That is the message from the gathering of supporters at the Falkland Islands Government Annual Reception in London commemorating the 34th anniversary of liberation from Argentine occupation. An upbeat update on progress in all aspects of life in the Islands was given by long-serving member of the Legislature, Mrs Jan Cheek. t
She reaffirmed the Islanders’ determination to make a success of their freedom to honour those who paid such a heavy price. Referring to Argentina, she said: “There was reason to hope the Macri Government may take a more pragmatic approach to neighbourly relations, although the more extreme Kirchner policies may take some time to unpick, especially those they legislated like the threats to the oil companies and shipping operating in the Falklands.
We have yet to see real evidence of change. Time will tell”. Referring to the previous government, she said: “Unfortunately recent years have seen a renewal of Argentina’s ambitions to colonise the Islands and we have had to work hard to counter the attempts to hinder trade and the development of our economy”.
On oil there was news of a new discovery and confirmation of the extent and additional potential of identified fields. The Falklands continued to work to ensure that they were a user friendly place for future work by the companies that have already invested so much.
Environmental and safety legislation was being reviewed to protect the special environment and those who work in it. Local companies had invested in and developed oil support services adding value to the economy.
Fishing remained the mainstay of the economy. New developments included the Fortuna fishing company’s factory to produce smoked trout. Two other companies were building new vessels, firsts for the Falklands. Tourism had done well maintaining cruise ship visits bringing thousands of visitors for the Falklands to welcome. Stanley Services is extending the main hotel and the potential had hardly been scratched for adventure and eco-tourism through lodges and self-catering. Stanley’s extended and re-located Museum had won international praise as a visitor attraction. Among exciting acquisitions was a retired search and rescue helicopter donated by the Ministry of Defence. Many other organisations thrived in the Islands including the South Atlantic Research Institute extending useful work throughout the area. The Falklands Conservation organisation was expanding to promote conservation and educational activities.
Mrs Cheek paid tribute to the Falklands Government Representative in London, Sukey Cameron, and all her staff for their vital work.
The Falkland Islands Association Chairman, former Governor Alan Huckle, read out the traditional annual greeting to the Queen:
On behalf of the Falkland Islanders and friends of the Falklands in the United Kingdom, gathered at the annual Falkland Islands reception at Lincoln's Inn on 15 June to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the liberation of the Islands from illegal Argentine military occupation in 1982, I have the honour to send our sincere and loyal greetings, with every good wish, to Her Majesty the Queen.
All those present would also wish to convey our warmest congratulations to Her Majesty on reaching her 90th year and to thank Her Majesty for her steadfast service as our longest reigning monarch. We wish her long life, good health and happiness. Long may she reign!
The Queen replied:
Please convey my warm thanks to the Members and Friends of the Falkland Islands Association for their loyal greetings sent on the occasion of the Falkland Islands Government's Annual Reception, which is being held today at Lincoln's Inn.
I much appreciate your message and your kind words for my 90th birthday and, in return, send my best wishes to all those who are present for a most enjoyable gathering.
Hundreds of people attending joined in the loyal toast to the Queen. Among them were Falkland Islanders, Members of Parliament, Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt and Andrew Rosindell, Secretary of the Falkland Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, and veterans who fought in 1982 including Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, Commodore Mike Clapp and Major General Julian Thompson, who took the salute at a march past by the Band of the Grenadier Guards.
Harold Briley, Pictures by Peter Pepper, London