The Falkland Islands are scheduled for next Thursday 4 November and four are the candidates for the three benches that represent the Camp constituency at the Legislative Assembly. Candidates are Ana Crowie running for the first time, John Birmingham who is a former lawmaker of the Legislative Council, before it became the Legislative Assembly, plus Ian Hansen and Teslyn Barkman, both running for reelection. Follows their manifestos:
Ana Crowie: Camp needs more population but also more schools and cultural identity
I am a 4th generation Falkland Islander on both the Biggs and Middleton family trees, born and brought up in Darwin by hardy, practical, common-sense parents. I see myself as very much a typical Falkland Islander. As a young adult, present in the Islands in 1982, my stance on Argentina is a given.
The only promise I am making should I be voted in, is to listen to your thoughts and concerns, communicate with you as much as possible, and to always do my best to represent you in any way I can.
Here are some observations, please feel free to let me know your thoughts. An increased camp population, with diverse businesses facilitated by increased communication would seem to be the ideal. But. Camp is caught in an endless catch 22. In order to increase the camp population, we need more reliable facilities: Radio: There is no radio signal in large areas – this is important if you live in a remote situation. Is there something that can be done?
Communications: The service provision in camp remains poor, in spite of ‘improvements’. This needs to be addressed, particular given the remoteness of some camp locations. Transport: The ferry is amazing – how did we manage without it? do we need a second vessel to make remote deliveries and provide backup? Roads: These are sometimes the difference between a business being viable or not – I hope to see the road network ever increasing.
Education: Ideally, we would need more schools; nobody likes sending their children away for half of their childhood and those children then grow up in town and are less inclined to settle in camp. In the absence of ideal, a review of camp education policies may be a little overdue. However, these things are currently considered to be a low priority because of the sparse population! If increased camp population is our aim, then something has got to give. Although I am very much aware of the passage of time and the inevitability of change, I’m not convinced that all of the changes have been for the better:
Culture: Are we losing our cultural identity? I accept that, as we become a more diverse community, our culture may change and develop. However, I am concerned that our immigrants are not being given the opportunity to integrate and I do not relish the prospect of cultural divide and all that it brings. I would like to see an aspect of our education system which helps immigrants to become Falkland Islanders, helping them to understand us and our culture and how they can become a part of it. We are one community and immigration is a valuable part of it. The new immigration policy will help us to retain workforce, but work is still to be done on encouraging our young people to return to the Islands and Contractors to stay and make their homes here.
Police: We are a small community, we have always been, and will be for a long time to come so why has community policing changed so dramatically? I would like to see police officers back in the community (and this includes friendly camp visits), talking to people, getting to know the people they are employed to protect, earning the respect that will better enable them to carry out their duties. Despite the many obvious advantages to living in our Islands, there are also some less positive aspects, such as:
Telecommunications I would like to see an improved service, particularly in camp where the service is poor, and communication is a vital link. Regular, frequent reviews of the service and community expectations is required and results of these should be acted upon.
Availability and cost of housing I believe work is being done to increase the number of houses available, this will help bring down the market rate of rents and help with affordability. We need learn from experience and keep up with this as the population increases. With this in mind, I believe that more residential building plots should be made available directly to those who have never owned property in the Islands.
Pensions I would like to see a review of pensions so as to ensure that none of our senior citizens are living below the poverty line.
Education & Health facilities Our schools are bursting at the seams, overflowing into other buildings and would find it very difficult to cope with even the smallest increase in population. I would like to see a purpose-built and future-proofed facility to meet these shortcomings. Our hospital seems to be undergoing major surgery, but I am concerned that its continued survival will forever depend on further interventions. We need to ensure that these and other (power, water and sewerage) facilities are fit for purpose and prepared for long term growth - perhaps we can make our capital budget go a bit further by the use of local expertise, sometimes the ‘Expert’ we seek is right on our doorstep and keen to help.
Our environment: Our land and its unique ecology are the very backbone of our existence here and I am sure we are all agreed that its protection must be a priority. I would be very much in support of increasing our use of renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint in any way we can. A strong Bio-security system is essential to keep out all invasive species from the seeds of thistles to potential, accidentally released,
Salmon. I feel quite strongly about the introduction of Salmon farming to our waters and the damage it could cause, even from an economic point of view, any gain which might be gleaned from Salmon farming should be compared very carefully with the prospective loss of our fishing industry, wildlife and consequently our tourist industry.
Having lived in the Falklands my whole life, I have seen the community and the economy develop and grow, with diversity and global involvement. I believe that the Falkland Islands have huge potential to expand further, in the right direction, led by people who care and whose motives and intentions are clear.
