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Montevideo, December 4th 2021 - 14:15 UTC

 

 

Falklands election: manifestos of candidates for Stanley's five benches

Wednesday, October 20th 2021 - 09:20 UTC
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Tomorrow will be published the manifestos of the remaining five candidates Tomorrow will be published the manifestos of the remaining five candidates

The Falkland Islands General Election is scheduled for Thursday, 4 November, and in our previous edition, we published the manifestos of the four candidates for the three benches representing the Camp circumscription in the Legislative Assembly.

Today we are publishing the manifestos of six of the eleven candidates for the Legislative Assembly, who will be disputing the five benches for the circumscription of Stanley. They are Roger Spink, who is running for reelection and in the last Assembly held the portfolios for ‘Legal & Regulatory’ and ‘Government Services’ and acting as deputy for ‘Health & Social Services’; Leona Roberts, also a member of the previous assembly, holding the portfolio for ‘Environment & Public Protection’ and acting as deputy for ‘Education & Community’; Emma Brook who was elected as a member of the Assembly from 2009/2011; Gavin Short was last elected to the Assembly from 2013/2017 and Gary Webb and Zane Hirtle, who is running for the first time.

Tomorrow will be the manifestos of the remaining five candidates, Mark Pollard and Stacy Bragger, both running for reelection and first-time candidates, Pete Biggs, Chris Locke and June Besley-Clark.

Roger Spink “we have started on the journey to strengthen our infrastructure and improve our environment”

I have over the years championed many local and International Falkland issues. I have served on the boards of The Falkland Islands chamber of Commerce, FIDC and FI Tourism and am currently Chairman of Falklands Conservation and on the board of the YMCA. After a career in business for over 30 years I believe we need a strong local economy that values all workers.

I will work on behalf of the community to provide proper consultation, a strong voice, clear leadership and ensure there is adequate scrutiny of policy decisions and implementation. I will continue to work to preserve the nature and beauty of the Islands whilst developing the economy to increase and improve employment, entrepreneurial opportunities and ultimately enhancing quality of life and prosperity for all.

Developing and embedding the Environmental Strategy across FIG is a key step in the coming years. Economic growth and environmental protection are not at odds. They are opposite sides of the same coin if you are looking at longer-term prosperity. Infrastructure is the backbone of economic growth. It improves access to basic services, creates jobs and boosts business, as we recover from the Covid Pandemic. For an economy built to last we must invest in what will fuel us for generations to come. This is our history - from the wool sheds and jetty infrastructure, to the road network and Ferry Service. From the East Jetty to the temporary solution of FIPASS and now a new port project in preparation.

The Fishing Industry have already started to invest heavily in a vessel replacement program, displaying their confidence in the long term future of the Industry. The inadequacy of existing port facilities to support economic development, was frequently mentioned in the 2017 update of the economic development strategy. FIPASS was perceived by many to no longer be fit-for purpose, and although it was noted that much work had been done, to review port and harbor facilities and legislation, decisions were yet to be made and actions had not been taken, this has now been done so we now have the ability to progress with the key infrastructure work of the Port Project. The ability to transship more fish catch on shore was, not only regarded as a way to add value to the fisheries industry, but also as a valuable method of catch verification, both best practices of a sustainable fisheries industry.

Along with a fit for purpose port facility, other areas of marine and harbor services, together with the Gateway concept need, in partnership with the private sector, to be incorporated into a long term plan to establish new industry sectors and capture value, adding opportunities from the development of the new port. Government has a pivotal role to play which includes providing decisive leadership and vision, investing in strategic infrastructure and development, and implementing enabling policies. If elected I would push for an early refresh of the economic development plan in conjunction with the private sector. By progressing the Port project, MPA road surfacing, housing development, power station options and the waste disposal project, we have started on the journey to strengthen our infrastructure and improve our environment. It is essential if we wish to remain competitive and provide for the growing requirements of our community, that we continue to prudently invest in the Islands future.

The environmental concerns on Salmon Farming have been well made and an early decision on the future, if any, for such an industry needs to be made. More promising areas for growth such as Carbon Offsetting, Alternative Energy and building the Falklands as a Gateway need more support and engagement by FIG.

Research indicates that Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) can have a positive effect on children’s educational, cognitive, behavioral and social outcomes, in both the short and long term, if it is of high quality. ECEC can also play a positive role in raising attainment and closing the gap between outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and other children It was important to make progress with nursery standards, training and facilities, child allowances and childcare. This needs to continue.

The investment in Education, through the training centre and vocational support, helps give our people the skills necessary to take on higher paid jobs that currently are filled by contract workers. The management trainee and mentoring schemes within FIG, are a step in identifying future leaders and developing our own people into senior roles, which helps ensure continuity, commitment and stability in running our country. We need to expand these schemes bringing opportunity across FIG. The commitment to the expansion of the museum, sports facilities and support provided to the many clubs and Overseas Games are essential investments in the wellbeing of our community, whilst delivering excellent public diplomacy opportunities for the Islands.

