Falklands : Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Mike Summers
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2012 (Article Archived on 14.11.2012)
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I, too, would like to welcome the Chief of Staff to this House and to welcome him and hopefully his family to the Falklands. And I take the opportunity as well to thank all Members of Her Majestyís Armed Forces for providing the defence deterrent that they do
Motion for Adjournment Speech by the Hon Mr Mike Summers:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I, too, would like to welcome the Chief of Staff to this House and to welcome him and hopefully his family to the Falklands. And I take the opportunity as well to thank all Members of Her Majestyís Armed Forces for providing the defence deterrent that they do. I think it was interesting that the Defence Minister of Argentina at a public engagement relatively recently and announced that the only reason that the Argentines werenít currently in the Falklands was because the British were here with a defence deterrent. Well, thank goodness for that. Doesnít that just show some of the thinking that we have to contend with?
That aside the issue with Argentina goes on. We have, most of us, been travelling in recent weeks and months to various places far and wide and I was relatively recently in a couple of countries in Africa and had discussions with Foreign Ministries there. And itís encouraging to find that when you put the true Falklandsí message to those people that they didnít know the real position before and are perfectly happy to support the right of the people of the Falkland Islands to self-determination and I think as we get out and about some more, particularly when we take the result of the referendum out to the international community, we will find people defending our basic fundamental human right to self-determination; because, when you ask former colonial countries whether they will support the United Kingdom against a claim from Argentina that for them is quite difficult. But when you explain to them that they donít need to do that, what they need to do is concentrate on the fundamental right to self-determination, what they are doing is supporting the people of the Falkland Islands, thatís very much easier. And so thatís our message to the international community that will be strongly bolstered by the results of the referendum.
Like other colleagues I look forward to meeting with our guests when they come for Remembrance Sunday. I am certain that we will treat the occasion with the dignity that we normally do; and look forward to welcoming those members of the Armed Forces that liberated us in 1982 at the same time.
Just a couple of other things:
On the question of Road Designation, because it is an important matter, there are various perspectives. I am very proud of our road system. We spent a lot of time and effort in building our road system and I wonít be find a Pound each time I call them roads because actually itís the beginning. You start off with something and you build on it. Thatís how life goes in most countries and thatís how life goes in infrastructure very often. Given time and more money we will be able to improve the roads but in the meantime, we have encouraged a number of people to use the roads not only for commercial purposes but also for social purposes. And we have fairly large numbers of tourists moving on the roads in the next few months. The tourism season has started, we can see people now coming in and we welcome them to use our road system. I think if any one of us would stand in a car-park on a cruise vessel day and say to them that they can go in a bus but once they pass a certain point they wonít be covered by insurance, they would be absolutely horrified and they wouldnít go. And thereís an obligation on us to make sure that we provide sufficient protection to people that we welcome to our country. It doesnít mean that we have to go over the top but we have to do the things that are right and the things that are expected in the international community because we are very much part of the international community these days.
I will just say one other final thing. Itís related to tourism but it is also related to farming and itís also related to fishing and itís also related to the many small businesses that provide services in and around Stanley and on the rest of the Falklands. And it is that the advent of hydrocarbons brings with it huge numbers of opportunities. It also brings with it threats and I mentioned it earlier in the morning. It brings with it threats for some of those businesses because the structure of those businesses is not the same as the structure of the hydrocarbons industry and indeed they are not the same as the structure of the Falkland Islands Government. And if the Falkland Islands Government has the luxury of £250Million a year and thinks it can pay its employees twice as much as they currently get Ė that would be very nice Ė wouldnít it be marvellous - but not everybody can respond to that and thatís the point that I really want to make. Not every business is capable of responding to that and what we donít want to be doing is creating effectively a two-class society where you have hydrocarbons businesses and the Government paying large wages to rich people leaving behind a series of smaller businesses that we have absolutely relied on for years to develop this community and develop our economy. So we have to make sure that when we think about wage levels and when we think about how we are going to control inflation because it is inevitable Ė that we think about those people who we nas employers wonít be able to pay additional money because the business structure doesnít support it and also that quite large group of people who wonít have the opportunity because they are perhaps over 55 or over 60 or already retired. They wonít have the opportunity of benefiting from increased wages. They are already past their wage earning time or past the time they can take an opportunity from that. So thatís to my mind where one key set of dangers lies.
The other set of dangers to my mind lies in demands for distribution. And we have already heard several of them in the last few weeks. We heard some this week. And demands for distribution will come thick and fast from all sectors. And how we deal with that, I think, is going to go to the core of the economic and social impact study that we are going to carry out. In countries around the world that had hydrocarbons industries before Ė itís how you deal with the distribution that very often is at the core of what sort of society you end up with.
And the people from the public domain recently have been saying we should have this debate and I know some colleagues have said the same that we should have the debate amongst ourselves and we understand as a community what we think is the right thing in terms of distribution of increased wealth when it arrives because arrive it will.
I think thatís about it for me today.
I support the Motion.