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What does the new Falklands ‘Islands Plan’ mean for South America?

Sunday, April 8th 2018 - 21:16 UTC
Full article 28 comments
The Plan makes a specific reference to promoting the Falklands as the natural “gateway to Antarctica”, The Plan makes a specific reference to promoting the Falklands as the natural “gateway to Antarctica”,

Over the past decade it is has become customary for a newly elected Legislative Assembly in the Falkland Islands to publish an ‘Islands Plan’. As there are no political parties in the Falkland Islands, all eight members of the Assembly are independents. Therefore there is no collective manifesto when elected to office. This has traditionally been addressed via a consensus-based Islands Plan.

 This document, which currently stretches to 30 pages, looks to outline a collective vision and strategy for the Falkland Islands over their four-year term of office.

The Plan covers both domestic and overseas issues. It was produced over the past 5 months since the Assembly was elected in early November 2017. The current Chair of the Assembly, Hon. Roger Edwards, said that “…in developing these ambitions we have taken the time to really listen to a wide range of views from across the Islands, so that we can be confident that our plans genuinely reflect the values and the needs of the people we serve”.

The document begins by detailing an overarching vision of growth, prosperity and strong governance for the Islands over the coming years. This is broadly in line with previous such statements, though is more explicit in terms of its outward-looking focus and emphasis of the Islands place in terms of international affairs. Interestingly the Government have also committed to reviewing their current Constitution, ensuring that it meets their requirements as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. The constitution was last reviewed almost a decade ago and that process took a number of years. They have also committed to adopting international treaties looking to combat corruption and the financing of terrorism, most likely to ensure that the Islands continue to be viewed as having strong governance.

The remainder of the plan is then divided into sections focusing on particular thematic areas, such as culture, population, environment, transport and other areas of governance and development. In relation to their wider relationship with South America, the Plan makes a specific reference to promoting the Falklands as the natural “gateway to Antarctica”, a phrase and positioning that is utilised by cities in both Chile and Argentina. There is also a commitment to develop a cultural strategy for the Islands, and it will be interesting to see how much this emphasises the strong current and historical links the Islands have with the South American mainland. The existing practice of welcoming immigrants from a range of South American countries is likely to continue under this government, with specific commitments to continue to look to facilitate both economic and population growth.

The Legislative Assembly has discussed formally the importance of and potential negative consequences of Brexit for the Islands over the coming years. This issue receives a reference in the plan, citing the need to work with the UK Government and other Overseas Territories to both protect existing markets and also look to open up new ones.

The new Islands Plan will be presented to and discussed with the local community at the end of April. In its original press release the Government emphasised that “…the Islands Plan cannot just be promises written on a page. We must put these ideas into action”.


Top Comments

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  • Ricardito

    Before moving to Australia, I had to become very fluent in English and met a lot of people in the same situation. I guess the FI have a great business opportunity to create English training courses that come with the extra benefit of leaving in a English speaking country. I'm sure there would be many South American students willing to study English in the Falkland Islands. Just a non-so-random thought.

    Apr 09th, 2018 - 04:01 am +4
  • Conqueror

    It means....that the Falkland Islands have huge, and excellent, prospects. There being no political parties, the Government can concentrate on serving the people and avoid wasting time scoring party political points. In addition, the Government is close enough to the people that they can be told if they are getting it wrong.

    Naturally, the Govwernment has to take into account the military situation and the presence of military forces. Fortunately, but unsurprisingly, the Government can be totally confident that those forces are there for their benefit and the benefit of the people that they represent. The forces, after all, are not really any different than those that fought and died for their liberation. I doubt that te same can be said in any south american country. In addition, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will be well used to fishery protection duties. Nice to see the arrival of the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter with its greater speed and capacity.

    With its fisheries adequately protected, the Falklands can also be assured that its gas and oil resources will also be adequately protected. The future wealth of the Islanders must be safeguarded.

    And with the recent visit of the supposedly bereaved “families” from 36 years ago, it was nice to see that the Government bussed them to the cemetery and then bussed them back. Rather than leaving them to wander about according to their whims. I do think that the Government could make that the norm. Anyone that wants to travel 1,189 miles from BA to “grieve” should be transported to the cemetery and then back to the airport. They have no justifiable reason to go anywhere else. No reason to let them wander around collecting “intelligence”.

    Apr 09th, 2018 - 08:02 am +4
  • Roger Lorton

    It means ..... that the Islanders continue to exercise the self-determination that they have by right. Working towards their own future.

    A small quote from the then Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, in Dcember, 1994 =

    “... the question of sovereignty is in effect settled. It may take years yet before Argentina recognises this fact. But the Argentine invasion in 1982 made it certain, I think, that the Islanders will not accept Argentine rule, and no one will in practice force it on them.”

    Apr 09th, 2018 - 06:25 am +3
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