Member of Legislative Assembly Ian Hansen will assume responsibility for the Falklands’ government Minerals portfolio after MLA Barry Elsby relinquished the post due to a conflict of interest. The brief release from Gilbert House adds that MLA Hansen has prior experience in the Minerals portfolio adding that MLA Jan Cheek will continue as the second portfolio holder.
Earlier in the week speaking to the Motion for Adjournment at the Falklands’ elected Legislative Assembly MLA Elsby said that in December 2011 he was asked to take responsibility for the Minerals portfolio and like many people in the Islands he and his wife had bought some shares in Rockhopper.
They increased greatly in value after the oil discovery and he was concerned that he could not hold shares and take on the portfolio responsibility. Following a meeting on the subject with the Attorney General and the Speaker of the House he sold all the shares he held totalling over £25,000.
MLA Elsby added that the shares to which a member of the public referred to and the reason he was standing down from the Minerals portfolio were shares that he and his wife purchased as a present for their two children.
The value of each share was now approximately £143 he said, adding that the difficulty was that he allowed them to remain in his name, “and that was a mistake.”
After the meeting with the Attorney General and the Speaker he took the decision that the shares bought for the children were of such low value that no one would consider it likely that they influence his decision in relation to his duties in the Minerals department, “whilst starting the long process of opening an account for them with my son with a UK shareholder so I could transfer the shares to them.”
In the meantime he declared ownership of the shares in the public disclosure “that all members have to make”.
MLA Elsby said that the declaration of interest is gazetted, available at Gilbert House and in the library.
“It was some months before we were notified that my son’s account was working”.
At this point MLA Elsby said he should have transferred the shares, “but with the pressure of hospital and council work I simply forgot. Without realising the significance I again made a public declaration of ownership of the same number of shares in January of this year. However, I do not believe I have behaved dishonestly”. (PN).-