Support for families and children has been improved through the increases in child allowances and tax treatment, together with the subsidies paid to support an improved childcare service for hard working families. Loans made available for new purpose built nursery facilities provided by the private sector, are beginning to transform the standard of early years care. I support the continuation of such schemes having seen the benefits that they have and will deliver. We have greatly increased the level of adult social care to support our elderly and vulnerable, the SEND facility plus investment in Tussac House, the KEMH and greater numbers of care staff will improve the delivery of care necessary in the Islands.

The review of the pensions provision in early 2022 will enable members, at an early stage, to consider how to deliver an affordable and more progressive pensions policy. Further consideration and work should be done in directing support to those most in need, as was attempted with the increases in winter fuel allowances and the Single Income support scheme, which was directed to those most in need. Work should continue with the Food Bank to ensure we understand where our social support fails to deliver adequate care in our community. Whilst it is hoped and expected that the monopoly provider of telecoms services will rise to the challenge of new technologies through a tender process, working with FIG and the TDG to improve the service provision in the Islands, we must review and fully understand what legislative and legal options are open to FIG.

The fundamental principle of self-determination applies to the Falklands. Despite this, Argentina still exercises a series of economic sanctions against us with no respect whatsoever for our human rights, while at the same time it cynically promotes its commitment to human rights on the world stage. As I said in a 2010 FIRS interview and in a speech to the United Nations C24 in 2019 “Blockading and bullying the population of the Falklands has merely alienated Argentina to the younger members of our population, and demonstrated to them and the younger generation in Chile, who may have relatives in the Falklands, that the Argentina of today is no different to that of 1982” Nothing has changed. A reserves policy that safeguards us against losses in income and ensures we are able to fund future liabilities is essential. In 1982 many people sacrificed their lives in order that we could determine our own future so please in their memory whoever you support use your vote.

Emma Brook: “I love the Falklands with passion, but today I am worried about what is happening to our home”

I am a 6th generation Falkland Islander, born in England and just turned 50. I was elected to council in 2009, but resigned in 2011 as I was getting married to a man employed in HM Forces and he was to be posted to the UK following our wedding. I have a number of qualifications including degree and postgraduate level qualifications in Geology, History, Strategic Leadership& Management, Education and Careers Guidance. I have worked in the Islands as a Geologist, Customer Service Manager, Teacher and currently manage Falkland College. For 19 years I was a Reserve Police Officer and for 10 years I worked seasonally on the Clipper Adventurer as Expedition Staff.

The Falkland Islands is my home. I love it with a passion, but today I am worried about what is happening to our home. It has been a very difficult decision to stand for this election as I have worked hard to get to the position I currently enjoy in the Civil Service. However, I cannot stand by and watch our heritage and culture be undermined and lost. If elected I will listen and do my best to make sure the people’s voice is heard. To look again an ALL the proposed major projects and the infrastructure challenges. I understand we need a port, but not at any cost. This is a project that will potentially put our Islands into debt, a position we have not been in since the 1880’s. Has the last council got their priorities, right? I don’t think so.

We need to invest in the Power station, we need to ensure we have water and we need a sewage network that works. I believe we need a new hospital and new schools. The current sites are not big enough and we hear of many structural problems, that would make a new build more cost effective. To review the civil service powers and structure. £37 million on salaries. Departments that are empire building and a directorate that believes they run the Islands. I would support a reduction in the size of the Civil Service and would like to see many of the new posts dissolved. I certainly would not support any additional directorate posts as I believe the civil service to too top heavy. I have been horrified when I hear senior Management decide what EXCO papers go to MLA’s; bring back GPC.

The power of the directors needs to be reduced and the Chief Executive and Directors need to understand they DO NOT run our little country, but are employed as civil servants to ensure the policies created by MLA’s are made to happen. To review immigration policy I understand we have a labor shortage, but we need to have stricter control of immigration to ensure that people coming to our Islands have a decent salary and decent accommodation. A workforce who can speak better English is important. We need to encourage people applying for status to settle in the Islands, the process in place though is cumbersome and very slow, with up to a year for paperwork to be processed resulting in some leaving. We must ensure that those entering the country are medically fit, but not all immigrants are able to access medical treatment in South America or UK/Europe, so additional safeguards should be put in place to protect them. We need to slow the speed of status to ensure those becoming Falkland Islanders understand our culture and traditions, I am happy to see it remain at 7 years and would oppose a faster track. I do not see a problem with short term work permits (less than a year) to allow development to go ahead, but not to bring family, as this is putting extra stress on our bulging infrastructure problems.

To ensure the Islands are not left behind due to poor telecommunications. Sure SA Ltd I feel are providing a good service (although it is expensive and has limits), for Stanley. Camp is a very poor service and hinders development. It is no fault of those who work for Sure, but the limitations of the Islands and external infrastructure. We need to look at alternatives and I hope Starlink lives up to expectations.

