Falklands : Legislative Assembly Speech by The Hon Mrs Jan Cheek
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2011 (Article Archived on 14.11.2011)
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, first I would like to associate myself with the good wishes to Emma.
The Hon Mrs Jan Cheek:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, first I would like to associate myself with the good wishes to Emma. I was second to her on Oil Committee and on Housing Committee and I know what a big contribution she made on both of those, her main portfolios. I think her departure has shown us the difficulties experienced by Civil Servants in the role of MLA. The right decision was made many, many years ago to allow Civil Servants, where possible, to stand with some barred areas.
This was done with very, very good reasons. If you say no Civil Servant can stand for election, you are cutting out close to 600 of the most well qualified, energetic people in the community. This is fine as far as it goes but if it is to work there must be some kind of back-fill provided for their post. We saw the difficulty that Glenn Ross had in making it to meetings when the demands of his very demanding job and shortages of staff made it simply impossible sometimes for him to attend. And Emma, who did her very best, I am sure, to fit around a school time table was, at times in difficulties arranging meetings at times that were convenient both for her and for Civil Servants, who also have other commitments to deal with after working hours. I think we have to address this urgently before the next election.
People have raised other issues in relation to this but I think it is enormously important that we don’t lose those potential candidates. I am not sure that throwing money at it is the answer. I believe people put themselves forward for Assembly for much stronger reasons and are willing to make some sacrifices very often in order to fulfil those roles, not least of time, family life, leisure – it’s something I think we really need to address very seriously – probably not this minute but certainly early in the new year because before we know it the next general election will be upon us.
On the single constituency, which a number of people have spoken of, this is the only subject where I am not in full agreement with my colleague the Honourable Gavin Short. I have to say I agree with absolutely everything else he said. However, I truly think two constituencies create an artificial divide in a very small community at a time when we should perhaps be more than ever united not least because of the threats that are made against us but also because I think we are at a very exciting time in the history of the Falklands and I think we are all committed as much to developing the rural economy as we are the economy as a whole.
On the time change, everyone knows my views but I wish to reiterate the kind of messages I am getting from people are that children have had time outside school at the end of the day to play, to walk – to walk home and go to the playing field on-route. That’s been good to see. Many people, gardeners like me, value that hour of daylight after normal working time in order to tidy up their garden ready for the summer. More importantly I think, a number of people – not just the elderly – have said just the thought of dark evenings creates a feeling of ‘winter blues’ and they have thoroughly enjoyed that extra light at the end of the day and they actually think it’s improved their whole view of life.
I won’t go on at length. I now want to say farewell to the departing Chief of Staff and welcome to the new one seated in the audience. I promise I won’t touch your land rover.
I support the Motion.