The Falkland Islands Government is under no pressure from the UK government to agree to something that we feel is not in our best interests, and ”the final decision on (additional) flights will be ours, and ours alone”. The statement belongs to the elected Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands' chair of the month, Barry Elsby.
It was published in the last edition of the Penguin News, which had invited MLAs to respond several letters basically questioning the need for additional flights to the continent if they include a call in Argentina.
Despite the strong development of the Islands in recent years, and its tourism industry, several of the letters insisted the Islands are very happy with the current links, and fear Argentine meddling.
However MLA Elsby also points out that elected Members are under no illusions as regards Argentina and their continuing claim on our country.
The statement also refers to some points made by a letter from Dave Eynon, in which he calls for a referendum on the proposed second flight with a stopover in an Argentine airport.
Follows MLA Elsby's letter:
Dave Eynon raises important points in his letter. Our need for an additional flight into South America is clear but not desperate. We are a growing country with increasing numbers of tourists visiting each year together with more and more business links in the region.
In a normal situation a country such as ours would simply apply to the relevant aviation authorities for permissions for an additional flight.
Unfortunately our situation is not normal and as Dave rightly says, Argentina still claims our country and for many years has been trying, but failing, to undermine our development.
The years of the Kirchner governments have not only impoverished the Argentine people but have also hardened Islanders attitudes. As a government, we still hope that the election of President Macri will enable Argentina to draw a line under the previous regimes and approach the Falkland Islands in a more mature manner.
There are many areas of mutual interest we can work together on, such as the exchange of fishery data, but the one thing we will never discuss is sovereignty.
FIG has worked closely with the British Government on the issue of additional flights and it was one of the key announcements in the joint statement between UK and Argentina in September last year.
This lead onto talks on flights in London in December in which MLAs Rendell and Summers participated.
I am sure people will appreciate that during a period of negotiations it is not unusual for the details to be kept confidential until a possible agreement, or otherwise, has been reached.
The Falkland Islands Government is under no pressure from the UK government to agree to something that we feel is not in our best interests. The final decision on flights will be ours, and ours alone.
Elected Members are under no illusions as regards Argentina and their continuing claim on our country.
However, we do believe it is in our national interest to continue this process on flights. As and when a possible understanding is reached with Argentina, we will then consult widely with the public before any final decision is taken.
MLA Barry Elsby (Chair of the month).
In his letter David Eynon points out to the fact that Argentina is still hostile
Reconciliation is a word that has been used in many conflicts and troubled areas of the world. Whilst it would be great to see our problems with Argentina reconciled there are a number of differences in our relationship than elsewhere.
Argentina has never officially ceased hostilities, has not apologized for invading our country, they do not recognize.
us as a people or nation, nor do they recognize our right to self determination, and finally they have deliberately not adhered to some of the recent agreements/memorandums of understanding.
Our MLAs still seem determined to once again allow the Argentines some leeway so that our nearest neighbor can continue to play their devious games and hidden objectives.
What is acceptable to us, the people who live permanently in these windswept, remote, but wonderful islands? We look for honesty from our MLAs where matters of national importance are discussed openly with full clarity.
Reconciliation and good neighborly relations with Argentina can only begin when they accept that we exist and have the same human rights as they have in determining one's own future without hate, greed or contempt clouding the issue.
Once again I challenge MLAs to hold a referendum on the proposed second flight which has a stopover in an Argentine airport, and see how the people really feel.
David Eynon, Stanley