To ensure we have a housing policy that allows young Islanders access to the housing ladder. Our young people are our future. Ensuring they are able to get onto the housing ladder is essential. I was fortunate in being able to purchase a heavily subsidized plot in the East of Stanley, and would support a similar initiative. Not everyone can afford a house and I would like to see rents offered by Government to young people to encourage them to save to build their own house, but I would also like to see Government offer a rent to buy scheme. Rents are currently crippling people and a housing ombudsman is something we should look at.

To revise the pensions for the civil service I was lied to in 1996. I was told my pension with the Hay Management review would certainly not be any worse and possibly better. Civil servants of a certain age will be receiving a pension that is 40%+, less than the pension they would have been offered if remaining with the old scheme. Pensions need to be revised to ensure those retiring after working for the civil service all their life are guaranteed a certain level of pension; otherwise we will see an aging population on the poverty line. Plus the 10, 20, 30 year bonus shouldn’t be taxed and what happens after 40 years of service?

To have a police force that is Island friendly After 19 years in the police here, I know what it is like to police these Islands. I have never known the image of the police to be so low. We must encourage these Islands to be policed by Islanders, if we have to employ overseas, we look to the Highlands & Islands of Scotland or Devon & Cornwall. To seek investment and development in camp

Camp is a vital part of our Islands heritage and hosts two important industries, agriculture and tourism. For me Camp is the Falklands. We need to encourage better tourism developments and diversify the economy of Camp, so more people can live there. This needs good infrastructure in roads, a dedicated ferry-service and faster, more reliable telecommunications. The TRIP scheme has demonstrated people want to visit Camp, and I would support the use of the £1 a day scheme to encourage people to continue visiting and exploring our beautiful Islands.

To ensure the return of flight links with South America do not result in stop overs in BA, but to strengthen our links with other South American neighbors. I will be honest, I do not like Argentina and the less we have to do with them the better. All agreements with them are fickle and they refuse to recognize me or any Falkland Islander. They are muttering already about when flights return after Covid, they stop in BA. This for me is not acceptable. We have long standing relationships with Chile and other South American nations and I would be happy to see these be built upon.

To not allow salmon farming in Falkland Waters Our environment is precious. We have seen the impact of invasive species (the earwig, thistles, rats) and I do not want to see the deliberate introduction of what would be very invasive, should any escape, let alone the damage to the marine environment created by Salmon farming. To look after our heritage & natural environment We must look after our history, from graveyards to stone corrals, all are important aspects of our social history. Where these are not being looked after the Government has a duty to maintain them. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, we must look after the wildlife and the natural vegetation. Contact me on 52454 or 22895 email emma.brook@horizon.co.fk

Gary Webb: “I know I would be only 1 man in a field of 7 other MLA’s, I’m not one to promise the world and fail to deliver”

My name is Gary Webb but most of you know me as Guido and I would like to put my name forward for nomination as an MLA in the forthcoming elections. I left school with good CSE Grades, I didn’t go to College or University – instead the University of Life as a 16yr old Solider. I first came to the Islands in 1987, as a young 18yr old Royal Engineer, before completing a further 5 voluntary tours based in Stanley with EOD. Not only did I love the Islands, but I found the love of my life. On completion of 11yrs service, completing my childhood ambition, I moved to the Islands. After a brief spell working on the North Camp road, what followed was 22yrs serving the Community to the best of my ability as a Police Officer.

Now working for FIMCo I have tried to carry on that mindset. I am a man of my own mind, I will stand up for what I believe in, I have no qualms in putting my head above the parapet to be heard, at times when difficult decisions need to be made. I try to see and say things as they are and not “gloss” thing’s over or brush under the carpet. If a job needs to get done, it will get done right the first-time round. I didn’t attend the briefings and lectures laid on for possible candidates, whether right or wrong I felt that potential candidates would be indoctrinated on “this is how things work so don’t try and change anything.” That’s not me. My points for standing are such - • I continue to be frustrated seeing issues that matter to the electorate pushed aside because 8 people think they know better • It is time for locals to stop being pushed aside for jobs in favor of oversea experts. Directorships should be locals, Line Mangers should be locals, to ensure career succession to be planned. Over exuberant qualifications and 5-10year job experience that some posts are being advertised at which clearly isn’t being aimed at filling a position locally needs to end.

Our Children that go away to college or Uni need to know that as soon as they have finished their education there is a job for them to come back to (if they wish) not in 5 years’ time. There was a time where experience was learned on the job, local knowledge far and away outshines the Expert, and has been proved time and again. This is an important part of Falkland life and with planning and mentoring of our younger generation we have a future for them that they can be a major part of. • I have real concerns with the influx of workers coming in, it won’t be long before there is no job for our Children leaving School to go into. Moderation is key. •

Road Traffic Ordinance is not fit for purpose. This is dated at 1948, wow!! In those days there would have been a handful of vehicles within the Islands, now there are Hundreds, with many families having two or three parked outside their front gate. When a piece of the Ordinance for front tyres states – it must be pneumatically filled (filled with air), and nothing else then we have an issue. Many other Ordinances have been changed so why not something that could play a significant role in people’s safety.

