Residents of the Falkland Islands went to the polls yesterday, with results released earlier this morning. Seventeen candidates stood for election to the Legislative Assembly and have campaigned over the past month to be elected to office.
This is only the second Government in the Islands who will be full time and salaried members of the Assembly. Once elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are responsible for the internal self-government of the Falkland Islands, and liaise closely with the UK Government on issues of foreign affairs and defence.
Voting is split into two constituencies, Stanley (the capital) and Camp (the rural areas). Turnout was 80% and 86% in Stanley and Camp respectively, representing an improved total turnout compared to the previous general election in 2013.
The five members elected for the Stanley constituency were Mr Stacy Bragger, Dr Barry Elsby, Mr Mark Pollard, Mrs Leona Roberts and Mr Roger Spink.
Having been elected on the first time of trying last night, Stacy Bragger, 33, said “It is a great privilege to be elected to the Assembly. The campaign over recent weeks has demonstrated what a promising future the Islands have, and I look forward to playing my small part in that over the next four years. However, as with all small nations, we have challenges which will have to be faced. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to confront these in the coming months”.
Roger Spink told MercoPress: I am proud and humbled to have been elected to the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly. The previous Assembly did important work: it laid the foundations for a better future, and now we must build on them.
I truly believe we’re on the brink of something special for the Islands; we can make the Falkland Islands more than ever a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing Real opportunities lie ahead. The Falklands has unrivalled skills and creativeness; a country with such good spirit, such great compassion, and I’m convinced that if we draw on all of this, then working together we can take these islands and build an even prouder future. I would like to thank my many supporters, friends and family who have helped me during the campaign I am determined to deliver on the trust and confidence you have placed in me.
The three members elected to the Camp constituency were Miss Teslyn Barkman, Mr Roger Edwards and Mr Ian Hansen.
Teslyn Barkman, who stood for Stanley in 2013 and was unsuccessful on that occasion, was elected to the Camp constituency this time around. Shortly after the results were announced, speaking to Falklands Radio, Teslyn said “I’ve never seen such a close result… thank you so much to all those that voted for me, and I will not let you down”.
This represents a combination of both new and returning Members, with five having been elected for the first time and three returning as Assembly Members.
These eight individuals will be formally sworn into office later this morning. Following this they will formally sit as the Assembly for the first time on Monday 13th November. At that point they will elect three of their number to form Executive Council (equivalent to a Cabinet in a ministerial system of Government). Over the weekend they will then attend Remembrance Sunday events in Stanley.
Next week they will undertake an induction process, including briefings with the Islands civil service, the Governor and the UK Ministry of Defence. MLAs will also receive briefings on the upcoming legislative programme as well as meeting with Mrs Sukey Cameron MBE, the Falkland Islands Government’s Representative in London. One of the key issues facing the Falkland Islands Assembly over the coming year will be the UK leaving the EU. Specific time has been made available for MLAs to be briefed on this important subject. The previous Assembly had put considerable effort into briefing the UK Government on the potential impact on the Falkland Islands of Brexit, and it is envisaged that this work shall continue.
Time has also been allocated for some formal parliamentary training to be delivered by the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association later in November. The first meeting of Executive Council, to continue the normal business of the Government, is currently scheduled for the 13th December 2017.