The Falkland Islands Election is scheduled for Thursday, November 4th. So far MP has published the manifestos of the four candidates for the three benches corresponding to the Camp Circumscription in the Legislative Assembly.
The Stanley circumscription is more crowded and there are a total of eleven hopefuls for the five benches of the Islands' capital at the eight member Assembly. On Wednesday we delivered six manifestos and now we are offering another four. Two of them, Mark Pollard, and Stacy Bragger are running for reelection.
In the last Assembly. Mark held the portfolios for ‘Trade & Industry’ and ‘Employment, Training & Immigration’ and acting as deputy for ‘Development & Commercial Services’, while Stacy held the Education & Community portfolio and acting deputy for ‘Trade & Industry’ and ‘Employment, Training & Immigration’.
The two others are running for the first time, they are June Besley-Clark and Chris Locke. We are missing that of Pete Biggs which hopefully we will deliver tomorrow.
Mark Pollard: We need to help facilitate and actively install more renewable energy in our Islands.
My Manifesto 2021 I am a husband and father of two girls who are both 7th Generation Falkland Islanders. If elected this would be my second term in office. I am still the same person who stood four years ago. I love the Falklands and will do my best for all people in our Islands. I strongly believe over the last four years we have laid the foundations with policies, strategies and investment in capacity. Now is the time to get on with the work. This is a critical time in our story and I now have experience to add to my enthusiasm. If elected again I will continue to: • Keep an open mind, listen to reason and engage with the community. • Always look for the right solutions, not just the easiest. • Work hard to represent you as best as I can. • Be accountable for my decisions and actions.
Environment – Our environment is our home. It is our responsibility to be custodians of our air, land and sea and pass it on to the next generation in a better condition than we found it. Creating the Falklands first Environment Strategy and Department is a good step, but it will require a lot of resourcing. Our health, education, economy and livelihood rely on the Environment around us. We need to make firm commitments supported by targets, actions and monitoring to ensure protection. Climate change is real, our land is becoming drier, erosion is an ever-increasing threat. We must ensure there is more investment for habitat restoration to protect homes for our wildlife and to feed our livestock. We need to commit to achieving carbon net-zero. Carbon off-setting has the potential to help us do this and bring economic gain.
Renewable energy is a spend to save investment for our Islands. We need to help facilitate and actively install more renewable energy in our Islands. We also need to find ways to reduce our consumption. Government has to be leading the way or at least keeping up with the rest of the Islands. The Environment Trust was a great idea to invest more in our environment if and when oil happens. FIG should contribute annually to the trust to get the ball rolling and work done regardless of Hydrocarbon development or not. There is no reason why we cannot encourage others to contribute as well. We need to invest in and enforce simple controls in bio-security. Earwigs, Thistles and Calafate will cost us a small fortune to control (if we can). Again, this surely has to be a spend to save measure. We need to continue to work with industry and scientists to make our waters as sustainable as possible.
Safeguarding our marine environment and economy. I do not support large scale non-native aquaculture in our Islands (Salmon farming), but I do support investing money to legislate and regulate for sustainable environmentally friendly aquaculture as we must for any other industry with large scale environmental impact. Page 2 of 4 Health – We must seek to address issues before we have to cure them.
Health and mental health work need constant attention and in many areas strengthening. Mental health has to be on the same level and complimentary to physical health. Further invest in historical maintenance issues at the hospital as well as investing in progressive upgrades. One of those upgrades is the orthodontic suite, which needs faster progress than we have had. We must always be looking at other early detection upgrades to complement existing recent upgrades such as the mammography and CT scanning capability. Our vulnerable people should never be living in our hospital as a default for not having anywhere else to put them. Tussac House materials are due to be arriving anytime now and it needs to be built promptly.
Education – We must always look to be improving the education provision we have from early years through to adult provision. The SHIELD program has been a fantastic success, but needs to be better funded in the future. The workshop at the college needs to be completed as well, it is long overdue. We need to understand what the current blockers are to using the CDS budget. This has to be linked to better understanding the demand in the community for skills and meeting that demand. We have also been awaiting work on the education facilities and their capacity. It is not good enough to have a placeholder in the long-term capital budget for these. We need to understand what is needed as soon as possible and make sure it is in our program to be done. Work had begun on the education ordinance and we need to enshrine the duty for Government to provide education at secondary school level as well. Currently it is only for primary education. We also need a fair and clear camp education policy to ensure all understand what they are entitled to.