• Telecoms – Competition should not be discouraged but encouraged, that’s how prices reduce. We should not be scared of Starlink but embrace it and see where it can take us, maybe in unison with SURE. I will be pushing for a test to be undertaken to ascertain the viability of this additional service. An amendment to the Telecoms Ordinance can easily be achieved.

• Housing – the concept of bidding for plots of land makes no sense. Land size of Small, Medium or Large with fixed prices is fair and simple. First time buyers being outbid for land by those who already have land or have sold their land to move to another location is wrong in every aspect. Long term tenants in FIG houses will be given the option to buy, and those FIG Houses that are uninhabited due to requiring works will be brought back online within this term.

• Flights – the Airbridge needs to be addressed, for what we pay it is a poor service and getting worse. I would like to see a Local Flight Rep based in Brize Norton, so a point of contact is present for all incoming and outgoing flights, to deal with any issues that may occur. With Covid PCR tests now a requirement to return to the Islands, as has been witnessed so very recently with delays these can become expensive especially for a family of four. I will propose that should you be delayed through no fault of your own, Government will reimburse you for your Covid Tests. •

Latam Flight – Covid is here for the long term, and it is something we need to live with and learn to adapt too, for that reason we strongly need to look at reopening of this service. However, although easy to say, we must be mindful that as an Island we have been relatively successful in coping with the disease and should not look to jeopardize ourselves. Loosing income is hard, for anybody or any business but loosing life is harder!

• Projects – Major projects have been set - I support the Building of the new port, but like everybody else is becoming exasperated with the length of time it has taken to get where we are. This now needs an injection of speed and importance to get things moving. A figure needs to be set and agreed which will not see an increase due to any delays. A sports arena will be a greatly valued asset to the Islands and I fully support this initiative as I do the New residential care building for our older generation and those in need of assistance, something many of you may need later in life. I do have great concerns of the £11-16m Budget that this set at, it is far way and above over budget already and needs to be reined into a single digit, and if this means looking for a new builder then so be it. We do not have an open cheque book and fiscal prudence is required to protect all our futures.

• Pensions – an embarrassment, left and deflected for so long. Pensions are in the interest of everyone, whether you are 18 or 64. To of given your whole life to live and work within this community for the better of your compatriots, don’t we deserve to be able to live our remaining years at a level of dignity that we can afford. Surely somewhere within our Budget we can find money to address this.

• Our Export Market - Fishing, continuing to see quality product going North, but mindful of keeping stocks under control. Supporting the Farmers, with their wool, FIMCo with the Meat, all 3 of which brings money back into the Islands, gives employment and career opportunities to many. • WBS - a second boat, if this is not needed now then I don’t know when.

• We have to protect the environment with support through grants to enhance our recycling. There are many other issues to cover, improvement to Banking, working with the Chamber of Commerce to support our local businesses and assessing how as a Government we can help, looking at the vast size of Government, and just as important being open and talking to all sectors. In my 26yrs living here, I have seen many elections, all promising the Earth, some delivering but with many falling flat, I don’t intend to be part of the latter. I know I would be only 1 man in a field of 7 other MLA’s, I’m not one to promise the world and fail to deliver, I will fight my corner for what I believe in not what I am told too believe in. I love my current job and would miss it immensely if elected, but now maybe is a time to take a leap where a straight-talking lad didn’t think he could go. I may not get any votes, I may get 1 or I may get enough, either way I will give whatever comes my way my full attention and service to duty.

Gavin Short: ”FIG seems to be expanding (mainly at the top) at an alarming rate, putting pressure on infrastructure and budgets”

After being approached by a number of people I am offering myself as a candidate in this year’s election. For those of you who know me, you know what I stand for but for those who don’t I come from a working class background and I haven’t forgotten that, in fact I value it, and value the efforts of those who came before me to make the Falklands a better place for me and you, just as it is incumbent upon us to leave a better place for those that follow.

I am not a status holder but a Falkland Islander and will challenge this horrible expression (status holder) wherever I find it. A status holder has a ring of something that is temporary and can be removed. We are Falkland Islanders and nothing and no one can take that or our country away from us and in that I include those who have chosen to make the Falklands their home, to work towards taking our nationality, embracing our values and living as we do. Despite some shortcomings we live, in my view, in the best little country in the world but it didn’t get that way by itself nor will it remain thus unless we practice prudent fiscal management and look after our infrastructure and core population.

