Falkland Islands members of the Legislative Assembly have stressed the absolute need for a big turn out next March 10/11 when the Islanders will de deciding on their political status and future.
“The world will be watching, media from all over the globe is coming, the significance of casting a ballot that means the full exercise of the right to self determination and further advance in the self government of the Falklands, and abstention could be interpreted as a ‘no’ vote by our neighbours”, were some of the arguments appealed to by MLAs at the latest meeting of the Legislative Assembly.
“A good turnout is essential and I really strongly urge everyone to just please do that. Please turnout and cast your vote; and I also hope that the vote you cast will send a strong message to Argentina about our right to self-determination will not be compromised”, said MLA Ian Hansen.
MLA Dick Sawle said the only message he wanted to give out “is make sure you vote. It’s so important we have a good turnout. All of us will be actively campaigning as individuals and the really important message to get across here and now is that everybody uses their right to vote”.
MLA Gavin Short said that many people have spent months working on this project getting legislation in place, reviewing the processes, down to handling the publicity and making sure that all the incoming observers and press have somewhere to rest. “The plan does seem to be coming together nicely and the amount of world interest is extremely high if the amount of people who wish to observe this referendum is anything to go by. Also we will be knee-deep in press folk. Again this is a wonderful opportunity for everyone here to get their message, and their wishes and dreams, across to the world. Just keep telling the truth”.
“We’re looking for a big ‘yes’ vote to give us the opportunity as members to take the message to the international community and say, ‘the people of the Falkland Islands want to remain as a British Overseas Territory’; and a subtext to that is ‘because it gives you the right to determine your own future, because it gives you the right to go further with the evolvement of powers, because it gives you the right to control who you are as a country, as a community, as a society I years to come”, pointed out MLA Mike Summers.
And MLA Sharon Halford said she could not emphasise enough the importance of getting votes cast as “the higher the turnout the better credibility the end result will have. This is a good opportunity of everyone on the electoral role to have their say. It may be worth bearing in mind that for those of you who think it is a waste of time and are considering not bothering to vote, then bear in mind that this will be seen as a ‘no’ vote by our neighbours and will be supporting their aspirations”.