Sovereignty – Argentina still want to bully us into becoming a colony of theirs. We must continue to robustly rebut this as we did at the C24 earlier this year. Our goal needs to be widespread international support and Argentina dropping its claim. No matter how difficult this will be to achieve. Even if we only gain an inch, this has to be our direction of travel. The 40th anniversary next year will be a hard time for many in the Islands, but we must use this time when we get the coverage to get our message out as strongly and coherently as possible.
Economy – Our economy continues to grow, although it does face threats. We need to engage with businesses wherever we can to understand their concerns. Getting on and building the new port will help to secure our economy for generations to come. We must also commit to telling our story and looking to add value to our exports. The greatest threat to fishing comes with the migratory Illex. In what has been termed the “Blue Hole” on the high seas has seen over five hundred vessels hammering the stock. This is not only an economic threat to us but also an environmental disaster that could end up with the extinction of a species. We have been and must continue to push for a regional agreement to prevent this overfishing.
Tourism has been hit incredibly hard and even with the successful TRIP scheme, the industry continues to suffer. Tourism will continue to need our support into the future. TRIP2 should certainly help but ultimately allowing tourists back into the Islands and keeping businesses here alive so that they are ready to go when visitors start stepping through the door again is a must. Farming depends mostly on wool and I support the investment in a new wool warehouse. FIMCo also offers much needed additional revenue. We must continue to support this in order to minimize direct subsidies and to ensure a quality convenient product remains on our shelves. But we must always strive for more efficiency. We must ensure that local people and companies get the chance to contribute to projects wherever they can. Local content policies need to be in place on projects but also in the awarding of operational work. We must also continue to push for local involvement at MOD sites.
The State of the Falkland Islands Economy 2020 told a good story. It did however highlight the issue of income inequality. I’m not sure extensive measures are needed to address this. I accept we were in exceptional circumstances we could and probably should have put the pensions up last year. I would be in favor of this forming a considerable part of the upcoming actuarial review and budget discussions. We must also take another look at the minimum personal tax threshold and what it would cost us to raise it. Minimum and living wages need to remain on a par and it must be based on current data.
Housing/Accommodation – We need to deliver the actions in the new housing strategy. Continuing to develop land for FIG and others to build houses. Selling off the older FIG accommodation to existing tenants in a rent to buy scheme or similar. Owners of empty or derelict properties need encouragement to get them back on the market. More social houses are needed in the local pool until supply reaches demand. We need to help those renting in the private sector by offering rent rebate to those in need as well. We will also need to ensure that we understand what it costs to buy and build and ensure we continue to support people into home ownership.
Communications – Digital connectivity is essential in order to support economic and social development. Not just capacity, but also quality and cost. We need to understand what the current operator intends to do to improve its services. A proper timeline and strategy for continuous improvement. Whether that is embracing low earth-orbit satellites, cable or some other technology, we need to understand how and when these improvements will take place.
Infrastructure – The port is essential for our economic future. Power station resilience is also essential, whether an expansion to the existing site or a complete rebuild. It must incorporate more renewable energy. The MPA road has to be approaching completion during the next Assembly. Our infrastructure in places is in dire need of investment. A complete picture of this along with future demand is vital to ensure we prioritize correctly. We must have a clear understanding of the current state of our infrastructure with a clear list of priorities to address any issues. We have pushed long and hard for an asset management register to understand the current issues, this work must progress to inform the budget discussions on future priorities.
Jobs – Importing our workforce must be what we do when we have explored everything else first. Training and retaining Falkland Islanders, then how we encourage Falkland Islanders overseas to return. Thirdly, how we retain the work permit holders we already have here and encourage them to become Falkland Islanders. Then lastly at how we attract workers from overseas.
Culture, History and Heritage – We need to get better at protecting all of these things. Understanding what we want to protect is the first important step. Physical buildings such as the Lighthouse need restoring before it’s too late.
Transparency – Too many decisions still take place behind closed doors. We must continue to push to try and bring many of these out into the public domain. Whether that is ExCo, Budget select or others. A public document outlining what policy is to be considered and when will allow more engagement. More engagement is a good thing.