We basically have a three legged economy, fisheries agriculture and tourism (leaving income from investments to one side, important as it is). Two of those legs on the stool are, to put it mildly, quite wobbly and even fisheries income can and does wax and wane. We have some very big ticket items on the way such as the new port – and we have to have a replacement for FIPAS but it has to be affordable and allow enough freeboard for us to afford the other capital items that are required such as roads and the like and we must not forget that we are living on borrowed time with power provision. Potable water is also in a bit of a precarious position. We have to be prudent and desist from chucking money around like well-oiled sailors and concentrate on looking after our people and stop our infrastructure crumbling. We must always be on the lookout for ways to strengthen our economy

Housing is an issue, rents are generally high and I support the making of plots available for people to build, but even they are getting beyond the reach of some people. It seems as if the food bank is being used quite a lot, some people not being able to afford rent or fuel etc. This points to something going very wrong in our society and it is incumbent on any government to identify and take action to rectify the issues. Whether this is by controlling rents, increasing the living wage or some other method, whatever is driving this seeming malady in our society must be understood and addressed as a matter of urgency.

FIG seems to be expanding (mainly at the top) at an alarming rate, putting pressure on infrastructure and budgets, possibly helping fuel high rental prices. I would like to see a review done as to whether we need all those posts. It is not the fault of those that are here but of those who waved the posts through. There is the feeling in some quarters that we really aren’t in control of our country and whether right or wrong it must be understood and addressed. I do wonder whether MLAs should insist on a timetable for the localization of all senior positions (where it can be practically done). The Falklands is our country and we must be in control. Local post holders save money and bring something that I sometimes feel is missing and that is local knowledge. Whilst I am an ordinary person and am on the side of the ordinary man or woman, I also know that we need a thriving business sector - one that adequately rewards those who helps those profits to be generated. CBD oil used by folk with arthritis is now freely available in many countries and I believe we should act with speed to allow people to bring it in to the Falklands without fear of prosecution.

Another piece of legislation that I will push to have modernized is the workers protection ordinance. We tell the world that we are a modern country 40 years after the war but that piece of legislation is horrendously outdated, isn’t modern and must be updated. OAPs deserve a dignified retirement and were treated extremely shabbily in the last budget. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have a country and the standard of living that we have. I would push for an adjustment to be made to pensions in this financial year. Inflation, as even I can see, is starting to build in globally and we will not be immune.

The environment is a hot topic at the moment and we must move forward but whatever we do it must tie in with our way of life, be practical and affordable and we must level with people about how much it may be going to cost them. There doesn’t seem to be much to be said for salmon farming but I do support the approach of the last Government as we already have a fish farm and we have to have proper legislation in place to cover this and any further schemes. We could be playing with the big boys and if processes are not followed and decisions made that are backed by fully reasoned arguments then you could find yourself undergoing a judicial review- and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of one of those. If or when a firm proposal is received I would like to see independent evidence gathered both for and against and laid before the electorate as a referendum.

At least one company here in the Falklands has signed up to the UK Armed Forces Covenant, which is truly awesome as veterans and serving members should be respected and valued but do we do this for our own here in the Falklands ? If elected I would like to explore and one hopes, see implemented something similar here in the Falklands for past and serving members of the FIDF (and we must never forget the former camp members of the FIDF either)

Telecoms: like everyone I do not like what I am having to pay for the packages we have and I believe there are technologies coming that will challenge the present setup. But whatever we do has to be a whole country solution and we must have security over our telecoms. For me the landing of our telecoms in a country that has a hostile claim on ours is a red line I will not cross.

External communications: We have to start opening up. It must be done sensibly with Covid prowling the world but Covid isn’t going to go away. We must start putting the heat on LATAM and if it is the carrier that does not have the appetite then maybe we should be looking for another. If there is another reason, such as a country hostile to ours stopping the resumption of flights then Government has to be straight with the public. Immigration: seems to be calls to further relax the requirements more. I will take a lot of persuading as we must protect our core population and be able to look after the people who are here. We must have more openness and explanations given for decisions taken.

Education and medical must be protected and enhanced but I would like to see more of Falklands political and social history taught in the schools as only by knowing how our country evolved can we ever hope to continue the evolution of our national identity. Stanley is not the Falklands so I say to the people of the camp – I have your back but will rely heavily on camp members for their guidance and expertise. I hold two part time jobs and if elected I shall be carrying on with them. Both are outside of “political hours” and if elected it is vitally important to me to be doing other things that keep my feet firmly on the ground.

Finally external relations: Whilst I welcome cooperation in areas of mutual interest with those over on the coast (such as conservation of fish stocks) but if you are looking for someone who wants to cosy up with a country that is actively trying to steal ours – then I suggest you vote for someone else because I will not be heading down that particular path. Been there, seen and been part of the result and never again. I am afraid I cannot cover everything but I hope that you know me well enough to know that I love our country and I want the best for it and our people. Coming up 40 years ago we lost our freedom. There were times that we thought we would never be free again – but we were liberated and our freedom and democracy was restored to us by those brave people who came so far and put their lives on the line for us.

Let us celebrate the gift of freedom and democracy that they gave us by turning out on the 4th of November and casting your vote. Remember, a vote for Short, is a vote for common sense, a free Falklands and a commitment to making sure, as best I can, that this continues to be the best little country in the world – for us all.