John Birmingham: need to improve Camp infrastructure and communications
John Birmingham – Camp Constituency After the constituency referendum, a renumeration panel was formed to consider ways to encourage people from camp to stand for election. All the recommendations made were rejected. As one of that group, I believe there needs to be change and would like to be part of effecting it.
Foreign Affairs The importance of maintaining good relations with those who are supportive of our right to self-determination should not be underestimated or taken for granted. We need to grow our support base, especially in Great Britain.
Camp Infrastructure I support maintenance and improvement of the road system throughout the Islands. The outer islands should also be assisted with relevant, important infrastructure projects.
Camp Communications The camp community deserves the best possible telecommunications that can be provided. The current contractor has a duty to provide that service; FIG’s responsibility is to make sure it happens. The same applies to radio.
Agriculture The meat company has experienced a difficult time. I would be supportive, taking a keen interest. I’m concerned that some are considering stopping beef production. It needs more political direction and a proper plan. The wool warehouse is finally being built. Future expansion can be done more economically. There needs to be more openness about problems and future plans.
Energy Many in camp have invested in more modern renewable energy sources. FIG should be leading on this, not ignoring it. FIGAS It is a lifeline to many and I support the continued upgrading of the service.
Fishing FIG needs to work closely with the offshore fishing industry. I will not support any introduction of industrial onshore or offshore salmon farming.
Education Recruitment and retention of staff seems to be a costly problem. Space is still an issue at FICS. Finish the project. Is camp education getting enough resources?
Medical Services Covid has shown us how much we should value our medical services. I fully support this vital section. The present work being carried out on KEMH is just a sticking plaster on a tired, old building. I want to see greater urgency in provisions for older people.
Tussac House should be completed. One mark of a country’s standing is how it looks after its vulnerable people. Pensions The basic state pension for a single person is about £700 a month. This is far less than the minimum wage. We have an ageing population. It’s time to take this situation seriously. This is not just about the current pensioners; it will affect future generations.
Port Project This capital project worries me. If we get this wrong our grandchildren’s children will be paying for it. Why is there so very little public information about the financing? And why so little, if any, local expertise involved? This has to change.
The administration seems to have grown both in numbers and power. It’s time for your elected representatives to regain control. I want to hear, represent and action your views. Please contact me: 21443 / 52834 email@example.com Facebook message
Ian Hansen Manifesto 2021: I will continue to live in Camp, the last dinosaur
I am standing again for election because I care passionately about the way of life in Camp and the Falklands in general. I am a 8th generation Islander and have always lived in the Camp. I now own the house at Hill Cove where I grew up and my parents lived for over 60 years. I will touch briefly on some of the issues this incoming Assembly will have to face.
One of the main concerns I have for future of the Camp is the fact the Falklands are drying out year on year. If you talk to anyone who works the land on a regular basis you will hear the same story. So, what can we do about it? We can't tell Mother Nature to change her ways, but I would like to believe we can mitigate some of the effects she is having on our land. I would support the formation of a group of farmers/environmentalists/DOA/Falklands Conservation/ and possibly other organizations getting together and comparing notes on what has been done or what can be done in different areas. I believe a level of funding for this from FIG should be made available. I am happy to speak in more detail to anyone who would like to share their thoughts on climate change which is obviously a concern, and I believe the faster we can introduce more renewable energy the better for all.
While touching on the environment the possibility of salmon farming is obviously a controversial topic. I have to say for me, it is an easy decision to say an emphatic no to going down the route of introducing salmon farming into the Falklands. I have seen no evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Our capital program over the next ten years is huge, but if we are to invest in the future for our children and grand children decisions must be made to increase expenditure in certain areas. As an example, if we do not invest in a port now where will we be in 20/30 years? Not in a good place I suspect. However, all Government spending should be justifiable and explained in detail to the taxpayer how costs were reached and the rationale behind agreeing to them. The incoming assembly must absolutely continue to support capital expenditure on road infrastructure, the ferry, FIGAS and FIMCO if Camp is to survive. As a (very ) regular user of both FIGAS and the ferry, I think I have a good idea of how these services may be improved, after listening to people on both East/West and very importantly the outer Islands.
I would continue to support FIMCO, as it is an integral part of agriculture. However we choose to spend our budget year on year, we will have to do it under the threats that Argentina still make in their attempt to destroy our economy. We have to continue to try and educate the rest of the world on the reality of our right to self determination, and challenge Argentina's ridiculous claim over our Islands. You can rest assured that I will never be convinced or bullied by either the Government of Argentina or the UK to change the stance I have on self determination. I have 16 years of experience in representing the Falklands on the international scene, and have no qualms in doing so again if given the opportunity.