COVID-19 – Whilst we are not in the emergency period, we can’t be complacent. We do need to keep looking at how we can open up and increase our connectivity with the outside world, but we must always think of our people’s health first. With vaccinations, quarantine, isolation, testing, proper fit for purpose emergency plans and the expertise and dedication of our medical and emergency services, we must be constantly looking to reduce restrictions, but only when safe to do so. It is essential to understand and commit to the issues and work identified in the COVID-19 recovery sessions. Some issues were identified that been around for decades but only came to light in a global pandemic. Some are quick fixes such as the Government having a single point of contact. Others will require a lot of work and careful handling such as tenant/landlord protections and combating loneliness in the isolated members of our community. As a community we did a fantastic job all working together to keep it out. The community spirit at the time made me prouder than I ever have to call myself a Falkland Islander. Part of the lessons learnt from this period need to look at how we can capture and reinforce that spirit of all of us all working together for the good of our Islands.
Representation – I feel I have the energy, commitment, desire, experience, leadership and ability to make a difference. I want to represent you and make fair, transparent and justifiable decisions. We already live in an amazing place. With your help, we can make it even better. If you wish to find out more about me and my views then please contact me; • In person • Phone – 55888/21480 • Email – email@example.com • Social Media
Stacy Bragger “'Argentines came from the ships',” highlighted the absurdity of the Argentine mantra that we are an implanted population”
MY PRIORITIES ✓ Promoting our right to self-determination and maintaining our current political status ✓ Continuing to develop and strengthen our economy ✓ Putting the preservation of our environment at the heart of Government decision making ✓ Upgrading the Islands’ infrastructure ✓ Continuing to develop our education system and training opportunities COVID-19 As we approach the end of 2021, we find ourselves as a community at a challenging point but we still have a wealth of opportunities in front of us. We have experienced some of the most challenging times of our recent history from the potentially severe threats posed to us by Covid-19. Thanks to everyone’s joint efforts, we have weathered the storm and we can be proud of our collective response which has left us in a position that many nations around the world would be envious of. We are not out of the woods yet but we are well placed to continue to return to normality. If elected, I would continue to make decisions that prioritize the public health of all in the Islands but I would make considered, evidence-based decisions that would enable us to navigate the continued challenges, enabling our international air connectivity and our tourism industry to return to normal.
ECONOMY: We must make the most of the opportunities that exist for us One of our key strengths is our economic self-sufficiency. We are in a strong position economically but we cannot be complacent. Fishing continues to provide the wealth of the Islands but we are still too reliant on this one industry. We must seek to add additional value from our existing, traditional industries while looking to broaden our economy.
STANLEY CONSTITUENCY: The private sector is the engine that drives the economic development and wealth of our Islands. Government must provide the framework for economic activity and work to remove barriers to growth. This must involve regular communication and consultation with our industries. Significant steps were made in the last four years to enabling our economy to grow with developments such as the delivery of the Brazil flight, the move to the next phase of ITQ and the progress made on delivering a new port. There is still much more work that needs to be done though and I would continue to prioritize work to enable the development of our economy. The joint work between Government and the fishing industry on the next phase of the ITQ system was one of the most important pieces of work during the last Assembly. It is vital that Government continues to progress this work through to the start of its implementation at the beginning of 2023.
Since the start of the pandemic we have seen organizations such as British Antarctic Survey and several European research institutions using the Falklands more for their work in Antarctica. The Gateway to Antarctica concept has long been spoken of. Progress with the concept has been piecemeal so far and defined work streams have not been fully formed in my opinion. I believe establishing the Falklands as a regional hub for scientific research and a staging post for Antarctica is a gigantic opportunity for us, both economically and politically, and greater priority must be given to it.
When it comes to Government spending, I wholeheartedly supported the significant investment made into improving public services during the last Assembly. This investment was largely focused on the key services of Health and Education and was done against a backdrop of improved and more realistic budgeting. In order to deliver the infrastructure aspirations of the Islands, recurrent operating expenditure in the future will need to be limited but I would support investment where justified and affordable. While budget surpluses have continued to be delivered for Government and our dynamic private sector remains successful, it is clear that our economy is not working for everyone in the way that it should. Pressures have increased on our lower income earners and I would support looking at ways to support them further.
