A special Falkland Islands Government (FIG) London Office 40th anniversary reception was held in the Durbar Court at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Wednesday, and brought to a close a year of events marking the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands.
The reception was attended by over two hundred guests, from veterans to serving military and Falkland Islanders to Members of Parliament and Lords. Other guests included members of organisations that the FIG have worked with throughout the 40th anniversary year, such as SAMA82, Royal British Legion, St. Paul’s Cathedral and members of the media.
The event was hosted by the Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister for The Overseas Territories, who said: “I look forward very much to visiting the Falkland Islands. All of us recall the sacrifices made by so many people to return freedom and democracy to the Islands. One thing that has not changed in the last 40 years is the United Kingdom’s determination to defend the right of the people of the Falkland Islands to decide on their own future; It hasn’t changed, and that will not change, as long as the Falkland Islands want to remain a self-governing Overseas Territory, we will do whatever we need to defend their right to do so.”
Minister for Defence People and veterans, Rt. Hon. Dr. Andrew Murrison MP, who recently visited the Falkland Islands, was also welcomed and he said: “I was proud to represent the Government four weeks ago in Stanley during Remembrance; prouder still to meet the Falkland Islanders, who’s support for our veterans was extraordinary; the hospitality they shared was humbling and heartening. The Falkland Islands will remain within the British firmament for as long as it is the wish of the people of the Falkland Islands. Judging by the reaction I got last month, that is going to be a very long time.”
MLA Mark Pollard spoke on behalf of the Falklands: “If I could ensure that you leave here today with three things in your head about our home, it is that Falkland Islanders still face threats to our very existence from our nearest neighbour even forty years on. Despite that, we are a democratic, flourishing, multi-national community, who provide strategic importance and opportunity to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Thank you all for coming today and helping us to close out this most special year for the people of our Islands,” he said.
UK Representative Richard Hyslop also spoke at the event: “The reception was an opportunity to formally mark the end of an extraordinary year. It was also a chance to celebrate our relationship with the UK. I was delighted so many people came – a true demonstration of the wide support the Islands enjoy in the UK.”