.

MLA Sawle says he hopes people will not misunderstand being proactive as implying another agreement with Argentina like that made in 1999.

He says he and his Assembly colleagues realise there is a need for the Falkland Islands to speak more loudly to the world and ways of doing this are being actively considered.

At the moment the Argentine Government is winning the public relations war “hands down,” says Cllr Sawle. But he hopes that with the aid of recently available historical findings, the Falkland Islands Government can begin to explode the myth upon which the Argentine sovereignty claim is based, namely that an Argentine civilian population was expelled from the Falkland Islands by the British in 1833.

“Our desire to make sure that our voice is heard clearly on the world stage was recognised. It is important to us that we are clear with our history – where we came from, who we are now and the way in which we have developed. It is also equally important that world leaders realise that the Argentine claim over the Falklands, which is based on the myth that we expelled an Argentine population in 1833 is just that – a myth with no substance in truth whatsoever”.

While this attempt is not likely to be successful in Buenos Aires, says Cllr Sawle, he hopes that a start may be made next year to win over the Caribbean countries, including some members of the British Commonwealth, who last year voiced their support for sovereignty negotiations.

Saint Helena Councillor Tara Thomas will provide the political lead to a working group set up by the South Atlantic Territories at the OTCC, which will investigate ways in which these territories -Falkland Islands, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Pitcairn - may work more closely together in the future.

The feeling was that there were several areas of interest, like tourism, fishing, renewable energy, environmental protection and telecommunications which were common to all and might benefit from a consolidated approach.

Initially, said Cllr Sawle, this group would be something of a “talk shop” until its aims and objectives can be defined.

This, it was hoped, would happen before next year’s meeting of the OTCC.

Other issues relevant to the Falkland Islands arising out of the OTCC included easier access for overseas territories to European Union funds, possibly even to the UK’s Lottery Fund.

Finally MLA Sawle pointed out that the Overseas Territories are a fairly diverse set of islands around the world but the common goals, set by the UK, are those of self-governance and self-reliance.

“We are required to have modern democracies and good governance. Our standards of governance have to meet or exceed international standards and here in the Falklands we are proud that we meet those expectations”.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

Top Comments

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  • Redhoyt

    Ah, the fight back ! Exploding myths :-)

    “ ... recently available historical findings, ...”

    Pascoe & Pepper or something even more recent ?

    Please note - South Atlantic Territories - there are more than just the Falkland Islands.

    All in all - about time :-))

    Dec 04th, 2010 - 01:03 am 0
  • Marcos Alejandro

    “At the moment the Argentine Government is winning the public relations war “hands down,” says Cllr Sawle. But he hopes that with the aid of recently available historical findings:
    The book The last Colonies by Robert Aldrich and John Connell page 200

    1833 ' The Brithish commander raise the Union Jack, claimed possession of the islands and expelled the Argentinians.

    The Falklands officially became a Crown colony in 1840, a governor and a few Scotsmen arrived to establish a Brithish pastoral settlement. Argentina hotly disputed the Brithish takeover, and Buenos Aires made continual diplomatic representations over the next 150 years to recover the islands”

    Yes Mr Dick S. we are winning the public relations war, with the truth.

    Dec 04th, 2010 - 01:35 am 0
  • Malvinense 1833

    Myth, myth, myth, everything is a myth. Tell the truth, the Malvinas is a land usurped. Were never in the Soledad Island (East Falkland). NEVER. Were never in the Gran Malvina (West Falkland). NEVER. Only in the Trinidad Island (Saunders Island) You can not base their claims by a small establishment, in Port Egmont, precarious, ephemeral, illegal, that was finally abandoned.

    Dec 04th, 2010 - 01:39 am 0
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