INFRASTRUCTURE: We must have confidence to invest in our future During the last Assembly we made significant progress in delivering key infrastructure projects that have been badly needed for decades. The economic opportunities that exist for us are heavily dependent on the upgrading of our national infrastructure. I believe that we must have the confidence to invest in our future and the next four years must see significant delivery with the Government’s capital program. Providing opportunities for local businesses must be central to future capital projects, ensuring that maximum value from them is retained in the Islands. Most importantly when it comes to future projects, the new permanent port has moved to the next stage of detailed design work and if elected I would be committed to ensuring the delivery of this vital project. Telecommunications has been consistently highlighted as a concern by domestic users and by the private sector, with it topping the list of barriers to growth in this year’s Business Climate Survey. I have included telecommunications under the ‘Infrastructure’ section of my manifesto as telecommunications are as important as roads and capital assets to the social and economic development of the Islands. There have been large increases in data allowances during the last four years, something that I was pleased to support. We are still not where we need to be though and Government must, as a matter of priority, continue to push Sure into exploring the new technological developments that we are all aware of. A long-term vision of how telecommunications are going to be improved for all in the Islands needs to be set.
ENVIRONMENT: Putting the environment at the heart of decision making So much of what makes these Islands special revolves around our environment. Our future depends on us being responsible stewards of this unique environment. A high-level environmental strategy is now in place and this is a good first step. The real work begins now though with detailed action plans needing to follow. If elected, I would be committed to ensuring that environmental policy is at the heart of Government decision making and that the action plans that will follow the Environment Strategy are implemented and delivered. This work mustn’t only be high level policy; it must also result in on the ground, practical steps being taken. Practical measures will be important in our efforts to preserve our environment and I would support landowners being given increased support for conservation measures. Carbon capture initiatives are a huge opportunity for us and these should be explored in a coordinated way. We have flourished as a community as a result of our rich natural resources and our environment inspires so much of our national identity and who we are as a people. If elected, I would be committed to ensuring that environmental priorities are embedded within Government so that we can preserve our environment for the generations that follow. Given our size and our resources, why can’t we take the initiative in our conservation efforts, rather than being reactive?
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Our self-determination is unquestionable The Argentine Government continues to pursue their erroneous sovereignty claim to our Islands. During the current Fernandez administration this has largely consisted of meaningless statements and half-baked policy ideas. However, they have continued to try and bully us with their aggressive tactics. Opportunities for joint work on areas of potential mutual benefit such as fisheries scientific research have lamentably been rejected and their economic sanctions remain in place. However, they have also provided us with some open goals that we can use to our advantage such as Fernandez’s gaffe earlier this year when he said that “Argentines came from the ships” which highlighted the absurdity of the Argentine mantra that we are an implanted population. Furthermore, the recent legislative proposal in Argentina to criminalize opposition to Argentina’s sovereignty position is breath-taking in how it runs against modern democratic values. We must do more to highlight to the world the continued actions of the Argentine Government and why our right to self-determination matters. We must be outward-looking and confident and we must continue to develop our regional relationships with our friendlier neighbors and continue to build international support. Our right to self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter and is unquestionable. History is on our side, the facts are on our side and the moral argument will always be won by us.
EDUCATION: Reaching our full potential In the previous Assembly I was the portfolio holder for Education and I am proud of what I achieved in the role. I drove forward progress in areas such as the new leadership structure, development of the childcare sector, the increased commitment to vocational skills and life-long learning and a revised Education Ordinance that I believe will have lasting long-term benefits for our education system and the Islands as a whole. However, there is still much more work to be done and I am clear that if elected I would wish to hold this portfolio again. I am passionate about education and I believe I have the energy and the skills to help deliver further progress. I would support the Infant and Junior School and Camp Education and the Community School in progressing their ongoing School Improvement Plans, supporting investment where required. I would continue to be a strong supporter of the development of policies that will help our students reach their full potential. There was an increased emphasis in the last Assembly on vocational and skills based training being treated on a par with academic studies and I would continue to support this. During the last Assembly I secured funding for an extension to the Community School and, in the long-term ten year FIG capital program, for a new Infant and Junior School. Work is ongoing currently on the potential options for the future of the Education Estate with a paper to be considered by Executive Council in December. If elected, I would again fight for improved education facilities for our children. I was delighted that during the last Assembly we were able to establish the SHIELD program. It was an important step forwards but I am strongly of the belief that more focus needs to be given to the provision of services for the members of our community with special needs and disabilities. This was something that I raised during the last Assembly and it is something that I would be committed to progressing.