Zane Hirtle: “After 1982 we had a sense of self identity and a vision of our own path”

Hello, I'm Zane and these are my views and feelings about what has, is, and will go wrong to my homeland, and what needs to be done to prevent the wrong and do the right. Caviat Emptor “when you think you're on the good side, you're capable of unthinkable evil” Nick Webb I think

After 1982 we had a sense of self identity and a vision of our own path. Changes to laws and policies were a reflection that we were the Falklands and not just another former free world's democratic dictatorship and the councils (LA) of the time, in general, reflected this. An excellent example is when a certain Non Government Organization (NGO) coerced them into bringing in a seatbelt law they didn't just bring in UK law, as seems to be the done thing today, but brought in a Falklands version which (a) Did not apply at all where unnecessary and (b) Left those over the age of majority (responsible for their own actions) free to determine for themselves whether or not to “belt up”.

Immigration back then was slow, as it should be to allow immigrants time to adapt to our culture and values, and most of those who came (although money was part of it) came mainly because it was the Falklands, uncomplicated, unrestricted, trusting, easy going. Free (If that last is allowed in this Politically Correct Authoritarian age?). A free future for their families, maybe not the healthiest or safest but free. This meant we ended up with settlers, new Falkland Islanders, some of whom, especially SAMA, are better and stauncher Kelpers than I, a 5th generation Falkland Islander, bull's jumping fences not taken into account!

The siding of seven out of eight of the elected officials against our wishes to the British/Argentine agreement of 1999 (look up the protest) seems to have “taken the wind out of our sails” and now the Legislative Assembly (formerly council) seems to just do what NGOs demand (More money), let department directors trot out laws and policies based on fear, suspicion, control and tracking and rubber stamp in UK health and safety legislation. I'd like to say more on that but it would involve talking about and that is prohibited.

The way I see it in order to regain the Falklands and get back on track with our traditions and values and the principles once valued by the FFW we need a council with some backbone, not a cheque book and copy of Dr. Quack's Self Diagnosis. 1/ NGO approach to elected officials should never be coercive or threatening so make that a law. 2/ Local oversight by elected officials of all jobs that have “5 years UK experience” and no mention of Falklands knowledge or experience in them.

This is to stop policies based on fear, suspicion and desire to surveil every little detail. As Christopher Nuttall points out, “You can't expect the people to trust you if you show you don't trust them.” 3/ The elected officials should (a) Give their oath to the Falkland Islanders and settlers and (b) Not to be accountable to anyone but Falkland Islanders and settlers. Gods save the Falklands E&OE

Leona Roberts: “I believe we can continue to build a financially stable, forward-looking and inclusive future for all our people”

To start with a little about myself: I was born in Punta Arenas to a Chilean father and Falkland Island mother and my family returned to the Islands when I was three years old – essentially my life has been spent here and I am a passionate Falkland Islander. On my Mum’s side, our family arrived with Governor Moody and I am proud that my children – Nick and Deanna – are 7th generation Islanders. As a very ordinary individual, I have no claim to any particular expertise. Anything I have achieved has been through hard work and with the people that I have been fortunate enough to have around me. In 2017, I first stood for election and was fortunate enough to be voted into office. Throughout that time, I have dedicated myself completely to serving our community and, while this has proven personally challenging at times, it has genuinely been the honor of my life. I believe I have been true to my conviction to work hard and do the best that I can for our country and that absolutely remains my intent. I have learned a great deal in four years – about people, policies, politics and the way our systems work. With regret, I admit that I may have been overly optimistic or trusting in the first half of my term, however I believe I am a much stronger individual now and, with a deeper understanding, am confident that I am better equipped to be an MLA – should the electorate give me that opportunity.

Much progress has been made in four years, but a great deal remains to be done – as it always will. It would be a privilege to be allowed to continue the work that I have been involved in and to do all I can to secure a sustainable, happy and prosperous future for our Islands. In this I include Camp – I never thought of myself as a Stanley representative, but as an MLA for our entire community and will always seek to fully consider the implications of decisions upon Camp as well as town.

My vision for our home remains largely unchanged. I believe wholeheartedly in a strong, confident Falklands, where fairness, equality and opportunity are at the heart of all we do. We are a small country, but we are mighty in so many ways and with courage and ambition I believe we can continue to build a financially stable, forward-looking and inclusive future for all our people. We must ensure our economic position remains strong and that Government Reserves are adequate, but we need to continue to invest in infrastructure, services and social programs and that does mean spending money. As past actions have shown, there is false economy in allowing anything to deteriorate to the point where the only options are complete replacement or critical failure.

