The Falklands Governor praised the Chilean members of the Islands community, described them as well integrated and good workers and said he hoped to further increase and consolidate the good longstanding relations with Chile and its people.
The Chileans “are part of the Falklands’ community; they are good workers”, said Governor Nigel Haywood in an interview with the editor in chief of La Prensa Austral, from Punta Arenas who recently visited the Islands.
Governor Haywood said the was hopeful that the regular sea link with Punta Arenas could be re-established, something which the Falklands are longing for, particularly the Chilean community who miss their national produce as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, far cheaper than those from the UK.
“But obviously this is all commercial, a private sector issue”, said the governor who also mentioned that a second regular weekly flight from Lan Chile would be very beneficial both for the Falklands and Punta Arenas.
Mr. Toro Sanchez from La Prensa Austral interviewed Governor Haywood at the official residence in Stanley where hours later the approximately 300 members of the Chilean community in the Falklands were hosted for a special reception to celebrate Chilean Independence Day.
The governor was also asked about relations with Argentina and its current policy regarding sovereignty claims.
“If Argentina wants to persuade the people of the Falklands, making their lives complicated is the worst possible way. In what other part of the world do you see so much effort in making another country’s life impossible?” said Governor Haywood.
“As Falkland Islanders we want to have the best possible relations with neighbouring countries. In some areas that is crucial; for example in fisheries it is crucial, but Argentina does not cooperate”, pointed out Haywood adding that South Atlantic fisheries conservation is in the interest of both sides, Argentina and the Falklands.
Likewise Governor Haywood regrets that relations between the two countries, and efforts to improve them, have deteriorated so much in recent years. “Falkland Islanders are not against the Argentines, they have no problems with the people, but yes with the Argentine government”.
In effect the governor mentioned that an Argentine won last March’s marathon in Stanley and in the last two years a delegation of rugby players from Argentina have visited the Islands, although he regrets the propaganda use by Argentina of the event.
“Nevertheless we want more people to visit us, no matter from where they come”, said the governor.
The governor also talked about a controversial incident involving a Chilean Patagonian village mayor who recently referred to “a trip to the Falklands” instead of Malvinas and had to make a formal apology to the Argentines.
“It seems odd. They (Argentines) should have more important things to worry about than take notice to how one country calls the other. They can’t go around telling countries what they must do”, underlined Haywood.
Toro Sanchez points out in the interview that the official Chilean government policy has been and is to recognize the Argentine sovereignty claim over the South Atlantic islands.
Finally Governor Haywood talked about the Falkland Islands people right to self determination with an elected eight-member Legislative Assembly, which in effect runs the Islands, including the budget and all financial issues.
“The British government does not decide what is done in the Islands; it is the Falkland Islanders who decide, except for foreign affairs and defence” said Haywood.
“This is a very different relation to the traditional colonial view”, concluded the Falklands’ Governor.