CAMP: Long-term vision for rural development Camp is the heart of these Islands and during the last Assembly I consistently supported investment in Camp infrastructure and services. Investment in Camp-related infrastructure and services benefits the Islands as a whole. Support must be targeted and a long-term vision for rural development must be in place in order to achieve the best results. I would support continued investment in Camp, driven by what the rural community feels should be the top priorities. What do I have to offer? A strong track record of delivering results It is important that you know what my leadership approach will continue to be if elected. I can promise you that I will serve you in a way that is thoughtful, compassionate and results driven. I believe that I have the necessary ability to represent you well. Some of the qualities that I believe are important for the role and that I will seek to embody are humility, having a sense of humor and being genuine. I don’t seek the limelight and I don’t grandstand. I work collaboratively with people in a positive way to achieve the best possible results. Elected members must be willing to listen and to be able to have their mind changed when presented with information. As an MLA I would listen to you, not talk over you. I have a strong track record of serving this community and delivering results as an MLA both individually and as part of a team.
CONCLUSION: Focused solely on the future Thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto. I hope that it has given you an impression of what drives me and what I hope to achieve if elected. If elected, I will be focused solely on the future and on delivering the best results for you and for our Islands. I sincerely hope that you will consider voting for me on 4th November. Contact me: Phone: 54391 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.stacy-bragger.com Stacy Bragger
Barbara J Besley-Clark: I often wonder if our own people are being treated like second class citizens
I am standing for the Stanley Constituency 1. According to the Falkland Islands Constitution Local people should be given employment priority over nonresident application. Local personnel with International qualifications should be paid accordingly. You are paying for their knowledge not where they come from. There are local qualified personnel working alongside non residents, but getting less pay, THE SYSTEM IS DISCRIMINATORY I often wonder if our own people are being treated like second class citizens?
2 Senior Citizens, the cost of living index this year did not award any increments despite Electricity, Rates, Fuel and Bank Charges have all increased along with the cost of Food. It is time we had an MLA with a portfolio for Senior Citizens.
3 The allocations of building plots appears unbalanced, surely this needs to be prioritized for first time buyers.
4. FIMCO - Appears to be a rudderless ship. Shouldn’t we have a team looking for new markets for these quality products?
5. We spend thousands of pounds each year sending our students away to college, University and some who wish to train in their chosen career. Whilst we hope they will return along with their skills. Yet we are not as welcoming, as we should be or could be, perhaps a change in attitude of Directors and Human Resources.
6. I feel after researching the salmon farming issue, this would be detrimental to our environment we are after all caretakers of these island and the surrounding waters for our future generations. Regarding our other environmental issues we need a clear road map with a set timeline for achieving them, not just lip service. More wind farms, solar power farms. It is time we stopped pumping raw sewage into the harbor.
7. Telecommunications — We should be looking to improve and reduce the cost, so by bringing in Starlink it would assist EVERYONE in the Island.
8. Finance— There needs to be more transparency in the way in which the Government deals with all projected expenditure. I understand that large projects are expensive, but we cannot keep on borrowing and dipping into our reserves we should live within our means. I am aware that expectation are high, It is time that FIG came into the twenty first century by accepting card transactions. The current bank is not fit for purpose. I am aware there are many more subjects that need to be discussed, but you will all get fed up reading reams of all the candidates manifest, so I have tried to keep it as concise as possible.
The only promise I can make to you all that I will be honest, willing to fight for the right for justice for everyone. And willing to listen to your concerns and help where ever possible. If elected i will work hard to achieve what is good for our country and our people. I will be just one voice but I will be heard. Oh by the way I am much younger than Joe Biden.
Chris Locke: I would support a review of the existing policies regarding the openness of Government and in particular, ExCo.
Having been brought up by the coast in South Devon the sea greatly influenced my life. After leaving school I chose a career in the Merchant Navy, joining the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1977.
In 1986 I moved to Plymouth where I completed my formal maritime examinations becoming a Master Mariner in 1989. My first overseas deployment took me to the South Atlantic as part Operation JOURNEYMAN when Argentina was making overt intent to invade the Islands and so by chance my lifelong relationship with the Falklands began at the age of 18.
Five years later in 1982 I returned to the Falklands on board the tanker RFA PLUMLEAF as part of the Naval Task Group and ever since those early days have always felt a true bond with the Falklands. Following the Conflict I returned to the Falklands on many occasions making lifelong friends and in doing so fully embraced the very special way of life the Islands offer. After a full career at sea I graduated with a Masters in Defiance from the UK Defense Academy. I subsequently worked in Navy Headquarters in Portsmouth before taking up the position as the Queen’s Harbor Master at East Cove. This was extremely important to me as it offered me the opportunity to use my maritime skillset while at the same time live and work in the Islands I loved.