The health, wellbeing and living standards of our community should feature strongly in decision-making. Our economic wealth exists to provide for our people, through delivery of services, securing a high standard of living for all and providing the opportunity for business growth which, in turn, generates the country’s wealth. It is a cycle which requires careful balance. Despite progress in many key areas, there remains an enormous amount of work to be done on a broad range of issues. I would touch on just some of my key priorities (in no particular order):

People, Wellbeing and Services - Ensuring that income allows for a good standard of living is essential. I do not accept that welfare support is the answer – I would rather “fix the holes in the bridge” which are causing problems, than fish people out of the water. Social welfare is important and I hope the new Single Income Supplement will help people access the support they need, but this should be a safety net and not an alternative to suitable wages and pensions. The income inequality highlighted in our first State of the Economy report must be addressed. - I have been vocal about my concerns over the Cost of Living. I am worried by the increasing cost of goods and services, which most significantly impact lower-earners and pensioners, and fear prices may continue to rise due to global issues. If this is the case, the next Assembly needs to react. Increasing wages and allowances has implications, but the consequences of allowing people to fall behind must be recognized. - The Retail Price Index (RPI) “basket of goods” needs to be reviewed. - There are a number of significant issues with pensions and I have raised these many times. I hope that the Actuarial Review will provide answers, but solutions will still require strong decisions. I do not accept that directing people to welfare is the answer, nor do I hold with the view that everyone should already have several pension plans in place – that has been, and remains, unrealistic for many. -

Employment rights are long overdue updating – it is now being looked at but should be fully addressed. - Health services must be maintained and developed. The investment in the KEMH – both in terms of infrastructure and staffing – should continue. Provision of orthodontics is progressing but should be completed and the importance of mental health, whilst finally recognized, must become embedded. - Tussac House has experienced frustrating delays but will provide an important facility for our elderly and vulnerable. The conversion of the Hillside unit provides a good interim measure, but the permanent high quality solution to the care of our elderly remains essential. -

We must provide a high standard of education to our children and the improvements made, including in the nursery sector, removing the cap on apprenticeships and revising the CDS, will all pay dividends in the future. I will be glad to see the Camp Education review progressed and policies finally agreed. - Lifelong learning is critical to upskilling/reskilling our community. I would also like to see programs which allow individuals who may have left school without qualifications to access education later in life. - Young people are benefitting from greater careers advice and FE/HE support. We must provide an environment that encourages students to return home and the opportunities they need to progress and to stay. Mentorship should be strengthened and the Management Trainee roles continued. - The workforce development strategy needs to be reinvigorated and completed. Several Assemblies have struggled to achieve this but it remains a critical piece. - I have many times questioned FIG’s recruitment, job evaluation and other processes and am pleased that this has now been taken on board, but this work should be progressed. -

Provision of building plots was accelerated but more is required to allow access to reasonably priced housing/plots. Work should continue to encourage and facilitate private development, alongside proportionate tenant/landlord protection and the aims set out in the strategy (such as the selling of old FIG properties) must be actioned. - I have supported investments in our cultural heritage and sports facilities, and look forward to the cultural strategy being completed, alongside work underway to strengthen protection of heritage assets.

Natural Environment: - Our natural environment is vital to our wellbeing and our economy. There are dozens of work streams to be progressed – including waste, renewable energy, reducing emissions and setting Net Zero targets, sewerage, invasive species, habitat restoration and management, water security, protection of wildlife and nature, carbon capture, marine management, pressing for a Regional Fisheries Management agreement to tackle unregulated fishing on the high seas… and the list goes on... - Establishing the Environment Department was a good (if long overdue) step, but only as a directorate will the environment get its full voice in decision-making. The Environment Strategy can only succeed with substantial funding and full commitment from MLAs, FIG and the community.

Our national wealth remains largely reliant on the exploitation of natural resources and the steps taken to ensure sustainability must continue. This requires close working with industry and partners to achieve solutions that protect the environment and in turn provide long-term economic security. - A decision on salmon farming will soon be required. I have supported the work to fully understand how aquaculture is handled in the Islands (currently and in future terms), so that any decision can be well informed. I personally have very grave concerns about the environmental risks posed by this industry. - Carbon credits could bring substantial benefit to the rural economy and this must be explored as a priority. - We cannot exempt ourselves from our responsibility and must play our part in tackling the climate crisis.

Economy: We are in a strong economic position which provides us with an enviable quality of life. This must continue to be strengthened to ensure that services, social programs and opportunities are maintained and developed. - The wealth of the nation remains heavily reliant upon our fishing industry. There have been significant challenges for the sector and difficult decisions made, but the extension of ITQ, the agreement of the Fisheries Accord and the work to mitigate the effects of Brexit have all been important positives. By continuing to work closely with businesses and partners we must seek to maintain a successful sector, with strengthened local control, which provides appropriate returns to the community.

A healthy agricultural sector is essential and, despite some good years, farmers continue to face challenges with both meat and wool production. Enabling our farming community’s success should remain a priority and the work that has begun on stabilizing FIMCO must continue, along with other facilitators such as the building of the wool warehouse. - We will face many challenges beyond our control due to the changing global situation – including supply and logistical issues. Food security should be addressed and I would like to see more investment in and support for those looking to strengthen our internal supplies.

