Falklands : Falklands: The Hon Mrs Sharon Halford's Motion for Adjournment Speech
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 21.12.2011 (Article Archived on 04.01.2012)
I would first like to welcome the Honourable Ian Hansen to this Assembly and congratulate the Honourable Dr Barry Elsby on his election to the Assembly also and I will look forward to working with them both in the future.
The Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I think I will be even briefer than the previous speaker.
I would first like to welcome the Honourable Ian Hansen to this Assembly and congratulate the Honourable Dr Barry Elsby on his election to the Assembly also and I will look forward to working with them both in the future. However, may I add with my health and Medical Services Hat on, that I do not expect to receive complaints from those of you in the community who will not now be able to get appointments with your chosen doctor if that Doctor is Dr Elsby? As you must remember, you elected him and at the end of the day he is only human and cannot be in two places at the same time.
May I also congratulate those of you who had the courage of your convictions to put yourselves forward for election and took all the knocks and criticisms along the way? I wish you better luck in the future.
We are now half-way through the life of this assembly and there have been many comments about how it has worked and the turn-over of Members. As I see it, the make-up and ultimately the workings of any Assembly is down to you, the electorate and your choice of representative. For those of us fortunate enough to have been elected, we simply have to get on with it and do our best to work with each other. Having said that, this is the first Assembly that I have been elected to where for the first half of our term we have worked more often than not with one Member light. This was down to the fact that one of the constituencies chose to elect someone who said they would only be here for part of the year. It will be interesting to see if the full complement will make a difference to the work load but I doubt it.
I have found this by-election to be very disappointing as I was unable to vote in my constituency. But I guess, from the Hon Ian Hansen’s point of view, he really does have a free hand to do as he pleases as he did not have a mandate and has made no promises to the electorate. What an enviable position to be in!
Recently I was having my usual trawl through the farming statistics and was very disappointed to see some glaring errors. I suspect that if they are that obvious to me they must also be obvious to others. For me these statistics are no different than a factual book or article in a newspaper in that once you find errors, you lose faith in the whole works, which is most unfortunate as many farmers have spent a lot of time and effort on their returns. Sadly it only takes a few inaccurate or inflated figures to distort the whole picture. I appreciate that for the vast majority of farmers they do their best to get their figures right, as to not do so they are fooling nobody but themselves. But no matter how diligent people are, mistakes can and do happen. Even farmers are human.
Statistics are required for a number of reasons and none of these is to be able to look back over the years to see if individual performances are improving, remaining stable or going back. And when all the data is collated it shows how the Islands are doing overall.
I had spoken with the Honourable Mike Summers about this matter and had been given to understand the Department of Agriculture will be looking at how the information received can be better verified in the future.
I think the health and Medical Services portfolio from time to time tend to be contacted by people who feel they have been trodden every avenue and have nowhere left to go. People who feel aggrieved can and should contact Jeanette Vincent in the Hospital as it is her job to deal with all complaints received and also to pass on the good tidings when congratulations are received.
What I have found particularly disturbing of late is that many people do not wish to make a complaint in case they then have to go see a doctor or be admitted to hospital or even have kin in hospital. It should be noted that all complaints are treated confidentially and go nowhere near your medical records for others to see. I therefore urge you, if you think something is wrong then please do make an official complaint as if you do not it may go unnoticed. The whole idea of the complaints procedure is that if something is found to be wrong or not working well then it can be addressed and ways looked at to see how best that particular area can be improved upon.
I have also been made aware that with the lack of a podiatrist many people’s feet have not been given the attention they need and in some cases, even basic toenail trimming has not been undertaken, with an instance of nails growing far beyond the norm of acceptability. I had been given assurances that basic nail trimming was happening – obviously not – and I find this totally unacceptable and will be pursuing this area further.
Declaring my interest as a diabetic, I would have thought that the post for a podiatrist is very important for the Health of the nation and one that we must look to fill sooner rather than later. Now that would be a good use of a small portion of the surplus everyone seems eager to spend.
I suppose I would need to plead guilty on that front, too, thinking of the enhancement needed to some of our road network. But there will need to be considerable debate on this issue as we need to look at the longer term especially with the illegal blockade with Argentina is continually promoting and mounting. It may be tempting and easy to spend but once gone, will it give a return? And how do you measure that return should there be one?
We will be losing Phyl Rendell from the civil service later this month and as I have had the pleasure of working with her on this and previous Assemblies, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking her for her hard work in various areas over the years. She always embraced all new challenges with enthusiasm and I wish her well for her retirement, with just one small word of caution. If her house is anything like mine then she may find that for some reason the female never seems to be retired.
This is the last legislative Assembly meeting for our Chief Executive, Tim Thorogood, who will be leaving early in the New Year. I suppose you could say that we have had our moments throughout our working relationship and definitely not agreed on everything. But to be fair, when tasked to do something by the Assembly, he usually got the job done, even when he was being pointed in a direction he did not like.
I wish him well when he sails off from here into the South Atlantic with the out-going GM from the Development Corporation, Davis Waugh, who has also worked hard on our behalf when tasked to do so.
In mid-January I will be leaving for Brussels with the Honourable Roger Edwards for meetings and during our time away we have been volunteered to be involved in the recruitment of the next Chief Executive.
And finally, as it is a season for good will, I would like to wish all Islanders and visitors all the best for a Happy Christmas and better prospects in the New Year. I hope, too, that all Members of the British Forces currently serving here in the Islands and away from their loved ones will be able to take some time out from their duties and enjoy some well-earned down time.
I support the Motion.
(100X Transcription Service)