In 2012 Nancy and I were married here as it was important to both of us that we should be married in the country we were making our home. Four years later, and after 38 years of service with the RFA, I left the MoD to take up, on local terms, the position as Harbor Master and Marine Officer for the Government. I was fortunate to be in a position where I could make a difference to the development of the Islands, which ultimately led to the introduction of the Falkland Islands Maritime Authority and the associated improvements in maritime safety and crew welfare. In fulfilling this I became familiar with the procedural processes of Government particularly those regarding legislation, policy, finance and budget. I believe this knowledge will greatly assist my work as an MLA should I be given the chance to sit.
The decision to put my name forward is not one I have taken lightly, however it is something I feel passionate about and has it foundations firmly set in my formative years, particularly those of 1982 which changed my life forever. At this juncture in my life the opportunity and desire to serve the people and Islands has never been stronger, for this reason I felt compelled to put my name forward to be considered to work as an MLA for the country I was part of liberating. I am confident that through informed decision making and open debate I can make a positive difference to the future of our nation; that is why I am asking for your vote. Here are my views on the following key issues, while not exhaustive I am hopeful they give you an idea of my passion for the Islands future and my vision for where the next Assembly needs to focus its attention.
National Sovereignty As a SAMA Veteran and as a person who values what it means to be a Falkland Islander, I would not compromise on the Sovereignty of the Islands and would undertake all steps to uphold our right to Self Determination.
Environment I am passionate about the environment and the way we utilize our precious natural resources. We see the effects of climate change around the globe but most importantly on our doorstep in the Islands, particularly with habitat change and erosion due to dryer seasons. The Islands need to be more active in environmental matters; we must take our part in reducing the effects of climate change. If elected I will endeavor to make environmental and conservation issues a priority and work towards setting appropriate timelines for a carbon neutral future. This work will include options for utilizing carbon offset initiatives. I support the recently published Falkland Islands Environmental Strategy 2021-2040 although it could have gone a lot further; particularly regarding timelines, targets and action plans. Renewable energy development and technology is moving at a fast pace, it is a mistake to wait until 2050 before we have 100% renewable power.
There is enough evidence for me to say NO to open pen salmon farming in the Falkland Islands and I support the work of Salmon Free Falklands. While I understand the argument for revenue generation, I believe the environmental risks to our pristine coastline and waters significantly outweigh the potential fiscal gains that could be made through aquaculture development. Throughout the world we have seen the effects that open pen salmon farming has made on the environment, we simply cannot take the risk of allowing this to happen in Falklands waters whatever the monetary gains may be.
Health Hospital infrastructure, which is literally our lifeline, is in a poor state due to years of underinvestment and while the current modernization program is addressing some issues, particularly regarding orthodontics and diagnostic equipment including CT and mammography, I am concerned we are never going to succeed in providing a building that is fit for purpose and future proof. I commend the work of all in the health sector and believe we must support them by ensuring the provision of fit for purpose facilities. If elected I would support the development of new infrastructure as I question if the current upgrade is in the long term providing real value for money. Delivery of Tussac House needs to be undertaken without further delay, as postponement will only lead to increased cost but more importantly further anxiety to our vulnerable people who need this facility. While the conversion at Hillside is a stopgap it must not become the long-term solution.
Education The children of the Islands represent our future. It is vital that our educational structure serves them all regardless of ability or status. Education for the older members of our population is also vital particularly through vocational or further academic studies. Good work on nursery provision and the SHIELD project has been undertaken by the previous Assembly however, with our predicted population growth the new Assembly will need to address issues regarding both the IJS and FICS footprint. I would support a full review on both buildings and their associated facilities to ensure our education campus, including those in Camp, keeps pace with modern educational needs and developments. Not doing so would be an injustice to the future generations of our children, which I cannot accept.
Housing and Land The demand for homes and new housing continues to grow. The development at Sappers Hill and more recently at Bennett’s Paddock has eased the issue, particularly enabling some first-time buyers to step on the property ladder. At the same time this has benefited the construction industry and related businesses. However, the way plot allocation and tender bidding is undertaken is increasing prices to an unaffordable level and needs a review. The new Housing Strategy, ‘Housing for our Future’ setting out policy to deal with the current housing shortage needs strengthening. I do believe further work should be done particularly in making the process for first time buyers more simple, fairer and most importantly affordable. I know from my own experience just how stressful and difficult it can be to buy a home. I fully support the view of the Chamber of Commerce on land allocation and assisting the private sector to develop serviced plots through a formalized Government commercial land sales policy.