Health and education are key issues. If you live in Camp the service of both these are vital. We must make sure that Camp does not fall behind in either. I think I know most of the problems in these areas, but I would welcome more thoughts from the Camp electorate on what we can realistically do together to address these problems.
Communications, internet and mobile phone coverage are also massive issues to be faced. With the possibility of Starlink becoming a global reality over the next few years, why would we not look at the chance of being involved? I am certainly no expert in this field, but it seems obvious to me that any form of better communication Island wide should and must be investigated. I am trying to seek more information on Starlink in particular, so I can better understand how it might work down here.
This outgoing assembly was challenged to cope with a global pandemic, and also to try and keep our Islands economy on a level keel. Covid isn't going to disappear, so I believe we will have to continue to adjust regularly in the next four years. Consideration of how we handle quarantine issues and the opening up of tourism concerning cruise ships and flights from South America will be paramount to our economy, while keeping in mind the safety of our people. All these issues should be considered with the advice of the World Health Organization and probably even more importantly our own FIG medical team.
Making decisions for our Islands as an MLA will never be easy. To quote John Wayne- the secret to success is making the right decisions. How do you make the right decisions? Experience. How do you get experience? By making the wrong decisions. I will continue to live in Camp, as possibly the last old dinosaur Assembly member who knows what it is like to get out of bed in the middle of the night and reset the invertor, start the generator or switch the water supply off because a pipe has burst, rather than waiting for 15 minutes while someone sorts it for me.
If elected you will know that I understand and appreciate the downside of being a Camp resident. To me though, there are far more upsides. However, we should always remember it can be fairly easy to have a misperception of the reality of living in Camp. In this manifesto I may have seemed to ask a lot of questions of the electorate, but without asking questions of you with the vote, just stating my opinions does not feel right and I know--if elected- I can't achieve anything over the next four years without your input. There are almost certainly other issues that I haven't had time to address here so please contact me at anytime to point out the ones I have missed.
I doubt I will have time to visit all of you in the build up to the election, especially as this time of the year is very busy for the Camp people, and for you to make time for me to call in may not be convenient for you. I will be available every day through social media, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tel. 21840 or 41196
Teslyn Barkman: There is a clear mandate for us to adapt to our climate-changed environment
It has been a great honor to represent Camp and the Falklands. I have also hugely enjoyed the past four years. There have been challenges, frustrations and achievements and I have enjoyed pouring my energy into all of them. I was constantly aware that my job is not to agree with the path of FIG, it is to listen to the people and evidence and inform the view that suits our country. If elected for another term, below are some of my priorities which have largely been formed in learning from people passionate about our home and future. If you would like to discuss in more detail or you want to know my view on another matter please get in touch.
Environment There is a clear mandate for us to adapt to our climate-changed environment. It is drier, windier and average temperatures are rising. The bountiful sea and our grasslands are the foundation of our country, our culture and our survival. We must ensure the land and sea are there to be enjoyed and provide for the future. I recognize FIG has a role in supporting and advising in plans to slow the effects of climate change and land degradation. If elected, I shall continue to: Advocate for research into restoring the health of our peatlands and investigation into carbon ‘credits’ so land-owners can have clear advice to decide if it suits them; Promote renewable energy grants being revised, and renewable technology included in FIG builds; Investigate options for water security for settlements and the land;
Champion bio-security efforts; Ensure that the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries are well supported to link insights they gather with the knowledge and experiences of businesses. There is a lot known about our land by those who manage and live through it and departments can add fresh perspectives and link up knowledge and experiences - the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented, it needs continuous motion and a long-term view;
Continue to champion for high standards in the regulation and management of our fisheries and science program. And, continue to lobby for a regional fisheries management agreement in the high-seas to protect the migrating stocks from being overfished. We have an environment based economy and the future security of our habitats is always in the forefront of my mind. Aquaculture The FIG investigation approved in 2019 will give us insight into aquaculture and legislation that we already have. We have realized we have laws that we do not have the expertise to inform or refine to cope with large-scale proposals. We may want to explain what people’s options are to have well-regulated, small-scale farms for mussels or trout. I believe we should set the highest environmental standards and I personally do not support new species being introduced to our habitats. I also believe it is for the people of our country to decide whether large-scale aquaculture is appropriate, whether salmon aquaculture in small-scale, large-scale on land or sea is right for our country. These are not decisions to be made in a board room.
Camp Education It is acknowledged that a lot of children in Camp are learning well but delivery to remote areas in particular can cause issues with accommodation, school builds, technology and connectivity that pass extra burden to parents and their businesses. The review into Camp Education is needed for consistent delivery to families and so a clear policy can be set. For families and businesses to prosper in Camp there needs to be a clear set of standards, support and expectations. The conversation has been difficult over the years and I hope a clear policy and ongoing communication will help build for the future and support the work of the dedicated Camp Education team too. I shall continue to ask and support the review and push for solid outcomes.
