Falklands : Falklands Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Roger Edwards
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2012 (Article Archived on 14.11.2012)
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, indeed I do have something to follow on from my colleague, Ian Hansen about the roads – in fact, tracks
Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Roger Edwards:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, indeed I do have something to follow on from my colleague, Ian Hansen about the roads – in fact, tracks. Every time I mention roads, please find me a Pound and I will put it to charity.
Following a fatal road traffic accident on West Falkland and some severe criticism by the Coroner, a paper was produced to seek approval of Members for the application of the Road Traffic Ordinance to designate all rural roads (I quote roads here because it’s in the paper.) in both East and West Falkland. I believe this was a sledge hammer to crack a nut. It was a response that covers all criticism but does not solve any of the underlying problems. The track in the vicinity of the accident is heavily criticised. I would here like to – and to volunteer – to take the Coroner around our Camp tracks in winter so I could show him for himself than rather than an isolated ‘poor patch’ it is more the norm.
More than half the 1,000KM of Camp track was either never finished (capped) or that any capping put in place has long since disappeared. We have put additional capital towards grading, patching and repairing the most dangerous areas. But we are still fire-fighting trying to stay ahead of deteriorating roads. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to try and persuade my Colleagues to throw out this paper. I was the lone voice and for that I am sorry. I did manage to argue such that my Colleagues, although passing the paper, delayed the designation until such times that we have various policy issues and so on looked into.
These include such things as Road Safety, construction, use, licencing, insurance, registration and taxation and signs, speed limits, etc. I am certain that before long the question of policing these newly designation tracks will be raised and the additional numbers of policemen required to do that.
I believe this designation of tracks – I simply cannot call them roads – will have quite an impact to life on West Falkland. Nor will it encourage more people to live out on the West. For now my rant is complete but I am sure I will have the opportunity to return to this subject in the not too distant future.
I am delighted that John Ferguson, the FIMCO Manager was able, after considerable hard work and effort to find accommodation for this season’s work force. If he had been unsuccessful this killing season would have had to be cancelled. And the loss to farm incomes would have been catastrophic. I do not believe that most farmers were aware of what a close-run thing it was. And so I say thank-you to John and all the others who pulled out all the stops to make accommodation available. We in FIG along with FIDC and FIMCO must, before next year, find, fund or otherwise supply sufficient, suitable accommodation for this annual workforce.
In a couple of weeks we will be welcoming many SAMA veterans and even a royal visitor, the Duke of Kent to our 30th anniversary of the defeat of the occupying Argentine forces. I was reminded recently that apart from the fighting forces – to whom we will be eternally grateful – we shall also remember the whole logistics chain behind them. Argentines fighting only 400 miles from their bases were facing hunger, hardship and a general lack of supplies, whereas we, operating 8,000 miles away from home were never short of food nor essential materials or spare parts. We must remember also those from the supporting services who paid the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives that we can live in freedom. We must always remember all those who died during this brief but bloody campaign.
But it is also a time to look forward to a bright and economically sound future. We have some excellent, bright, well-educated and confident youngsters in whose hands the Islands’ future and well-being is assured. During the next few weeks we will have many visitors; possibly some who will try to cause mischief. May I please make a plea to the whole Falkland Islands’ population? If you see anyone painting, digging holes, or acting in any way that may cause a breach of the peace, please, please get in touch with the Royal Falkland Islands Police – not your local, favourite MLA but the Police?
I, too, have been away on travels. I visited Greenland on EU business which was very successful and I visited Japan on a Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting. And there I had the opportunity of meeting Chancellor George Osborne and I had the opportunity to raise with him the question of frozen old age pension payments from the United Kingdom. So, all those who suffer from frozen pensions here in the Falklands, once again I have raised it with the British Government and I know my colleagues also raise it at every opportunity. It is a ridiculous situation where they have paid their contributions all their life and yet, at the end of the day, they cannot draw their full pension.
I, too, welcome Group Captain Ward to the Islands and to this House.
Finally Mr Speaker I wish to pass publically my condolence to all the family and friends of one of our youngsters who was so tragically killed this weekend past.
Mr Speaker I support the Motion.