Economy: A successful economy is vital to the livelihood of our Islands and all who live here. We need to ensure that businesses trading both locally and within international markets are given every opportunity to succeed and flourish. The fishing industry is key to our economy and the need to embrace its sustainability is vital while at the same time ensuring all who work in this dangerous environment are protected through international and national legislation. Of concern is the sustainment of Ilex fishery and unregulated fishing in an area 200+ miles north of our Islands and just outside Falklands Outer Conservation Zone where we have no jurisdiction on catches or standards. This coincides with the main spawning grounds of squid. The Falklands need to lobby on an international setting to close this area of unregulated fishing if we are to protect our economy but at the same time the potential extinction of this species. If elected I will endeavor to initiate this process although accept it is going to be a long haul. We need to continue to support and develop our tourist Industry and while the TRIP scheme has been a huge benefit to all in tourism we need to continue investing in this sector. Alongside the cruise industry, low footfall high-end tourism may be an option.
Tax and Pensions I cannot promise to change the tax system or current pensions on my own however, I can promise that I will push for a review particularly on the latest budget which made no provision for an incremental increase in the Retirement Pension. A review of Tax thresholds also needs to be considered.
Communications: It is vital the Islanders have access to fast, reliable and most importantly value for money communications. Starlink may be an option however I would not rush into its use without considering other options, including closer working with Sure to deliver a more cost effective and faster service. Increased data speeds and ‘cloud based’ access needs to keep pace with global trends as this is vital for the successful development of the Islands, particularly for the business community whose dependence on global markets is key to their success.
Camp: Whilst Stanley is home to the majority of the population, Camp is the greatest contributor to our agriculture and tourism industries. It is facing unique challenges such as; infrastructure development, rural businesses development, education, transport issues, including a dedicated ferry service and effects of climate change on the land. Communications are just as vital in Camp as they are in Stanley and improvements in coverage and conductivity must be continued. If elected I will do my upmost to work alongside Camp MLA’s and their constituents to address these and other rural concerns.
New Port: A modern and versatile port is vital to the stability of the Islands economic development and our livelihood. FIPASS has served us well but a safe new facility is urgently required. If elected I will take forward work undertaken by the previous Assembly to ensure the new port is delivered capable of fulfilling the requirement of our maritime industry and trades. We need to ensure facilities for modern container operations especially those for frozen cargos along with modern reception facilities for the cruise ship industry. The new port should also make provision for the welfare of seafarers. However, the new port will be the most expensive capital investment the Islands have undertaken and budgetary options to either borrow or use reserves needs to be fully understood before a final decision is made. There are arguments for both options, however for me delay in construction is not an option. Each year we ponder the project it becomes more costly and FIPASS becomes more dangerous with the ever increasing risk of catastrophic failure.
Open Government: Honesty and integrity must be the fundamental foundations any elected member of the Legislative Assembly base their work ethics on. I would support a review of the existing policies regarding the openness of Government and in particular, ExCo. Transparent decision making is key to a more open government which I endorse. I would like to see a long-term overarching strategy document looking out to the next 20+ years which would go some way to smoothing out the 4 year ‘strategic bumps’ post elections. The last Assembly witnessed an ever-growing number of FIG positions which has placed additional strains on housing, infrastructure and FIG expenditure. These increases need to be justified and understood before further FIG expansion is considered. I fully endorse the use of social media for promoting the work of MLA’s and Government, however this should be used constructively to facilitate open and honest discussion. I am not a supporter of the derogatory and sometimes vindictive comments seen on the MLA’s Facebook page and will not be a part of it. However if you require your MLA to be thoughtful, considered and act in the best interests of their constituency using social media responsibly and informatively, then this is something I will do my upmost to deliver.
And Finally I do not hold all the answers to our Islands’ issues and feel sure that if elected unforeseen concerns and problems will make decision making difficult and at times in contradiction to others opinions. However, what I will promise to do is serve the community honestly and faithfully by working closely with all elected MLA’s, the Civil Service and Constituents to ensure the best possible outcomes for Islanders and our Country. If you would like to contact me on any of the points above or other issues facing the community and our country then please give me a call or e-mail. e-mail: Christopher.Locke10@outlook.com Telephone: 22201 Mobile: 5112