Capital Works There needs to be a public affordability check on the capital program and this is something I had called for before dissolution when the Port project stage 1b was approved. The finger-in-the-air budgeting for some project submissions needs some flushing out. There are serious national infrastructure needs in Schools, Sewers, Roads, Radio, and our only hospital and the public should be told where their money is planned to be spent and the cost efficiency checked. Over specifications to projects that don’t need it pushes the public purse too far. The Ramps and Jetties project is a good example and a paper to allow local knowledge to be stitched with advice and resources from FIG will hopefully save a lot of unnecessary time and money being wasted. This type of common-sense approach is needed elsewhere. Strong local content policies will also keep money circulating around the economy.
Connectivity I would like to learn more about the options for future internet connectivity and advocate for them. The Starlink opportunity demonstrated to the country that innovation should be encouraged to give a better service and stability to this vital infrastructure. There should be an investigation into what can be achieved under the current contract as well as looking ahead to options for when the exclusivity license expires. The demand study on coastal shipping and ferry services is due to be published soon. Inter-island shipping is necessary but competes with ferry services and once tourism and MoD contracts are back online there will be pinch-points over the busiest months for Camp, and there will still be resilience issues should there be unexpected maintenance of the Concordia Bay. These two issues in particular need some options and I am a supporter of chartering in a second vessel for the busiest times to test the need and evidence the growth in the Camp economy.
FIMCo Over the past few years I have been vocal about the need for a business overhaul and future planning of FIMCo. There have been positive steps taken by the team, supported by FLH, to make a season happen and to start the review of the business. With FIMCo getting back to basics and rolling out a new model for the cutting season there is hopefully some time to review the effect this will have. Dates are set but connectivity resilience and communication will be key. We know that beef supply remains a problem with no export likely and conflicting messages on expected demand over the years. Suppliers need to be taken with this conversation and supported. I’ll also continue to ask for the FIMCo Board to have a public session like many other committees. I hope this will encourage some new ideas and also show how the decisions are reached.
Culture There is more than ever, a need for a cultural strategy. The Falklands has always benefited from immigration and investment but explaining and celebrating Falklands culture is needed. We are a welcoming society with many benefits of security and stability that we can be proud of and I believe the Government has a role in linking our society better. Otherwise, we risk our small society becoming one that doesn’t know each other, that draws itself too far away from its roots and from remembering its heritage, language, place names and customs. I believe this will also help remind the nation that our whole country needs attention and support for the challenges they face.
Falklands history should be taught in schools but not just in the basic facts and figures, there needs to be a conversation about how our culture developed and remind ourselves and others that it does need to be held up and celebrated. I will continue to support Camp considerations being a core part of national policy making. I called for this in the House but believe it can go further. The rural working group has been established but I believe a permanent presence in the policy department for rural issues will also assist. I also still believe there is a need for a Rural Bill, similar to the Scottish Islands Bill, to help ensure protections into the future. International Relations I have been fortunate to represent our Islands overseas in conversations with the other Overseas Territories, the UK Government, the EU and in trade and industry meetings. I enjoy informing people about our home and our proud history and have been able to build links that support our interests. It is key to highlight the strategic importance of the Falklands to the UK as well as our historical links.
The Falklands is a gateway for Antarctic research, and a valuable asset in South America and we must maintain a place in the UK family that the UK people understand. We need to be sure the modern Falklands is understood and the opportunity for the MoD to train and remain to deter the threats made against our freedom. We also have a great opportunity to share that Falklands with the world during the 40th anniversary and the work of the 40th committee should be supported in achieving this.
Social Program FIG departments are still unpicking what to do in response to the Covid-19 recovery work. Issues highlighted in areas like housing, employment rights and hardship do need addressing. They also highlight the need for the ongoing work in housing for the future and ensuring a minimum standard of living in the Falklands. There is a piece of priority work needed in making sure pensioners have access to a living wage income. Any people falling below the line should be identified and a bonus system put in place. People who have built this country should not have to apply for welfare in retirement. Covid-19 also brought into focus the need for Falkland Islands resilience in services and in not relying on imports. Inspiring the next generation to take on our future is what we all want but we should be aware of all sectors. Agricultural traineeships and work placements should be supported, and efforts concentrated in encouraging businesses like a dairy once again.
Thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto. If elected I promise to get out and hear the views of the country, adapt to take on new challenges as they arise, and represent the Falklands over the next four years with the future in mind.