Connectivity is essential to any island nation and key to our future opportunities. o The long-awaited commitment to the port is an investment in our future and, although I have expressed serious concerns about increasing costs, this is a critical piece of infrastructure and economic enabler which the Falklands needs. The project will, however, require extremely careful management and scrutiny. o The suspension of our Latam flights has further highlighted the importance of the airbridge – truly a lifeline and a service for which we are always grateful. There are ongoing issues and work to try to bring improvements should continue with the British Government and MoD. o Re-opening South American air links will need very careful handling, but these flights are important to many aspects of our lives, including healthcare to business and tourism. o As well as the big players, tourism directly provides income to many small businesses and individuals who have suffered because of Covid impacts. Close working with the industry will be needed to build confidence and find the right way forward, allowing for the changes the pandemic has brought about. o The need for reliable, high-speed internet will only continue to increase. Speed and costs remain issues and restrict opportunities for innovation. We must continue exploring all the options around future systems such as Starlink – but also ensure that basic services remain viable – so a great deal of work is required in this area. I don’t believe that the Regulator role was designed to deal sufficiently with the issues experienced by consumers or to drive the continuous improvement needed. This needs attention. o Internal connectivity is vital to Camp. The major investment in FIGAS was urgently needed and a good step in strengthening this essential service. Increased funding for Camp roads has helped, but maintaining the network will always pose challenges. Workboat Services provides another lifeline to Camp and work being completed should provide information on which to base future options and investment. o

The capital program should remain ambitious and continue working towards catching up on years of underinvestment. Prioritizing will always be challenging but we need more accurate costings and timescales at the outset to allow for realistic planning. Local content is essential and giving businesses time to prepare for contracts and projects is key. Covid-19 - The pandemic brought a new level of challenge for the Falklands but the Assembly, Government, the private sector, partners (such as BFSAI) and individuals worked extremely hard to protect and provide for us all at a time when we were tested as never before – and generally people pulled together in a way which I will never forget. - We are in an enviable position compared to much of the world but the challenges are not over and we need to carefully manage the ongoing risks while beginning to move into the next phase of this crisis. Moving towards “opening up” again will require great care and thought, but we must learn to live in this new world, while always protecting our people and health services. - We must learn the lessons from the pandemic. The Recovery work highlighted areas that need attention and provides us with an opportunity to improve our systems, policies and prepare for future crises.

International Diplomacy & Governance - Our problems with Argentina have not diminished and are unlikely to in the near future. We must always stand strong in the face of their attempts to bully and undermine the Falklands, politically and economically. It is vital that the world understands the truth about our Islands rather than Argentina’s ridiculous myths and the work to inform other governments and populations must continue. My MLA work overseas has confirmed my belief that the misconceptions about the Falklands are huge – including amongst the younger generations in the UK. We must not allow Argentine propaganda to go unchallenged or for them to set the narrative. It is vital that Falkland Islanders deliver the message and seek support for our right to self-determination whenever possible. -

The Constitutional Review is an important piece of work. We are a proud member of the British family and that will not change, but we must continue to press for the greatest level of self-governance that we can achieve as an Overseas Territory. The voice of the people, expressed through our democratically elected representatives, must always be fully heard. -

There must be separation between corporate government (FIG) and the Legislative Assembly, and I see the role of MLAs as working in partnership with FIG, but absolutely to challenge, press for action and set direction. MLAs are not Ministers and do not directly manage the civil service, and I don’t believe we are ready for that form of government yet. However, I would like to see even greater direct involvement and MLA responsibility considered in the Constitutional Review. - I will always support moves towards greater transparency and openness in decision making.

I appreciate that this is a very long manifesto and yet there is much more I could have said… I would finish by reaffirming my commitment to working relentlessly and with integrity for the good of the Falklands and all our people and, if elected, will always strive to be approachable and open to all, willing to try to help with the ‘small’ personal issues as well as the larger policy matters – as I have tried to be these past four years. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact me either by email (leonabob72@gmail.com), on mobile 54753 or via Facebook Messenger.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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  • Dirk Dikkler

    Hi Billy, Boy You are really Jealous of those Democratic Islands with there independent Judiciary and Regulated Banking Authority. The Islands are Planning some Major infrastructure Projects what is Argentina Planning ???? (I Will give You a Clue NOTHING !!!).

    Oct 20th, 2021 - 07:58 pm +1
  • Dirk Dikkler

    @ Billy The Islanders enjoy one of the Worlds Highest GDP per Capita its around £60,000 on average very similar to the Likes of Norway, it is also one of the few countries with Zero Unemployment, it is also the Leading Country in the Southern Hemisphere for Renewable Energy (Wind Turbines), it has also received Awards for its Sustainable Fishing Industry, They are also able to access Global Financial Markets something Argentina has not been able to achieve for decades.

    Oct 21st, 2021 - 04:53 pm +1
  • Billy Hayes

    Siege mentality of actual kelpers leaders is making the cost of conflict to be paid by future generations. Ultra low scale economy with all landbased industries underdeveloped.

    Oct 20th, 2021 - 11:52 am 0
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