One year on from the Falkland Islands' referendum and public diplomacy efforts are paying dividends according to Members of Legislative Assembly Mike Summers and Michael Poole, reports the latest edition of the Penguin News.
The lawmakers drew particular attention to a statement made by Foreign Minister of Australia Julie Bishop MP last Tuesday, who said: “I note today that it’s the first anniversary of the referendum by the Falkland Islanders who voted overwhelmingly to remain a British territory. Now Australia doesn’t have a position on the competing claims on sovereignty but we do believe that wishes of the Islands’ inhabitants should be taken into account in any peaceful resolution of this matter”.
MLA Poole responded that this was not a dispute between two large countries where sides need to be taken, “but it is a much more basic issue of countries needing to recognize that people have the right to determine their own future and associations. We are delighted to see the Honorable Ms Bishop has done this.”
Referring back to the referendum MLA Summers stated: “the properly governed and independently overseen referendum held last year is just part of our strong message to the world about our fundamental and inalienable human right to determine our own future.”
There have been a range of trips overseas and visits into the Islands from politicians, journalists and other opinion formers.
MLA Poole noted: “Whilst these efforts may not change the views of overseas governments overnight, we intend to keep up the hard work to ensure that as many people as possible know who we are and see us as the people that we are.”
MLA Gavin Short also referred to the first anniversary saying that a year ago the people of the Falkland Islands voted in a referendum that would determine their future and that of our country. We all know what the result was and once again I can only reflect on how the community made the run up to the referendum and the day itself their very own. The atmosphere of celebration had to be experienced to be fully understood. Every time I remember that day I will always be thankful for the way our people turned what could have been something negative and capable of splitting our community into something so wonderful, positive and happy.